For those who like to carry their tools, spare tubes and other vital cycling related odds and ends in a saddle bag rather than a jersey pocket, Timbuk2 offer this large (and very red) seat pack.
Like many saddlebags it uses three Velcro straps to hold it place – two round the seat rails, and one round to the seat pin. The bag is a simple, zipped, single pocket design, with no webbing or pockets inside. There is a small lanyard clip for keys, which handily can also be used to hold a couple of chain quick-links to save them from getting separated inside.
The bag is spacious enough to hold the major items - tube, patch kit, multi-tool, levers, valve extenders, co2 cannisters and chain breaker - and not be so small that it needs to be carefully packed in a particular way. I'm pretty sure it could manage to accept additional credit cards, or small-ish items like inhalers. It isn't big enough for mobile phones (touch screen ones, at least), but personally I'd not be considering a saddlebag for those sorts of things.
The material it is made of is a tough fabric - Timbuk2 call it ballistic nylon - and it has survived a few soakings without getting tatty or allowing moisture through.
I like now neat the bag is; there are no clips or dangling edges to ties, and the Velcro straps look solid enough not to start fraying at the edges. While I like the lanyard internally and the simplicity of it, I quite like having a small pouch inside the bag for small odds and ends that can easily get lost in amongst the other stuff. Principally I am thinking of small patch kits, quick links or a few chain links.
Externally there are no extra loops or highlights. This gives the bag a clean appearance but does also mean that you cannot fix lights to the bag. Given that it is quite large it does mean that getting a lamp on the frame (should you need to) might be a bit compromised.
In essence, this is a simple, well made saddlebag. The colour may not be for everyone, but the design is straightforward and it looks clean. It is only let down somewhat by its size and the stripped-back design possibly losing a little functionality.
Simple, well made saddlebag; the colour may not be for everyone, but the design is straightforward and it looks clean
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Make and model: Timbuk2 Bike Seat Pack Diablo - Large
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Timbuk2 offer it up as 'All you need for a day cycling in the wine country or trekking through the Headlands is this sleek bike seat accessory that will fit all your essentials like your ID, power gel, keys and a 20 spot.'
On this description more tourer than road cyclist, but for a commuter it would work very well (although working out how to fit some lights onto the bike with this in place could be a challenge).
Timbuk2 state it is made of ballistic nylon fabric. This sounds fantastic, whatever it is. It might even outlast the rest of my bike.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Simple Velcro fasters to the seat rails and frame. Lanyard for keys inside. Sturdy zip.
The fabric (sorry, ballistic nylon) feels solid and sturdy, as do the straps.
It holds plenty of things so that my pockets aren't loaded with more rubbish that they need to.
I think it would need a couple of years of full-on British weather to fully comment on this, but it hasn't shown any tendency to fall apart.
The large bag tested weighs 180g. (The smaller version 100g). This is similar to other manufacturer's offerings, like the Topeak's wedge models.
RRP is £20, which is a bit more expensive than the Topeak model noted above, but it feels like it might be a touch more durable than those.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It works well – I could chuck all the things I hope I won't need into the bag and not worry I'd forgotten something (I usually do).
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The heavy Velcro straps seem to kept to a length that means they don't catch on anything.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of loops on the outside (for a light), or a small pocket inside.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I like the construction, and the material seems very solid. Some people won't care about where their light may or may not go, or not need a internal pocket, but for me they are so useful that I really noticed their absence.
Age: 37 Height: 182cm Weight: 69kg
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport 2008 My best bike is: Moda Tempo 2010
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, Triathlon