The Hopper saddle bag from Barfly (the company better known for its Garmin out-front mounts) is a brilliantly simple method of transporting an inner tube or two under your saddle bag.
What you get are two durable straps with a couple of adjustable buckles and some Velcro. Take your inner tube and multitool or two inner tubes, pop them into a discarded coffee bag, or a simple plastic bag will do, and first loop the bigger strap (with the Barfly logo) around the package. The thinner strap then loops under the saddle rails and secures the inner tube in place. And that's it, you're good to go.
You don't have to use a discarded coffee bag of course, but if you're not running mudguards the inner tubes are going to get caked in mud and water in short order, which won't be nice when you come to use them and they're covered in slime. And of course if you're going to employ a coffee bag and you're a bit of a coffee connoisseur, what better way to show off your favourite beans than under the saddle of your bike?
And that's it really. One inner tube fits well with a multitool, but two inner tubes also fits with a bit more patience, and was my preferred option. You could fit tyre levers and a CO2 canister with one tube. What you carry under the saddle is up to you of course, these are just my suggestions, you're basically limited by how well you can package the bits in the coffee bag and get the straps to accommodate them. Once affixed to the saddle rails, the Hopper doesn't budge and in the couple of months I've been using it, hasn't come loose once.
Some people might be thinking 'but I could do that with a toe strap and it would be cheaper' and true you could, I do just that on my winter training bike in fact. The Hopper is a bit easier to use though and, because of the two straps, infinitely more reliable. And of course, if you don't happen to have any old toe straps lying around unused, then the Hopper does appeal.
It is however expensive for what is ultimately a pair of Velcro straps, and you have to disassemble the whole lot to get at your inner tube which is a faff. Faced with the excellent Lezyne Road Caddy which costs just a pound more and offers much easier access to your spare tube, the Hopper isn't easy to recommend. If you want to display your love of coffee and want a super light and minimalist approach, then the Hopper might just appeal
If you're not sure how to use the Hopper, BarFly have helpfully produced this short video:
Brilliantly simple and lightweight saddle bag for transporting inner tubes under the saddle
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Make and model: The Barfly The Hopper Saddle Bag
Size tested: //
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?
Minimalist strap system utilizes coffee bag in place of fabric.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- For use with common 12-16 oz. coffee bag, 29'er tube, and *tubular tires.
- No strap around seat post = no chaffing of shorts.
- Secure Two strap design.
- Expandable volume accommodates mountain and road tubes/patch kit/tools.
It's not cheap for what it is and there are bigger bags for the same price, or cheaper.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Looks smart (with the right coffee bag), is properly reliable and I love the simplicity.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
No straps around the seatpost.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Having to disassemble the whole lot to get out your spare tube.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes and I'll be buying refills when I run out.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Pleasingly simple method of transporting spare inner tubes under the saddle, but there are cheaper and larger capacity options
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.