If you like a big saddlebag for your long rides then Ortlieb's 2.7l roll-top Saddle-bag High Visibility is definitely worth considering, especially if you'll be riding at night.
Made from waterproof polyurethane-coated Cordura fabric, the whole surface of the bag is interwoven with a reflective yarn. That gives it a spotty appearance in daylight, but after dark it really shines in car headlights and you can see it from the sides as well as the rear.
There's no organisation inside, it's just a big space: big enough for a couple of spare tubes, some tools, a rain jacket and some snacks. If you're not filling it as full as that then the roll-top closure lets you pack it down a bit smaller. That closure also keeps everything dry; Ortlieb rate it as IP64 (dustproof and splashproof), but in use I've never found any water inside.
The saddlebag uses a quick-release plate to attach to your saddle, and a Velcro strap goes around the seatpost to keep it steady. If you run your saddle a long way forward on the seatpost you might struggle to get the mount on the rails, so bear that in mind if that's your setup. Once the mount is in place it's a five-second job to remove or replace the bag, and it stays put, with very little moving about even on rough roads. If the mount won't work for you there's also a set of straps, available separately, so you can fix the bag in place in the more traditional style.
In use, I didn't have any problems with the bag – no hitting my legs on it, which is always a worry with larger packs. It's easy to fit and remove, and capable of swallowing enough stuff for an all-day epic. It would be a pretty good option for your mountain bike too; there's lots of space for a big tube and it also acts as a rudimentary ass-saver, keeping the worst of the rear tyre spray off your shorts and jersey.
There are two solid loops on the exterior of the Ortlieb, one on the top and one on the bottom. I didn't find either particularly useful for fitting a light, as they ended up pointing directly up or down, but you could fashion a right-angled bracket, or use them to lash a bit of extra stuff to the bag if the 2.7l capacity isn't quite enough.
The bag certainly isn't cheap at £62, especially when you consider that you can have a 20l Back Roller City pannier from Ortlieb for about £13 more. But it is good at its job, built to last and a useful bit of extra night visibility.
Very well made saddle bag with bonus night visibility; not cheap but a good investment
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Make and model: Ortlieb Saddle-Bag High Visibility
Size tested: Black - 2.7L
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?
Ortlieb say: "High visibility is so important to us at ORTLIEB because it is a matter of safety. The black waterproof, polyurethane-coated Cordura fabric of this bag are densely interwoven with high-luminosity reflective yarn. This composition turns the entire bag into an eminently visible reflector when it is picked up in the headlights of passing cars.
The popular Saddle-Bag L shines like a star under your saddle. The bag's entire surface is reflective, giving you a crucial degree of added safety by increasing your detectability in the headlights of passing cars. With its 2.7 liter payload, the largest of the ORTLIEB Saddle-Bags offers you plenty of space for a spare tube, a tool kit, a rain jacket and light refreshments."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Saddle-Bag with roll closure made of reflective fabric
* Waterproof Saddle-Bag for mountain, road or touring bikes
* PVC-free reflective fabric
* Increased visibility when hit by headlights due to highly visible reflective fabric in black
* Size L provides enough space for a jacket and the necessary small items (alternative to the backpack)
* Snap lock for quick fitting and removal
* Reliable waterproof roll closure with D-rings for additional bracing and locking
* Highly effective Scotchlite reflector ensures safety in the dark
* On bikes without mudguards the bag shields the rider from splash - to a certain extent
* Snap lock is adjustable and can easily get attached to different saddles
* Saddle Bag meets all requirements of the VELOTECH test, review board for bicycle technic
* Fixing system is also available as an accessory (e.g. for a second bike)
* Velcro tape suitable for seat posts up to 34,9 mm (e.g. foldable bike Birdy)
* Fastening straps for spring-mounted saddles, where the snap lock cannot be used (optional accessory)
Contents: Saddlebag with mounting set
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A very good option for a day ride.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Well made, waterproof, reflectives work well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pricey, mount doesn't fit all saddle positions.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 42 Height: 189cm Weight: 91kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.