Axiom's Gran Fondo H20 under the saddle wedge pack is designed to help you cart 2.5 litres of kit and a water bottle on a big ride and it does that job very effectively indeed.
As the name suggests this is a bag designed to help you carry everything you could conceivably need on a big ride/gran fondo, or sportive including a spare water - or indeed your only water bottle if you don't have a bottle cage. Does it succeed? Er, yes it'll swallow a lot of kit.
I don't have access to wind tunnel facilities so I can't test their claims of aerodynamic advantage over traditional seat packs. Oh and as these photos illustrate; it's best suited to smaller semi/compact geometry framesets and/or very tall riders. Plump for the standard two litre Fondo if you have less than 250mm of post showing.
Complete with lifetime warrantee (to the original purchaser) the Gran Fondo is made from a hardy softshell 600d polyester, which remains in rude health despite regular frisking from thorny foliage on my cyclo-cross and mountain bikes. That said, due in part to it's stitched rather than welded construction it's water resistant rather than proof.
This hasn't been a problem in the most part, even without mudguards and the fabric wicks dry fairly quickly. Use your common sense-if it gets truly sodden take it off the post, and get any tools out to prevent them succumbing to the orange taint and leave everything drying in the airing cupboard.
Velcro straps feel slightly old fashioned and lack the outright rigidity of more contemporary quick release brackets. Conversely, they make swapping between bikes a cinch, especially those with a suspension seatpost such as Cane Creek's Thudbuster.
Being as 27.2 and 31.8 are default seat post sizes, fit isn't leach like around narrower diameter posts, including my Univega's 26.6. There was some very minor sway when full to the brim but in practice I only noticed when carrying the bike rather than riding it.
Being as Axiom are a design company, you'd expect detailing to be pretty crisp, and it is. Retro-reflective 3m logos bring the pack to life under car headlights, there's an LED tab above the mesh bottle pocket and long, elasticated zipper tags mean easy access when wearing winter gloves.
Compartments are similarly well thought out. The main one is truly whale-like and has gulped down a small pencil case worth of tools, two heavy duty 26x1.75 inner tubes-one thorn resistant, the other goo filled (or three standard road tubes 700x18 to 700x35), smaller midi pump, micro jacket and glove liners.
There's also a sleeve within the wall for safekeeping of credit cards, or notes. Two modest pouches ride shotgun either side and in my experience they were best for segregating keys/ Co2 inflators/blinkies and spare batteries.
Packed really tightly, only spirited bridle path blasts have induced faint chatter; it's never become intrusive and silence is pretty much assured over metalled roads-even poorly surfaced sections.
In terms of carrying a bottle, it will manage an 800ml bottle quite comfortably and without threat of mortar-esque ejection. However if you're riding at night or in low light a 600ml bottle avoids any issues of bottle and light jostling for space.
The way the Gran Fondo holds the bottle protects tops from road spatter and other stomach churning grot while allowing reasonable access on the fly. Nonetheless, I'd still go with a freezer bag and elastic band round the top on bikes without guards, especially venturing off road.
In terms of value for money £30 may be more than you'd pay for most seat packs - however it's at the lower end of the scale for packs of this size AND it'll carry a bottle too so I'd say it represents pretty good value for money.
Good wedge pack for those wanting to carry that little bit extra on long rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Axiom Gran-Fondo H2O Seat Bag
Size tested: Black/Grey,
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?
"An ultra high volume under the saddle bag and water bottle pocket designed specifically for the gran fondo cyclist". I'd say it was a useful wedge pack for day rides, or as part of a wider luggage system for those riders not wishing to encumber their road bikes with a rack.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CONSTRUCTION Sewn 600D polyester
MOUNTING SYSTEM Lightweight Velcro saddle mounting system
ADDED BENEFIT Ample side pockets, inner credit card pocket
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Gran Fondo H20 is generally pleasant to use and surprisingly unobtrusive when filled to capacity. However, 600ml trade bottles are pretty much the limit (bigger and they'll foul LEDs) and the otherwise hardy 600 denier nylon it's water resistant rather than proof on account of stitched construction.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Huge capacity and generally good design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Velcro straps are very convenient and accommodating of different post styles and diameters. That said; there was some minor sway when heavily laden and tethered to 26.6 and smaller diameters. A moot point on contemporary bikes but worth noting if you have a more eclectic fleet.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? With the minor privisos outlined here.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)