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The Birzman Roadster II Saddle Bag is small but very effectively shaped and well built. You won't get CO2 cylinders in there alongside a tube and levers, but for the traditional basics it's perfect.
Transferring my stuff from its current home – this Lomo Bike Saddle Bag – initially looked impossible, but the Birzman's neat shaping means it actually all goes in very neatly.
A road tube fits in (orientated vertically) just perfectly, while two levers, puncture repair stuff, a small multi-tool and a spare link slide down either side.
That's it, though – the 400ml capacity is basically full. You can squeeze a small CO2 valve head in too, but the canisters have to live elsewhere. There are external mesh pockets on both sides, but there's zero stretch in them, rendering them useless for anything but very thin stuff like gel wrappers or bits of paper with 'note to self: bring CO2' written on them.
The fabric along the base is waterproof, but the zip and the rest of the bag aren't. However, it's been surprisingly good at keeping water out on some very wet rides, and even under the hose as the bike is washed.
I've found no lakes in there – barely a drop – though anything metal will surely rust in the end if unprotected. On the other hand, I've struggled with waterproof zips on saddle bags before, as they can get very gritty from rear wheel spray and seize up. On one occasion I even had to cut a (not even very old) bag open to get my stuff out.
Personally, I'm happy with a regular zip and stashing the multi-tool in a ziplock bag.
The loop looks like it will point lights at the rear tyre, but is in fact perfectly angled once the bag is on. There's just enough length in the buckle end of the Velcro strap to make threading it around your saddle rails easy, too. And finally, the large fabric zip pull on the YKK zip is easy to use in gloves, and usefully damps the metal puller – it doesn't rattle, even on rough roads.
At £16.99, it's priced well against the competition, a couple of quid more than the Lomo bag mentioned earlier but beating both the slightly smaller 0.3L Evoc Seat Bag (£18.99) and the Fabric Contain Small at £21.99. On the other hand, all of these can take at least one CO2 canister alongside the rest of the load. (The Birzman is also available in a 0.3L size, the Roadster I, for £14.99.)
If you're after a small, neat saddle bag for just the basics, the Birzman Roadster II is a great option. It's a shame the side pockets aren't really usable, and CO2 users will need something slightly larger or differently shaped, but for the bare basics this is just exactly what you need.
Slim, small and very well made bag for essentials – unless you carry CO2
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Roadster II
Size tested: 0.4L
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?
Birzman says this is a: "Saddle bag with a light attachment loop."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The 4cm narrow body reduces the chances of your thigh rubbing against the side of the bag during rides.
The Roadster series utilise two Velcro straps to secure the bag onto the saddle rail and seat post respectively.
Contents are kept dry in muddy or wet surroundings thanks to the waterproof fabric underneath, which also makes the bag easier to clean.
Material - 300D Polyester (water repellent) with reflective straps
Size - 15 x 8 x 5cm
Capacity - 0.4L
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does exactly what it sets out to do.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great shape makes full use of the small volume.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Side netting isn't stretchy.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £16.99, it's priced well against the competition, beating both the smaller 0.3L Evoc Seat Bag (£18.99) and the small Fabric Contain at £21.99. It is a couple of quid more than the Lomo Bike Saddle Bag though.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's slim, small and perfectly shaped for a tube and essentials, and it's unobtrusive on the bike. It's also very well made. The only real niggles are the basically useless external pockets and the slim design being unhappy with tubes and CO2 at the same time, but only the former really counts as a flaw. If this shape suits your loadout, it's very good and an 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,