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review

Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag

8
£40.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Bulletproof bag that's light and highly resistant to the elements, but the zip is a minor bugbear
Generous capacity
Very light
Waterproof (but not impervious to water)
Easy to fit
Can be attached to other Scape bags
Water can get past the zip
Zip is hard to operate
No compartments inside
Weight: 
69g

The Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag is a high-performance bag for day trips or bigger adventures thanks to its modularity. It's rugged, waterproof, lightweight, and the 0.7-litre capacity is perfect for carrying a day's worth of stuff. A couple of minor design niggles prevent it from being top of the class, and it's costly too.

Scape – presumably Brooks' trendy take on the word escape – is its new lineup of bike bags built specifically for travelling, be it short trips, bikepacking or international travel. Even the colour of its bags – 'Mud' – is bang on for the adventure fashion. (Check out those we've already reviewed here.)

> Find your nearest dealer here

The Scape Saddle Pocket Bag takes the role of the ever popular underslung saddle luggage, and with its 0.7L capacity it's the ideal bag for strapping to your bike to carry your things.

But Brooks has in mind something more than being resigned to your saddle for its working life. The Scape lineup embraces modularity, meaning some bags connect to others thanks to a system of loops and straps, allowing you to change up their purpose depending on the ride you've got planned.

For instance, the Saddle Pocket Bag can be connected to the Handlebar Pouch, Seat Bag, and Large Pannier, allowing you to increase your overall storage space. You could purchase multiples and bolt them on, depending on how creative you want to get.

It's a very neat system, but how does the Saddle Pocket Bag fare on its own?

As mentioned a little earlier, the storage space is excellent for day trips, allowing you to carry just enough to keep you going, minimising the amount of storage you need elsewhere on the bike. It's 150mm long, 80mm wide and 55mm high. Weighing in at 69g, it's really light, given its overall size and capacity.

2021 Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag - from back.jpg

Fitting the bag to your saddle is incredibly simple – just loop one end of the strap through your seat rail, and the other end through the opposite seat rail, and then fasten the Velcro strap down. The super wide strap means the bag feels rock solid.

I could fit a 2020 iPhone SE (that's about the biggest phone it'll accept), a wallet, keys, some snack bars and all my tools and repair kits, and I still had space to spare for gloves. I even managed to fit in a Lezyne Pocket Drive mini pump.

2021 Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag contents.jpg

Had I not been running tubeless, I could have also packed a spare inner tube, which would have just squeezed in. The bag might not look huge on the outside, but it's surprisingly capacious.

That's probably helped out by the fact that inside is just one big space, with no pockets or compartments to keep things in place. This brings me neatly to my one criticism with the interior: you need to be meticulous how you pack it.

2021 Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag inside.jpg

If there are keys loose among a bag with an expensive smartphone inside, you know what's going to happen to that screen, right? And the other issue is, if the bag isn't full of stuff, things can move about.

While that might seem more of an annoyance than anything, it actually affects the rigidity of the bag. The bag's super-tough, welded material construction is great for keeping the innards dry (mostly – we'll get to that in a bit) and it's great for durability too – more so thanks to the use of Hypalon on the strap, and foam padded Hypalon patches on the top and bottom. But because there's no reinforcement on the inside, it doesn't keep its shape very well. Just look at the photo from the rear and you'll see what I mean – the side with the nifty reflective Brooks logo (no rear light attachment sadly, my friends) collapses slightly when it's strapped down.

2021 Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag 1.jpg

This also affects the operation of the zip, which runs along the majority of the front section of the bag (facing the seatpost). If the bag is full then it's not really an issue, but if it isn't, it means the bag has an annoying habit of collapsing in on itself when the zip reaches the front section. You can pinch the zip section to help it move along in either direction, but it's not ideal.

2021 Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag zip.jpg

Getting to the zip isn't particularly easy when it's mounted, either, but thankfully, unfastening the strap is easy enough that you can just remove the bag altogether to get to the innards. There's an auto-lock zip to keep the bag from accidentally opening up when it's in the locked position, and the zip has been coated to help keep out the elements.

2021 Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag 2.jpg

Interestingly, Brooks claims the Saddle Pocket Bag is 100 per cent waterproof, only... it's not. I think what Brooks meant to state was that the material is 100 per cent waterproof, not the entire bag, because the zip failed the tap test pretty miserably. After less than a minute of being soaked under a stream of water, the interior was soaking wet. So material, yes. Zip, no.

If you check out the rest of the bags in the Scape range, you'll notice that on some bags, instead of saying '100% waterproof', it says 'superior waterproof (IPX4 certified)'. I reckon this is Brooks' way of saying the latter are actually genuinely 100 per cent waterproof.

> 15 easy ways to carry stuff on your bike

That said, I've run this bag through some pretty crap weather, and I've even washed my bike with the bag in place. Not completely unsurprisingly, since the zip is around the front and the saddle offers a lot of natural protection from the elements, it hasn't let in a drop of water during any of those escapades. Provided you're not submerging your saddle, I'm sure the bag will do just fine.

How does it compare?

We've reviewed umpteen seat bags on road.cc, but how does the Scape Saddle Pocket Bag compare against those with a similar capacity? It's slightly more capacious than the Silca Mattone Seat Pack, and lighter, though it is a little longer (which might be an issue if you have your saddle far forward).

The Boa system on the Mattone is a plus, though there's nothing wrong with the Scape's straightforward Velcro fastener. The Mattone is nowhere near as resistant to water ingress as the Scape, and it's a fiver more. Easy win for Brooks, in my book.

> Buyer’s Guide: 23 of the best bikepacking bags

For similar money (£40 seems to be the sweet spot), the PRO Discover Saddle Bag offers a little less space at 0.6L, but unlike the Scape it uses a roll-top closure, so it's totally water tight. You can also access the interior space from the rear.

Conclusion

Zip issues aside, I do think this is a superb little seat bag. It's on the expensive side, but in return I reckon you're going to get a lot of life out of it – the quality of the construction is A-game stuff. A couple of organiser pockets on the inside would've been nice, but it's pretty obvious Brooks has prioritised storage space and weight over total practicality. That's fine with me.

Verdict

Bulletproof bag that's light and highly resistant to the elements, but the zip is a minor bugbear

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag

Size tested: Width: 15cm Height: 5.5cm Depth: 8cm

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?

Brooks says, "The Scape Saddle Pocket Bag is a small, practical 100% waterproof bag for bikepacking or gravel cycling, used as a classic saddle bag or as a versatile pocket bag to attached in multiple ways to the other Scape bags for convenient additional storage space."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Brooks lists:

Capacity 0,7 L

W 150 x H 55 x D 80 mm

Weight 70 g

Front reflective logo

Coated zip with blocked puller

Hypalon patch both side to protect the bag

Hypalon velcro strap

Waterproof

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The materials used are very high quality and it's built to last.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

The bag is held securely in place and though the zip is hard to get to from the front, it's easy to remove. Weatherproofing might not be 100%, but it's excellent nonetheless.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Materials used are designed to take a beating. Even when the bag gets filthy, it's easy to wash off the dirt.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Very light, given its size and capacity.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Not cheap, but it compares well to similar capacity saddle bags.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Easy to fit, easy to remove and the single storage space means it's easy to chuck everything into the pack. The zip isn't easy to use and can't really be accessed when it's in situ. The bag has very good water resistance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Loads of capacity but it's very light.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The zip is hard to operate unless the bag is full, or you pinch the material.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Pretty well: two products with similar capacity are the Silca Mattone Seat Pack and the PRO Discover Saddle Bag. Both are slightly less capacious at 0.6L. The PRO is identically priced, while the Silca is a fiver more.

The Silca is great to look at and the Boa system is neat, but the Brooks outperforms it in most aspects. The PRO has better waterproofing than the Brooks.

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

Aside from the zip issues, which admittedly aren't that big a deal when the pack is full, the Scape Saddle Pocket Bag is a terrific performer. I was impressed with its capacity and weight, and the waterproofing is excellent, if not as good as Brooks claims it is. This would make a great day bag, and I like that it connects to other bags in the Scape system.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Steel audax bike  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,

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