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Topeak's Elementa Seatbag is a fairly typical design, but it has a neat solution that allows it to stay attached to your bike even when the main strap is undone. It's tough, offers decent water resistance and doesn't break the bank either.
I prefer to carry tools and essentials on the bike rather than on my person, but I'm kind of fussy when it comes to the aesthetics of a saddle bag when fitted to a race bike. This Elementa fits the bill, though.
It's available in three sizes (oddly, XS, S and M, rather than S, M, L...) and we have the largest here, which measures 135mm in length, 75mm wide and 55mm deep. The overall volume is about 0.5L, and I could easily pack an inner tube (or two if you are using something like these Tubolitos), a couple of CO2 canisters and the inflation head, two tyre levers, a patch kit and tubeless bung kit.
The two smaller sizes are 105 x 70mm in length and width, with either a 27mm or 55mm depth. Volumes are 0.2L and 0.3L respectively.
Inside it's just one compartment; it'd be handy to have some kind of sleeve or pocket to separate things to stop rattling or stuff moving around when the bag isn't completely full.
Attaching the Topeak to your saddle rails is fairly simple and typical. There's a single strap stitched to the top of the bag, with the longer free end passing underneath the bag and then through a loop on the shorter end. It then wraps back on itself under the bag, with its opposing Velcro tabs keeping it tight and secure.
To fully open the zip and get stuff out you need to undo the strap, which means the bag would then be loose and ready to come away from the saddle rails. But Topeak has added what it calls a 'rail wing system', which is a Velcro tab on each side that loops over each rail and then attaches to the main strap. This keeps the bag secure and fitted to the saddle even when you've loosened the main strap. It's a neat touch and works well.
The material used is 1000D polyester which is water repellent, and thanks to Topeak adding a sealed zip your kit should remain dry on all but the wettest rides without mudguards. On bikes with mudguards and no rear tyre spray I found the contents of the bag remained bone dry.
The overall build quality looks to be solid, and the material is definitely robust, standing up well to scuffs from the bike being leant against walls. The zip runs smoothly and freely, too.
Price-wise, at just £19.99 the Topeak Elementa is decent value for money compared with others we've reviewed recently.
For instance, the Restrap Tool Pouch that I reviewed in the spring is £32.99 for a bag of a similar size (0.6L), and it closes via a flap and strap rather than a zip. Then again, it is handmade in the UK and comes with a lifetime warranty.
The PNW Components Satellite Saddle Bag is is a similar size but again more expensive at £35. To open it you need to undo the strap, which means it comes away from the bike – that's where those 'wing straps' come into play on the Topeak. PNW Components no longer has it on its website, though it's available on eBay for £36.99.
Being a good size and well made means that the Elementa has spent many miles across my road and gravel bikes. The size is spot on for all of my ride tools, and the price is competitive too.
Competitively priced and well-specced bag big enough to carry your essentials
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Elementa Seatbag M
Size tested: Medium
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?
Topeak says, "Ultra compact seat bag is hidden under that saddle with hook and loop fastening strap to carry inner tube and tire levers for a safe and secure ride. Built-in anti-slip fabric provides mounting security. Three sizes and two colors available."
This medium bag is an ideal size for carrying the majority of the tools you'll need for your ride, and it fits securely too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
MATERIAL: 1000D Polyester, water repellent and stain resistant / Aluminum ring
MOUNT: Saddle rails
0.2 L (XS)
0.3 L (S)
0.5 L (M)
ATTACHMENT: Hook and loop fastening strap (Rail Wing System)
10.5 x 7 x 2.7 cm / 4.1" x 2.8" x 1.1" (XS)
10.5 x 7 x 5.5 cm / 4.1" x 2.8" x 2.2" (S)
13.5 x 7.5 x 5.5 cm / 5.3" x 3" x 2.2" (M)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A roomy bag that is secure on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The wing straps means it stays put on the saddle rails even with the main strap undone.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There's no divider, which would stop parts rattling together.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's competitively priced against others that we have reviewed recently.
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 spacious for its overall dimensions and capable of carrying all of your basic ride essentials, and it keeps them dry too. The bag is also well made and at a good price. It's very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!