By Coach Fred Matheny

HOT!

  • Carries large or small load without swaying
  • Lots of pockets for small items
  • Secure attachment to saddle
  • Roomy enough for credit card touring

NOT!

  • Compression straps cover outside pockets
  • Not waterproof
  • No reflective material

Kinesis Rando Saddlebag

Suggested price:  $103
Color:  black
Material:  DuPont 500 denier Cordura nylon
Size:  approximately 9.5 x 8 x 4.5 inches (22 x 20 x 11.4 cm) plus outside zipper pocket (5.3 x 9.5 x 2) and mesh side pockets
Minimum wheel clearance:  5-1/8 inches (13 cm) from horizontal part of saddle rail to top of wheel or fender
Weight:  228 grams (8 ounces)
RBR advertiser:  No
Hours tested:  20

I'm always looking for the perfect bike bag.  My ideal satchel would combine unobtrusive looks with a capacious interior. It would ride lightly behind the saddle and adjust to loads ranging from a jacket, tube and tools to all the gear for a warm weather credit card tour.

Choices have been limited. Either I settled for a small seat bag and stuffed my jersey pockets full of rain gear, or I used something large and unwieldy like a Carradice saddle bag that was most at home mounted to a Brooks B17 saddle, rubbed my thighs and swayed at each pedal stroke.

The Kinesis bag promised to strike a middle ground between too small and too large. I tested it over a period of several months on long rides with a credit card-tour load as well as short training jaunts carrying only a few emergency items. It handled both extremes well.

The Rando bag hangs from the Kinesis Q006 Backboard Rail Mount that in turn attaches to your saddle rails using a simple clamp tightened with two 5mm allen bolts. Attachment is quick and easy. The Rail Mount works with most current plastic or carbon-base saddles but not Brooks or Selle Un-Atomica leather models. Adapters are in the works. The backboard fit perfectly on my Fizik Arione.

The bag attaches to the backboard with hook-and-loop straps that kept it stuck like a limpet even with heavy loads, bumpy pavement and hard cornering through tight switchbacks. I couldn't feel the load swaying when I stood and rocked the bike back and forth or at any other time during a ride. It did what a good bag should do -- vanish from the rider's mind.

Universal Tie Straps Important

Crucial to this at-one-with-the-bike feel is a compression strap system that makes the bag only as big as the load currently being carried. Unlike conventional straps, these ???Universal Tie Straps??? stick to themselves at any point on the strap for infinite adjustability. The system is adapted from internal frame backpacks carried on technical mountaineering or hiking terrain. D-rings allow you to compress the load in various ways, depending on the size and weight. You can also strap a jacket or other gear to the top.

Another way to increase carrying capacity is to attach a stuff sack in the large space in front of the bag, but behind the saddle. Kinesis also offers several smaller bags, including the Century model that can be mounted backwards to fill the gap. With the Rando bag fully loaded, sandals strapped to the top and a stuff sack behind the bag, the Kinesis has enough room for a carefully packed motel tour of a week.

The photo shows my bag packed for a tour. Instead of a stuff sack I wrapped some extra clothes in my rain jacket.

Material is DuPont 500 denier Cordura?? nylon fabric with a water-repellent coating on the inside. While not as waterproof as a good cotton duck bag, the Kinesis shed showers readily. Included with the Rando bag is a waterproof stuff sack. You can pack your clothing in this inner bag to keep it dry, then tote the stuff sack into a motel while leaving the Rando bag attached to the bike.

I like lots of pockets for neat organization, and the Kinesis bag doesn't disappoint. It features a large external zippered pocket, two mesh side pockets big enough for water bottles and a hidden internal zippered pocket. I could reach the mesh pockets while riding to pull out an energy bar or camera.

A Couple of Minor Issues

My only gripe with the compression straps: they go over these pockets, making access difficult without loosening the straps. This was a minor nuisance and a sacrifice I was willing to make in exchange for the secure load.

One other minor complaint: The bag had no reflective strip. Kinesis figures that most riders in low-light conditions will attach a light. A strap is provided for this purpose.

The Rando Bag is supremely useful for long rides in sketchy weather conditions. It handily holds arm and leg warmers, light shoe covers, long-finger gloves, food for 100 miles, tubes and tools. With a rain jacket strapped on top, you'llbe ready for any adventure.

October 2011


Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred's full bio.

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