Editor’s Note: Some time ago, a Premium Member wrote in to ask if we could update an article we ran in which a couple of us on the RBR Crew provided a quick rundown of our favorite tires, and why we liked them.
It was an excellent idea. So good, in fact, that I immediately decided to make it a regular feature – providing a rundown from RBR Contributors on our favorites across the spectrum of components, nutrition, clothing, accessories, you name it. Today we discuss our favorite seat bags. (Here’s a link to the gamut of RBR Favorites.)
We will plan to run a different “favorite” each week for the next several.
We also want to hear from readers on your favorites! Join in the fun either by commenting below the Newsletter version of this article or using the form at Tell Us About Your: Favorites (you can always find it in the Talk to RBR section on every page of the site.) We’ll gather up your submissions and run them as a follow-up to this article (and future RBR Favorites pieces).
Enjoy, and let us hear from you about your own Favorites.
– John Marsh
As handy as seat bags are, I’ve stopped using one because it’s easier to just put my essentials in a jersey pocket. It allows hopping on any bike and not having to move the seat bag from bike to bike. Or having to keep separate packed seat bags on each bike. One drawback of carrying stuff in your pocket is limited pocket space, but you usually have at least a couple of pockets if you need more room. Another negative is if you crash and land on your back your mini tool can spear you in the back… don’t ask me how I know. Regardless, I still prefer carrying my gear in my pocket versus a seat bag. Obviously, I can’t carry as much as even some smaller seat bags, but it works for me.
I’ve always been an ultra racer and tourist, nevera road racer. My shortest race was 300 miles. I choose equipment based on comfort, functionality and reliability.
Bags (& bottles):
- eoGear seat bag holds 8.8 liters – always on the bike. I carry enough tools to fix (almost) anything, spare cables, 3 tubes, a few anti-bonking bars, sunscreen, Vaseline (for my crotch), long finger gloves, light balaclava, neck gaiter, motel shower cap to go over my helmet if it rains, at least a windbreaker. If I’m climbing a pass I carry a lot more – weather changes fast in Colorado.
- Burley Designs handlebar bag – useful for more clothes in the winter and in the mountains.
- Kirtland Panniers for touring.
- 3 bottle cages (sometimes not enough on a long climb)
I can also use the bags to ride into town and get groceries.
I’ve used a Topeak Aero Wedge bag for as long as I can remember. On an old mountain bike, I had a similar bag, but with the straps that go over the seat rails. I wanted a cleaner, and easier-to-use solution for my road bike. The quick clip that attaches to your seat rails and lets you easily snap on and take off the bag is ideal. The only strap is the one that goes around the seat post. I’ve had two Aero Wedges over the years; on the first one, the seat post strap broke off, and I had it repaired at a shoe repair shop. The cobbler riveted the strap back on, and I got another several years of use out of it. It’s a bag that – from reading the quibbles other RBR Crew seem to have with seat bags – seems to take care of a lot of those issues (no side straps; easy on/off; looks fairly streamlined).
As I mentioned in a conversation to Jim Langley on the topic, I would be a terrible candidate for using only my pockets to carry my gear, as I surely would always forget something. Keeping it all together in one bag, which is super easy to take off and put on, is ideal to me.
Next Week in RBR Favorites: A Recap of Recent Reader Favorites
I like my bikes to look clean and straight so a bag hanging under the seat is not my favorite. In the past I have tried many seat bags and besides not liking the look I had a few other issues. I had trouble with velcro straps being too short and breaking free over big bumps. I also had thigh rubbing issues with even small bags. Rain rides left the bags soaking wet and I had issues with mold even though I keep my bikes in a dry garage. I eventually gave up and now I store my spare tube, tires levers, patches, mini pump, etc., in a plastic bag in my jersey pocket.
I use a Shimano Pro tool carrier.
I ride with a Topeak saddle bag on all 4 of my bikes. I also use a bento bag on my road bikes and cross bike.
Since I am very much an everyday rider, my equipment has changed over the years to reflect my current style of riding. For everyday use, I haul my gear in an Arkel handlebar bag. I typically keep a repair kit, two tubes, notebook, camera, snacks, wallet, and phone in the bag.
I get the smallest saddle bag I can find – just big enough for a couple of tubes, a couple of CO2 cartridges and a mini-tool. I really dislike a bag that rattles or swings around so I go to great lengths to pack the contents tightly (in an old sock) to keep everything snug. I have one for each bike because most of my bikes have different size tubes. I just keep one on each bike. I don’t want to be switching it out every ride.
Another area where I am still seeking the better solution. I ride a Fizik Arione saddle and have their clip-on saddle bag. It’s roomy in the medium size but I’m not wild about the aesthetics. Suggestions welcome!
Tell us about your Favorites by commenting below the Newsletter version of this article or or using the form at Tell Us About Your: Favorites.
John Marsh is the former editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of "less than podium" talent, he brought our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That's what we're all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John's full bio.