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As cyclists, we can all agree that weight plays a vital part in cycling, any extra additional wight can make a huge difference when it comes to those dreaded climbs, but for some cyclists, especially those that use their bikes to commute, they will have the need to carry extra items which is where saddle bags can come in handy. In this post, I am going to guide you through all about bicycle saddle bags and who would benefit from these and also the different types of saddle bags available on the market this day in age.
What Are Bicycle Saddle Bags?
Bicycle saddle bags are basically an extra pouch that straps to your bike for you to store extra essential items that won’t fit into your jersey pockets or back pack, or maybe these are items you want to keep with the bike at all times and prefer them to be separate to having them on you personally.
Bicycle saddle bags have never been a thing for the fashionable cyclist, but these days, saddle bags have moved on from the old fashioned saddle bags that people think of that used hang down either side of your rear wheel or even front wheel called panniers which are still popular for cyclists out there. The latest version of saddle bags are now small bags that strap to your seat post, which people now sometimes call them “seat packs”. These have become more popular for cyclists as they fashionably look better but they are also more compact and lightweight.
What Type Of Items Are Saddle Bags Used For?
Typically, cyclists will use these saddle bags to store their essential items should anything happen whilst out on a ride, certainly for those cyclists that are out on long rides. These items would be things like, spare inner tubes, inner tube patch kit, tyre levers, small pump, multi tool, etc. Basically all the items you would need should you become stranded on your bike due to some kind of bicycle problem.
Cyclists that would be using the slightly larger bags may want these larger saddle bags for extra items as well as the items I listed such as their phone, cash, keys or maybe some warmers or a fold away waterproof jacket.
These saddle bags are great for those cyclists that would rather not have the weight directly on them personally like carrying a back pack or using the 3 rear jersey pockets.
Buying Guide For Saddle Bags
Firstly, one of the critical things to think about when it comes buying a bicycle saddle bag or seat pack, is the size of the bag or shall I say volume. Just like with backpacks, saddle bags are often listed in size by litres or some brands just list the dimensions.
To help you decide around the size of the bag you need, you need to think about the type of distance you usually ride and therefore the essentials you will need to carry with you. For those that mainly do short distance rides and want a saddle bag to carry bare essentials will just want to look for the smaller size saddle bag, these would be typical for carrying inner tubes, inflator, tyre levers and a multi tool.
For those that probably require a larger saddle bag which would be in the region of around 15 litres, would probably want to have the bare essentials plus extra layers such as warmers or waterproof layers to store away in them too, especially those that tend to go out on very long distance rides.
Top Pick Of Saddle Bags
Here is a list of saddle bags I have picked out in no particular order which I would recommend if at this point you have decided that a saddle bag is something you want or need;
1. Evoc saddlebag
Evoc do offer other models tailored for race and touring but I have picked this one out as it sits somewhere in between with a capacity of 0.65 litres. This saddle bag is ideal for those that only want to store the bare essentials such as inner tubes, multi tool and tyre levers. Very easy to install to your bike using Velcro straps to strap the bag to your seat post.
The only downside I have read with this saddle bag is that it does lack in waterproof protection, so not ideal for those that cycle often in the wet.
2. Blackburn Outpost seat pack
As you can see, this saddle bag is on the larger side of the scale, in fact, it’s almost a back pack just strapped to the seat post. This bag is 11 litres in capacity so is for the cyclists who is looking for a large bag. This bag hooks onto your seat post and features a Nylon outer with a removable inner dry sack to keep your kit in a good condition.
I have read reviews that this bag is not ideal to use with those that have a carbon seat post.
3. Altura NV Road Saddle Large Bag
This saddle bag is 0.8 litres in capacity and is shaped to sit nicely under your seat post. Of course with NV in the name, this bag is designed to be reflective should you be riding in the dark but in the day, the material just looks black. Straps onto your seat post using Velcro straps and has an extra mini bungee cord to hold it tight to the seat post.
4. Speedsleev Smuggler
This saddle bag is a small to medium size saddle bag and fits to the seat post again using Velcro straps. Made from a waterproof Nylon fabric will ensure your items stay dry inside and this bag is also available in different colours.
5. Topeak Aero Wedge Pack
I’ve picked this saddle bag out as I like the fact that one of the features on this bag is that you can expand some compartments if you needed to which is very useful for those that do a mixture of different types of cycling in terms of long and short distance where some rides you want to carry a few more items than other rides. The overall capacity for this bag is 1.97 litres.
The bag also features reflective strips and also a mount for a rear light.
Are Bicycle Saddle Bags For You?
If you are the cyclist that really needs to carry essential items but don’t like the feel of carrying things on you personally in terms of using your jersey pockets or having a back pack on, then these saddle bags to strap to your seat post would be a great addition to your bike kit.
Check out more saddle bags on Amazon here;
Just remember that if speed is important to you, then I would stick to using your jersey pockets as you want to keep weight on the bike down to the absolute minimum as these bags do add some weight to your bike as well as the items you plan to put in them.
Please feel free to comment below on your thoughts about these saddle bags or add any experience you have in using these and I will always reply within 24 hours.