Cycling saddle bags

Carrying things around on your back is a pain. Especially in the summer months where it leads to a sweaty back. Therefore, when I’m heading out for a leisurely ride, it’s a good convenience to throw the essentials, such as a puncture repair kit and my keys, out of the way in a saddle bag.

This week I’m taking a quick look at some of the best saddle bags. You can also store things on a handlebar bag which can be quicker to access. I’ll be covering 3 of the best handlebar bags next week.

What to look for in a cycling saddle bag

Quick to remove: If you are leaving your bike in a populated area where an opportunistic thief may pinch your saddle bag then you’ll want one that is quick to add and remove from your bike.

Size: Take a look at what you’ll be storing in there. The chances are your bike pump won’t fit so you’ll probably want to attach that to the bike or instead carry a Co2 pump. Ideally, pick the small or medium bag size as that has less chance of interfering with your pedal stroke.

Mounting: Some of the bags come with a clip design and others with straps. Straps will fit all saddles and clips some of the saddles. A clip design is generally slightly lighter and quicker to release.

Waterproof: If you will be storing your mobile phone in there then check for waterproofing on the saddle bag.

3 of the best saddle bags

Here is a hand picked selection of some of the most recommended saddle bags that you can trust.

Topeak Aero Wedge

Black design Topeak Aero Buckle saddle bag

The Aero Wedge is easily one of the most popular saddle bags. It comes in mini, small, medium and large and costs just £12.59. The small size should fit a tube, repair kit, multi-tool and key. Switching to the medium will give you enough room to also carry your mobile phone, cash and credit cards.

The Topeak Aero Wedge saddle bag has a reflective strip at the back as well as a space to attach a light. Unclipping is quick and easy. While attached the bag sits firmly in place and doesn’t interfere with pedalling. It is weather-proof.

£12.59 

Available from: Wiggle (£12.59), Evans Cycles (£13.99) or Chain Reaction Cycles (£12.99)

Topeak Wedge II

Topeak wedge II expanding cycling saddle bag

A new cycling saddle bag from Topeak that improves on from the popular Wedge design. It includes a rain cover, reflective strip that goes all around the design and expanding main compartment for storage (in medium and large version).

There is a more expensive version that also includes a multi-tool which can be purchased from here for £29.99.

£19.99

Available from: Evans Cycles (£19.99) or Chain Reaction Cycles (£29.99) – version with Multitool

Fizik Saddle Bags

Black design Fizik saddle bag in medium size

If you have a Fizik saddle then this accompanying saddle bag will be an excellent choice. It uses a clip mounting system making it quick to remove. The water resistant design has an well positioned zip opening and will fit the basics. It is of a particularly light design. The bag also includes a bike light mount.

The Fizik saddle bag comes in small and medium and costs just £9.89.

£9.89

Available from: Wiggle (£9.89), Chain Reaction Cycles (£9.99) and Evans (£13.99).

Update!

I’ve had a lot of comments about the Carradice bags (See comments below). These are larger than the “under-saddle” bags I mention above but useful for longer rides.

See also:

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17 Responses to Cycling saddle bags

  1. Mr colostomy 12/05/2011 at 10:34 am #

    No Carradice?

    They are after all one of the oldest and most well-respected saddlebag and bike luggage manufacturers there is, and the bags are made here in the UK to boot. They make a range of high quality bags in different sizes from both traditional cotton duck (which looks particularly respectable on more classic bikes) and modern fibres too. They will also repair any bag, no matter how old, if there is a reasonable chance of salvaging it.

  2. Aggi 12/05/2011 at 11:07 am #

    As above, I’d definitely go with Carradice. Probably the toughest bags around and a huge range of sizes. Particularly for large bags for a couple of days touring then Carradice is the best choice. The small bags also have elastic pump clips on the bottom of them so you can easily attach your pump without it taking up space in the bag.

  3. Phil 12/05/2011 at 12:21 pm #

    I’d love a Carradice saddle bag eventually, until then I’ll make do with an old Lowe Alpine camera bag zip tied to the saddle and seat post.

  4. Andrea Casalotti 12/05/2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Why do you promote out-of-town cowboys such as ChainReaction and Wiggles, rather than London based independent stores?

  5. Fabian 12/05/2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Completely agree with the Carradice comments. They’re ace bags and incredibly tough. One thing I would say though is that if you are going down the classic route, avoid Brooks’ saddle bags like the plague. They’re utterly hopeless and far too expensive. I’ve had two now (one was a gift) and both have begun to fall apart after little less than a week’s worth of pedalling. The saddles are great, but the bags are poorly made and designed solely to look good while dangling from the back of your bike ideally with nothing in them.

  6. adventure! 12/05/2011 at 10:08 pm #

    I second/third/fourth/whatevs the Carradice recommendations. The only drawback is that they aren’t easy to remove (unless you get their quick-release system), but since it’s not easy to remove, it’s not easy to steal either. I would categorize the bags you mention as “underseat” bags rather than saddle bags. When I hear saddle bag, I picture Carradice and other traditional types.

  7. Dunc 13/05/2011 at 10:56 am #

    Carradice all the way. I have the Zipped Roll bag, which I have on my saddle, but it can also be fitted to handlebars if you get some longer straps.

    Carradice bags are beautiful and durable and are the ones that I always recommend to people.

  8. Peter Cowan 13/05/2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Carradice for touring yes, but for training & serious road riding I found the Topeak excellent. Good quality, practical and it’s one of the few makes that will fit my Bianchi saddle without modification.

  9. Andreas 13/05/2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Wow – so much love for Carradice – I’ll update the post to reflect that!

  10. Martyn 13/05/2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Another vote for Carradice.
    I do have the Topeak aero wedge, and it’s great for packing in a spare tube, tools and wallet for a quick jaunt.
    But the Carradice Nelson I recently got is excellent. I can pack everything I need for a weekend away in it! I’ve got a Quick realse support for it and that is working great too.
    The whole set up oozes quality and It’ll probably out last my bike.

  11. Nick Rearden 14/05/2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Topeak bags good as are Carradice but don’t underestimate the advantages of keeping all your vital stuff in a bottle-shaped canister in a bottle cage. Either use an old cut-down bottle or there are specifically-designed plastic canisters with a screw top. I bought one recently for £4.99, if I remember rightly, under the ‘Pro’ brand – part of Shimano. Advantages: easy to swap between multiple bikes, lower centre of gravity, easy to remove and take with you if you’re leaving your bike locked, tidier-looking (imho) plus that still leaves the saddle position free for maybe a larger bag containing rain jacket, food or whatever for a special ride. The stuff in the canister contains the vital stuff you always have to take for every ride. ie inner tube, repair kit, tyre levers, hand wipes, multi-tool.

  12. Amoeba 14/05/2011 at 8:21 pm #

    At the risk of appearing to join a non-existent conspiracy, I have recently invested in a Carradice Camper Longflap. It’s great, but I need to anchor it against theft – I don’t like the wire thingummy-jigs offered for the purpose. I expect it to last for ages.

    Superbly made, like my Carradice ‘Super C’ rear panniers.

  13. Richard Cleverly 15/05/2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Specialized Mini-Wedgie, waterproof, sleek, enough space for a tube, tool, CO2 and tyre levers.

    http://www.specialized.com/gb/gb/bc/SBCEqProduct.jsp?spid=54087&menuItemId=10827&eid=5133

    I’ve also got a Brooks bag on my Pashley, and I love it, horses for courses.

  14. Andrew 17/05/2011 at 11:06 pm #

    Ortlieb large saddle bag. Waterproof, tough and big enough for commuting or weekend rides. Only complaints are there’s no rear light clip, also because the inside is black it’s sometimes hard to see what’s in there!

  15. Evan 18/05/2011 at 11:53 am #

    I picked a Giant saddle bag of a similar design to the models you have listed. I liked it because it has a waterproof, rubberised material along the bottom and rear-facing panels.. just where its going to get sprayed with mud and water.

  16. Bob 26/08/2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Surprised no one has mentioned Lidl equipment.

    True only available for a short time but at less than £5-00 great value!

    Bonne route!

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