08 April 2011 ~ 3 Comments

New Kinesis Saddlebags (soon to be called eoGEAR)

Close up of outer pocket (I just got back from a ride through a rain & hail storm, and the product is still dirty!).

The lid opens wide showing the hidden zippered pocket.

Backboard. Various size bags attach to this.

For the past three seasons I have been using Detours bags and like putting most of gear in a rear saddle bag. I also sell them on my gear site (Distance Biker). I don’t use a handle bar bags because I typically have clip-on aerobars mounted in the front. One of the things I have not liked about the Detours bags is the long mounting bracket — when I stand up to peddle or accelerate quickly, it tends to wag like a dog’s tail and throw me off balance. Correcting this imbalance also eats up extra energy too.

This winter I have been working on producing my own bag (or bag line) with similar volume to the Detours High Tail EXP UL as that has worked for me on longer brevets including 600s and 1200s. (My day job is designing and selling camera bags, Kinesis Photo Gear…the bike gear site is really my night job (this new line of bags will eventually be called eoGEAR (for endurance outdoor athletes). I didn’t like some of the bags that attached to the under side of a saddle to rails with straps only as they tended to sway back and forth, even with stabilizing straps that attach to the chain stays.

I started tinkering with the Minoura double water bottle bracket. After many prototypes (including mounting it up-side-down) it has proven to provide a very study mount for a bicycle bag system. It is made from a robust alloy with brass threaded inserts. The have recently upgraded the mounting bracket with heat treated steel to increase the strength of the mount. I have tested this bracket with a bag attached on both road (several 200k’s so far) and off-road situations (using my suspension-free, stiff alloy cross bike) — it is VERY stable.

If you have done any off-trail backpacking or mountaineering, you soon realize that the most efficient pack is one just large enough for your load, as a pack that is too large tends to sway under the motion of walking. Good internal backpacks also have several compression straps to keep the load close to your body and stabilize any externally added gear (like rope, crampons, jackets, water bottles etc.). These internal backpacks, while very functional, are not always pretty, as the compression straps tend to deform the shape of the bag…but it is functional, and that is what is important. The problem with many bike bags is that they put use stiffeners, plastics or wooden dowels to retain the shape of the bag. I believe in “form follows function” and tend to design with functionality and not prettiness in mind. I would rather shave off some weight and have a less-pretty bag if necessary.

This new bag line will have the following features:
1. Use of modern water-repellent fabrics like Cordura 500-denier cloth, instead of heavier and fungus-prone canvas duck.
2. Lean and mean approach. Build a bag that is barely large enough for the given task and then add additional gear to the outside of the bag when needed (instead of having a much-too-large of a bag which can be unwieldy).
3. Use of compression straps to stabilize the load and the ability to add gear to the outside as needed. I have designed this bag line so the same compression straps also function as tie down straps too.
4. Modular approach. I’m am using the same quick-attach method I use on my Kinesis modular belt-pouch line. It is called the Kinesis Attachment Tab System (KATS for short, also referred to as MATS, or modular attachment tab system). The backboard (alloy bracket + our additional HDPE piece) can stay attached to the bike saddle and various size bags can be swapped on our off.
5. Easy open “wide mouth” zippered lid. The zipper is water-repellent but not waterproof. We may offer a thin dry bag insert for those wanting more protection. The problem with a rain cover is that it will cover your tail light.”
6. Compatible with the Kinesis camera bag line…that is many Kinesis bags will mount directly to the bicycle back board.
7. US-made in small quantities.

Saddle Compatibility
Currently the bracket will attach to nearly any “plastic” saddle and the Giles Berthoud leather saddles, but will not attach to a Brooks or Selle An-Atomica (yet). The space between the rails is just too wide on those models.

Timing and Price
I will working on a final prototype this weekend and photographing it for an upcoming issue of the RUSA magazine. I expect to have final bags shipping in late May or early June…just in time for people to test them out before heading off to PBP. I have not determined a final price, but I suspect it will be around $95 to $130 for the bag and backboard. I will introduce smaller bags later on which will fit the same backboard — more of a “century ride” size.

If you interested in ordering one, please e-mail me and I’ll send you a link, once the product is posted on my gear site.

Weight and Volume Comparison (includes mounting hardware)
Detours High Tail EXP UL (my prior standard for 600s and 1200s) = 590 grams with 6 liters of inside volume
Carradice (Transverse model I believe) bag = 1210 grams with approx. 11 liters of volume
Ortlieb Large Seatpost bag = 330 g with 2.7 liters (claimed). No means to attach gear to the outside.
eoGEAR Prototype #4 Saddle Bag (shown in photos) = 450 g with 6 liters of inside volume. The size of this bag is 24 x 19 x 10 cm.

3 Responses to “New Kinesis Saddlebags (soon to be called eoGEAR)”

  1. Fred Matheny 8 April 2011 at 3:13 pm Permalink

    I just saw your request for people to try your new bag design and offer feedback. I am a co-founder of http://www.roadbikerider.com and write equipment reviews for the site. I’d like to try out a bag with an eye towards a review and also feedback for your design efforts. I ride about 9,000 miles a year here in western CO and am signed up for Lon Haldeman’s Ridge of the Rockies tour from Kalispell to Albuquerque in July so will have plenty of opportunity to give the bag a good workout. Please email or call if you have questions. Thanks, Fred Matheny

  2. Larry 20 October 2011 at 8:16 pm Permalink

    Will your Rando Bag fit Brooks swallow saddles

  3. Richard 20 October 2011 at 8:50 pm Permalink

    Good question. I believe it will with our custom Q007 adapter, but I have not tested it. I don’t sell the Swallow, otherwise I could compare it to the B-17. Judging from the catalog pictures, the Swallow will work OK with the Q007 adapter.