Published by Lyn on 17 June 2016
Richard Peace reviews some cycling accessories to help give your bike some extra carrying capacity.
Some bikes are harder to carry luggage on than others, full suspension mountain bikes and folders being a couple of obvious examples. I've looked at four different ideas to help those in need of that extra carrying capacity for their bike.
Of course, if you need much more carrying capacity you could always look at a good set of touring panniers (see here for Ortlieb and here for Axiom) or a trailer such as the Circe Atlas folding trailer that we reviewed here.
Gorilla cage £24.95, Gorilla clip £14.95
This clever system will utilise just about any free space on your frame to mount bulky but large items such as sleeping mats, sleeping bags or large bottles. In other words, it's a great bikepacking accessory.
You can use the double bottle mounting points found on some bikes (or the triples found on newer 'adventure bikes') or if your bike lacks these you can buy a mounting clip that zip-ties onto your frame. It uses the same system as the previously launched Monkii system so this whole range of carrying options is worth a look, giving you the ability to add tool rolls, bottle pouches and water bottles to your frame.
Blackburn Outpost Seatbag
Blackburn's Seatpost allows you to utilise the otherwise often 'dead' space to the underneath and rear of your saddle. Like the North Stret bag below, I liked the strap and velcro approach for quick mounting and dismounting. The outer is made of tough nylon and there is also a waterproof looking stuffsac that fits inside.
With it you can fit an impressive 11 litres behind the saddle, the compression strap system meaning its ideal for larger, softer items such as sleeping bags and coats. However, I found it a godsend as I could slip in a spare electric bike battery (and a quite sizeable 400Wh one at that), taking it with me on a small-wheeled Dahon folder with very limited carrying capacity.
There's also a top tube bag and handlebar roll in the same series.
North St Handlebar Bag
Mail order from the US: US$59
Unlike traditional handlebar bags, North St's Scout Duffle 11 simply hooks onto your handlebars using two velcro straps, meaning you have some degree of flexibility as to whereabouts on the bars you put it.
It's made from a robust looking cordura shell with a waterproof liner and decent 6 litre carrying capacity. There's an interior zipped pocket with lanyard clip to keep keys safe.
Quick and easy to use and well made.
The relatively high cost is due to the fact they are hand-made in small batches but they do come with a lifetime guarantee. North Street also produce an interesting range of panniers.
Seagull Chief Backpack
Mail order direct from the US: US$335
This looks like the daddy of all messenger bags. General biking advice is not to carry too much weight in a backback as it can destabilise the balance of the bike (not great for your back, either). Messengers like them, though, as they can be taken with you easily on and off the bike, aiding quick delivery.
The Chief is a great example from US firm Seagull, being enormous (37cm x 17cm x 42cm, expanding to around 60cm tall if required) and boasting more carrying pouches and zipped pockets than you would care to count.
It looks extremely tough, it's waterproof and its 37 litre or so carrying capacity will allow you to take the bulkiest of items. The many pouches and pockets and the opening system promises easy, quick access to all your packed items.
Weight of course is an issue; the bag itself is no lightweight, tipping the scales at just over 2kg, but it is comfortable to wear and for lighter but bulkier loads it's perfectly practical to ride with it on your back (particularly over shorter distances) as it is very stable and comfortable. I'm also planning to use it on a flatbed trailer as it will take everything required for solo camping.
Richard Peace is founder of Excellent Books, specialists in cycle publishing. He is author of Cycling Southern France (UK, US), Cycling Northern France (UK, US), and Electric Bicycles: The Complete Guide (UK, US). He is a regular contributor to A to B magazine, Bike Europe and writes for Eurobike Show Daily.