Friday, 10 April 2015


Wow, a year ago I got an Arundel Uno (saddlebag) from Dan at Artisan Cycles, and made myself a note to write something about it after a while. I guess a year is a while, so here goes.

To me, a good saddle bag fulfils one very specific function, (1) holding stuff so I don't have to put said stuff in my pocket. Stuff like a tube and couple of tyre levers.

So let's assume that big function is a given, what sets one bag aside from another is an amalgam of little personal preferences. For me, a good bag, the perfect bag should meet a few more smaller points on the way to that primary function.  For a start, I go a bit loopy if anything touches my legs each pedal stroke, so that means it (2) must attach at the saddle rails only. Even though it's only attached at the saddle rails, (3) I don't want it bouncing/rattling around. (4) It should only come off when I want to use it, and (5) be simple to put back on after. When I go to use the stuff inside, the bag should have protected it from the elements enough that they function as expected e.g. (6) no holes in the tube. It should (7) continue working over a length of time proportional to it's cost. It should (8) play nice with my seat posts, resisting the threads of my Thompson Masterpiece. Finally, it'd be nice if it (9) looked nice under my saddle.

I'll be upfront, I haven't used a lot of saddle bags before the Uno. In fact I'd only used two of the same Continental bags, that essentially came free with a tube. They were a good size, and didn't touch my legs, but they had a few issues. The strap needed to be modified to get the velcro in the right spot, and then the excess strap cut off. The zip eventually would die, and tyre levers wore through the covering material. After a while the velcro would crap out, and the whole thing would go skittering down the road should you even look at a pothole sideways.

Right, so cue thoughts on the Uno.

I itemised a list of "needs" above, they're basically in order of most to least importance. So far, it's passed #1 through #6 with ease, and gets a tick on #9 as well, but your taste may differ. The highest praise I can give this (or any bag), is I don't normally remember it's there, but when I need it, it's there.

"So what about #7 and #8?" you ask. So now let's talk cost/performance, and playing nice with seat posts.

Price vs Performance is tough. It's done all I've asked, but until it dies I don't know what it's lifespan is. With a year of life in it, it's looking pretty good. If I had to estimate, I'd say it's got another year or three of use left. Taking the conservative end of that (1 extra year of life), then that'd be $15ish per year of life. Not too bad, but not amazing. Go the middle of the estimate, and $10 a year is in the middle of my happy place.

You might have noticed that I've got a lovely custom zip pull tab. The original material one fell off, so the tiny Canadian whipped together a colourful custom solution. I've spied a few other Uno's out and about on bikes, and they all seem to have their pull tab, so it may have just been mine.

The cute leather patch ( at the top/front) that I assumed would protect the bag from the bolt of my Thompson Masterpiece seat post didn't. Not because the leather failed, but because it was elsewhere, and the edge piping took the brunt of the threads. I do run my seat a fair way back, so it may work perfectly in other setups. You'll also see that I'm now riding a bike with a fancy carbon aero post, with a different saddle mounting system, and thus wear on the bag isn't an issue. The bag does rest against the post though, and given carbon isn't good with abrasion, I put a couple of bits of electrical tape on the post.

and just to ensure said aero post stays pretty I've put a couple of small bits of electrical tape where the bag rests.

D: 7.0km
A: 37m

PMPW: 84kg

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