The Bike List

Vaude Off Road Bag - Medium £75

Tested by Jon Adams, tester for The Bike List

If you're not keen on backpacks to carry your everyday essentials like tools, spare tubes, windproofs and a bite to eat, then this barbag-sized pack may be right up your street. It mounts securely on a seatpost via a small, quick release bracket and is suspended via a metal frame that encircles the bag and keeps its contents easy to get at. A zip with two pullers gives fast access to the main compartment, and this is padded with closed cell foam along both sides to protect the contents. A second zip opens an expansion bellow, which further increases the capacity of the main cargo space. A smaller zipped pouch is situated at the back of the bag, and this allows you to separate items like wallets, keys and cellphones from the rest of your gear.

A zipped mesh pouch runs the full length of the lid, and this holds a nylon waterproof cover that fits over the whole thing to stop water ingress from any direction. The base of the bag uses a robust, waterproof fabric and this acts as a mudguard. It shields your back effectively from anything flying off the rear wheel, though when it gets dirty - which it will on any off-road excursions - this grime will be transferred to the inside of the waterproof cover when you fit it. A quick rinse under the tap sorts this out though, and for more thorough cleaning, the whole bag detaches from its frame using Velcro tabs.

Two additional zipped exterior pockets sit on either side of the bag, but as these are unpadded, they're best left for items like tools and tubes, rather than more fragile items that could easily be damaged. On top of the lid is a bungee with a drawcord, and this is great for stowing a wet waterproof, or any other damp kit that you don't want to put into the dry zone inside.

Loops are situated at the front and rear to attach the supplied shoulder strap, and this gives a comfortable method of carrying the bag when you arrive at a café or your commuting destination. The rear loop is also effective as a tab for an LED flasher, and holds a light at a reasonable angle for rear visibility. The weatherproof cover doesn't offer any mounting for a rear light, though, so you'll need to clip your LED somewhere else if you need to ride home in the dark.

The QR mechanism is fuss-free and works well, though it must be said that the underside of the bag is very exposed to rear wheel grime, so you may not be too keen to take it off and carry it around the shops if it has been bombarded by trail gloop.

Underneath the bag, there's a Velcro loop on both sides, and these can be used for holding a pump, so if yours won't fit inside, you have somewhere to put it.

Overall, we were impressed with the Off Road Bag, and it offers a reasonable capacity for a day's riding for those who don't want a barbag or a backpack for their essentials. Despite its name, it's also well suited to those with road bikes, as its streamlined form doesn't affect the airflow or clutter at the front end like a barbag, and the built-in frame means there's no need to carry the weight of a rack.

In terms of value for money, the £75 asking price is roughly in line with similar capacity rack-free bags, though a little shopping around will find an online deal for around £60, which makes it much better value.

At a glance

Verdict Seatpost mounted bag offering sufficient kit storage for day rides and commuting, that clips onto a quick-release bracket to fit any style of bike.
Value
Performance

Vaude says:

A good pack substitute. In this larger saddlebag version you can transport up to 4 kilos, relieving your back from carrying the weight around. Offers enough space to store what you need for an overnight outing.

Details:

  • Inner zip pocket
  • Zip pocket in the lid
  • Expansion bellows
  • Luggage spider
  • 2 side compartments
  • Removable shoulder strap
  • Clamps for diameter 25-32 mm and 32-36 mm
  • Reflective elements

Technical specification:

  • Main fabric: 100% Polyester; 600 D Polyurethane coated
  • Contrast fabric: 100% Polyamide; 210 D Baby Ripstop Polyurethane coated
  • Lining: 100% Polyester; 200 D Polyurethane coated
  • Rain cover: 100% Polyamide; 190 T Polyurethane coated

Supplier: Zyro Ltd, +44 (0)1845 521 700, zyro.co.uk