The Bike List

SKS Race Saddle Bag XS £17

Tested by Nik Cook, tester for The Bike List

I’ve never been a massive fan of saddle packs. I’ve always adhered to Rule no 29 of “No European Posterior Man-Satchels: Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.” This has never been a sartorial statement on my part, I’ve just never got on with the bloody things and cycle jerseys come with pockets for a reason right? The ones that actually stay put under your saddle typically involve fitting some horrendously ugly bracket to your saddle and require almost double jointed dexterity with an Allen key. At the other end of the spectrum are “easy to fit” affairs usually involving webbing straps, buckles and velcro. These go on fine but, after a few bumps and jolts, are usually found swinging pendulum like from your saddle before parting company with it completely. If the bag does stay in place, especially on a mountain bike, it’s in the main line of fire for all the muck kicking off your back wheel. In no time the bag becomes a claggy mess with zips get clogged with grit and, in extreme cases, completely inaccessible. Yes, I could use a mud guard but I’ve never got on with those either so, not an option.

With this mindset, I approached reviewing the SKS Race Bag with apprehension and, if I’m honest, a, this is pointless, I’m going to hate it attitude. I was grudgingly impressed though when I popped it on the scales and it weighed in at an impressively svelte 136g. Hardly a lot of weight to add to my frame. The bracket that attached to the saddle was refreshingly minimalist to and the tool free fitting a breeze. Once twist locked into place, the bag also felt reassuringly secure. Despite its small size fitting in a spare tube, levers, multi-tool, CO2 cartridge and chuck and my mobile phone was easy. There’s an extra elasticated pouch inside that’s great for multi-tool and CO2 cartridge and stopped them rattling around.

Out on the road bike, the bag showed now sign of bouncing free and there was no annoying rattling. When I transferred it onto the mountain bike it still wouldn’t budge even on the bumpiest Dark Peak trails. With the zip guarded it stayed clear of muck and, even when the bag was caked in mud, it still opened easily. The water resistant coating did an excellent job of keeping the contents dry both on and off road despite significant downpours and puddle dunkings. Even when I hosed my mountain bike off after a night ride without taking the bag off, everything stayed dry. It has also always cleaned up well after rides with a quick wipe down.

I’m probably not going to be a full-time convert to saddle packs but, if I was going to use one on a regular basis, I’d certainly use the SKS.

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At a glance

Verdict Minimalist under saddle storage option.

SKS Says:

The SKS RACE BAG XS can easily be attached to the saddle rails with no tools. A separate compartment inside for a multi tool and water resistant material ensure all items are protected.

Other features: attachment loop for safety light and reflective piping.

Measurements:110 x 77 x 86 mm