A Carradice Miscellany
This is an article I posted on the Thorn Cycles owners forum recently, in response to a question about one of my bike bags. I include it on FR for completeness, and because I hope it may be of interest to some of you:
At risk of sounding like the Imelda Marcos of cycle luggage, it’s a Super C rackbag, http://www.carradice.co.uk/products/type/superc-rackpack
I bought it because it’s big enough to put waterproofs in, which is ideal for this time of year, but it can double up as a light touring bag as the top is ‘stuffable’ – i.e. you can pack it oversize and still get it closed.
The super C range is not as trendy as the other carradice stuff, it seems to be more of the serious and old fashioned range, but the quality as you would expect is first rate. It also has sensible plastic click fixings instead of the great looking but somewhat impractical leather straps, meaning that even with gloved hands you can open and close it.
You can also pick it up using the top handle, and it comes with a neat strap for your shoulder as well. I bought mine from SJSC, who seem to offer a price as good as anybody’s.
Incidentally, you probably notice the ever changing luggage on the bike!!!! I had a Junior bag in the garage which I bought a while back for another bike. Then there’s the Barley:
I bought the green Barley because it had pockets for stuffing things like tubes, gels, etc which made access a little easier, and I have fitted the sqr bracket so I can easily put the Barley on for summer riding when I don’t need to carry so much kit; so the rackbag is really my winter bag with which I hope to do a spot of CC touring with my RST riding, wheel destroying buddy, Crudson at some point.
The front bar bag – pure self indulgence! But to be fair, also very useful for carrying stuff that’s easily accessible.
I guess in summary, and for the kind of riding I do, it’s worth saying that I couldn’t do without some form of bike bag now. At the time of writing, there is the obvious need to keep waterproofs available without tying them, cricket umpire-style, round your waist. Spare tubes, levers, gels and so on all take up space. And I’m not one of those people who favours stuffing the three rear pockets of my jersey with all this detritus, at risk of it ending up all over the road!
The other bag I’m interested in, simply because it gives the storage capacity of the Rackbag but without the need for a rear rack, is the SQR Tour Bag.
As I already have an SQR bracket on the seatpost, this would click in nicely and give me the choice of using the Barley or a bigger bag for longer rides – and it would also give me a second SQR block, a spare rear rack and a spare Rackbag. Which of course would then mean I would have to shell out for that long-yearned for, Rohloff-equipped, Thorn Raven Tour!!!
That of course is another story for another day, but it does seem to offer an interesting storage system.
So, in order to summarise my cotton-duck clad ramblings, I have built up this little table of intended uses and pros/cons:
|Bag||Capacity||Good||Not so Good|
|Carradice Barley Saddlebag (with optional SQR Mounting System)||7 lt||Looks lovely; side pockets for tubes etc, quick on and off via SQR mount; has extra strap fixings on outside for rolled up jackets etc.||Leather straps fiddly to do/undo, especially with gloves on!; smallish capacity ideally suited to a day ride|
|Carradice Super C rack bag||13 lt||Huge capacity, easily big enough for a weekend tour; rear pocket ideal for extra bidon; reflective strip; can be over stuffed and still closed||Fiddly to mount and dismount; requires a rack (!)|
|Carradice Super C bar bag||5 lt||Rixen and Kaul clickfix fixing makes easy on and off; just the right size for bits and pieces like wallet, phone, keys’ neat underside mounted light bracket||May struggle to fit if like me you have Sora levers with side facing cables; light bracket cannot cope with a light unless mounted upside down!|