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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Topeak trunk bags

    My latest cycling-related research project is a rear rack and trunk for the Surly LHT. I want to begin commuting around town or be able to carry more items on the group rides.

    I've nearly settled on the Topeak MTX system of rack and trunk. However, the bags I see on-line appears to be more than I need, even without the fold-up panniers. Yet, I also don't want to end up with a trunk that's too small and wish I'd bought a larger one.

    Anyone have a favorite Topeak trunk? I don't need the panniers and I don't plan to haul home this week's groceries -- just something large enough for a pair of shoes, a jacket, extra snacks, a strong U-lock, or some groceries, library books, or lunch. I like the Topeak products in general -- they always seem durable and well-designed yet not expensive.
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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    The Topeak system comes in at least 2 basic sizes (I believe the EX and MX series). The EX rack is intended for road bikes, or at least smaller lighter platforms where less capacity is needed. The MX series starts with a larger heavier rack and the larger bags (with or without the auxillary struts and folding paniers.) I have both racks and bags for both (without paniers or fold down pockets). Both series of bags fit on either rack. The MX rack is more beafy and comes with a QR clamp that fits a wider range of seatpost sizes. My EX rack must be attached to my 27.2mm seatpost with an allen bolt clamp. The smaller EX bag has approximately the volumn to hold something about the size of a sixpack in the main compartment with side pouches for tools and supplies such a tubes.

    The principal advantage that I have found for day tripping with the system is that the bags also come with a shoulder strap. If it is necessary to lock up my bike where I might not have a direct view of it, I can hit the button on the bags quick release and take it with me, thus protecting camera's etc. (pop your computer off and slip it into the bag also). Topeak has an excellent online catalog to browse, a well deserved customer service reputation and pretty common availability through most LBS.

    Edit: remember that either system will always have a top weight limit because of the seatpost mount and that neither is particularly suitable for carbon seatposts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    I want to begin commuting around town or be able to carry more items on the group rides.
    I've nearly settled on the Topeak MTX system of rack and trunk.
    Anyone have a favorite Topeak trunk?
    Why not ask the folks in Commuting forum?
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    Why go with a seatpost mounted system on a bike like a LHT with plenty of eyelets for mounting such things?
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    One reason might be the ease of putting the system on or off the bike in seconds.

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    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    There are 4 sizes of MTX bags from 6.6 liters to 20.2 liters capacity. They fit on several rack options, both seatpost and frame mounted. For example, this rack with this bag.
    The bags come off either type of rack with the push of a button.
    Last edited by BluesDawg; 11-06-08 at 06:13 AM.
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    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    I have the Topeak MTX rack and bag with zip-up panniers. It is perfect for an overnight to a B&B which my wife and I do now and then. I also almost always throw mine on the back for day trips. I carry a lock and chain, pump, tubes, enduralytes, sun screen, 1st aid kit -- everything but the kitchen sink. I may get a smaller bag for routine day use since I don't really need all the space I have in the MTX. I like the easy on-off attachment.
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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Have you considered REI's Novara Commuter trunk? It has the added advantage of drop down bags and rain covers. http://www.rei.com/product/764699
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  9. #9
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    M
    large enough for a pair of shoes, a jacket, extra snacks, a strong U-lock, or some groceries, library books, or lunch.
    That's a lot of stuff that could add up to a big load, even assuming you don't mean all of that at once. I agree that you would be better served by a real rack and not a seatpost rack.
    The Arkel Tailrider bag is a great racktop bag, altho I don't know how many library books you could carry in one.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    That's a lot of stuff that could add up to a big load, even assuming you don't mean all of that at once. I agree that you would be better served by a real rack and not a seatpost rack.
    The Arkel Tailrider bag is a great racktop bag, altho I don't know how many library books you could carry in one.
    All I have is a seat post mounted rack as offroad- I would not need anything extra. I don't tour- Not going to do a major shop on a bike and would never need side panniers.

    However- I have a couple of Top Bags for my seat post mounted rack and it will take up to 15lbs- and that has been tested offroad. Top bags come in a variety of sizes but be warned- A Big top bag fully loaded- will affect the C of G of the bike.

    Attachments are of The small Bag I have fitted- and the Tandem shot is the large one. The large one will carry the big toolkit I use on the "T"- enough food for a couple of hours- Spare Topcoats and a lot more- but for 2 riders.

    Just be warned that a big bag will carry a lot- and it will weigh a lot aswell.
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    Last edited by stapfam; 11-06-08 at 10:44 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Why go with a seatpost mounted system on a bike like a LHT with plenty of eyelets for mounting such things?
    +1

    I would get a standard rear rack, doesn't have to be super heavy duty. You'll be able to throw panniers on even with the simplest rack.

    I have the Tubus Vega rack on mine.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I tried a large Topeak trunk bag with a seatpost rack and didn't find it worked out all that well for me. I much prefer a regular rack (the Blackburn EX-1 in nice) and one or more panniers. If you aren't carrying anything too heavy one pannier works out fine. The Nashbar (or Performance) waterproof front ones work out great for the back for around town.

    Another possible option...
    My daughter has been using combination pannier and messenger bag with good results. I think it was called the Transit Metro Pannier (from Performance). She said it has worked out very well for her.

  13. #13
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    All I have is a seat post mounted rack as offroad- I would not need anything extra. I don't tour- Not going to do a major shop on a bike and would never need side panniers.

    However- I have a couple of Top Bags for my seat post mounted rack and it will take up to 15lbs- and that has been tested offroad. Top bags come in a variety of sizes but be warned- A Big top bag fully loaded- will affect the C of G of the bike.

    Attachments are of The small Bag I have fitted- and the Tandem shot is the large one. The large one will carry the big toolkit I use on the "T"- enough food for a couple of hours- Spare Topcoats and a lot more- but for 2 riders.

    Just be warned that a big bag will carry a lot- and it will weigh a lot aswell.
    Stap...that first bag is FILTHY! Shame on you!
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  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    Stap...that first bag is FILTHY! Shame on you!
    That's what you get when you go on the road. (Note the slick Tyres)

    Off Road and and it gets camouflaged
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    Yen: If the size is right you can attach the large Topeak saddle bag to a Brooks saddle by using the type of bungie cord that locks in place rather than the normal bungie cord that has a hook at each end. Cost for the bungie at a local Farm and Fleet store $1.59. Hotwired in Milwaukee

  16. #16
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Why go with a seatpost mounted system on a bike like a LHT with plenty of eyelets for mounting such things?
    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix
    +1

    I would get a standard rear rack, doesn't have to be super heavy duty. You'll be able to throw panniers on even with the simplest rack.

    I have the Tubus Vega rack on mine.

    I'm sorry... it was late and I was tired when I posted this last night. By MTX, I meant a trunk like this one that's compatible with a Topeak rack that mounts on the frame. I do not intend to buy a rack to mount on the seatpost of the LHT.

    One thing I like about the Topeak system is that the trunk clips on and off the rack in a hurry, and I feel that Topeak products seem very well-made at an affordable price.

    Is there a good reason to choose a Tubus (or other) rack over this one? Is there a big advantage to having a rack to which any trunk can attach? For example, if (let's say) I severely damage the trunk but not the rack, would I be limited to the type of trunk I can buy for the Topeak rack vs. another brand?
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    I have several Topeak trunk bags, one of the original design, and a later model which looks the same on top. However, Topeak changed the spec of the aluminium extrusion on the rack, and hence the fitting under the bags.

    Either way, I have found the bags to be extremely useful, primarily for the abiilty to segregate various items in the pockets. The large compartment is capable of taking clothing for a day's ride (including wet-weather gear). Tools and spares can go in the side pockets. Energy bars or a ht/cap or spare gloves in the top pocket. And the rear drinks pocket I use to put two 700C inner tubes so they are out of the way, but readily accessible. The main compartment is expandable thanks to a second zipper.

    The bags are self-supporting, which is a definite advantage over some others I have seen. The bonus is that the sides are quite heavily insulated by the stiffeners, so you can keep some things cool for a while.

    The bag slides on and off the rack easily, and the clip is very secure. I have been MTBing and had no problems. I have used the bags for extensive randonneuring events and again no issues after 1200km.

    The original bag is still viable. It's around eight years old, I think, and the zips are still sound. The only deterioration has been a slight splitting of the fabric at the ends of the zips on the side pockets.

    I have just come back from a ride to the post office in heavy rain. I covered the bag in a standard supermarket bag and the bag was totally dry. Just as well... I wanted the new bar-end shifters to be fitted to a bike before they got wet!!

    Now, there is one downside. If you are using the Topeak rack specially designed for the bags with the extrusion, and you run your seat relatively low to the top tube, you may have to fiddle a bit with rack position to get the top of the front of the bag to fit under the seat. This is even more so with the Brooks B17 and the tabs on the back. The stiffener at the front of the bag is quite flexible and squeezing it back to get the lock to lock doesn't hurt the bag at all.

    Expanding the bag is no problem, because the front is "hinged" as the back lifts up.

    This issue also is possibly why Topeak introduced the wedge-shaped trunk bag (MTX). But I don't think the wedge-shaped bag is nearly as practical or attractive. I have serious doubts about the drop-down panniers, too, but again, I comment only from afar, and not from experience.

    Topeak has added a new rack to its range, with additional pannier mounting rails about 1-1/2 inches below the top rails of the rack. This has overcome another issue for touring cyclists -- that you couldn't really use the trunk bag if you had panniers fitted on the standard rack. I have now acquired a new rack, and I have the best of both worlds. Again, it could be argued that the trunk bag is additional weight that 's not really needed with good panniers, and takes up space for the tent or whatnot... but at least I have the flexibility to decide.

    Disclosure: I like Topeak products. I think the ones I have had, from handlebar bags to racks, and tools to trunk bags, have been thoughtfully designed and are very durable for the price.
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  18. #18
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    I know this isn't the type of bag that the OP was asking about, but I'll mention it anyway. I have a Topeak Dynapak on my trike. It's a smaller hardshell trunk that is still big enough to handle quite a bit. On Wednesday, I managed to squeeze a pair of tights, windshell, and arm warmers into besides three tubes, multi-tool, tire irons, CO2 inflator, wallet, car keys and phone.

    http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags/DynaPack

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  19. #19
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Now, there is one downside. If you are using the Topeak rack specially designed for the bags with the extrusion, and you run your seat relatively low to the top tube, you may have to fiddle a bit with rack position to get the top of the front of the bag to fit under the seat. This is even more so with the Brooks B17 and the tabs on the back. The stiffener at the front of the bag is quite flexible and squeezing it back to get the lock to lock doesn't hurt the bag at all.

    Expanding the bag is no problem, because the front is "hinged" as the back lifts up.

    This issue also is possibly why Topeak introduced the wedge-shaped trunk bag (MTX). But I don't think the wedge-shaped bag is nearly as practical or attractive. I have serious doubts about the drop-down panniers, too, but again, I comment only from afar, and not from experience.
    Rowan, which earlier bag are you comparing with the new wedge-shaped bag? Are you referring to one of the RX models (shown on this page at the Topeak site)?
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Editz's Avatar
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    I have this model and find it works great. The fold down panniers seem rugged enough, but the heaviest thing I've carried in them is a full sized coffee thermos. These days I keep a shirt and pair of jeans in one side and a fleece pullover in the other. The main compartment is usually reserved for lunch, but it can also accommodate the thermos with the extension zipped out.

    Only thing I don't like about it is where the handles are sewn in. I think they should be attached to the body instead of the hinge/cover so that you don't always have to keep the main compartment fully closed to pick it up. That, and the panniers need more reflective material on the rear to be seen by drivers approaching me from behind.

  21. #21
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    Hmmmm... it looks like Topeak have discontinued that line. Sorry Yen.

    It's most similar to the trunk drybag. You might be able to pick up one on eBay or as NOS at a bike shop.

    I'm not inclined to dash out and buy the newest version because the others are likely to last me a decade or more.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Get the big bag. The panniers don't come out unless you unzip the side pockets and pull them out. Plenty of room for a pair of shoes, jacket, sandwich, etc in the main compartment, which expands on the top. I had one, but gave it to a guy at the coffee shop whom only travels by bike.
    Get the Topeak rack. The Topeak bags fit on it, and you can always attach other types of bags to it. My old trunk bag from Performance velcro straps right on it just like a rack that's not Topeak.
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  23. #23
    Yen
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    Thanks Rowan. Doesn't it always seem that a 'favorite' is the one that's discontinued?

    Dchiefransom: We stopped by our favorite LBS this evening to check out their trunks. After discussing various options with the very helpful sales guy, I'm thinking of getting the big bag w/panniers; as you said they stay folded up until I unzip the pockets, and the expandable top is a plus. And if I can attach non-Topeak bags to the rack, that's another plus.

    How do such bags usually attach to a rack -- by velcro straps, or ??
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  24. #24
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    Yes. Usually. The Topeak trunk bag I have also has the Velcro straps in each corner so it can be used on other non-Topeak racks, too.
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