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Old 01-24-08, 10:17 AM   #1
jens5
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Saddle bag or rack trunk?

What is preferred and why. Rack trunk or saddle bag? It seems to me, if you don't have a rear rack the choice is obvious, but I have both and am trying to determine the most practical for rando or Touring applications.

Richard
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Old 01-24-08, 11:35 AM   #2
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When you say saddle bags, are you referring to the little bag under your seat? That won't hold much. Depending on the length of the randonneur, you might get away with it, but I'd check in that forum. But if you're touring, you need all the room you can get. Maybe you're thinking rack trunk vs. panniers? But that's not an either/or situation necessarily, although I find that with my current set up, the panniers ride too high and the rack trunk is too wide, so I can only use one or the other, but mine isn't a touring set up. You can do both, and if you're touring, assuming overnight stops and all the gear that implies, you'll probably want both, and probably front panniers, too, if you can, depending on the length of your tour. Some real touring folks will surely chime in, but I think the preference is to distribute some, but not half, of the weight to the front, making you still a little back-heavy, but not so front light that you have control issues. If I were in a situation where I could fit everything in the panniers or the rack trunk, I'd probably choose the panniers, as that would leave the rack open for other uses, although I would expect you'd be more aerodynamic with just a rack trunk and no panniers, so it may depend on your preference.
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Old 01-24-08, 12:41 PM   #3
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I'm assuming that when you say "saddlebag" you mean pannier - the large bags. I used to call them saddlebags in the 70's, but now that seems to mean more precisely the "under the seat/saddle bag."

I have a large trunk rack that I use for day rides, charity rides, club rides, family rides, etc. A large trunk bag sitting on the rear rack can hold quite a bit of gear/snacks, plus I usually also use a large handlebar bag. That will get me through a century ride with no trouble.

For touring, you don't necessarily have to face an either/or situation with these bags. My Ortlieb panniers sit low enough on my rear rack to accommodate anything on the top of the rack rack, from a trunk bag to a dry bag (small duffel bag) to camping gear strapped on top.

My wish list item for this spring is the Arkel Tail Rider, another best-in-category bag from the cruel folks at Arkel, who continually make their products so mouth-wateringly tempting that I keep wandering over to their web site like a cycling lemming, just waiting my turn to jump over their cliff.

Other great sources for researching this issue is thetouringstore.com and pedaltheplanet.com.

Have fun shopping!
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Old 01-24-08, 01:19 PM   #4
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No.. a saddlebag is not the little bag under your seat. Saddlebags attach to your "saddle." I have a brooks b-17 saddle that has hooks specifically for saddlebags. You can find saddlebags that have just as much capacity as a rack trunk. I prefer the saddlebags made by carradice. For daytrips or commutes I use the carradice pendle saddlebag. I would rate this as a midsize saddlebag. It has a 11 liter capacity. Carradice makes a "camper longflap saddlebag" that has a 24 liter capacity. For more info and pictures on carradice saddlebags:

http://www.wallbike.com/carradice/ca...addlebags.html
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Old 01-24-08, 04:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jens5 View Post
What is preferred and why. Rack trunk or saddle bag? It seems to me, if you don't have a rear rack the choice is obvious, but I have both and am trying to determine the most practical for rando or Touring applications.

Richard
I'd divided Carradice type saddebags into 2 size categories; those under 10L are good for randos and days out and the larger ones can be used for touring. To use them you'll need loops on your saddle or a clamp that attaches to the saddle

Examples of the first category are the Barley or Junior. I use the Barley on centuries and pack tools, spares, jacket, and food it it easily. If you want to tour with a saddlebag they work well when used with a couple of small rear panniers, as the poster Machka does. It is possible to tour with something like a Nelson Longflap or Camper saddlebag as your main bag and a handlebag bag, but it requires you to think carefully about your gear. The big advantage of working within the volume constraints of say an 18L Nelson Longflap and a 6L handlebar bag is that limiting volume is a great way to reduce the weight you carry.
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Old 01-24-08, 10:40 PM   #6
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Thanks. Thats exactly what I meant. I have a Carradice "Barley" saddlebag and an Axiom rack trunk thats about the same capacity. I ride a Brooks B-17 with bag loops. I'm just trying to figure out whats more practical. The quick release,(4 velcro staps) and aero dynamics if there is such a concern, of the rack trunk. or the weight over the saddle and aesthetics of the Barley. I'd also have to procure a saddle loop to hold the Barley bag bag upright.

Richard
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Old 01-25-08, 12:28 AM   #7
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I've used both. I prefer the carradice saddlebag over the rack trunk (I have a tubus cargo rack and a banjo brothers rack trunk.) I use the saddlebag mostly in the summer when I don't need to carry as much. During that time of year, when it is drier here, I remove the rack along with the fenders. I attach the saddlebag to my brooks b-17 and a "bagman" to the rails of my saddle to keep the carradice pendle upright and off of the seatpost. I don't take my saddlebag off of the bike (nor the trunk) when I use them so that's not a concern for me. I've pretty much abandoned using the trunk. In the winter I just use the rack and ortlieb panniers. When I get more $$'s I'll explore replacing the rack and pannier setup with a larger capacity carradice saddlebag.
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Old 01-25-08, 06:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jens5 View Post
Thanks. Thats exactly what I meant. I have a Carradice "Barley" saddlebag and an Axiom rack trunk thats about the same capacity. I ride a Brooks B-17 with bag loops. I'm just trying to figure out whats more practical. The quick release,(4 velcro staps) and aero dynamics if there is such a concern, of the rack trunk. or the weight over the saddle and aesthetics of the Barley. I'd also have to procure a saddle loop to hold the Barley bag bag upright.

Richard
I think it's really a matter of personal preference which you use. I like the Barley as I feel that the weight
is closer to the center of gravity of the bike.

You don't necessarily need a loop or rack to use a Barley, I just strap it to the seat post
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