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Touring/brevets: carrying stuff on your bike


Maximum Pace
Oct 14, 2007
If you don't want to/can't attach racks to your bike, there are several options for attaching bags directly to the frame. No doubt there are other vendors (maybe some even in Japan), but the ones I found are based in USA/Canada.

Of course a bulky frame or top-tube bag isn't going to play well on a carbon road bike, but there might be something here to tickle even the hardcore weight-watchers.

These companies have their foibles > long lead times needed to make custom bags / email correspondence needed to organize pricing and shipping, but that might not matter if you don't plan to use a bag until the weather turns warmer.

Revelate Designs (used to be called Epic Designs)

Perhaps the Pika seat bag is most suitable for road bikes

B&B Gear
The Kinesis TTB (top-tube brevet bag) is nice. Quite roomy, but not so wide that your knees will hit it.
(Their shopping cart is a little funky, and to arrange shipping to Japan you'll have to send them an email.

The Porcelain Rocket
A one-man show, run through a blog. Bags similar to Revelate Designs, but only does custom bags. Bags not shown or advertised well on the site, but if you google porcelain rocket you'll find some pics/reviews, etc.

I know frame bags are not everybody's cup of tea, but I just wanted to let people know that there are alternatives to racks or Tobreak (sorry, Topeak) bags.

oops, I forgot one:
Carousel Design Works
I really like the Revelate Pika. Looks a bit freaky fully extended but I can see it would be useful to carry a few luxury items (like a change of clothes...) on an ultra-light tour. I might well go ahead and order one...

I also recommend this basic Ostrich handlebar bag:

No clasps or clamps or anything - just a couple velcro loops. Great to hold a camera, book, snacks, etc.

I used to do all my touring fully loaded on a heavy steel Thorn Nomad - very useful in Golden Week when you have to carry your own accomodation with you - but since getting my titanium road bike I've also got into doing the occasional long weekend tour just using a standard saddle-bag and the Ostrich handlebar bag above. For short "credit card" tours in convini covered Japan, it's often all the space you need.

-- Steve
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