The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, look back on the year's accomplishments, and give thanks for everything we have. But they're also an excellent excuse to stock up on triathlon gear for next season! Obviously, we're partial to our own Switch Aero System, but in this 12-part series we'll highlight and recommend some of the best triathlon gear that will get you to the finish line faster in your next race.
Saddle Bags - sometimes called seat bags, saddle packs, or underseat bag - are a pretty important piece of gear - they are one of the best ways to carry all that important stuff that you hope you don't actually need when you are racing or just out for a ride. What do people typically keep in their saddle bag? Lots of stuff actually - lets see what I keep in mine: a spare tube, tire levers, CO2 + inflator, bike multi-tool, keys, ID, cash, cell phone. We don't often spend time thinking about our saddle bags but they really are something that would be hard to ride without.
What to look for:
Does it hold all your stuff - the most important thing when selecting a saddle bag is to make sure it will actually hold all of the gear you want to keep in it. Saddle bags tend to come in a few discreet sizes: micro or small, medium, large, and way too big. Medium is usually a good bet if you are carrying all the necessary items to change a tire and micro/small is good if you only have a multi-tool and a few other small items.
Secure attachment to bike - a saddle bag should be securely attached to your saddle and/or post and it should not have a tendency to move around while riding. There are different kinds of bags out there with attachment mechanisms ranging from simple straps and buckles to rigid saddle and rail attachments.
Doesn't interfere with riding or dual-position seatpost switching - If you are a Redshift Dual-Position Seatpost user, and you are like me, then you probably switch your saddle position often and it would not be good to have a saddle bag that gets in the way during switching. In addition, when riding in general, you do not want to think about your saddle bag at all, either bumping into it with you legs or feeling it swinging around.
A typical strap on saddle bag will work just fine with the dual-position seatpost and will not normally get in the way or switching but here are a few other options that are a bit of an upgrade from your normal bag.
Topeak makes a number of nice saddle bags that utilize their "fixer" system that securely attaches the bag to a saddle rail mounted bracket. With different fixer brackets and different size bags both water proof and not they definitely have something for everyone.
Scion makes a few bags that utilize their "roller" system for securing the bag utilizing a saddle rail mounted clamp. The bags are on the smaller side but Scion claims you can cram lots of stuff into all of their models.
Fizik has a really nice saddle bag that utilizes their integrated clip system to attach the bag directly to your compatible Fizik saddle.