About this project
There's room for a better saddlebag....
The bicycle has always been about freedom: Throw a few essentials into a bag and set out for a day, a weekend, or a year...
The Bridge Street Saddlebag emerged from our search for the perfect bag for lightweight, unencumbered adventures. It takes all the benefits of traditional large capacity saddlebags, and adds a bunch of new ones too:
- It lets you carry all you want, without encouraging you to take more than you need
- It keeps the load off your back - so it won't make you hot and uncomfortable - and puts it close to the centre of the bike for better handling
- It's light, since it doesn't need an external rack or frame, while clever use of modern materials mean its around half the weight of a canvas or leather bag
- It fits directly onto your bike's seat post with a robust, proven quick release bracket, so it can be fitted or removed in a second, and it works with any kind of saddle
- It has a simple, roll top closure that keeps out the rain and allows the capacity to expand and contract according to your needs
- It doesn't sway from side to side as you ride, or rub against your frame, tyre or mudguard
Those benefits in detail:
Lightweight - haul your stuff, not your bag
The Bridge Street Saddlebag is constructed from two layers of high strength coated nylon, wrapped around a hollow polymer frame. The design of the bag means the fabric doesn't rub on anything as you ride, so we don't need heavy fabrics or reinforcements, while the waterproof coatings are safely sandwiched inside the bag for a longer life.
Convenient - mounts in a second
We use a standard, quick release mounting system on the back of our bags. You might have the very same thing on the back of a handlebar bag. It is simple, reliable and instant to use. Spare parts are widely available if you break something, or lose something, or want to use the same bag on other bikes. And yes, you can mount the Bridge Street Saddlebag up front if the shape of your bars permits it.
Expandable - adapts to your load
We've designed the bag to grow and shrink according to your needs. Need plenty of sandwiches? No problem, the bag will take your whole lunch, without rattling around when you empty it before the afternoon ride. Seen some irresistible artichokes at a roadside stall? you can probably fit them in...
Minimal - because less is so much more
The Bridge Street Saddlebag has just a few, carefully chosen features. The lining material is a grey nylon that makes it easier to find your stuff without showing the stains of a tough life too much. There is a single zipped interior pocket that is big enough to hold a map. A discreet second zip provides access to the internal frame for crash repairs, and offers a secret place to stash your emergency bail-out cash.
Trustworthy - solid, safe and secure
Our ingenious endless straps are the key to the Bridge Street Saddlebag's versatility. They offer a huge range of adjustment to hold the bag firmly closed and keep your load from bouncing around, however full or empty. You can even strap your jacket on top of the bag if the sun comes out unexpectedly on a wet winter afternoon. And because both ends of the strap are permanently connected, they're less likely to get caught in your wheel if you forget to do them up at the end of a long day.
Reflective trim, a reflective logo and a loop for an LED light help you to be seen on dark winter commutes, night rides or dawn-to-dusk epics.
Simple - it's about riding, not packing
Using the bag is easy, on the bike or off. Just roll the top down over your load, squeezing the air out as you go. Then loop the straps round and cinch them tight. To open it, simply loosen the buckles and slide the straps off the sides.
Flexible - mount it where you want
There are two ways to mount the Bridge Street Saddlebag:
- The low mounting is lighter, neater and has a slightly higher load capacity, but it works best with smaller bags and bikes that have a lot of seatpost showing. Some riders also find that their backs of their thighs touch the bag as as they ride.
- The high mounting is a bit less elegant and a bit heavier (adds 115g/4oz to the weight of the system) but holds the biggest loads well clear of your legs, and of the back wheel.
You'll be able to choose the mounting option that works best for you and your bike when you order your bag.
The choice is yours
Initially, we will be making the Bridge Street Saddlebag in three complementary sizes:
- Large: with a volume of around 15 litres (around 900 cubic inches) for long weekends, laden commuting or lightweight camping trips (weight approx. 700g/25oz including mounting hardware, width 420mm/16.5in, height 210mm/8.25in, depth 210mm/8.25in)
- Medium: with a volume of around 8 litres (around 500 cubic inches) for everyday use, from day rides to long-distance, hotel-based tours (weight approx. 500g/18oz including mounting hardware, width 350mm/13.75in, height 175mm/6.9in, depth 175mm/6.9in)
- Small: with a volume of around 4 litres (around 250 cubic inches), for day rides, lightweight extremists or as a great second bag for when you don't need all the capacity of the large or medium bags (weight approx. 400g/14oz including mounting hardware, width 280mm/11in, height 140mm/5.5in, depth 140mm/5.5in)
Can't decide which one you need? go for the Medium, we think its perfect for most occasions.
There'll be a choice of colours too. So far, we've tried red, black, green and blue, but the final colour selection will be down to you: we'll poll our Kickstarter backers and do our best to accommodate your wishes.
It might not be the bag for you
There are thousands of different ways to carry stuff on your bike, and the Bridge Street Saddlebag is just one of them. We're a niche player and we know it. There are plenty of cyclists for whom this bag just isn't going to be right:
- If you're a racer, who only needs to carry a tube, a multitool and an energy gel, you can find smaller, simpler solutions elsewhere
- If you're an expedition rider, who wants to carry full camping and cooking gear, or if you need to commute with a suit and two laptops, then racks and panniers are probably the way to go
- If you love the classic appearance of the traditional canvas and leather saddlebag, you should use one, they're beautiful and practical.
We plan to manufacture the Bridge Street Saddlebag right here in Warwickshire, in the heart of England.
The bags will be sewn in a workshop just down the road, by a small company with years of experience making tough, waterproof gear for canoeing and other water sports.
The mounting brackets are moulded in Germany. They are a widely used standard in the cyle industry, which is great for us, as it means they are proven, reliable and that spare parts are readily available.
The rugged internal frame that helps the bag keep its shape and stops it swaying is made by us, from lightweight, fully recyclable polypropylene.
The fittings are marine-grade stainless steel, treated with threadlocking compound to resist vibration
Why we need your help
We've been developing the Bridge Street Saddlebag for more than a year, exploring different shapes, sizes, materials and closure systems. And fourteen prototypes later we are really happy with where we've got to.
So far, we've paid for the development work ourselves and built prototypes in our spare time. We need your help to take the Bridge Street Saddlebag from prototype to production. We think we can further refine the design, particularly of the bag's internal frame, to further reduce weight and improve durability and usability. We need to buy materials, and to cover the labor costs of having the bags professionally cut, sewn and assembled.
We also need your feedback. We want to know what you want from a lightweight saddlebag, and we want you to ride with our bags and help us to make them as good as they can be.
Update - Side on pictures?
As requested by you. Here is a picture of all three sizes of bag, on the high bracket:
Some notes on this image: My saddle sits about as far forward as it can go, on an in-line seat post. The chances are, yours sits a bit further back. There's also room to move the bracket further up the post, if you need more rear wheel clearance. To use the high mount you only need 80mm of exposed seat post shaft.
Lots of people have helped us already, and without them we certainly couldn't have come anywhere near as far as we have.
Craig Battision, for testing, design ideas and video work
Lucy Pope, for brilliant photos
Al Dean, for letting me use his 3D printer
Boo Lewis, for testing, feedback, and the best coffee and cake
My children, Cameron and Harriet, for enthusiastic video work and dog distraction
Caroline, for endless patience
Why Bridge Street?
Bridge Street is the street where we live, and it's also the name of Jonathan's freelance writing company. We tried to think up a really clever name for the saddlebag, but nothing seemed as good as the obvious choice...
Risks and challenges
Over the past year, we've been working hard to get a strong simple design, and to establish a robust, flexible, local supply chain. Now we're confident that we can get the bag into production.
The most complex part of the bag - its mounting system, is already widely used, and well proven.
The key challenge for us is making sure that the range of bags we do manufacture will be the one you want. Kickstarter is an intrinsic part of our plan to meet that challenge. Your feedback will help us fine-tune the design, and because we are manufacturing locally, we have the freedom to try out new ideas and build them into our design if they work well.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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