Removable bike bags...
June 6, 2008 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Looking for bags or similar things that can attach to a bike and easily (without tools) be removed that I can carry stuff in. I currently have a MEC frame bag but it's insufficient, space-wise. I'm also familiar with the Detours bags, but they only carry 5 lbs. Suggestions...? It's important to me that when the item is off the bike, its fastening system isn't still on the bike (like a basket or panniers). Also, if I can throw it over my shoulder (when not on the bike) that's even better.

I quite like the look of the Freitag Knight Rider frame bags but they appear to have the same capacity as my MEC bag, which won't do. (I can't, for instance, carry a single dvd in its case inside this bag!)

Mostly, I carry dvds and cds, burritos, and small things like that, but sometimes in qty (the mec bag'll take 4 cds, for instance, and that's pushing it). I can also fit my u-lock in there but with room for pretty much nothing else.

I already have a Chrome Messenger bag for when I want to carry larger things but I'm really just looking for something that doesn't touch me while riding and doesn't touch the bike when walking.
posted by dobbs to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's important to me that when the item is off the bike, its fastening system isn't still on the bike (like a basket or panniers).

Is this just because of aesthetics, or is there another reason? Bike bags with decent carrying capacity pretty much always need fixed rails for attachment.
posted by sindark at 12:13 PM on June 6, 2008

Try googling "saddle bags" and see if you see anything relevant.
posted by 8dot3 at 12:14 PM on June 6, 2008

Response by poster: sindark, part aesthetics, yeah. I also don't like the rattling I sometimes hear when empty basketed cyclists are in the vicinity.

More relevant, however, is that a few of the places I go also have hefty stairs and small corridors which I carry the bike up and through--excess weight and especially bulk is a pain. The place I store my bike when at work, for instance, has an area that I pass through that is so slim that my co-worker, who has a basket on his bike, can't get his through so he has to leave it locked up for 8 hours while he works. I live in the bike theft capital of the world and am not interested in doing that.

8dot3, if saddle bags aren't panniers than they fasten to the bike the same way--as I mentioned, I'm not interested in that.

I should clarify that I'm not looking for something that holds a ridiculous amount of weight, but 5 pounds is pretty useless when my lock weighs 3.9.
posted by dobbs at 12:24 PM on June 6, 2008

I'm sorry if this is a derail but I still don't get the objection to panniers, a rear pannier rack weighs a couple pound max and ands an inch or two to the back wheel - its probably slimmer than your seat and certainly not as wide as the handlebars. It's the standard solution to on-board bike storage. I've never felt encumbered by my (cheap, rattle-free for over a decade) rear rack and I used to do a pretty solid grocery run with the (cheap, run of the mill) bags. Some of the new front racks are also tiny. But you seem adamant on this point so I'll shut up now - just really checking that you have checked out the state of the art in this stuff recently.

And apparently you're not alone in this wish anyway, maybe look into this. I think "rackless" is the default term for this sort of thing as racks are the usual solution for attaching storage. There are plenty of no-frame or rackless front and rear bags as well.
posted by nanojath at 12:55 PM on June 6, 2008

P.S. is Toronto really the bike theft capital of the world?
posted by nanojath at 1:00 PM on June 6, 2008

This thing?
posted by electroboy at 1:01 PM on June 6, 2008

Would you consider a quick-release rear rack and a rack pack on it? The idea is similar to the Detour bag you link to, but you'll be able to carry a lot more weight. Personally, I'd prefer to install a real rear rack and use panniers rather than carry my rack around with me, but maybe something like this would work better for you aesthetically.
posted by ssg at 1:07 PM on June 6, 2008

The Carradice SQR system may be what you want.
posted by everichon at 1:09 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Saddle bags generally buckle through two loops at the rear of the saddle-- they're nothing like panniers. They're a design that's probably been around for a century, and work quite well. They do require a saddle with appropriate loops (like a Brooks; visible here), or little retrofit loops that clamp to your saddle's rails, or, maybe, a relatively unobtrusive quick-release bar. They're not as large as panniers, generally, but some of the spendier ones can be quite large, though these often do require something to keep them off of your rear wheel/fender. Saddlebags are probably the best you'll get that 1) doesn't need a rack and 2) won't be a nightmare to wear (i.e. huge, sweat-trapping, heavy). If you insist on wearing it, re-load makes a big courier-style bag, the Deluxe (custom bags, made in USA!, available if pink's not your color) and backpacks.

Sorry about the length, I bristle when someone disses bicycle saddlebags.
posted by pullayup at 1:18 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Carradice make a saddle pack which is doesn't require saddle loops, is removable, and no wider than a saddle.
posted by tallus at 1:46 PM on June 6, 2008

I know you said no panniers, but the Axiom MacKenzie is pretty fantastic because it's a good size, waterproof, and it has a shoulder strap - you can zip in the bungee and what not, attach the shoulder strap and go!
posted by cachondeo45 at 2:02 PM on June 6, 2008

Perhaps a light-weight folding trailer?
posted by krisjohn at 4:46 PM on June 6, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers, folks!
posted by dobbs at 5:44 PM on June 6, 2008

Sounds to me like you need a good shoulder bag that you can throw on the rack or hang from it instead of riding around with it on your shoulder. I feel the same way, I dislike wearing stuff on my body when riding. I carried packs and messenger bags for years until I got fed up with them always on me or sometimes sliding unexpectedly about.

Now I use an Xtracycle, or a recumbent. My messenger bag goes behind the seat on the recumbent or in the Xtraycycle's side bags.

If I was in your shoes, I'd probably rig up a way to fasten my messenger bag to the rack either on it or hanging from it so I would not have to carry it. Messenger bags always seems to me like a great way to carry lots of stuff conveniently on a bike or off it.
posted by diode at 11:27 PM on June 6, 2008

For a while I had a medium-sized soft-side lunchbox that I just attached to my rack with two carabiners (here's a blurry pic). It could hold my lunch, some bike tools, a few other things. Easily it could hold more than four CDs and a burrito. Once I got to work I just unclipped the carabiners and took the bag inside.
posted by mikepop at 5:53 AM on June 9, 2008

Response by poster: So I went with a Freitag frame bag (aka Knight Rider). I emailed Dani at Freitag about the situation and told him that my current frame bag doesn't actually fit much and has the same capacity listed as his brand. He pulled one of the bags from the shelf, stuffed it with stuff (specifically, DVDS, which is what I told him I was mostly carrying) and took lots of photos. He managed to fit in 6 or so dvds in their boxes (and the boxes over there looked larger than here). Awesome customer service--he sent me 9 or so photos of the bag being stuffed.

I ordered the bag last night.
posted by dobbs at 7:26 AM on June 24, 2008

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