So I took the plunge and shelled out the fairly steep price and around about a month later the box from China showed up. I’d read the reviews, swallowed the hype, had on-going leakage with the Karrimor and, in a state of nervous excitement fitted the new bag to the bars. The end of Rixen-Kaul had come.
The first thing to note is the neatness of the Route Werks quick clip system, there was a lot less of a fight with the cables and I won a bit of handlebar space for my bell. Getting a bit more room for the hand grip on the tops is another bonus.
Then the trouble began, pleased with the set up so far I rushed to try out one of the winning features of the bag: the computer mount. I loved the idea of getting the ‘out front’ position back. Unfortunately the fitting supplied did not work. I’m not sure why (I don’t recall a mount option when I bought it) but the lid holes put the Garmin on at a crazy 45 degree angle. I faffed around a bit with the ‘bar fly’ widget that came with the bag to no avail. I drilled 2 new holes in the right place and the job was done.
With my tyre kit, D lock and cereal bars loaded I set off on a round trip to Saffron Walden, 40 miles on NCR11 to see one of the great churches of Essex:
Out on the road the thing had an awful snappy rattle to it. I’d expected this would be a quiet bag given the money but no, it rattles. On inspection I found the lid clip meets an un-cushioned catch plate- I added a fabric band-aid and the noise stopped. I’ll experiment with more elegant padding in time. The added padding had a side benefit, the catch became quite a bit firmer and, although this was not a gravel ride the lid stayed shut all 40 miles. There have been reports of the catch being loose enough to pop open on rough ground and I hope the padding fixes this.
It’s a small, clever bag . This is not for the tourist, it’s more of a roadie thing for short rides up to say, a day out. One surprising effect of the bag size is the reduction in steering yaw compared to the Karrimor. Another surprise was how it holds stuff without having it slop around, the cursed D lock stayed put without grief and, although it’s not going to carry the shopping it will take a newspaper on the lid straps easily. At 20cm wide I had to find a shorter pump. It won’t take a rain jacket which is a shame, I may figure out how to carry that with the bungee cords in time. It holds:
- D lock in 2 parts
- Spare inner tube
- Puncture repair kit
- Mini pump
- Allen keys
- Cereal bars
- Keys & money
- Garmin 830
- Miniature camera
Off the bike it’s no bother and I can walk away with the lights, money, Garmin, phone, snacks, keys, gloves and glasses easily. The bidon stays on the bike, I have had a bidon stolen off the bike but that is risk I can live with…who’d want my washing up I wonder?
In truth I’d like it a bit bigger but there is no denying the RouteWerks bag is very well designed and put together. On longer, overnight, rides I’ll be taking paniers and I think the handle bar bag will take on a different role when the tyre care kit can be stowed in them. It can be opened and closed on the move, puts the Garmin where I want it, keeps the valuables together and even shifts that blessed Dlock-brilliant!