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Minnehaha Medium Canvas Saddle Bag

by Bike Shop Girl

Minnehaha Canvas Saddle Bag
Size : Medium
Price : $69.99
Details :

  • Max. Dimensions: 9″L x 9″H x 11″W – 650 cubic inches / 10L
  • Thick hardwood dowel inside supports heavy loads
  • Main panel of bag is a durable sandwich of 1 1/2 layers of 18oz. canvas, thin padding, and an off-white canvas liner for a brighter interior.
  • Bottom reinforced with a riveted HDPE plate to keep bag from sagging under load.
  • Exterior lashing points (extra straps not included).
  • Detachable reflective tabs.
  • Interior key/wallet pocket.

Lately there is been a trend of the retro ways. Leather and canvas are making their way back into daily cyclist life with Brooks saddles, leather grips and canvas bags.

Canvas bags are what Minnehaha Bags are all about.  Minnehaha is run by the same sweet guys at Banjo Brothers, these two guys really understand customer service and delivery product they believe in.  Regardless of the amount of stupid emails I sent to them they always replied with an upbeat answer and sometimes even photos to explain what I was doing wrong.

One of the best looking (in my opinion) products in the Minnehaha line is the Canvas Saddle Bag, size Medium.  The size of the bag is not too daunting when you look at it, there are some saddle bags that really are trunk bags hanging off your saddle.  Yet, the size fit everything I could want plus had some room for things I didn’t really need.

Lots of Room : Utilizing the capacity of this bag I commuted through February with this bag strapped to the back of my Trek XO cross bike.  On a normal day I had two tubes, two tire levers, a mini pump, multi tool, spare blinky light, a rain jacket or thick thermal jersey, wallet, keys, phone and a snack.  All of this was held inside the bag with room to spare.

Not so Idiot Proof : I’ll regret this statement but I am not a fan of Brooks saddles.  I have not been able to find one that worked for me one bit and the thought of riding one more than 10 miles makes me cringe inside.  Brooks saddles do have their benefits. Mostly the built in rings at the back of the saddle that many higher and larger saddle bags are made to hang off of.

My saddle that I used to test the bag out with was a WTB Deva, which is considered a racing saddle by many..  Yes, they make adapters to clamp on to your rails to make it so you have these rings at the back of your saddle but the thought of clamping anything to my nice ti saddle rails felt like blasphemy to me.  I installed the saddle bag as best as possible and left it that way until I was ready to finish the review.  In an email to Mike at Minnehaha he told me the set up was all wrong.  That instead of making one large loop over the seat rails I needed to make two smaller ones.

Incorrect strap mounting

The leather strap provided wasn’t long enough to achieve the mounting that was recommended so I pulled out a handy toe strap from pedals I no longer use.  As you can see below the toe straps are much longer, with out the needed holes to clinch down on I was able to also get the bag much tighter to the saddle.


Correct mounting

When reinstalling the bag correctly I decided to move it to my Casseroll which will be seeing more commuter milage through the spring.  The new mounting style and ability to really tighten down on the strap made a huge difference on how the bag swung around on the back of the bike.  No longer did it rock back and forth or rub as much on the back of my legs.

Overall impression and final thoughts : I really enjoy this bag.  Packing a lunch or my huge SLR camera is not difficult. The bag is not completely water proof so keep electronics and valuables in a ziplock bag.  I went through torrential downpour a couple nights and had success with things at the bottom of my bag surviving Having the weight under you instead of on the front as most people like is better for handling.  The price is right at $69.99 as it carries what I normally put in a pannier which runs about that same price.

We also have a Minnehaha Canvas Utility Pannier on review look for that in the upcoming week.

 
The Chariot Summer Sale - 2013

16 Responses to “Minnehaha Medium Canvas Saddle Bag”

  1. philosoraptor says:

    (longtime reader delurking…)

    Thanks for the writeup and the photos! Can you say how it compares (size, durability, and so on) to similar saddlebags by, e.g., Carradice?

  2. BluesCat says:

    How quickly can this bag, or the small Minnehaha bag, be removed from the seat and will the leather straps double as shoulder straps. Be nice if I could park my bike, lock it, and put all the valuables (lights, pump, spare tube, etc.) in the bag and take it with me.

  3. Ghost Rider says:

    “I’ll regret this statement but I am not a fan of Brooks saddles. I have not been able to find one that worked for me one bit and the thought of riding one more than 10 miles makes me cringe inside.”

    You’ll get no grief from me — I feel the exact same way!

    The Minnehaha line is great — good to see reasonably priced bike bags that have all the classic features without a heart-attack-inducing pricetag. And the Minnehaha/Banjo Bros. guys ARE really nice!!

  4. Arleigh says:

    Bluescat-

    It isn’t very easy to take off at all. In fact I do my best to leave it on my bike permanently. You could probably rig something up with a dowel system.

    No shoulder strap on the seatbag, but yes for the pannier system.

  5. Nothing wrong with you don’t like Brooks saddles. I like them but can understand why others don’t.

    You might want to look at a Nitto saddlebag uplift if you’re really serious about using saddlebags. Here’s one in action.

  6. jamesmallon says:

    Like whatever saddle you prefer, but only once I bought a Brooks would my feet stop going numb on long rides!

  7. Otter 718 says:

    Here is an example of a correctly mounted bag. It is absolutely not a quick-release setup; Semi-permanent is more like it. Even just opening and closing it is somewhat fiddly, with the two belt buckle type closures.

    I could never have used this for my former NYC commute with outdoor bike parking. That said, it looks great, and feels like it’s well-made. I just got mine recently, and I’ll put it to heavy use in the coming months – I can park inside my new office upstate.

  8. Do you guys have any trouble with the back of your legs hitting this type of saddle bag, or is it high enough that it isn’t a problem?

  9. Mark,
    I haven’t had any big problems with my similar Carradice bag, but I usually have my saddle mounted as far back on the post as it will go. Sometimes there’s some contact if the bag is really full. The Nitto uplift eliminates that altogether.

  10. Randy in Barrington, Illinois says:

    Nice, informative piece. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to let us know about the medium Minnehaha bag.

  11. Zac says:

    I posted this in the comments of that Flickr picture you linked to, but in case you didn’t see it… I’m dying trying to find a Nitto saddlebag uplift for sale anywhere. Any pointers or idea where I could find one?

  12. Arleigh says:

    Zac..
    I’ve never used an uplift but I think RivBike or Velo-Orange.

    Is this the sort of thing?

    http://www.velo-orange.com/visabagsu.html

  13. Zac says:

    Thanks Arleigh, I had looked at RivBike but not Velo.

  14. Alanster says:

    Unapproved Brooks leather saddle break-in procedure:

    1) Select the saddle that seems to fit you in the store. Don’t bother to get an “Aged” version, because they do not last as long as the regular versions.

    +++

    Step 1) is important, because if you do this to anyone else’s saddle, you will ruin it for them.

    +++

    2) Take it home and Proofide the bottom thoroughly, and put a thin coat on the top surfaces.

    3) LOOSEN THE SADDLE TENSIONING BOLT. Go ahead, loosen it all the way if you want.

    4) The day you are going to break it in, put a moist washcloth on the back half of the saddle and leave it there for an hour or so.

    5) Put on your cycling shorts that match or are darker than the saddle color, because a little of the saddle color may bleed onto your pants.

    6) Remove the damp cloth, and ride for about five miles. By now it should feel bouncy like a firm mattress.

    7) Ride for about another five miles. You should notice a distinct “hammocking” of the saddle, and it will be hard to sit all the way back on it.

    8) Let the saddle thoroughly dry out.

    9) Lightly Proofide the top of the saddle, or use regular wax-based shoe polish.

    (This step merely exists to shine up the leather and limit the amount of water the leather absorbs, so just use plain-old shoe polish wax if the saddle already feels OK, or use Proofide if it still seems a mite stiff.)

    10) Tighten the saddle tensioning bolt. (I had to use an adjustable spanner, as the supplied wrench slipped once I pulled the leather back into the stretched position.)

    That’s it! Ride and enjoy!

    –Alan, another satisfied Brooks customer.

    p.s. I was able to mostly break in a new B17 saddle in about 20 miles, and it’s truly a joy to use now.

  15. Christine says:

    I bought this bag October 2011. I liked the idea that I didn’t need to buy and install a back rack for my 1997 Cannondale—I didn’t want to install anything on it for my 10-mile one-way commute in the D.C. metro area.

    Getting it on was a task, so much that I enlisted my boyfriend to finish the job. I took it off once in three months just to make some improvements (more on that later).

    The buckling (it’s like buckling a belt) proves a little hard to close the bag and secure your contents. At full capacity, the straps aren’t quite long enough to buckle. Sometimes I need to spend up to 3 minutes rearranging the contents and stretching the bag to reach the first hole in the strap (this is a long time to fiddle with things if you’re trying to get out the door!). I just wish the straps had been 6 inches longer to make it more of a cinch to buckle. I also wish the buckling mechanisms were reversed. To buckle, you must bend over and buckle it underneath the saddle. This also makes it hard to leave home/work quickly. If you could buckle more on top of the bag (so reversing the locations of the certain fastening straps), that would be easier.

    One night I could barely fasten the straps on the last hole. And then the 10-mile ride was a rainy one. The leather strap kind of disintegrated and weakened considerably. Now I can’t use the last hole because it’ll probably split sooner rather than later.

    So I took the bag off my bike mid-December 2011 to see how I can make fastening easier. I looped some new, textured cotton straps with snaps attached to the ends. Now there won’t be any buckling, but just snapping two snaps (think life-vest snaps). After five 20-mile commutes (some rain, snow mixed in), the snaps seem to be holding up just fine. I have a much easier time securing my belongings.

    I’ll keep the bag now that I’ve made my own improvements to it.

  16. Bill Graham says:

    I have a Minnehaha saddle bag and I love it. I got the non-barrel small sized bag and it can fit a LOT of stuff. I liked carrying my Kindle in it for trips as well. Could fit my Kindle, tire levers, spare tube, multi-tool, glasses case, two different shaker bottles, license, cell phone, and lights without too much hassle. You learn quickly how to arrange things. They are fantastic bags.

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