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Ortlieb Plus Saddle Bag

by John Coe

Ortlieb Plus Saddle BagWhat does one consider about a thing as inert as a seat bag when preparing to review it?

Does the seat bag hold stuff securely and with minimal rattling or damage? Does the seat bag stay on the bike and not fall off without warning? Does the seat bag mount to the bike in a reasonable position which doesn’t get in the rider’s way while riding?

That’s about all I’ve got. And, for the record, Ortlieb’s not-so-cleverly-named but rather-practically-designed Saddle-Bag (comes only in black, natch) does all of the above just fine.

Like all Ortlieb products, the Saddle-Bag is sold as “waterproof” (says so right on the label). And this claim was not disproved during its month on my bike. The Saddle-Bag’s sealed seams and atypical zipperless roll-closure worked well to keep the elements away from my tool kit and tube on both snowy and rainy days.

Ortlieb Plus Saddle BagAnd here’s something else worth considering: I actually had to have a glance at the instructions when it came to installing the Ortlieb Saddle-Bag on the seat rails of my commuter bike. The Saddle-Bag is not like other seat bags, ya see, which typically mount with Velcro® straps.

The Ortlieb Saddle-Bag mounts twice as securely as any other seat bag I’ve ever installed via a clever plastic clamping mechanism which requires the use of a screwdriver and a bit of bracket-finessing during installation. But once installed this attachment system makes for quick-and-easy detachment and reattachment.

The roll closure will take you a couple tries to get right. But once you figure out how to do it (again, the instructions are helpful) the Ortlieb Saddle-Bag stays securely closed at all times. Better than zippers? Probably, if it came to a drenching deluge. But on a daily basis? Meh. Zippers are probably simpler. But, I’ve forgotten to rezip my seat bag, losing valuable tools, tubes, and sundry other items, too many times to count. It’s probably a lot harder to forget to reroll your Ortlieb Saddle-Bag, since the whole thing’s wide open like a gaping maw when it’s unrolled. Thus far it’s worked for me.

Ortlieb Plus Saddle BagSo, priced at about $36.00 (large size), is the waterproof, securely-mounted, but otherwise basically-featureless Ortlieb Saddle-Bag worth the extra coin compared to more typical bags? I’d have to say, That depends. If you live and commute somewhere where it’s really, really wet, I could see that this bag would make good sense. I don’t, so for my purposes, it’s probably overkill. Especially considering that it’s really just keeping my tools and tube dry.

 
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5 Responses to “Ortlieb Plus Saddle Bag”

  1. Malcolm says:

    I have the small Ortlieb, which has the same attachment system, and, after having several other bags with zipper closures, waterproofed and otherwise, I love the roll top. It will open no matter muck or gunk or gloved hands. It doesn’t have to rain all day or ever to appreciate simple, functional design.

  2. Fleur says:

    Bags rattling or damaging my bike is one of the issue i have now with my current saddle bag. And don’t get me started on the zipper. It looks like Ortlieb did not bad. Looking forward to more feedback. Thanks for the sharing.

  3. BluesCat says:

    John – I notice in the ad for on the bag at bikebagshop.com that it says it has “the ability to mount an additional rear light.” Is this via a nylon loop that you hook the taillight clip onto? If so, my only beef with that is that I have a couple of taillights that fit onto saddle/seat bags the same way, and as the little nylon loop breaks in — and becomes more flexible — the lights bounce around and sometimes the button knocks against the bag and turns the light off.

    The ad also says “two D-rings on the roll closure make the saddlebag easy to lock or fix.” I’m guessing the locking is performed using a small cable lock (not included)? This would be good to prevent low-level pilfering of the contents of the bag, or the bag itself altogether, but I figure with the quick release I’d just take the whole bag with me when I left the bike locked to the rack.

  4. John Coe says:

    Bluescat,
    There is a little plastic attachment on the rear of the bag, just beneath the reflective patch that’s likely the place where a taillight can be attached… but I did not try this feature out myself (I use a knog frog).

    Likewise, you can see the two D-rings mentioned in Ortlieb’s literature in the initial inline picture in my review. Pretty sure using those with just a small padlock you would be able to secure the bag against “low level pilfering” but again, this was not a feature that I tested.

  5. BluesCat says:

    John:

    Thanks for the info. I’d really like to see a hard-shell saddle/seat bag/box that locks access to its contents, locks to the seat and locks the seat to the bike frame. In addition to preventing the pilfering of your tools and spare tube, it would prevent the theft of your nice Brooks leather seat.

    Are ya listening, Ortlieb and Jandd?

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