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It Even Has a Zipper-Tuck! Green Guru’s Clutch Saddle Bag

by Dara Marks Marino

Dara Marks MarinoFormer top pro mountain bike racer Dara Marks Marino now coaches cyclists and triathletes through TheMindfulAthlete.net. Most of her commuting these days is with a trail-a-bike.


Picture it: the National Mountain Bike Pro Cross Country race in Aspen, CO, circa 2005. This was my course. Climb for an hour, descend fast and furious. Repeat. I was planning to win. Two minutes into the race I heard clink-clank-plunk, reached under my seat, and realized my saddle bag had emptied its contents on to the trail. In it had been my spare tube, tire levers, and quick-air. I muttered something (completely not-profane, I’m sure!) about losing my spare tube. A fellow racer said, “Don’t worry, you weigh like 90 pounds, you won’t flat.” Like a sneaky curse she doomed me to flatting for certain, which I did on the first rock as the course took its first downhill turn, while I was in third place and feeling strong. Unable to repair it, I hiked all the way back down the mountain, carrying my bike, surely with no profanity.

Since then, I have held all saddle bags in suspicious regard. They all seem to either open up unexpectedly (as illustrated), release their straps and fall viciously in to my rear wheel, or, at best, shred my shorts where the Velcro-strap sticks out from my seat post and catches on my lycra.

Enter: the Green Guru Clutch Saddle Bag. On inspection, I was first impressed by the attention to environmental detail that the company uses. Green Guru is meeting high environmental standards in many ways, including providing nationwide locations for recycling your own gear. Nearly the entire Clutch saddle bag is made of upcycled materials, minus the nylon and metal hardware. I even caught sight of a patch on one of the tubes that makes up the main part of the pouch.

I was easily able to get everything in to the bag that I wanted to: tube (wrapped in a sock to protect it from everything else in the bag), tire lever, patch kit, quick air, top for quick air, and multi-tool.
Because the bag is made out of tubes the sides stretch and conform to the contents. This is unlike other bags that have more rigid sides, often limiting how much can fit in the bag, or requiring advanced Tetris skills to get it all in there.

Attaching it under my saddle, I had no trouble lacing the straps through, and it fit snugly and securely.

The real test was yet to come. I began by transporting my bike on the roof-rack of my car. If it did not open up or fall off at 75 miles per hour on the freeway, I figured I was fairly safe to take it out for a test ride. Which I did, on some of the bumpiest trails known to mountain biking.

Not even one tooth of the zipper peaked out threateningly. Not one hook of the Velcro grabbed my shorts. And never did I worry that the straps were loosening.

I did not notice it at first, but this bag even has an external “pocket” through which I was able to tuck the zipper and zipper pull. This is the quadruple-extra-super-anti-opening-device that I have always longed for.

The Green Guru Saddle Bag has just brought me back in to the world of keeping the extra weight off my back, and yet always knowing I have tools and a tube with me.

 
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6 Responses to “It Even Has a Zipper-Tuck! Green Guru’s Clutch Saddle Bag”

  1. I’ve been riding this bag since November and had no idea about the zip tuck! It’s been a great bag. I’ve had it on a Moonlander with a multitool, co2 and a Surly Toob. No way my other bags could handle a tube that big, let alone anything else.

  2. Kevin Love says:

    My Pashley Roadster Sovereign came with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires as factory standard equipment.

    That was over five years ago and I have never gotten a puncture ever since. Never, ever.

    The reviewed saddle bag is so small that it is really only useful for carrying a puncture kit. Not really suitable for the grocery run.

    It is really only suitable for one use, and the advent of puncture resistant tires has made that one use obsolete.

  3. TBR says:

    Nice review.

    I like the recycled materials, and it seems you found the assembly to be well accomplished.

    One detail, though, is missing — how much does it cost?

  4. Dara Marks Marino says:

    Whoops! I did leave that out, didn’t I? $27.95, thanks for noticing!

  5. BluesCat says:

    Kevin – I really like Pashley bikes (I believe the distributor for them is right up the street from my office), but I think you missed the point of Dara’s review: she needed a saddle bag which would stand up to crashing up and down hills out where there are no roads … only big rocks. I hardly think you use your Sovereign in that manner, do you?

    Also, on a light road bike or a fixie, this saddle bag might be just the ticket for a quick dash up to the store. If you didn’t want to use it for tire tools, it’s plenty big enough for your wallet, keys and cell phone.

    I have a Green Guru Cruiser Handlebar bag which has found a permanent place on my Giant Yukon. If I didn’t have a rear rack on the bike, I think this Clutch Saddle Bag would be a perfect companion to the Cruiser bag for errands which don’t result in a shopping bag full of stuff (i.e. to the drug store for a prescription, to the liquor store for lottery tickets, etc.).

  6. Calvin says:

    The Clutch is meant to carry essentials, and is better suited to roadies carrying a smaller inner tube or a patch kit, multi-tool, and cash/CCs. A cellphone and cash is probably also something it would be useful to carry, though I don’t know if it would carry both the cell phone and the patch kit and tools.

    Green Guru also offers a Shift saddle bag, which is slightly bigger than the Clutch, and could more easily carry larger mtn. bike tubes, or even multiple tubes. I have one and it’s a great size to carry the basics + a few add’l items. Right now, I’ve stuffed a 26″ tube, CO2, CO2 inflator, multi-tool, 2 tire irons, and my iPhone w/ Otterbox case. The external strap helps to cinch up the bag, so things don’t rattle around.

    I was concerned the loop for attaching lights wasn’t going to be big enough, but it fits my Cygolite Hotshot just right (albeit horizontally, not vertically).

    The zipper tuck is pretty cool, though it takes a few tries to be able to stuff the zipper pull into the tight opening. Thx for the tip on this!

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