After spending the majority of the time I had to acquire the best fabrics, research and make the saddlebag I left just enough time to make a frame bag and top tube bag. These bag would be strong enough to be over stuffed with gear, food and water while still remaining water resistant.
The frame bag would need special shaping to make the most of the limited dimensions and to accommodate the rear shock. The shape was extremely important and worth the extra effort to sew the tight corners. I struggled to join the sharp corner on the top to accommodate the rear shock which required extra seam sealing after a sewing machine misadventure on the first side.
I put the #5 PU coated YKK zipper on the left of the bag to avoid the grease and grime from the drivetrain on the right. To protect the bike frame from the bag contents bouncing around I used a layer of 1/8″ closed cell foam for full gusset. The foam was sandwiched between the Liteskin fabric on the outside and a layer of X-pac on the inside.
I successfully made each side fit the gusset equally by using the notches for the webbing placements as a guide. Sewing each side evenly prevented any distortion or puckering, something I learned from my failure of the all dyneema frame bag for my Kona Red Zone.
2020 was my first attempt at The Adirondack Trail Ride, after the first day of 55miles, 15 of which were hike-a-bike over stream beds, snowmobile trails and rock scrambles, most was (for me) un-ridable terrain. To add to this tough day, I forgot some food in the frame bag and a hungry rodent sniffed out my forgotten rations and made quick work of the frame bag’s Liteskin fabric where it attached to the zipper. The hungry ground beast was able to break the threads attaching the fabric to the zipper before ripping the fabric and gaining access to one of the 9 remaining perfectly seasoned couscous meals I had prepared, luckily it didn’t like the taste and after all it’s devious work of destroying the bag it turned tail after only a small taste of my rations.
The morning temp was 35f and neither duct tape or Gear Aid Tenacious Tape would adhere to the Liteskin fabric so I used a lighter to heat both the fabric and the gear aid tape that created some form of adhesion so the bag would last a few more days. I definitely won’t be so lazy to forget to hang my food in a bag next time, luckily it wasn’t a bear.
The top tube bag was a lot more difficult to figure. I had to make sure it was as large as possible but also allow me to stand over the bike and the bag without damaging myself or the bag, which lead me to create the top curve with the lowest point in the middle and the highest at the stem and seat post. It could only have a top zipper so I used a Ykk PU coated zipper, I also needed more protection from the rain so I added a cover/flap that extended over the top and down the opposite side and secured with a fidlock magnetic buckle for easy opening and closing. I added loops for a bungee cord but the width of the 1″ top did not leave enough space or cordage to accommodate anything worthwhile to carry. After the initial trip I removed the loops and cord.
The top tube bag was a lot more difficult to figure out. I had to make sure it was as large as possible but also allowed me to stand over the bike and the bag, without damaging myself or the bag, which led me to create the top curve with the lowest point in the middle and the highest at the stem and seat post. It could only have a top zipper so I used a Ykk PU coated zipper, like the frame bag I added a layer of 1/8″ closed cell foam to the bottom of the bag to protect the frame. The foam was sandwiched between the outside layer of Liteskin and inside layer of X-pac just like the frame bag.
Non-Woven Polyester face coated with Poly Resin
70d Nylon Ripstop c6 DWR
Weight 3.4 oz/yd 2
53% Nylon 47% Polyester
Waterproof 160 psi
Made in the USA
TX07 TENT X-PAC™ LAMINATED RIPSTOP FABRIC
Weight 3.2 oz/sg yd
Tear Strength 7.9 lb
Waterproof 100 psi
70 denier ripstop Nylon
0.25 mil PET film
Made in the USA