It was time for a new bag. Our Sci-Con bag disappeared on our December epic. The cleat didn’t break, the bag didn’t fail, it just went missing. Maybe we didn’t secure it after replacing the tube in a convenience store. We didn’t realize it until we were home and de-icing the bike.
The Arundel Dual bag looked like a good solution. Seat bags should be light, unobtrusive, non-damaging to shorts and seatpost, and secure. The Dual seemed to have all these features. As easy as the cleat system was on the Sci-Con, we wanted the extra security of a Velcro strap. That the bag was a bit bigger was an added benefit. We love that there’s no strap to abrade the finish on our seatpost or rough up our shorts, and we love the little leather patch on the top, in just the right spot so clamp hardware doesn’t wear through the Cordura. We’ve seen this happen to some of our other bags. Good seat bags shouldn’t be hard to do, but when you’ve suffered through mediocre bags for years, it’s particularly rewarding to find good ones.
We measure the bag at 13.5cm long by 8.5cm tall by 5cm thick. Our digital scale tells us this bag weighs 63g. If it were a perfect rectangle, that would be 573.75 cubic centimeters of space, but since the edges are rounded, it seems like there’s a bit less than that. We typically keep a tube, two tire levers, a patch kit, a boot, a valve extender, a Presta to Schrader adapter, and identification in the bag. This stuff barely fit in the Sci-Con, where there was room left over for another tube and/or two CO2 cartridges and an inflator (a small inflator). We have an Innovations Ultraflate inflator and we weren’t able to fit all our bits, two tubes and the Ultraflate in, but we were able to do all our tools, a tube, the Ultraflate and a spare CO2 with possibly room for a third. With a minimal chuck-style inflator and threaded cartridges two tubes and two CO2s shouldn’t be a problem. The long zipper, which runs about half the length of the bag makes it easy to stuff lots inside and use the zipper to compress the contents just enough to get everything in, even when you don’t think you can fit it all.
While the Velcro strap looks a bit flimsy when the bag is overstuffed, it holds securely. A concern was that the bag would flop around on rough roads, but so far, we haven’t noticed any slop. That the strap can be used to compress the bag seems to do a good job of keeping everything in place. The Cordura nylon material is coated rather thickly on the inside and has yet to soak through on a rainy ride.
With the Dual, we were able to strap it on and forget about it. When we flatted, the zipper opened up easy and everything was there. After some abuse, the bag still looks almost new. We figure this will last a few years without any issues.
If there was one thing we’d want to see in this bag would be some kind of sleeve or pocket on an inside wall for stowing loose pieces like our valve extender, adapter, and sticker patch kit. The large cavity is great for getting lots of stuff into the smallish space, but these little pieces are the kind that get lost or fall out easily. Currently, we’re using a tiny plastic envelope that came with an Assos jersey, and that’s perfect for this job, but such envelopes can be hard to come by.
The Arundel Tubi is a bag from another era. Seat bags designed for tubular tires just about disappeared from the world in the early 1990s. We certainly had one in our early days of abusing clincher tires — the Cannondale version of the bag could hold a folded clincher as well as two tubes. The only drag was if you didn’t have a thick tire in the bag, it would sag like a used condom. Never looked as good in real life as it did in the catalogue. The Tubi measures about 18cm by 9.5cm tall by 4.5 cm thick; it weighs in at 105g. It is not big enough to fit a clincher tire, at least not any way we fold with any tire we have. The Tubi is just big enough to fit a carefully folded tubular along with a CO2 cartridge and our Ultraflate inflator. It can also fit a Blackburn AirStik SL pump. Unlike the Dual, there are two outside pockets that can securely carry adapters, extenders, tools, money and identification.
Fitting a tubular tire inside isn’t easy the first time you do it. Arundel recommends using four fingers of one hand as the “form” you start wrapping the tire around; you can also use a CO2 cartridge. We used our fingers and put them by the valve stem, with the tire on both sides of our fingers and then wrapped as tightly as we could. Shoving the tire in the first time took some work, but having the bag to push against seemed to compress the tire and once it was in, we zipped up the bag, unzipped it and found room for either form of inflator.
You can also use the Tubi to easily carry two tubes, a fair number of tools, and a mini-pump the size of the Blackburn AirStik SL (15.5cm long). Might even be able to shove a third tube in there.
The first time we strapped the Tubi onto our seat rails, we were concerned the bag would move around. We were a bit worried because the bag is narrower than the rails and the strap doesn’t contact the bag until towards the bottom. We could imagine it shifting left and right and left and right as we tackled rough roads. Our concern was misplaced. The bag, even when under-filled doesn’t sag or flop around. It holds securely and sits out of the way of our legs and nothing rattles it or dislodges it.
While it is overkill for our clincher repair needs, we can see some people using the Tubi with clincher tubes. It is perfect for our tubular tire needs; we prefer carrying our tools in the bag as well. Riding with a tubular exposed under the saddle with nothing but a toe strap holding it in place isn’t great for the tire; the exposure to sun and gunk doesn’t worry us, it’s pinching and abrading the sidewalls with the strap. It’s also hard to make it look good.
Arundel again impresses with good designs of simple stuff. We’re wondering what else they can take on.