As I previously hinted, I have recently acquired a traditional saddlebag. I have always liked the look of the traditional saddlebags which I have seen on various bikes over the years, generally lugged steel touring bikes owned by men of a certain age.
Traditional saddlebags attach to the loops found on the back of most older saddles, modern leather saddles and the standard Brompton saddle (to name a few). I bought a Carradice Pendle with the intention of using it mainly on the DL-1, as I have long wanted some luggage which is aesthetically complementary to its looks.
The Pendle sat on my desk at work
The bag consists of a large main compartment (big enough for a large U-lock, cable and a jacket) and two side pockets which are ideal in both size and position for things like cameras, hip flasks or snacks. The pockets and main compartments close via leather straps and buckles, which will become easier to fasten and unfasten as they age.
The bag includes a handy loop for clipping an LED light to
The attachment system is straightforward but the back does not attach/detach quickly enough to make it worthwhile to do each time the bike is locked. Two leather straps wrap around a wooden dowel in the main compartment and through the loops, and a third strap is fed through a leather buckle on the rear of the bag and through the seat-post or rear-rack.
Carradice also sell a quick-release system for those who do not wish to leave the bag attached to the bike. I rarely leave the DL-1 locked up in public for long periods of time, so this shouldn’t be an issue for me. As an alternative, the black strap seen on the flap for attaching a light could equally be used for threading through a cable lock if extra security is desired.
Over the weekend I used the bag on the Brompton as I needed some extra carrying capacity. When riding the bag does not interfere with my legs and for the most part I simply forgot about it, the position of the load means it doesn’t really affect handling whilst in the saddle. On the DL-1, even when loaded the bike is easier to pick up and carry than when the equivalent load is placed in a single pannier.
A tin of tomatoes inside the bag for scale
Traditional-style Carradice saddlebags are handmade in Lancashire, mine was made by Christine
The side pockets are useful for storing items you want to have quick access to on a ride, such as a camera
Traditional saddlebags are not as popular as they once were, but they are a viable alternative/addition to panniers and a definite improvement over a rucksack. I would definitely recommend.
By fixing to any saddle with bag loops, saddlebags such as the Pendle can be used on multiple bikes when the need arises