Thursday, June 02, 2016

Review: Velo Orange Saddlebag Loops

I've used Brooks B-17 saddles for years, and they come with saddlebag loops. But my last B-17 died quite a while back, and my current B-17N isn't as comfortable as the B-17 standard. It's also a pain to keep it covered in the rain (remember: water can splash up from the wheels, not just come down from the sky), and as I get older I have less tolerance for heavy equipment. I've been using Ritchey WCS for ages, and it's been fine, much lighter, and less maintenance (I also got it on a closeout from Nashbar for about $25). On my triplet, I have a Brooks C17 Cambium: it's essentially a B-17 made out of non-leather materials. For whatever reason, however, the C17 doesn't feel as comfortable to my sit bones as the B-17 did, or I can't keep my butt acclimated to both the Ritchey WCS and the C17 at the same time.

For my tour this year, I wanted to see if I could use the Ritchey instead of swapping back to a heavy saddle. Enter the VO saddlebag loops. The pictures and descriptions look iffy, but $15 isn't an obscene price for a half pound of weight savings, so I jumped on it.

The installation is fairly self-evident, but I managed to install it wrong until I added the bagman, whereupon the wrong-ness of the install was evident, so I reversed the loops. That made things a lot better, though not as nice as the brooks saddle with integrated saddlebag loops.

In combination with the saddlebag support, the saddlebag's kept off my thighs and the tire, with plenty of room under the bag for a fender.

If you're tall enough to not need the saddlebag support or can use a smaller saddlebag, the best solution is still the Brooks C17 with integrated loops and not bag support. But since I need to tote a CPAP machine up and down the alps anyway, this is probably the lightest setup I can find.

Recommended.
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