Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Purple Bagged: Part 2

These bags are top notch in every way.
A little over a week ago I shared with you all that read here about my new Bike Bag Dude bags. Well, now I have put them on the bike they were made for and they look great. Of course, they would, because Bike Bag Dude does an awesome job, as usual. I noticed a few things while I was installing them and using them on a couple of other bikes.

First of all, I like that Bike Bag Dude keeps evolving their stuff. It is basically the same bag system but with a lot of refinements. They don't rest on their laurels in The Land Down Under, and it shows. This is why several professional cyclists, and a lot of ultra-endurance cyclists rely on Bike Bag Dude bags. They keep making them better. And they were great right from the get-go.

Take my original set up for this bike, which went through at least six years of abuse. I rode through mire, Winter slush and treated streets, and gravel and dirt roads. I over stuffed those bags on several occasions to the point I was sure the zippers would fail or that the seams would come undone. Over all those years, the only issue I ever had was with one of the attachment straps for the main bag and it was my fault. I didn't heal the cut I made to shorten the strap properly and it started splitting. Reheating the area sealed the tear and after that, no further issues were seen or experienced. Well, other than the fact that the bags were soiled beyond recognition in some spots!

So, even that old bag was top notch. I really liked it a lot. The other bags- the Chaff Bags and the Top Tube Garage are also just fantastic pieces of kit that I have abused on every bike I own at some point or another.

The two-tiered frame bag has a removable "floor" in case you want one huge marsupial pouch.
The new bags have several notable upgrades. I noticed the zippers are different, for one thing. The pulls are beefier and the waterproof zipper itself is really robust. This is a big deal when you use bags like these in cold Winter conditions. The actual fabric is still as light as ever, but this bag has better structure and the fabric must be a tougher thing than the older Bike Bag Dude bags, or maybe I'm just not feeling this right. These bags just feel tougher. The Velcro is very different and, of course, a lot of frame bag makers are using the higher quality hook and loop stuff now. It really is a big difference from the old bag which had a thicker, more unwieldy strap and the hook and loop material was "hairy", for lack of a better term.

The lower section of the main bag is where I put my spare tube and pump.
The Top Tube Garage is also a better design than in the past. Slightly narrower than the OG one, and a better zipper pull here as well. Strapping is adjustable front and rear to adapt to any configuration. That's another nice upgrade. Also, you'll find that upgraded hook and loop strapping here also.

The Chaff Bag is an interesting study in how the Bike Bag Dude has evolved his product. Early versions were smaller diameter and shallower. they were "okay", but try getting a "man-paw" into one and, well.......No-go!. Then I was sent some new versions which solved the getting the hand in issues, but they were a tad bit too oversized. I noted that the newest ones are "just right sized", and the bottom strap is shorter than the super long ones of the past, which is nice since you don't have to figure out how to take up the extra slack and risk getting it caught in a front wheel. Now the straps are perfect, and again- the newer high quality hook and loop closure.

Chaff Bags are such versatile little beasts. They can be extra water bottle cages, food bags, stuff bags for coats and gloves, or you can load them with repair gear for that "out there" bike ride. I've used these for all of these things and more. If you are handy with attaching these, you can set up a bike with at least two, and if you run an aero bar or something like the Bar Yak system, you can run four Chaff Bags! (I've done this too.) So, you can really make a Chaff Bag into pretty much whatever you need it to be. I often use one as a camera bag, and in the image above, that Chaff Bag has my Bontrager jacket stuffed into it. In my mind, this is one of the best bags Bike Bag Dude offers.

The "full monty" Two Chaff Bags, (you can't really see the left side one), the Top Tube Garage, and the custom frame bag.
So, that's the run down. Now, there is a little detail I need to reveal. First off, the bags are staying no matter what. Secondly, due to a certain circumstance that I was made aware of a couple of weeks ago, these bags may have a new home. That maybe necessitates the moving on of this titanium beauty. (See the Garage Sale Page) If it doesn't move on- no biggie. But you'll perhaps learn why I am seeking a new home for this rig in the future. Maybe. It's all pretty unreal, that's all I can say now. Stay tuned......

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