Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Reviews Database => Parts and Accessories => Topic started by: Somnolent on September 10, 2014, 04:30:11 pm

Title: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Somnolent on September 10, 2014, 04:30:11 pm
Another step in the quest to find "the" saddlebag.

Diligent readers may have read of my quick release modification to the Barley - lighter than the Bagman & SQR supports, but still bag + support combined was heading towards 1kg before anything was loaded in !    Although it looks the part, it's a little too big for summer 200s & 300s, and a little too small in winter and on longer events.

Various folks have mentioned Revelate (rather expensive from USA) and Alpkit's new offering (cheaper - but not down in the Chinese made budget-class of many of their offerings - this one is UK made)
 
It's billed as being adaptable from 8 to 13 litres of volume, so in Carradice terms: from slightly less than a Barley, to a bit bigger than a Pendle. 
It's certainly lightweight (around 230g claimed), but I wasn't convinced that it would work for me, when packing a minimum of summer kit.
In practice - here is what it looks like compared to the Barley:
(http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt318/porkypete58/ecc5475f-44e1-4edf-af3f-6468cc4d5f38_zps8e9c9ae9.jpg)
With a maximum number of folds of the roll-top and the straps clinched up I'd guess we're probably closer to 5 litres.
This is enough for a very comprehensive repair kit including a spare folding tyre (which fits the top curve of the bag rather nicely), first aid kit, spare gloves/dry socks, waterproof jacket, bonk rations, spare rear blinky & so on.

But when all of that is crammed in to a small bag (I have an R&K Contour which is about 4 litres for example), what to do with the gilet and the arm-warmers when they come off after the morning chill has gone?
No problem with a bag of this style.

I'm not sure I quite believe you get the recommended three folds to the closure when it's maxed out at 13 litres - but this is what it look like as full as I can get it - again compared with the Barley:
(http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt318/porkypete58/b3b5e659-5cf1-4d88-8b51-317665b7fbe7_zpsb0b7a3fb.jpg)

In use:
To be fair I've only used at close to minimum capacity so far and there was no detectable sway from the system of straps over saddler rail and (double) straps around seat post.    The only down-side is that there is lot of spare strappage to tuck away when it's like this.
I was little concened that the "depth" of a dark coloured bag would make it difficult to find things - but careful packing in internal bags of different shapes/sizes & colours helps to keep it all organised.

First impressions are a  :thumbsup:






Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on September 10, 2014, 04:45:29 pm
Price and source?
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Manotea on September 10, 2014, 06:28:45 pm
Clicky  (http://bit.ly/1rWAlZU)
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: marcusjb on September 10, 2014, 10:55:38 pm
Good stuff!

I think we may start to see more riders using this kind of solution and a slight move away from Carradice. I have been using a Revelate Viscacha (what this bag is based on) and it has been a positive experience so far.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: lastant on September 11, 2014, 12:59:30 pm
I'm really tempted with one of these, but there's a few out there that are similar and I can't make my mind up!

The Viscacha (https://www.revelatedesigns.com/index.cfm/store.catalog/Seat-Bags/Viscacha) looks to be the market leader to me, but is very spendy. There's also the Wildcat (http://www.wildcatgear.co.uk/products/seat-packs/) that looks neat, but is effectively a retention system for a drybag.

Quite like the look of the Koala, but have also been looking at the Apidura version (http://lumberjac.com/2014/06/apidura-saddle-pack/) - it's not as pretty, but does have an elasticated bit on the top which would be handy for wet clothes / flip-flops whilst en route.

Decisions, decisions...
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Christophe on September 11, 2014, 02:41:14 pm
I'm liking the look of these and they seem a very good rackless luggage solution. I have a Barley and was toying with getting another larger Carradice for long rides plus bagman. These possibly would work out better as the only extra luggage space needed is really for clothing.

Has anyone got any photos of these in action on a road bike?
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Deano on September 11, 2014, 02:59:16 pm
I picked up one of these second hand:

http://bikepack.pl/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=42

Tis a bit cheaper than the Alpkit one, and so far so good. I'll sort out a review once I've had a bit more use out of it.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: marcusjb on September 11, 2014, 03:01:28 pm
Has anyone got any photos of these in action on a road bike?

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3877/14505775487_8faa55760a_z.jpg)

Few on here:

http://reportage.transcontinentalrace.com/?p=369

(https://overthebarblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/img_4634.jpg)

Do some googling on bike-packing and there's some great examples out there.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Christophe on September 11, 2014, 03:27:23 pm
Thanks Marcus. Is the orange Condor your steed? What's your bar bag on there? I'll have to have a proper browse tonight. Bike packing looks like a great lightweight alternative to conventional lugage.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: marcusjb on September 11, 2014, 03:36:32 pm
Thanks Marcus. Is the orange Condor your steed? What's your bar bag on there? I'll have to have a proper browse tonight. Bike packing looks like a great lightweight alternative to conventional lugage.

Indeed it is.

Revelate Sweet Roll - that's less successful than the Viscacha (though I knew it was going to be a big of a bodge on drop bars).

It had a sleeping bag and a few other bits and pieces in it.  I think if I do something like Transcontinental, I would have aero bars and strap a stuff sack under them with my sleeping bag.  Then use something like the top tube bar as on the picture of the De Rosa. 

But the Viscacha was a great success and a really solid way of carrying gear without relying on the scaffolding of a Bagman. 
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Christophe on September 11, 2014, 03:41:37 pm
Thanks for that. Only problem I can see is that my new audax medals would look way cooler on a Carradie ::-)
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: mds101 on September 11, 2014, 07:13:27 pm
I like the look of the alpkit one and is probably how I'll go for longer rides next year. The only thing that puts me off is the warning about not being totally waterproof because of the lack of taped seems - I think they suggest using a dry bag inside. Be interesting to see how this works out in reality.

Marcus, how's the revelate one get on with water.....although probably more appropriate to ask how it copes with the sun after your Scottish trip this year?
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: marcusjb on September 11, 2014, 07:28:47 pm
The Revelate dealt with water just fine on a ride up to the Peak District.  Heavy rain for 3-4 hours.  The sweet roll was also fine.  The Pocket wasn't so good.

I do use dry bags as well - mainly for organisation.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: microphonie on September 13, 2014, 02:47:39 pm
Happened upon this by chance recently: a guy on Etsy who makes bags to order:  McFarlin Designs  (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/McFarlinDesigns?ref=listing-shop-header-item-count).

Can't comment on quality as I haven't bought anything, but prices seem good (before postage/duty etc get added) compared to the above.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on September 13, 2014, 03:14:13 pm
Yeah, a lot cheaper but not really quite the same thing.

His bar bag looks very interesting.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Christophe on September 15, 2014, 09:15:13 am
Been doing a bit of browsing at the weekend and cam across this thread.

http://www.lfgss.com/conversations/194843/

Quite a lot of good information regarding different bag makers and tips on attachment.

Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 29, 2014, 02:37:02 pm
I picked up one of these second hand:

http://bikepack.pl/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=42

Tis a bit cheaper than the Alpkit one, and so far so good. I'll sort out a review once I've had a bit more use out of it.
Have you got a photo of it loaded on the bike? I'm interested whether it sticks up above the saddle or not - from this thread, it seems the Alpkit ones do but the Viscacha design does not - cos atm that would obscure my rear light!
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Deano on September 29, 2014, 11:00:22 pm
Not to hand - it kinda covers the whole seatpost and saddle. If you have a long seatpost you might get away with a light underneath it, but not above it, I don't think.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on September 30, 2014, 07:45:32 am
At the roadside it takes longer to stow kit in the Alpkit than in or on my Vaude Silk Road.  If I'm riding with a bunch and we stop to doff rain gear, they're ready to go quite a bit before me - mainly because their bags are faster of access and have external bungee cords built in.

Alpkit state on their order form that they'll be happy to include any individual adaptations when they're making the bags, but ironically you have to have ordered and received your bag before you can see what such adaptations might be.

If I order another, though, it'll include extra tabs let into the seams, with rings for passing Velcro straps etc.  The Revelate already comes with these.

You *can* thread extra straps through unused slots under the central top strap (the one the saddle-post straps go through), but anything fastened there is liable to wobble from side to side. You can also pass them through the fastening straps, but then when you undo same everything flops.

In short, the bag would be much improved by four or six strap rings in the right places, and maybe an external net.

WRT rearlights: better off with a light on the seat-stay.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 30, 2014, 10:24:57 am
Thanks, Deano and T42.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Somnolent on September 30, 2014, 06:15:54 pm
Like T42 I'd go for extra tabs to thread bungies or velcro through, were I ever to get another.

As it is I don't find it any slower to open the bag, get a rain jacket out and reclose the bag than it would be to accomplish the same sequence on a Barley or other Carradice with classic buckles.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: rabbit on September 30, 2014, 06:28:43 pm
I absolutely adore my Koala, a stunning bit of kit for the money.  In terms of waterproofness, it's so far held up in torrential rain for several hours.  It's light, much much lighter than a Carradice.  It looks good (IMHO!) and so far it's held up to the rigours of being constantly tightened/loosened to accommodate kit.  Plus, it holds so much stuff.   :thumbsup:

(http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b80/littlegirlbunny/20140629_074125_resized_zpsf0fbf1b7.jpg) (http://s17.photobucket.com/user/littlegirlbunny/media/20140629_074125_resized_zpsf0fbf1b7.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: jamesld8 on October 03, 2014, 01:12:37 pm
I'm really tempted with one of these, but there's a few out there that are similar and I can't make my mind up!

The Viscacha (https://www.revelatedesigns.com/index.cfm/store.catalog/Seat-Bags/Viscacha) looks to be the market leader to me, but is very spendy. There's also the Wildcat (http://www.wildcatgear.co.uk/products/seat-packs/) that looks neat, but is effectively a retention system for a drybag.


Decisions, decisions...

I bought the smaller Wildcat system earlier this year---yes it just holds a dry bag ---I`m using a 5l one , but it does hold a fair deal useful kit eg toolkit + legwarmers + light baselyaer + gloves+ waterproof + gilet will all fit in. Alternatively it will take  a winter weight waterproof + gloves + hat + legwarmers+ tools etc 

However with all these systems where to put the Audax badges ???   ::-) ::-) Barley is good for that use  :thumbsup:

One small downside though v a traditional saddlebag is that I`m having to unpack all drybag to access items whereas with a Barley it`s `laid out` inside, easier get to
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Fab Foodie on October 04, 2014, 11:48:18 am
Damn you PpPete et al ....

There I was safe in my decision to purchase a Bagman 2 QR Expedition for my (due in December) Rourke Audax/Winter steed and now I've seen this!  A much lighter and sexy solution
Problem is I already own 2 Carradice (Barley and Camper longflap (I think)) and one large Karrimor which I'd then have much less use for (well, the Barley anyway)
Decisions, decisions ....

I guess the Bagman will be better for credit card touring/staying over at friends family and long w/ends etc.  Also useful for carrying odds and sods too.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Somnolent on October 12, 2014, 03:03:35 pm
Well sorry FF !

Anyway T42's comments worked away at the nether recesses of the old grey matter so I got on to Alpkit and blagged some iron-on 'repair' patches (usually shipped with their Gourdon rucsacs)   I backed half of each circle with a bit of cordura left over from another project and applied them in appropriate locations before cutting down and hole-punching the protruding 'tabs'.   A bit of shock-cord et voila:
(http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt318/porkypete58/IMG_20141011_180848984_zpss0ebfdl6.jpg)

and here it is with a small dry-bag of suitable size to contain my waterproof:
(http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt318/porkypete58/afbf39b1-909b-4b25-8b41-d130ad08b183_zpsf6cd1647.jpg)

Sorry about the poor quality images from the phone camera but I'm sure you get the idea.
Talking to Alpkit next about getting suitable tabs (probably 3 on each side) sewn into the seams.... or at least having that as a "standard" option for any YACFer that wants.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Somnolent on October 14, 2014, 02:49:33 pm
Talking to Alpkit next about getting suitable tabs (probably 3 on each side) sewn into the seams.... or at least having that as a "standard" option for any YACFer that wants.

To which their product development guy responded:
I am working on some developments for a version 2 of the Koala which will include a way of securing items to the top of the bag, as well as some other modifications I have been thinking through.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 21, 2014, 11:39:06 am
Talking to Alpkit next about getting suitable tabs (probably 3 on each side) sewn into the seams.... or at least having that as a "standard" option for any YACFer that wants.

To which their product development guy responded:
I am working on some developments for a version 2 of the Koala which will include a way of securing items to the top of the bag, as well as some other modifications I have been thinking through.
That's interesting. Did they mention a possible timeframe or whether it will be the same price as the current model?
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Collonach on January 29, 2015, 08:11:02 pm
My enquiry to Alpkit on 6Jan about a Mk2 Koala gave a nil response from the marketing person, who referred on to the design team but no further info has emerged. Mktg quoted +£15 for zigzag elastics to be added, which pushes the price up towards some of the more robust competitors like Apidura. I want to get one of these bags ready for the longer rides this year :-\
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Riggers on January 30, 2015, 10:20:47 am
Hadn't realised Apidura existed, so 'had-a-look', and all looks very nice but a tad expensive. The top tube one is a good idea, but it's still £40.00.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on January 30, 2015, 10:32:20 am
Well sorry FF !

Anyway T42's comments worked away at the nether recesses of the old grey matter so I got on to Alpkit and blagged some iron-on 'repair' patches (usually shipped with their Gourdon rucsacs)   I backed half of each circle with a bit of cordura left over from another project and applied them in appropriate locations before cutting down and hole-punching the protruding 'tabs'.   A bit of shock-cord et voila:
(http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt318/porkypete58/IMG_20141011_180848984_zpss0ebfdl6.jpg)

and here it is with a small dry-bag of suitable size to contain my waterproof:
(http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt318/porkypete58/afbf39b1-909b-4b25-8b41-d130ad08b183_zpsf6cd1647.jpg)

Sorry about the poor quality images from the phone camera but I'm sure you get the idea.
Talking to Alpkit next about getting suitable tabs (probably 3 on each side) sewn into the seams.... or at least having that as a "standard" option for any YACFer that wants.

Lost track of this topic until now. Interesting info, thanks Pete.

How's the mod holding up?
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Somnolent on February 19, 2015, 01:27:01 pm
I can't really comment on how robust the (previously pictured) home-produced mod is because I've never really loaded it. 
However ... I'm beginning to think it is unnecessary.   It takes no longer to open and re-close the Alpkit than it does the Barley, and as for putting wet waterproof back in I'm considering one of these https://www.alpkit.com/products/airlok-xtra-tapered (https://www.alpkit.com/products/airlok-xtra-tapered) as an internal bag, with any wet gear kept in the outer but out of the inner (if you see what I mean).
The other advantage of an inner bag is having something you can pull off the bike quickly to take into controls, and I hope, stuff back in equally quickly.   I can imagine that at silly o'clock in a PBP bike park refitting the triple attachment of the Koala might not be too much fun.

Talking of attachments I found the seat post straps unnecessarily fiddly so I've gone velcro like so:
(http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt318/porkypete58/velcro_mod_zps6c28c2d5.jpg)
If anyone wants a small piece of 4" wide Velcro (hook side only) to do likewise I'll be happy to oblige as I got an MOQ of 1 metre.  - just PM me.


 
 

Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on March 18, 2015, 07:58:03 am
I can't really comment on how robust the (previously pictured) home-produced mod is because I've never really loaded it. 
However ... I'm beginning to think it is unnecessary.   It takes no longer to open and re-close the Alpkit than it does the Barley, and as for putting wet waterproof back in I'm considering one of these https://www.alpkit.com/products/airlok-xtra-tapered (https://www.alpkit.com/products/airlok-xtra-tapered) as an internal bag, with any wet gear kept in the outer but out of the inner (if you see what I mean).
The other advantage of an inner bag is having something you can pull off the bike quickly to take into controls, and I hope, stuff back in equally quickly.   I can imagine that at silly o'clock in a PBP bike park refitting the triple attachment of the Koala might not be too much fun.

Sorry for lack of response - medical fun & games diverted attention.

You could also stow your toolkit down into the heel of the Koala and put the Airlok on top of it. The tools ride best down there but you can still get at them quickly. You could also thread a light length of web through the loops to carry it.

Just ordered a fluo one. I'll maybe try it as they suggest, without the Koala round it. Have to rearrange my lighting first.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on March 21, 2015, 09:26:07 pm
Fluo Airlok arrived. Looks good. "Airlok" is nearly right, the thing is nearly airtight when rolled & clasped.  A tighter roll & it could probably double as a pillow.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on April 06, 2015, 08:33:28 am
Did 100k a couple of days ago with the Koala loaded as for an Audax, with dunnage in the Airlok and tools in the heel as mentioned above.  Result: my seatpost rack is back on the bike this morning because:

1. The K sways out.  When I aim at zig it aims at zag, so that swerving round bumps & holes was unnerving at times.  It felt almost like a cracked frame or a wobbly wheel.  I dare say I'd get used to it but I don't really want to because

2. At one point I did a daft gear-change and threw my chain. I have a technique for putting it back without getting dirty hands, using a small screwdriver that usually lives in my toolkit.  The thought of popping three clasps, howking out rain jacket and Airlok, doing the bit with the chain and then repacking everything, rolling the end up, fishing for the straps and replugging them together in the dark with three chums tapping their feet made me quail.

So I've dropped a line to Carradice about their SQR system.

As to the Koala, I reckon I'll sell it.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: mattc on April 06, 2015, 09:56:44 am
See also this comment:


One small downside though v a traditional saddlebag is that I`m having to unpack all drybag to access items whereas with a Barley it`s `laid out` inside, easier get to
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on April 06, 2015, 09:33:13 pm
In spades.

Did a 170-odd k today with the seatpost rack and Vaude ratbag rack bag.  The rack is handy enough but it weighs damn near a kilo. Trouble is I'm a low-down bum and most normal saddlebags would ride on the mudguard (Raceblade).   If Carradice can come up with the right reply I'll probably go that way.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: JBB on April 06, 2015, 10:46:49 pm
I've got a Carradice SQR tour for long rides, if you want I can measure the amount of seatpost I have showing - I'm 5' 4" so it's a bit tight but doable.

Julia
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on April 07, 2015, 08:52:42 am
Cheers Julia, that'd be great.  Carradice don't seem to be awake yet. TBH, me neither.

FWIW my seatpost shows 85 mm nut to rail fixing.  Rails to top of mudguard is 200 mm.

John
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: mattc on April 07, 2015, 08:05:57 pm
In spades.

Did a 170-odd k today with the seatpost rack and Vaude ratbag rack bag.  The rack is handy enough but it weighs damn near a kilo. Trouble is I'm a low-down bum and most normal saddlebags would ride on the mudguard (Raceblade).   If Carradice can come up with the right reply I'll probably go that way.
Tubus do a rack (in Ti?)that is under 300g.

I suspect most convential racks are over-engineered for audax requirements (and similar v-light touring). And that they could weigh less (for the same capacity) than a seatpost-mounted one.

(I am no engineer - just applying physics and common-sense. Possibly badly ...)
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on April 07, 2015, 08:29:15 pm
Most racks are rated for 25kg, which certainly seems more than you're likely to be carrying on an audax.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on April 07, 2015, 09:40:58 pm
Mine's rated for 10 kg and weighs 873 g.  Last 1000k I did I had around 6 kg of dunnage in it, a lot of it just in case. PBP's different though, there's so much laid on at the controls.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Somnolent on April 08, 2015, 11:47:47 am
Did 100k a couple of days ago with the Koala loaded as for an Audax, with dunnage in the Airlok and tools in the heel as mentioned above.  Result: my seatpost rack is back on the bike this morning because:

1. The K sways out.  When I aim at zig it aims at zag, so that swerving round bumps & holes was unnerving at times.  It felt almost like a cracked frame or a wobbly wheel.  I dare say I'd get used to it but I don't really want to because

2. At one point I did a daft gear-change and threw my chain. I have a technique for putting it back without getting dirty hands, using a small screwdriver that usually lives in my toolkit.  The thought of popping three clasps, howking out rain jacket and Airlok, doing the bit with the chain and then repacking everything, rolling the end up, fishing for the straps and replugging them together in the dark with three chums tapping their feet made me quail.

So I've dropped a line to Carradice about their SQR system.

As to the Koala, I reckon I'll sell it.

I'd be interested in both the Koala (depending on colour) and the fluo Airlok if you are getting rid.
I've experienced the 'sway' you describe and it is indeed most disconcerting.  However it is curable - just have to haul on the straps that go over the seat rails.  Tight isn't enough for those straps- they have to be really really tight.
As for packing for accessibility - that's a different story and I use a tiny bar bag (doubles as routesheet holder) for any items needed in a hurry.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: DrMekon on April 08, 2015, 12:10:57 pm
Tight isn't enough for those straps- they have to be really really tight.

This. I use a Koala every day. No problem with sway. Reach through from the other side of the saddle and yank it up tight.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on April 08, 2015, 01:02:03 pm
I could anticipate fun & games hauling on the straps - if I could find the right one by touch - in the dark with a couple of other bods in proximity.  I'll give it another go, though, although not on this weekend's Audax.

Re the colour, mine's black. The Airlok is yellow.  Assuming I do decide to part company.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: JBB on April 08, 2015, 08:25:04 pm
Cheers Julia, that'd be great.  Carradice don't seem to be awake yet. TBH, me neither.

FWIW my seatpost shows 85 mm nut to rail fixing.  Rails to top of mudguard is 200 mm.

John

Might be a bit tight. Mines 11 cm from the insertion point on the frame (Enigma semi-compact) to the join of the straight part of the seatpost and the saddle clamp.
HTH
Julia
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on April 08, 2015, 09:39:37 pm
Thanks, Julia.  Given the measurements I quote here, the damsel at Carradice sent a very mixed message:

"You will have enough room to fit the block on your saddle and would recommend maybe a Barley Lowsaddle Longflap or Super C Audax.  Ideally for bag clearance I would suggest about 150mm of seat post.  Alternatively, instead of the SQR System, there is the Bagman Q/R Sport which should be back in stock towards the end of next week.  You need about 18cms from the rails to just above the rear wheel for this one."


I think I shall forbear.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: phil653 on April 09, 2015, 06:32:13 pm
In spades.

Did a 170-odd k today with the seatpost rack and Vaude ratbag rack bag.  The rack is handy enough but it weighs damn near a kilo. Trouble is I'm a low-down bum and most normal saddlebags would ride on the mudguard (Raceblade).   If Carradice can come up with the right reply I'll probably go that way.
Tubus do a rack (in Ti?)that is under 300g.

I suspect most convential racks are over-engineered for audax requirements (and similar v-light touring). And that they could weigh less (for the same capacity) than a seatpost-mounted one.

(I am no engineer - just applying physics and common-sense. Possibly badly ...)

Just weighed my racks as they're conveniently off the bikes at present. Conventional three/four point fixing cheap aluminium rack, unknown load rating but happliy carries 2X15l loaded panniers and a bar bag used as a racktop bag: 460g.
Lidl quick-release seatpost rack, rated max 5kg but often loaded with more: 660g. I prefer to clamp it to the seat tube through the A of the stays to lower it a little and so it doesn't hang quite so far out the back.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: perpetual dan on April 09, 2015, 11:59:04 pm
Looking at the pictures, some seem to have the bag running below the level of the saddle for the whole length of the bag, others have it sticking up at an angle that goes above the saddle level. Is this something you have control over, depending on how you strap it? Or, does it depend on how you pack it / some property of seatpost+saddle / something else? I think having it in the way if I wanted to move by backside backwards would be annoying, particularly on the mountain bike.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: T42 on April 10, 2015, 09:06:42 am
Here's mine:

(http://www.pbase.com/image/159700798.jpg)

Tools behind the Alpkit label, Airlok with clothes in middle, rain jacket in a horrid ball at the back.

I could reposition the straps to have the front further down and the back end cocked up a bit more, but this would foul the brake cable.

This is my current rack set-up:

(http://www.pbase.com/johnewing/image/151837430.jpg)

I can strap tools & a spare tyre underneath.  I need to take that into account getting a replacement.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Somnolent on April 15, 2015, 09:48:25 pm
Looking at the pictures, some seem to have the bag running below the level of the saddle for the whole length of the bag, others have it sticking up at an angle that goes above the saddle level. Is this something you have control over, depending on how you strap it? Or, does it depend on how you pack it / some property of seatpost+saddle / something else? I think having it in the way if I wanted to move by backside backwards would be annoying, particularly on the mountain bike.

I think it's how you pack it.  I've never gotten mine significantly above saddle level.
Here's mine on the Yukon.   It was a lot fuller than that the following weekend when temperatures rose and I had to shed a number of layers - but the overall angle of dangle didnt change significantly.
(http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt318/porkypete58/IMG_20150404_161338236_HDR_zpsw9g44atv.jpg)

I find the curve from the nose of the bag, up the seatpost and long under the saddle (and the width at that point) to be perfect to accommodate the spare tyre I now carry everywhere, and that may make a difference.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: chris n on April 16, 2015, 09:37:37 am
Looking at the pictures, some seem to have the bag running below the level of the saddle for the whole length of the bag, others have it sticking up at an angle that goes above the saddle level. Is this something you have control over, depending on how you strap it? Or, does it depend on how you pack it / some property of seatpost+saddle / something else? I think having it in the way if I wanted to move by backside backwards would be annoying, particularly on the mountain bike.

Really depends on the relative positions of the mounting points - if your saddle is forward, the seatpack will stick up at an angle.  Saddle further back, seatpack will be flatter.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: perpetual dan on April 16, 2015, 06:42:22 pm
Looking at the pictures, some seem to have the bag running below the level of the saddle for the whole length of the bag, others have it sticking up at an angle that goes above the saddle level. Is this something you have control over, depending on how you strap it? Or, does it depend on how you pack it / some property of seatpost+saddle / something else? I think having it in the way if I wanted to move by backside backwards would be annoying, particularly on the mountain bike.

Really depends on the relative positions of the mounting points - if your saddle is forward, the seatpack will stick up at an angle.  Saddle further back, seatpack will be flatter.

That makes perfect sense, and suits my setup fine  :)
It can stay on the wishlist!
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Jethro on August 04, 2015, 09:52:29 am
I have just bought a Revelate Viscacha bag and plan to use it for the first time this weekend.  Will report back after.
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: jamesld8 on September 04, 2015, 05:15:41 pm
Having been working out with a smaller roll top system ie Wildcat Tiger 3-5 how to rationalise, easily access items  l I`ve taken plunge and KOALA`d  ;D

First impressions are that it`s very capacious indeed and well made solid feeling. Without any difficulty packed in a 4 season Neo Air thermarest / long sleeve jersey / legwarmers / spare shorts / gloves, hat / waterproof and it packed down solid and fitted securely under my C17 saddle even with just 15 cm seatpost. If anything it`s probably on large size for much use, nearer a Nelson bag size than a Barley. However even packed to what seemed about two thirds full it seemed to be very secure.

Haven`t ridden with it yet but would plan on packing as I`ve been doing with Wildcat system ie tool kit near seatpost end, then various bits and pieces with a spare inner and rain jacket near roll closure so items I think I`ll need are easily accessed.

In many ways I see these bikepacking sytems as very much akin to a rucssac---you`ve got to preplan packing order to make best of them. Little side compression pockets would though be a very good addition

We`ll see, btw it`s a lovely red chilli colour too for added viz and my rear light can be easily attached on the webbing up and over strap very securely :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: bobb on September 04, 2015, 05:40:57 pm
I used a Koala on PBP. Although it's a great bit of kit, the retrieval of items from the depths of the bag are a problem. Even though I'd split the contents into easily identifiable coloured drybags, it was still a pain.

It worked great on shorter rides before I left, but when you need something that is in the blue dry bag, that went in first and it's 3 am, and you've already ridden over 1000km. Getting that item out of the bag becomes the biggest, most pain in the arse thing imaginable!

I'd use it again for touring (or bike packing or whatever it's called this week) where you could use it for carrying things you'll only need at the end of the day eg sleeping stuff. But for Audax, I'm going back to the Carradice - it's so much easier to get things in and out of. Even the buckles and straps are less faff than getting all the straps done up tight on the Koala. And then making sure there are no unsecured lengths of strap just waiting to get caught in the spokes of the rear wheel....

I do like it, but only about as much as Paul Daniels would like it...
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: jamesld8 on September 12, 2015, 08:15:52 pm
Used mine for a couple rides and well pleased with it; steady without any sway although used less than half full; yes a bit of a faff getting stuff in / out but was able manage by just putting eg armwarmers / gilet in back jersey pocket until had planned stop when stowed them. Can though understand potential for frustration if tired / dark trying to find something !

So generally a  :thumbsup: but with potential reservations which may emerge on longer rides
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: JBB on December 07, 2015, 12:15:35 pm
Thanks, Julia.  Given the measurements I quote here, the damsel at Carradice sent a very mixed message:

"You will have enough room to fit the block on your saddle and would recommend maybe a Barley Lowsaddle Longflap or Super C Audax.  Ideally for bag clearance I would suggest about 150mm of seat post.  Alternatively, instead of the SQR System, there is the Bagman Q/R Sport which should be back in stock towards the end of next week.  You need about 18cms from the rails to just above the rear wheel for this one."


I think I shall forbear

Thought you might like to know I have been using a Lowsaddle Longflap onto a SQR support for my commute. It fits comfortably and comes on and off without squshing the mudguard (the SQR tour does). Very pleased with it from a practical point of view as it's more than big enough for a weekend of light touring.

HTH
Julia
Title: Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
Post by: Somnolent on September 06, 2017, 11:20:02 pm
Thread Resurrection alert
But for anyone still thinking of one of these, they are in Alpkit's sale at £56, down from the usual £70
Ditto the completely waterproof Fiana model.

FWIW I don't think I've used anything else on Audax since PBP2015. (about 15000km)
I tend to use a light-coloured tapered Airlok inside it - not so much for waterproofing, but to be able to drag everything out at once and carry it in to controls.
The tabs/bungee that I fixed to the outside were never used and have since fallen off - but the original bag is still going strong.