Issue #025 Review

The Lab #025: Parts and equipment long term reviews

Our global test team has been pushing products to the very limit on the world’s toughest trails. In The Lab, durability is rewarded and weaknesses have nowhere to hide. This time, we tested the ORTLIEB Bikepacking Handlebar-Pack and Seat Pack, the FOX Transfer seatpost, the SQlab 611 active Carbon saddle, the Specialized Boomslang pedals, and the ACROS Popular Carbon bars.

ORTLIEB Bikepacking Handlebar-Pack and Seat Pack

ortlieb-bike-packing-kit-1 ortlieb-bike-packing-kit-2

Much as people used to take pictures of themselves before the term ‘selfie’ was invented, people used to ride with kit to go camping/adventuring before ‘Bikepacking’ became the newest cycling buzzword. ORTLIEB are a brand whose dry bags completely rule the market, and UK Editor Cat has been testing both the seat pack and the handlebar pack in the Scottish backcountry. Once in place, the 16.5 litre and 15 litre capacities (respectively) mean there is a huge amount of space to fill with unnecessary luxuries before the straps are tightened. The handlebar mount boasts foam ‘spacers’ to boost compatibility, but having damaged one straight away and removed and lost another, Cat questions if there could be a better way to make the pack adjustable. The elastic straps on the outside of the pack have been very useful, and the seat mount is reinforced and structured at the point where it attaches to the saddle and seatpost. An air-vent also allows efficient removal of air when closing the pack. Cat found that the seat pack needed to be filled carefully due to the flexibility of the fabric, easily kinking and dropping the end perilously close to the spinning back wheel; however, this was easily solved through packing items to boost the structure. After battling rivers and torrential rain, Cat has always arrived at the overnight stop with a bone-dry sleeping bag and camera, and a non-aching back – well done, ORTLIEB!

Tester: Cat
Length of testing: 4 months
– Handlebar Pack 430 g
– Seat Pack 417 g

– Handlebar Pack € 99.95
– Seat Pack € 129.95
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