Some folks have been asking about a saddlebag sized in between the Large and the Small for quite some time… and the new Dill Pickle Medium Saddlebag is finally here!
And it’s not alone!
First the basics: The Medium Saddlebag has a capacity of around 5 liters or 305 cubic inches when more or less full, but not over-stuffed. You could probably stuff another liter in there. And that doesn’t count any exterior pockets. Like the Large and the Small, you can buy one that’s in stock, or you can configure your own and choose from a variety of interior and exterior pockets. The Tool Canister holds about 0.7 liter or 43 cubic inches and you can configure your own colors.
I thought long and hard over the final design of the Medium. I considered just making a smaller version of the Large; but I really wanted it to be versatile and able to mount on as many bikes as possible. The Large, like most traditional transverse saddlebags, requires either a saddle with bag loops on the back, or any number of after-market bag mounts and supports. Personally, I don’t like leather saddles and none of my preferred saddles have bag loops. I use a quick-release mount with my Large bag, which is convenient, but for a smaller bag I’d prefer to avoid the rather substantial extra weight of any of the various saddlebag mounts and supports.
So the medium borrows the shorter dowel from the small, but instead of tapering to a wedge shape at the seatpost it flares out from the dowel. That allows the mounting point to stay tucked away under the saddle and not hit your legs if you mount it to the saddle rails. It has two large grommets for the straps to pass through like the large does; but the spacing between them is about halfway between the spacing of the bag loops on a saddle that has them, and the rails of a saddle that doesn’t. That lets the straps reach either way.
The Medium is also fairly squat in profile, and the buckles are positioned so that if you ride a small bike with a low saddle and don’t have much clearance above your rear wheel, you can cinch the bag tightly in the middle to keep it from sagging onto your tire.
For many riders, that’s the end of the story. But some riders complain that with a transverse saddlebag mounted only to bag loops and seatpost, their thighs hit the bag when they pedal. Some of the Bagman support models only work with bag loops as well, and are intended in part to solve this problem. Sure, you can strap a spare tire behind your seatpost to offset your bag a bit, or you can even clamp a short stem to your seatpost to keep your bag back off your legs, or any number of other things. But I wanted a more elegant solution.
So I designed the Tool Canister. It actually solves several problems at once. It supports the back of a saddlebag to keep it off of your legs and keeps it angled up more, and it works with both the Medium and the Large (and probably with other brands as well, although I haven’t tried) and weighs only 4 oz, much less than any Bagman. Big enough for just the basics, it separates your tools from the rest of the stuff in your bag so that you can change a flat without pawing through all your clean clothes. And you can leave it in place when you take the bag off, which means that when you’re just going on a short ride and don’t need much, you don’t have to move your spare tube and stuff back and forth between different bags; it’s just always right there. When used alone, it’s just a compact, convenient, and extremely stable alternative to a small under-seat wedge pack. When paired with the Medium saddlebag, it allows you to carry all you’ll need on a 600k, without bag loops or any other extra hardware.
Last of all comes the best part… product testing!