All photo's are Copyright of Scott Swalling or the tagged Photographer. (Background photo Scott Swalling Photography).

About Me:

24Hr MTBike racer and general bike rider, climber and mountaineer. Good coffee drinker and cake eater (any cake, seriously, don't leave your cake laying around). Also, I like to try new things that challenge me.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Alpkit Bike Packing Kit Test

The other week I had a few days off to go and help my sponsor Weldtite with some filming (more on that later), so I had also arranged to meet Kenny (Alpkit) on the weekend to have a look and play with some bike packing kit and hopefully ride some of the Pennine Bridleway.

After the working with Weldtite for the two days, this was great fun and was great to meet everyone, such a good honest Brit company getting on with it, I headed for Barnoldswick to meet Kenny.  After meeting Kenny we decided to head up to Settle instead and just made last orders at the locals local.

After bedding down in the vans for the night in the centre of Settle, we headed over to Gisburn Forest Trail Centre, it had been extremely wet over the last few nights and was raining has we headed over.  The theory being that we would chew up less ground and it would be a good place to test the Alpkit bike packing kit on my bike to see what I would need.

After arriving and loading poor old Toad up see below we headed off on the Blue loop for starters.

Taken after the days riding.

My goal for the day was to workout what would suit my riding style and the SIR9 (Toad's) geometry best.  The combination of the Alpkit frame bag, Koala (seat bag), bar bag (prototype), stem holster and my reliable Camelbak, carry the kit I might need for a few days of travel, in the wet, cold and dry. (Picture above)

We set off and had did a circuit on the blue and then one on the red.  Both trails gave suitable climbing and varying terrain to test the kit and bike out with it all packed on.  More than a bit of standing water, mud and a bit of rain tested the Alpkit bike packing bags.

Firstly, packing the bags carefully ensured good weight distribution which mean the bike handled just like it always did, just a bit heavier.  Even found myself getting off the ground and flicking it through the corners.  This also meant the forks weren't overloaded and therefore still reacted as they should.

Now to the bags, once all secured to the bike (frame bag sitting snug in the centre) and loaded with squishy, light, but warm clothing, food and maps, sleeping bag (Koala seat bag), tarp and few other bits (prototype bar), phone, gels and bars in the (stem holster), Camelbak filled with tent, MyTi pot, mug and tools.  Like I said, enough stuff to last a few days self sufficient.

Once in the bags, everything was easy to access and nothing was swinging around on the bike and they proved to be pretty waterproof as I splashed through the deep puddles and mud.  The sand and grit didn't really bother the zips and the bags wash off easily.

All-in-all, I found these bags great and will be getting my frame bag ordered with a few other types of bags soon.  One thing worth doing is putting some protective frame tape on the bike wear the straps wrap around it just to protect it from abrasions caused from the grit getting between the straps and frame.  There are other great things as well, you can choose the configuration of your frame bag, how many compartments (within reason) and zip locations.  All very handy to get a more bespoke and useful bag.