I’m not the only one who thinks that storing a few necessities on bike and off your back is the way to go (whenever possible), so lately I’ve been testing a handful of options to help facilitate that. One tried and true method is a simple saddle bag. While saddle bags are quite often synonymous with rattling sounds, Ortlieb took a slightly different approach with their “Micro” seat bag and implemented a back pack style roll top which not only helps you snug down the contents, but it also helps to keep them dry. Anyhow, here’s what I thought of their latest offering…
- Waterproof roll + bungee design
- Quick release attachment
- Secures to seat rails with 2 screws
- Reflective panel
While the seat bags that I remember from my teenage XC racing days just used a velcro strap to attach to the seat rails, Ortlieb takes the current and more secure, refined approach. The Micro utilizes a set of plastics which clamp to the saddle’s rails and allow the bag to snap on and off, quick release style. This makes rummaging through its contents much easier, trailside as it is quite easy to remove from the bike.
The mount on the bag is secured firmly with 3 screws. On the inside, there are no rough edges, so it won’t damage a tube, or any other contents.
The Micro bag is made from a super sturdy waterproof cordura material that is polyurethane coated. It also features a reflective panel for added visibility in the dark, in case you’re riding home at night without a light.
The rubber opening rolls down and seals the contents off from water and mud.
The above contents fit in for daily rides where I packed lightly. Because I usually run a water bottle cage mounted SWAT multi tool, I didn’t include a tool in the bag, but it would most certainly fit with room to spare. (Contents: 25g CO2 with Lezyne inflator, Dynaplug, tire lever, tube, jerky, Clif bar)
Everything all jammed in there, with plenty of room…not sure why they call this the “Micro”. Don’t get me wrong, its size isn’t overbearing, but it’s surprising how much fits in there…
Once you load the contents and roll the opening down, there is a lash point in each side where an elastic chord and tab secure everything…
On the trail
With a 165mm travel bike and a 150mm travel dropper, I never even came close to having the rear tire contact the bag under a full bottom out. With that in mind, if you run your seat slammed or have short legs and a long travel bike, it’s worth giving it some thought before you dive in and buy this, or any seat bag for that matter. As far as durability, there were no issues…Regarding waterproofing, it never rains in California, but to be thorough, I hosed the bag off during a bike wash and all of its contents remained dry.
When it comes to reporting on how a saddle bag worked out on the trail, things are pretty cut and dry. It basically just needs to stay on, stay out of the way and stay quiet. The Ortlieb Micro checked off all three boxes. Accessibility was great and being able to roll the opening down as much or as little as you’d like made it easy to apply some pressure to the contents and prevent them from rattling. I’d suppose that if you’re packing super light, things could rattle around though; this is because the bag itself has a C-shaped plastic sleeve to give it some shape and thus, its ability to be packed down is somewhat capped.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a great product and the value is certainly there too. These days, $20 just get’s you a simple strap for lashing your tube to your frame. There is quite a bit more thought (and materials) that went into the Micro bag. If you’re looking to ditch the hydration pack or fanny pack and can’t afford a Specialized with a SWAT downtube, this is a great option.