Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Framebag goodness!

So about three years ago, I ran into a guy named Joe in Rawlins, WY while biking across the US.  He and his girlfriend were biking the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route at the time.  Joe had made the framebags for their bikes and was considering making them for sale once back home.  I took his email address and duly emailed him a few months later to order a framebag for my Surly Long Haul Trucker.  Joe never emailed me back.  Jerk.

Pam's custom framebag
Naturally I thought to myself, "Heck, I can do that."  Two years passed.  Whoops.  Then Pam and I began to plan our own trip of the GDMBR.  Of course you need to carry all sorts of various stuff to stay alive and comfortable whilst biking through the middle of nowhere for months.  Framebags are a pretty handy way to do this.  I already had one for my bike made by Revelate Designs but Pam needed one.  Pam didn't relish the thought of paying a couple hundred dollars for one in the face of not receiving a paycheck for a few months.  I had no experience using zippers and began to hypothesize about a roll top closure instead.  Lo and behold, a week or two later I saw an early review of the Orbiter framebag made by Porcelain Rocket.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I studied the pictures in the review and made my own, mimicking the design.  Utilizing old nylon fabric from a boat cover, I laminated that with Tyvek and used assorted buckles and Velcro I acquired.  It probably cost $15.  The bag has lasted several thousand miles of riding.  Pam was pleased.

Now I am setting out to make more custom framebags and other outdoor equipment solutions.  First up, was a Cordura framebag for my road bike.  Of course I have some improvements to make to the design and improve my interior seam finishing work, but it turned out quite nicely if I may say so.

It is a single compartment, single zipper design.  A big honking #10 zipper allows access to the interior.

It is lined with coated nylon which makes it pretty water resistant, but not waterproof.  The interior is a lighter color, red, which allows you to spot things like Snickers bars, bear spray or whatever you're rummaging for.

The points where the bag contacts the frame consists of ballistics nylon and are foam padded.  There is a port along the downtube where a hydration tube can snake out of the bag.

It is wide enough to carry more stuff than necessary within the diamond of your bicycle frame, but narrow enough to not inhibit your feet and legs and give plenty of chainring clearance.

Look at those purty seams and corners!

My plan is to make a few more prototypes to work out any design flaws, but then I will begin accepting inquiries for custom work.  I have access to all of the high falutin' fabrics and materials that all of the other bag manufacturers do so I am looking forward to making some sweet bags and accessories to help folks go have some adventures.

Thanks for looking and let me know what you think!