Bicycle saddle bags come in all shapes and sizes and Scicon deliver a broad gamut. Whether you pack light and demand a weight weenie bag or need to take the kitchen sink, there are enough variations to satisfy the desires of almost every rider. And if that wasn’t enough, many of the Scicon saddle bags use a patented saddle mount called the Roller 2.1 which is excellent, not in the least because it incorporates two tyre levers and saves you from packing these extra.
In this article we cover the range of Scicon seat-mounted saddle bags for road cycling, short-distance gravel grinding and commuter cycling. You will need to look beyond the Scicon range if you are into bike packing and cycle touring.
Most of the saddle bags I have owned to date used a velcro fastening system, a handful of saddle bags had plastic mounts and clip-in / clip-out capabilities… which eventually fail. My last saddle bag purchase was spontaneous and only at home I discovered that the Selle Royal had the ICS fit system that could ONLY be mounted on specific Selle Royal saddles… which I don’t have.
Velcro mounting straps are usually a safe bet and to date, the Lezyne Caddy has been my goto Saddle Bag for road cycling. It has a few sizes and fastens with three velcro straps on the saddle rails and seat post, there is some reflective piping and it tends to last about two years until the zipper breaks.
Scicon saddle bags in every size and shape
Scicon provided an entire series with ten saddle bags for review which was good for comparison, though in praxis, I was limited to riding with a few models that were the right size for the things I wanted to carry. Capacity is really the starting point for most bike riders… knowing what you want to carry and thus, how big the saddle bag needs to be. The smallest volume bags were 210 ㎤ while the large MTB saddle bag was four times this at 800 ㎤.
Unlike well-known brands like Mercedes Benz or Apple where all of the cars or digital products share recognisable design traits, the Scicon saddle bags were really a mixed bag (pun intended). While they are all predominantly black and have a Scicon logo, there had different shapes and sizes and materials so I needed a bit of time to orientate and work out the capacity and features of each of them.
Four of the saddle bags are part of the ELAN series and have velcro strap fasting. Most of these incorporated one velcro strap which wraps around the saddle rails while MTB saddle bag is the wildcard and 3 velcro straps. The advantage of velcro is that it is light weight, flexible and reliable not to mention it simplifies the overall design. On the flip-side, velcro can degrade over time.
Six Scicon saddle bags use the plastic Roller 2.1 system (RL 2.1) which is superior mounting option in a number of ways. Like velcro, no tools are required, but it is easier and faster. To install the mount, simply put it into place and turn the red dial until the mount is tightly secured on the rails of your bike seat. The saddle bag then twists-on and twist-off, much like the Garmin cycle computer, fast and easy. Some groves in the mount means that the saddle bag feels like is securely clicks and locks into place and I never had any second thoughts that it could fall off by itself.
The mount position on the saddle rails can also be adjusted a little forward or back which is handy if you have a short seat post or bike light on the seat post and need more clearance. In the case that you have multiple bikes with multiple Roller 2.1 mounts, the saddle bags are all interchangeable.
A highlight of the Roller 2.1 mount is that it incorporates two bonus tyre levers. Coloured red, one lever is located within the mount assembly and the second one is inside a small pocket in the saddle bag. They tyre levers are basic and are no comparison with the chunky Pedro tyre levers I prefer. But these days I rarely need tyre levers at all, most tyres slide on / off the rims by hand. The Scicon tyre levers are handy for an emergency and otherwise don’t get in the way.
But the Roller 2.1 mount system also has a few deficits, if you don’t tighten the red dial on the saddle mount sufficiently, the mount can move around. In this case, the saddle bag is unlikely to fall off and it is easily remedied on the fly. There is also a weight penalty, in comparison with the Scicon saddle bags with velcro straps, the entire Roller 2.1 mount adds about 85 grams which is enough to frighten weight weenies among us. In compensation, the bag and mount is so easy to remove, on race day the saddle bags come off the bike anyway.
Only six of the saddle bags have reflective piping or tabs. In my book, reflectivity is a no-brainer and in the best case it covers the rear and the sides. From these six saddle bag, two of the bags had reflective materials that was only really visible from the sides.
The saddle bags with the Roller 2.1 system have a rubberised Scicon logo with a loop to attach a bike light. I rarely use these myself but they can be handy for some riders. As the loops are rubber, I fear they would eventually wear and tear. The zipper used in all of the saddle bags is robust and and I didn’t encounter any problems opening or closing.
Nylon is the main textile used across the Scicon saddle bags and depending on the model, is combined with other textiles or materials. The MTB version however uses Nylon Ripstop which is a little more robust and weather proof while the HIPO saddle bag also has polyester sections on the sides which are printed.
Four saddle bags incorporate a carbon fiber material which is identified as ‘Carbon Fiber Optic’. I am not certain if this is actual carbon fiber… if it is, I think the benefit is clearly the aesthetics. As these carbon fiber sections are easily bendable, they don’t lend the usual strength benefits of carbon fiber which usually baked under vacuum pressure into a rigid form. All of the bags with the carbon fiber optic sections are heavier than their nearest nylon counterparts which suggests it is all about bling. But because it is bling you can choose a silver or black carbon fiber colour version.
One criticism I have is that a number of the larger saddle bags were delivered with foam wadding inside to help it retain its form. A cardboard insert would have been preferable. The quality of the overall construction is clean, no loose threads or messy stitching inside so in this way, Scicon elevate their products above much of the competition.
Essential Bike Bits and Pieces
In my case, the essential contents of a saddle bag for road cycling include a multi-tool with chain-breaker, tyre patch repair kit and spare tyre. I would love to include my mini bike pump as well though it is too long so has a place in my jersey pocket instead. I personally shy away from CO2 canisters because they are single-use. For mountain biking, the only difference t is that the spare MTB tyre takes more space. Cyclists who ride tubeless could reduce the contents further and ignore a spare tyre altogether with the hope that the sealant is enough.
Depending on the cycle tour, I have been known to leave my wallet at home and put a drivers licence, health insurance cards and some cash inside the saddle bag. Smart phones are making this a little easy to go cardless and cashless. In any case, I ensure that the saddle bag is packed fully because if there is too much empty space, the contents tend to bounce about. It reminds me of the time my Topeak Alien multitool exploded and then pierced the spare tyre.
The model names are orientated towards the capacity inside the saddle bag and is a fairly good starting point. You should still consider the shape and weight, for example I find rounded or narrow saddle bags are less accommodating for my ‘things’ compared with squarish pouches.
Series: Velcro Mounted Scicon Saddle Bags
Size (L x H x W): 12 x 3 x 7 cm
Volume: 210 ㎤
Price: $12.49 ($24.99 RRP)
The lightest but also the smallest saddle bag which would fit a single spare tyre or if you are tubeless, compact tools and CO2 cartridge and inflator. A real bargain at the current sale price of $12.49
ELAN 210 CARBON BLACK
Weight: 49 g
Size (L x H x W): 11.5 x 4.5 x 6.5 cm
Volume: 210 ㎤
Price: $22.49 ($44.95 RRP)
Almost identical in size and capacity to the regular ELAN 210 but with the sleek carbon fiber optics. For the good looks you are adding 16 grams and a few more dollars to the purchase price.
Size (L x H x W): 14 x 6.5 x 7 cm
Volume: 580 ㎤
Price: $19.95 ($29.95 RRP)
A fairly simple but large format saddle bag, you could squeeze in standard two road cycling inner tubes and some compact tools or a single inner tube with ample space for extras.
SCICON MTB Saddle Bag
Size (L x H x W):
Volume: 800 ㎤
Price: 29 Euro
This uses the robust Ripstop Nylon material with better weatherproofing and waterproof zipper along with three velcro straps for this large capacity MTB saddle bag.
Series: Roller 2.1 Mounted Scicon Saddle Bags
ELAN 210 RL 2.1
Size (L x H x W): 11 x 4.5 x 6 cm
Volume: 230 ㎤
Price: $14.99 ($29.99 RRP)
Comparable to the ELAN 210 velcro version, also without reflective piping. Compact saddle bag with the capacity to either fit one inner tube or a multitool with C02 canisters and inflator.
Phantom 230 RL 2.1 Black Carbon
Size (L x H x W): 11 x 4 x 6 cm
Volume: 230 ㎤
Price: $29.98 ($59.95 RRP)
Reflective piping on the sides only and carbon fiber optics to give you the professional look and a compact carrying volume.
SOFT 350 RL 2.1
Size (L x H x W): 12 x 6 x 7 cm
Volume: 350 ㎤
Price: $29.95 ($39.95 RRP)
A medium sized saddle bag that could squeeze to fit an innertube and essential tools. The reflective stripe provides side and rear visibility.
COMPACT 430 RL 2.1 FiberTech CC
Size (L x H x W): 13.5 x 5.5 x 7 cm
Volume: 430 ㎤
Price: $34.98 ($69.95 RRP)
A sporty design with the carbon fiber optics and almost double the capacity of the Phantom 230, but also double the weight. The thin reflective piping provides some side and rear visibility
VORTEX 480 RL 2.1 (silver) FiberTech CC
Size (L x H x W): 12 x 6 x 9 cm
Volume: 438 ㎤
Price: $39.50 ($79.00 RRP)
Attractive silver carbon fiber panels with a rounded form which is good for tubes but narrows the space for longer items like a patch repair kit. The reflective piping is visible on the sides and rear.
HIPO 550 RL 2.1
Size (L x H x W): 12.5 x 6 x 6.5 cm
Volume: 550 ㎤
Price: $29.95 ($59.95 RRP)
This saddle bag dances out of the row polyester sections (in addition to nylon). The polyester sides are printed with black on black branding and the reflective piping and tabs are only visible from the sides.
PIN 695 RL 2.1
Size (L x H x W): 14 x 6.5 x 7 cm
Volume: 695 ㎤
Price: $39.95 ($44.95 RRP)
A classic rectangle form and a large capacity version of the SOFT 350. It holds almost double the volume and has a reflective strip that is visible from the sides and the rear. Though it is the largest road cycling suited saddle bag, it isn’t over dimensioned.
Recommendations: Best of the Bunch from Scicon
When settling on a saddle bag, it is a good idea to know the volume and shape you are after. For the Scicon range of saddle bags, if you are on a budget, the Soft 350 with Roller 2.1 system at $29.95 is a good tip. It is a medium sized saddle bag, not too heavy or complicated. The Roller 2.1 system is convenient, I really like it though it costs more and is heavier than the ELAN velcro saddle bags. The ELAN series however don’t have reflective piping and currently offer a small and a large size though nothing in-between.
If a sleek, simple and very compact saddle with just velcro straps suits, the ELAN 210 at $12.49 is hard to look past and the Roller 2.1. version is also attractively priced at $14.99.
For the super-bling effect to match your shiny road bike, the ELAN 210 Carbon at $22.48 will look the part, as will the Phantom 230 at $29.98. As a reminder, the carbon fiber pattern is nice, though is heavier than the nylon alternatives so you are not getting any of the traditional carbon fiber performance benefits.
For my road cycling adventures, the Vortex 480 and Compact 430 are perfectly sized worked as they should without skipping a beat. The Roller 2.1 mounting system performs well for installing or removing mount and putting the saddle bag on or off. It locks securely and has been thoughtfully designed so I am prepared to accept the 88 gram weight penalty.
After months of riding and swapping equipment and saddles – I find it hard to fault the scicon saddle bags, not in the least because there is enough choice and variation to hone in on the capacity and style that suits you best. Against many of the competitors, the saddle bags from Scicon are fairly robust and well constructed.
Further details and online ordering of Scicon products from: a[s]g STORE Australia