Thursday, July 26, 2012

Radical Design recumbent bags. Now available here.

I'm very pleased that the first Radical Design bags arrived.  I had high hopes because they also make HP Velotechnik's excellent panniers, but they've more than exceeded expectations.  Wow.  Designed very practically for recumbent riders, the bags are light, attractive, aerodynamic, well-made, and highly adjustable to fit nearly any bent.  Made in the Netherlands, for real.
Radical Design's Banana small side panniers with 40(!) liters capacity.
Depending on your seat, a rear rack may not be required
for carrying groceries or minimal touring gear.
Radical Design's bags are unique in that many do not require racks (but some do).  Some slip onto seat backs (no tools required), some simply hang from the seat, and others, especially the larger sizes, while they do require a rear rack, do not require an underseat rack, reducing weight as well as overall cost.  In addition, several of the designs are easily mounted on bikes that do not easily accept racks, like Cruzbikes (CB Quests come with a rack).

The panniers are streamline-shaped and are either tucked under or behind the seat, or partly in the slipstream.  I've done day-rides with the large panniers and prefer them over standard frame touring panniers which tend to feel like you're dragging bricks through the wind.  While I continue to be a fan of waterproof Ortlieb panniers, Radical Design offers a larger suite of products designed specifically for recumbents, greatly increasing the options for bent riders who need to carry stuff.

Radical Design's Solo Aero 12 liter seatback bag.
That's a fabric bottle holder on the side.

There is an enormous variety of bag sizes, styles, and carrying capacity, from small, medium, large, and extra-large.  There are small bags for day riders, medium bags for commuters, and their large panniers for touring have as much capacity (70 liters) as an expedition backpack.  Seat back bags come in several different designs to fit nearly every recumbent seat, whether narrow or wide, mesh or hardshell.
Radical Design's 30 liter Rackbag Extended weighs only 720 grams.
Serves as a soft-shell tail box for improved 

They also make attractive and roomy rack-top bags.  Unlike the rack bags designed for standard frame bikes, which are generally of small capacity, Rad D's rack bags take advantage of the fact that they sit in the slipstream, where large doesn't matter (if they're light).  In fact, large can be better: these rackbags serve as a  soft-shell tail box, improving the bike's aerodynamics and speed while providing ample low-weight storage.

Here's an interesting comparison.  Radical Design's Rackbag Extended, versus the excellent and rightly popular waterproof Ortlieb Recumbent Backpack-Rackbag, versus Topeak's MTX TrunkBag DX:

Bag / Capacity / Bag Weight
Radical Design's Rackbag Extended / 30 liter capacity / 720 grams
Ortlieb Recumbent Backpack-Rackbag / 18 liter / 980 gms
Topeak MTX TrunkBag DX / 12.3 liter / 1020 gms

There are people who pay huge bucks to save that much weight on their bike and get this kind of aerodynamic improvement.

For those who prioritize color and style, the bags come in five attractive colors: "dusty" yellow, tomato red, blue (royal blue?), "dusty" Dutch orange and then flat New York black.  (New Yorkers, listen, you no longer  have to choose between black and black!)  All bags have good reflective strips.  Water-resistant, but not water proof, making them lighter in weight, but if you're riding through a lake, put your laptop and sleeping bag in a dry bag.

Contact me for more info. and to get some.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2012 Robert Matson

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