OnSight Equipment Varico Cycling Straddle Bag Review…

Probably the worst thing about this bike bag is the name! It doesn’t easily roll off the tongue when someone on the trail wants to know what it’s called so they can score one. Challenging name aside this is a great bike bag. I have really being enjoying riding without a pack on my day rides. Being able to carry gear on the bike is critical to making that happen. Especially with full-suspension bikes there isn’t a lot of frame space to work with for this purpose. So I was looking for ways I could add gear capacity to my bike that was compatible with techy BC mountain biking. One of the bags I came across was the OnSight Straddle Bag. With a 4L capacity and not needing anything special in terms of room inside the bike’s frame it looked like it would fit lots of machines and in particular my Guerrilla Gravity The Smash 29er FS bike.

OnSight Equipment is located in Squamish, BC, Canada, which is a short distance from my home on Vancouver Island. They have an easy to use website so I ordered a bag to try. Cost was ~$60CAD delivered to my door. Shipping was fast and trouble free. The bag is well made using recycled materials. It’s reasonably weather resistant. I’ve used it in light rain and not noticed water inside. That said I would not put a $1000 smart phone or camera in this bag for hours in heavy rain and expect good things to happen. It attaches to the bike with two straps. One goes under the downtube and the other around the headtube. This mounting approach is nice in that it will fit a lot of different bikes and can be installed/removed in 10 seconds.

The bag is made of two smaller 2L bags that hang or “straddle” your top tube. Each bag has a smaller out zip pocket and then a main zip pocket. Inside the main zip pocket is a mesh inner pocket to keep small items organized. At 2L each bag can swallow a light jacket, spare gloves, large smart phone, etc… This is a really useful size in practice without being so big as to get in the way. I get asked a lot if I hit the bags with my knees when riding. I’m 5’11” with long legs and typically ride a modern size Large or Medium frame. I have not had any issues with hitting the bags when pedaling or going down steep techy BC trails. My knees do very occasionally touch the bags, but it’s almost unnoticeable when I am riding unless I am thinking specifically about it. If anything bothers me on a bike I have to fix it ASAP and I’ve been using these bags happily for over 18 months.

I wish the OnSight Straddle bag would use beefier zippers on the main pockets. I haven’t had any failures at this point, but they do seem a touch undersized. I guess I wouldn’t say no to a welded waterproof construction like the Rock Bros TT bag I posted a review of recently. I use this bag mostly in the warmer/drier part of the year so full waterproofness is not essential. You can’t use a top tube bag up against the steerer/stem and this bag at the same time…without some modification. I’ve been tempted to do some surgery and try and make that work as that would be a useful combination for extending a bike’s storage capacity.

I’ve been impressed by how this bag “disappears” from notice when riding. I can hammer down a fast rough trail and never think twice about the bag, but when I stop and want to grab something or stow a jacket it’s there ready to do its job. I think it looks good on the bike, but then I am one of those weirdos who thinks a mountain bike looks better with Mudhugger fenders. If you don’t do well with negative social pressure this isn’t the bag for you as it definitely gets a lot of attention. Since it installs so quickly this bag is nice if you only occasionally need extra storage capacity so you can throw it on once in a while for bigger rides. I like this bag so much I got one for Sharon and I got a spare for my future self should they stop making them. I leave it on my bike all the time. It’s just too useful to take off even if I don’t need all 4L of storage.

A quick note for those new to the frame bag game…any bag attached to your bike will rub/wear at the finish. You can either install some protective tape beforehand to prevent this or simply let it happen and enjoy the resulting patina that attests to your many adventures together.

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