Review: Review: Revelate Designs Viscacha saddle bag
Lightweight, capacious and streamlined. A slightly tricky bag to get hold of in the UK, but worth the effort 9/10
It’s well made, easy to attach, and tough, with room for straps and additional pouches.
It attaches via velcro to the seat post to provide stability, and has 2 reinforced clips to attach to the rails of your saddle – now bearing in mind this could have 10kg of weight in it, you may not want to be using your super light carbon railed saddle for this – well with a little more thought you probably wouldn’t be using that saddle for long distance touring so perhaps its all good after all!
The saddle attaching straps also double up as compression straps to keep the payload snug and tight, these straps are secured with locks to stop them from decompressing, and in turn lowering the bag closer to your tyres. In use I did find this happening at times, and the first real indication is the gentle burrrrrr of the fabric hitting the tyre! I couldn’t work out what was causing this to happen as on other trips they stayed exactly where I put them – suffice to say, if you hear the noise STOP and retighten!
The other straps keep the roll-top secured. In use I found that the bag could stretch out almost its entire length and still be usable, the pressure exerted from the straps means that just one fold of the roll-top will keep it all snug, obviously a couple will help your mind be comfortable but 1 will do.
My only real issues with the Viscacha would be the 8″ clearance needed to use it – but this is mentioned on the Revelate designs website, without the 8″ clearance it simply isn’t a usable bag to its full capacity and you run the risks of massive tyre rub. If you don’t have the clearance then you will need the compression straps to keep the bag higher up, but by doing that it loses significant amounts of its capacity.
Should you suffer from tyre rub, then the material will eventually wear through – I did have a few issues in Europe with rubbing and my bag does have a couple of patches that have worn pretty badly – upon inspection I have found that there is some plastic underneath the material so the bag contents are still safe – I’m guessing this has happened to others before me.
Despite the clearance issue, this bag really is fantastic. It held enough gear for a decent tour, without resorting to panniers or any other bags at all, if you are going further afield for longer periods and you want to keep your bike as streamlined as possible then Revelate Designs do a full range of kit to help.
If you are after a streamlined luggage solution for fast touring, or even commuting, then this is almost certainly the right place to go to!