Friday, August 24, 2012

First impressions: Ortlieb Trunk Bag

Now, for something really cool on your bike rack...
The Ortlieb trunk bag is a solution for folks who want to carry their personal stuff without having packs or courier bags strapped on their body.
I found out that this is the best way to move when you have a bike rack which can be rigged to carry panniers.

The Ortlieb solution
So, that said, I jumped at the first chance to review the trunk bag which arrived a week ago from Germany via Atmosphere Outfitters.
The unit comes with a rack mount and the Ortlieb system comes complete with all the bells and whistles that you'll need to assemble the plastic base for the trunk bag.
What's interesting there, is the locking latch. 
This means, you can bolt on the bag without worrying about it being 'flicked' by some thief.
But if you lose your bike, you lose everything.
The trunk bag has enough real estate to carry your first aid kit, tools, emergency food ration, water and a comm set.

The locking base
 Assembly
This bag comes with two sets of instructions.
Its meant to be used with different kinds of racks and a bag of plastic adapters including a metal base is included with the set.
But the only relevant instruction was the one for the trunk bag.
I found out that I could mount the base plate directly onto my Dahon traveler's rack without any need for using the pannier adapter.
In fact, it integrated very well with the panniers.
Took me about 30 minutes to rig up the plate on my Dahon Speed P8 and to attach the bag, there is a matching bottom plate on the back.
With a 'click', the bag sits securely on the base.
On regular usage, Ortlieb recommends tightening of the mount every 100km or more.

The trunk bag mounted on the Dahon Speed P8
Integration with Ortlieb's frontroller panniers
The base plate took up some space on the top of the rack. 
But, there is enough room to bolt on the left and right frontroller panniers.
Together, the trunk bag integrates very well with the panniers.
This means I could use it for daytrips without the need of carrying a backpack.
More stuff can be packed in the trunk bag in this case.

With the frontrollers fitted


Practical application
I can use this bag without the need of panniers on short trips.
Ideally, the base of the cargo area could use some light padding. 
This can be easily fixed.
With its storage room, I can put a rain jacket and also use it to keep my camera in case of wet weather.
100% waterproof means less worry on my electronics getting wet.

The fully-rigged Dahon Speed P8 with the bags
 The only down-side
Ortlieb's trunk bag is not cheap.
I don't forsee much of it being sold here due to its price. 
At RM650 a pop (retail price inclusive of freight charges and tax) only those who are very interested would be keen on engaging the trunk bag.
So, that said, this becomes a premium-priced item which you won't find in average bicycle shops. 
But what I like about it is the fact that its made entirely in Germany, 100% waterproof and is built solid.
 
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