Lightweight, robust and waterproof – the sacred trinity of bikepacking bags is easy to define but hard to find on the market. The founders of CYCLITE faced the same problem, ultimately deciding to simply make their own. Read on to find out if they’ve managed to strike the perfect balance
One note in advance: the CYCLITE Bikepacking Bag System consists of five bags. Unfortunately, we couldn’t put the CYCLITE Handle Bar Aero Bag to the test due to a lack of aero extensions on any of our test bikes.
All the bags included with the CYCLITE Bikepacking Bag System are made of a high-frequency welded fabric with a waterproof coating. This isn’t anything new per se since manufacturers such as ORTLIEB and Apidura have been using this type of construction for years. However, thanks to reduced wall thicknesses, and sophisticated, minimalist fastening and reinforcement systems, CYCLITE have been able to make their bags significantly lighter than those of their competitors. The bags are visually striking too. The super clean look is complemented by minimalist branding and subtly integrated reflective strips and small red accents, which should look great on any bike. If you like making a bit more of a splash, you can also get all the bags in very light – almost white – grey. That’s it for the overview, let’s look at the bags in detail.
The CYCLITE Handle Bar Roll Bag in detail
Weighing in at just over 200 g, the CYCLITE Handle Bar Roll Bag is one of the lightest handlebar bags on the market, though it’s a one-piece construction. Nevertheless, that doesn’t come at the cost of convenience or stability. The handlebar straps are simple, very quick to release and super stable thanks to foam spacers and thin plastic reinforcements incorporated into the material. For stabilisation at the bottom, the bag comes with two straps of different lengths, which you can simply clip on and wrap around the fork crown.
The CYCLITE Handle Bar Roll Bag has another clever feature up its sleeve. The two ends of the bag can either be rolled up and closed like a regular roll-top bag or, alternatively, they can be connected from left to right using the additional straps included. That way, the bag can still be compressed slightly while reducing bulk at the ends. This is especially useful on bikes with drop bars, allowing you to get the most out of the space available, or have more room for your hands. Our tip to CYCLITE for generation 2 would be to add a compression valve as they have on the saddlebag.
The CYCLITE Handle Bar Roll Bag is only available in one size, but it’s perfectly dimensioned for compact gravel bike cockpits. Due to the thin material and the already mentioned cross-connectors for the closures, the bag’s volume can be utilised perfectly.
The CYCLITE Top Tube Bag in detail
CYCLITE have also decided to do things a little differently with their Top Tube Bag. Instead of a zipper or a flap to the side, you open the lid to the rear. They aimed to make access as simple as possible while riding, thereby reducing the risk of crashing. When closed, the front of the flap is held in place by a magnet.
At 1.7 litres, the volume of the CYCLITE Top Tube Bag is generous. Access through the large opening is very convenient too, giving you a good overview of the contents. Unfortunately, the sidewalls of the bag aren’t reinforced, leaving the bag free to expand outwards when you overfill it. When that happens, the equally unreinforced lid will no longer close properly and the magnet won’t always manage to keep it in place. You can’t compress the contents since there is no buckle or zipper, so you should only fill the bag loosely.
The CYCLITE Frame Bag in detail
Like all bags in the range, the CYCLITE Frame Bag is currently only available in one size and it’s relatively small with a volume of 2.8 litres. However, this allows you to keep using both bottle cages on most frame sizes (test bike: size 54). While the one-size-fits-all principle makes sense for the other bags, we would have liked the option of a bigger size here. Most modern gravel and bikepacking bikes have bottle cage mounts on the fork, so a larger bag would let you make the most of the space in the front triangle. In addition, the bag is quite heavily tapered at the front and bikes with longer head tubes will inevitably have a gap between the bag and the down tube.
Due to its minimalist design, slender straps, low weight and compact size (leaving both bottle cage mounts unhindered), it’s ideal as a stand-alone aero bag for your road bike.
Apart from the lack of a bigger model, there is nothing to complain about regarding the CYCLITE Frame Bag. It’s very stable when attached, showing no tendency to sag, sway or slip and the waterproof zipper can be operated with one hand. On the inside, the CYCLITE Frame Bag and Top Tube Bag both have a removable plastic strip along the outer edge for reinforcement. Other features include a cable port at the front, as well as two internal mesh compartments and a key ring.
The CYCLITE Saddle Bag in detail
Like the handlebar bag, CYCLITE got the dimensions of the saddlebag spot on too. It’s slender enough towards the saddle that it doesn’t get in the way of your legs, though not disproportionately conical, leaving enough volume and thus weight close to the seat post. The fastening mechanism is like most others, though high-quality, well manufactured and excellently positioned. Supported by thin plastic panels on the inside, the bag is surprisingly stable despite its minimalist design. If you use the full volume, it tends to swing, as all saddlebags do to some extent. However, this is completely acceptable considering the bag’s low weight and volume.
All around, the CYCLITE Saddle Bag is a good product, though the saddle straps should be shorter. On our test model, these compression straps had to be tightened to the max despite the bag being full.
The CYCLITE Bikepacking Bag System is super light, well designed and works perfectly. It also offers a clean and smart look as well as high-quality workmanship. While there is some room for improvement in the details, this doesn’t detract from the positive overall impression in the least. If you’re looking for a set of lightweight, waterproof bikepacking bags for your gravel or road bike, this certainly is an option worth looking into.
- smart, clean look
- high-quality workmanship/materials
- super light
- excellently dimensioned saddle and handlebar bag
- lid of the top tube bag needs perfecting
- frame bag is available in one size only
- saddlebag straps too long
For more information, visit cylite.com
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Words & Photos: Andreas Maschke