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Tag Archive: wet bike gear

Review: Detours all-weather bags for your bike

Detour Bags_Stallion2

I almost felt bad testing out these bags in San Francisco. Detours bags are made to handle the constant drizzle, mud and muck of a Pacific Northwest commute—which makes sense, since the company hails from delightfully drizzly Seattle, WA—the misty fog of the Bay just doesn’t seem like enough of a challenge for the tough, all-weather gear. I said “almost,” because the truth is, these bags are awesome regardless of the weather.

Detour Bags_labeled

Fair warning, there are going to be a lot of photos in this post. The Detours gear is just too stylie to not show off. I had a chance to try a small selection of bags of various styles, sizes and uses. I’ll start from smallest bag and work my way up to the magical three-in-one pannier bag.

Roadie Stem Bag

iphone holder collage 2

I have been on the hunt for a contraption to hold my phone so I don’t have to dig into my backpack to consult the route before getting hopelessly lost. The Roadie definitely does the trick. A simple ratcheted attachment allows you to securely affix the bag to the stem of your bike (my bike, Stallion, who finally gets to be featured in a post, does not have room for Roadie on the stem, but plenty of other spots work great as well).

The clear, water-repellant phone pocket is touchscreen friendly making it easy to access information or refer to your phone as needed. The phone pocket is really more of a flap with a magnetized closure to the main utility pocket. The zip pocket has plenty of room for minor necessities. I fit my patch kit, allen wrench, levers, keys, and ID in there, no problem. The Roadie also comes in gray with a bright green interior (pictured here) and in red with a grey interior. The Roadie retails for $32.

Coffee Dry Bag

coffee bean bag

Yes, you can definitely put your coffee grounds in here and keep them safe and dry. But that’s not the only use for the super versatile Coffee dry bag. Throw in your mid-ride snacks, any electronics you want to keep safe (besides your phone since it’ll be in the Roadie), or maybe protect your other belongings from damp, sweaty bike spandex? The adjustable straps make it easy to secure the Coffee dry bag wherever needed. However, while the top strap is a quick release buckle, the bottom strap must be undone completely, which can be a bit of a hassle.

Detours offers the Coffee dry bag in several different state designs:

• The Evergreen Blend: ride through the forests and around Mount Rainier in our home state of Washington.
• The Mile High Blend: ride through the alpine wonderland of Colorado.
• The Highway 1 Blend: ride down the Pacific Coast Highway in California (pictured here).
• The 10,000 Lakes Blend: ride through the 10,000 lakes and Twin Cities in Minnesota.
• The Lighthouse Blend: ride along the rocky coast in Maine.

The Coffee Bag retails for $20. Or $80 for the set of five. 

Rainier Handlebar Duffel

Rainier Handlebar Duffel Collage

The Rainier Duffel has two adjustable straps to secure the bag to your handlebars and, when you reach your destination, it can transition seamlessly into a cross-body bag thanks to a built in shoulder strap. Plus, the clever folks at Detours designed the duffel with a little side pocket just to hold the shoulder strap so it doesn’t flop around when attached to the handlebars. Attention to detail—I love that. Speaking of detail, the flap of the duffel, which like the Roadie has a magnetic closure, features a sparkly banana design (you can see a better photo here). I think this is a great touch. The zipped interior compartment also contains a smaller zip pouch and two slip-in pockets. The Rainier Handlebar Duffel also comes in black and “Golden Gardens,” a cheery floral pattern. Retail price is $50.

The Ballard Market Pannier

Stallion Kitted Out

Ok, I might have saved the best for last. The Ballard Market Pannier is the most versatile bag of the bunch with three different carrying options (Elizabeth reviewed and loved this pannier back in 2012). First and foremost, it is a pannier bag, which attaches with two simple, yet secure rack clips. The bottom is a heavy-duty waterproof material to reduce wear-and-tear and keep belongings safe. The interior space has a small zip pocket, key hook, and a laptop compartment, making it an ideal commuter bag.

Ballard Panier

As promised, the Ballard Market Pannier is not just a pannier! The bag also has padded straps to carry as a shoulder tote. And the tote straps convert into backpack straps for heavy loads! So clever.

bag to backpack

Overall, the Ballard Market Pannier is a large enough (11”W x 15”H x 5.5”D) to easily accommodate commuter gear—for me, that includes my 15″ laptop, running shoes & clothes, notebook, wallet, and a few other essentials. Plus, this nifty 3-in-1 setup comes in black (pictured here) and two colorful patterns. The Ballard Market Pannier retails for $80.

The bags I review here are only a small portion of the overall variety that Detours offers—from ultra-tough touring rack trunks to playful, more petite seat post bags. I’m confident that riders will find a bag to suit his or her need whether for trips to the farmer’s market, daily commute or more rigorous rides.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Guest Review: Bontrager Interchange Nebula Fenders

Editor’s note: We got the following product review from longtime reader/commenter Raiyn Storm. He has graciously allowed us to post his thoughts and photos here for you. As he purchased the fenders for his own use, we’re going to forgo that pesky FTC disclaimer that normally appears at the end of our reviews here on Bikecommuters.com. And, as far as we can tell, the following is the first online review of this particular fender set…so enjoy!

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I recently purchased a set of Bontrager Interchange Nebula fenders to use on my Town bike. I chose these fenders specifically because I wanted the protection that only full coverage fenders can provide with the ability to remove or re-attach them at a moment’s notice. While there are other “quick release fenders on the market I found their coverage to be insufficient for my needs. I tend to use my bike as a jack of all trades so being able to remove the fenders quickly and without tools is a plus in my book.

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Below is the description of the fenders from Bontrager’s website:

Features

* After initial installation, the Interchange system allows subsequent removal and application in seconds
without tools
* Lightweight polycarbonate fenders are weather and impact resistant
* Adjustable, oversized aluminum stays ensure a custom and secure fit
* Rear frame mounted fenders fit under racks, out of the way of trunk bags and panniers
* Includes integrated mudflaps designed for maximum water dispersion
* Can be fully disassembled for easy recycling

Basic installation is fairly straightforward and requires a 4mm Allen wrench, 8 mm open end wrench and a #2 Phillips screwdriver.

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The Interchange Nebulas are attached by means of a quick release bracket in the front and tensioned chain and seatstay bridge mounts and clips. In addition, the fender stays are attached to a corresponding bolt-on “mushroom” (bolted to the fender eyelet) by means of a snap-on socket. Installation is a little more involved than regular fenders because the socket mount is threaded to adjust in and out of the fender stay and will need to be adjusted for your setup. Once adjusted, the socket is secured by a jam nut.

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Even though the included directions seemed less helpful than something you’d get from IKEA, I have confidence that most people will be able to pull off the basic installation with minimal problems. I, on the other hand, had a few minor changes to make.
Knowing that I had a suspension corrected fork, I needed a way to get the fender close enough to the tire to function properly and still look right. I had initially planned an elaborate kludge involving P-clamps and plenty of extra hardware, but it proved to be overkill due to the relatively short axle to crown measurement of my Surly 1×1 fork. I ended up following what I feel to be a cliché by adding a (thankfully) small piece of metal to drop it to the correct height for my fork / tire combination. Another modification to the basic install was forced due to the seat stay bolt hole pointing down instead of being a horizontal hole. Because of this I decided to bolt it to my brake booster instead which still allowed it to follow the correct arc while potentially adding support due to it’s more centralized location on the fender arc.

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I was able to try the fenders out recently in some mildly rainy conditions in the area and I’d say that the coverage provided by the front fender is better than one would expect from a typical set of detachable fenders, rivaling that of some of the best names in the business. Perhaps aesthetically I wasn’t as happy with the projection ahead of the front fork as I could have been but the coverage from the business end of the front fender and mudflap drops well below the bottom bracket making up for what I feel is a fairly stubby front projection when compared to more traditional fenders. I felt that the rear behaved as a normal bolt-on fender would in that you wouldn’t notice any real difference between it and the easily removed Nebula.

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The Interchange Nebula’s are priced around $50 – $55 depending on the shop. The price is fairly in line with the better bolt-on fenders on the planet but offers the versatility of super quick removal for sunny days or for just putting your bike in the trunk after a late night at work.