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review

Cafe Du Cycliste Tool Saddle Bag

8
£44.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Waterproof, easy to use and very stylish – it's not light or cheap, but works extremely well
Very easy to fit and remove
Just big enough
Stylish
Not the cheapest or lightest
Weight: 
115g

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The Cafe Du Cycliste Tool Saddle Bag is very good – secure, well made, waterproof and easy to use. At 0.5L it's just big enough for the basics, and while it's not the lightest or cheapest option it's surely one of the most stylish.

Want more lightweight luggage options? Check out our guide to the best bikepacking bags.

> Buy now: Cafe Du Cycliste Tool Saddle Bag for £44 from Cafe Du Cycliste

This is basically a tiny roll-top waterproof bag, and there's nothing wrong with that – the big alloy hook is quick and easy to use, and you can adjust the strap to snug it down tight. With that done in seconds, all your stuff (or at least what tiny proportion fits in here) is completely protected from rain and spray. That's good news for your multi-tool.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Tool Saddle Bag - off bike 3.jpg

Meanwhile, the attachment strap is long enough on the buckle side to make fishing it up over your saddle rails easy, and the extra weight of the big metal buckle over a plastic one – though probably just a few grams – helps too. Packs with short or inflexible straps can be a right faff to get on the bike, so I like how easy this one is.

It's a broad strap with good, strong Velcro-style tape, and once it's done up it stays that way – a seemingly obvious detail, but a mis-step here can completely ruin an otherwise good design, as I discovered recently with the Topeak Elementa Strap.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Tool Saddle Bag - off bike 2.jpg

The rugged-feeling fabric is heat-sealed at the seams, and holds its rectangular cross-section well. That's great if you have a neatly rolled tube and a slim multi-tool, though not so ideal for tangled (or particularly large) tubes and bulky objects. You've got a little bit of leeway on volume with the rolled closure, but the fabric doesn't stretch at all.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Tool Saddle Bag - off bike.jpg

It's easy to clean, and resists stains – I got tubeless sealant on this without realising, and it wiped away completely even after days on there drying.

The half-litre volume comfortably takes a (neatly rolled) tube alongside a multi-tool, two levers, some bacon strips and a tyre-stabby thing without anything starting to bulge out. Add a CO2 cartridge (easily done) and that's pretty much exactly the stuff CdC says will go in. Honest marketing claims? What is the world coming to?

Value

At £44 this is far from the cheapest option, but given its quality and serious waterproofing it doesn't seem unreasonably priced. You can easily get some very good bags for less, though.

The Restrap Tool Pouch that Stu tested in April is £32.99, usefully water-resistant (if not actually waterproof) and lighter at 74g – this CdC bag is 115g.

The PNW Components Satellite Saddle Bag is also very effective, and also cheaper at £36.99 (a couple of quid more than when Mari tested it last year). It's less than half the weight at 54g too, but again isn't going to keep your stuff completely dry.

If you want to spend more you can turn to the ever-reliable Silca, whose 106g Mattone Grande Pack was £51 when we reviewed it last year. It's now £66, because this is 2023 and everything's going really well.

If for some reason you'd rather spend less, something like the 0.4L LifeLine Stash Saddle Bag will (probably) do the job nicely for £9.99. At 88g that option isn't even heavy – and as LifeLine is a Wiggle brand, it's very unlikely to be as much as £9.99 either.

Overall

This pack combines form with function extremely well – assuming the function you're looking for is excellent protection for and easy access to your spares. If you're after the lightest, raciest cargo-carrier then look elsewhere, but otherwise this stylish and effective bag is well worth considering.

Verdict

Waterproof, easy to use and very stylish – it's not light or cheap, but works extremely well

road.cc test report

Make and model: Cafe Du Cycliste Tool Saddle Bag

Size tested: 0.5 litre

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

CdC says: "Minimalist tool pack for your essential mechanics on the move. With space for an inner tube, tyre levers, multi tool and CO2 inflator canister. The 0.5 litre capacity means the pack fits perfectly underneath the saddle, binding securely and snugly with a single durable velcro strap."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

CdC lists these things, though why it mentions zips is beyond me...

fully waterproof fabric

heat-sealed seams

AquaGuard zips by YKK

rigid construction for optimal stability

durable nylon webbing

0.5 litre capacity

H: 15-21cm x W: 5cm x D: 6cm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

It's not the lightest, but it's not trying to be.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Other bags function almost as well for a fair bit less.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's quick and easy to use, properly protects your tools from water, and looks cool.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's pricey.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's up at the top end of the market, though the quality and design are too.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's tough, protective, very easy to use and looks great. Unless you're focused on getting either the cheapest or the lightest bag, this is exactly what you need.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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2 comments

Avatar
Simon E | 7 months ago
0 likes

The roll-top design is interesting.

An inexpensive alternative (with zip & velcro strap) is the Blackburn Grid MTB - 0.4L capacity and seems to do the job well. About £16 from LBS.

Avatar
Another_MAMIL | 7 months ago
1 like

I have this saddle bag, and it’s brilliant. Several things distinguish this saddle bag: it’s 100% waterproof, durably and beautifully built, and – unusually for a saddle bag – looks stylish. The size is spot on, too. Why hasn’t it got a RoadCC award? 

You can buy one from Café du Cycliste directly, but it incurs a substantial shipping charge. However, I emailed Sigma Sports, who ordered it without adding an import shipping charge. Chapeau to Sigma Sports’ customer service staff!

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