I’ve just got my grubby mitts on a lovely new Porcelain Rocket framebag for the Troll.
Since moving over from the Thorn Sterling frameset, I’ve been really missing the extra storage space afforded by a framebag – especially as the Troll can only carry two water bottles, and the position of the eyelets won’t cater for larger cages, like Minoura and Topeak’s 1.5l models. (update – the 2013 Trolls are far more generous with their water-carrying potential, with eyelets for as many as 5 bottles).
Framebags are an ideal way of making use of all that dead space in a bicycle frame, centering cargo and providing organisational pouches for stuff I want to get to easily – snacks, a headtorch, tools.
For long distance touring, they also add a lot of versatility. I can jettison my panniers, while maintaining a setup that offers ample space for day rides. Or I can embark on ultralight, technically challenging multi-day trip, with just the seat pack and handlebar bag – like the Arizona Trail.
Another benefit of this system is that there’s nothing strapped onto my rear rack, making loading the bike quick and easy. Plus, there’s nothing to work loose on those super rough descents – which always happens, no matter how well I bungee gear on.
I should add that there’s a few of potential downsides. It’s best not to leave anything valuable inside if you’re parking up your bike, and there’s a little extra surface area in crosswinds. Neither of which have proved to be an issue yet.
Lastly, framebags are water-resistant but not waterproof – so bear that in mind when you’re packing. And while they’re tough, they’re perhaps not as burly as panniers. Don’t overpack them, and be sure to clean off the zips every once in a while.