Sunday, November 7, 2010


XtraBag. Frame bag. Frame pack. Call it what you want to, but it's a clever way to carry stuff, particularly heavy stuff.

I originally made this one out of Kudu rawhide (as light as carbon, stronger, not brittle, re-usable, bla bla bla) for the Sishen-Saldanha ride.
It could hold almost 8 litres of water in a series of 2 litre bladders (re-used wine bladders), making the bike seriously heavy. Heavy takes second place to water in Bushmanland.

Thanks to this bag, I never ran out of water, but towards the end I no longer needed to carry as much water, so filled it with food. Accessible food.

No, it's not waterproof (that's not generally required in that part of the country) and when it got totally wet at the coast it lost it's shape. Too bad.

I'd been keen on making a canvas one to replace the rawhide one, with a side zip and even an inner compartment for small things, so it was fortuitous that Di O'Donovan mentioned that she was pretty good on a sewing machine. We set at it with rough sketches, then proper drawings and finally hardboard templates.

Your Salute, Reverend.

Lots of backwards and forwards to make sure everything fitted as planned, even a hole in the template to hang it up.

Afficionados will recognise this as the middle compartment of the XtraBike

The first prototype:

++It's made of bullet proof ripstop canvas
+ Fits the frame perfectly
+ Zip placement is under discussion
- It's off-centre (that will be changed)
- No logo (wait and see, but it's likely to involve a 16t sprocket and a finger)

We're aiming for:

  • As water resistant as possible
  • Lightest/strongest/cheapest
  • Ultra durable bag and zip
  • Customized to each specific frame, no "one size fits all crap"


  1. A fine salute it is, too, Johann.

    That's what I'm talking about! Durable canvas, not that UV degrading nylon.

  2. Polyester coated, 410g ripstop canvas.
    You don't need the bag falling apart before you do.

  3. I only use step through frames but you have inspired me to design and make something that works somewhere on one. I have been following "the Black Mamba" on the Bike Forums. I started to use a bike frame with the top tube just as you did but just before I started to cut up a perfectly good bike I acquired the 24" with rear suspension that worked perfectly. The Red Beast
    I've been reading back through "your stuff" this morning and got my first laugh of the day with "Eukanuba Dog Food Diet" Good way to start the day.
    By the way I have a couple of pictures of folding "side loaders" made from an alumimum cot frame if you would like them.