If you are familiar with 'The Rules' set out by the Velominati, Rule #29 states: “No European Posterior Man-Satchels.” The Keepers of the Cog go on to add: “Saddlebags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.”
Many cyclists follow this rule religiously, but there are plenty of BikeRadar staffers who've concluded that saddlebags are a must after popping the seams of one overstuffed jersey pocket too many while trying to fit in ‘just one more gel’.
Of course, saddlebags are not without their faults – velcro straps rubbing on seatposts for hours on end can ruin your bike's fancy paint job, or those new Assos bibs you told your significant other were ‘on sale’ and would ‘last forever’.
The Aeroclam does not contact anything but the saddle rails
Designed and manufactured in New Zealand, the Cyckit Aeroclam is a unique take on the ‘posterior man satchel’, offering a tidy alternative to the surplus of saddlebags on the market.
The hard plastic case weighs 128g and bolts onto the rails of your saddle, beneath the rear of the seat behind the clamping surface. In contrast with other bolt-on bags, where the bag clips into a mount attached to the saddle, the upper piece of the Aeroclam is the mount. Other than the seat rails, the case does not contact any other part of the bike, and there's no body contact whatsoever.
The Aeroclam comes in two versions to accommodate a wide range of saddles
As saddles vary in shape just as much riders do, there are ‘P1’ and ‘P2’ versions of the Aeroclam’s upper component – and a specific model is also on the way to accommodate the unique shape of the Fizik Arione. Together the P1 and P2 versions cover most of the big saddle brands, but if neither fits your specific saddle, Cyckit promises to offer a full refund.
Installing the Aeroclam is fiddly, but should only take a couple of minutes. Saddles with cut-outs are easiest, while more closed in models may require the loosening of the saddle to gain greater access. A clever half-hinge design enables the bottom half of the case to be removed, making the bolt more accessible.
Space inside the case is at a premium, and we did run into some trouble fitting all of our usual essentials inside. Packing instructions are included, which claim the Aeroclam will hold a multi-tool, two included tyre levers, a tube, CO2 canister and inflator. And it does - but only with a specific style of multi-tool and a reasonable quality inner tube.
We tried many different combinations of our usual essentials, and with a low quality tube we were only able to fit the tube and tyre levers; with a more expensive tube, a CO2 canister and inflator fit. But of all the multi-tools we tested, including an ultra-slim Birzman, none fit with any combination of essentials. It seems only slimline-style multitools, such as the one from Genuine Innovations recommended by Cyckit, will fit.
Despite the cramped interior, we experienced some rattling. However, the noise disappeared completely once we placed our CO2 canister inside the supplied piece of recycled tube.
The latch on the Aeroclam is secure – maybe a little too secure
The latch is secure, and there is no worry of the Aeroclam popping open on the road – in fact, it’s quite tough to open (especially with cold hands). While it stayed rather rigid during our testing, we're told the finger tabs will loosen up overtime and a touch of Vaseline (or similar) on the eyelets will help further if needed.
All in all, the Cyckit Aeroclam is a tidy storage solution for riders who don’t want to use a traditional canvas saddle bag. However, we're not sold on its limited multi-tool compatibility, limiting you to less favourable options (if you use one at all).
That's a shame, because we can’t help but conclude that with the right saddle and a few minor refinements – maybe a bigger multi-tool well, and a pull tab or latch closure – the Aeroclam could become our go-to European Posterior Man Satchel.
Note: The Cyckit Aeroclam is currently only available direct from New Zealand at NZ$49.90 plus shipping. For shipping information, visit Cyckit