I’ve been having difficulties carrying everything I want on my Jamis Nova without putting it in jersey pockets. An under-saddle bag is working okay, but fully filled it occasionally brushes my thighs, which is rather uncomfortable. I also don’t really care for putting things in my jersey pockets, so I decided to try out a King Cage Kargo Cage (same product on Tallac Design’s site), mounting it on the down tube (alternate view).
This device is a combination stainless steel bottle cage and tool pouch holder, with the pouch being large enough to hold a tube and other bits. I chose the larger 9″ size designed to hold a 29er tube, as I figured I could use the extra 2″ of pouch length for things besides a tube. In the photo above I have it carrying a road tube (inside an old sock), Novara patch kit (with chain links inside), and two Park Tool TL-1 tire levers, zipped shut with the zipper pull tucked inside. I’ll probably add some nitrile gloves later, and maybe a small bottle of chain lube.
The pouch itself, manufactured by Tallac Design, snaps nicely to nylon straps which are mounted to the screws between the frame and cage itself. This holds it firmly in place and with a nice, sleep look. Unsnapping the bag is not the fastest operation so it will be a bit difficult to remove, but I intentionally chose for it to hold the supplies that I rarely need (but really don’t want to be without on longer rides), so this shouldn’t be a problem.
The model of Kargo Cage seen here is a newer design than the one pictured on both the King Cage and Tallac Design sites, as it has snaps instead of plastic buckles. I have slight concerns over the snaps rusting, but a light coating of grease on them will hopefully mitigate this. The snap setup seems simpler than the plastic buckles, and it seems like the bag could sag with the previous design whereas this one seems a bit more solid. Because the snaps sit next to the frame and brush it as the bike is jostled I put a piece of UHMW polyethylene tape on the frame behind the snap to eliminate scratching and cut down on potential noise.
It remains to be seen how useful this Kargo Cage is for me long-term, but I have high hopes for it. I am slightly concerned about how it sticks out about 2cm to each side of the down tube (photo) as I suspect it’ll catch a lot of dust and mud, but being vinyl-lined it should be washable. I need to leave it on the downtube for now, as the longer 9″ bag length keeps it from fitting on the seat tube without getting very close to the front derailleur. I’ve emailed Tallac Design (who makes the bag piece of it) asking if I can buy a separate 7″ bag so I can try it on the seat tube and see how that goes. It might also be useful to have two separate bags that I can swap out depending on the kind of ride that I’m doing.
Even with this I’ll still likely keep a small seat bag on the bike, but I only intend that to hold my keys, wallet, multi-tool, and any other small incidentals. Or, I might just put these items in jersey pockets. By moving the tube and repair supplies to the frame I’m allowing the saddle bag (or what is carried in pockets) to be smaller and more useful, while allowing the tube to be sock-wrapped to cut down on wear during storage (as other parts rub against it in the bag). There wasn’t enough room for this before.