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Develop - what's new from the Alpkit Design Team

New UK-Made Bike Luggage Range

By Alpkit
04, May, 2018

New developments in our UK-made bikepacking luggage (including the new Exo-Rail), direct from our product team!

© Alpkit

We made our first bike luggage over a decade ago and we’ve been manufacturing and using it ever since. Strapping stuff to bikes and taking them into the outdoors was by no means a new concept back when we started. But when it came to making our own purpose-designed rackless range to meet our every bikepacking need, we were at the forefront.

What direction are we taking the range in?

The bikepacking market has exploded. When we set out, we never quite anticipated just how many different circumstances you’d use your bike luggage for, now we see bags attached to all manner of frames – even unicycles! We’re embracing this evolution in people are attaching things to their bike by diversifying our range. The Exo-Rail is a true reflection of this.

 

Location shot of camino ti loaded up with Tarmac UL luggage
location shot of pete mcneil from adventure pedlars riding the camino ti loaded up with tarmac ul ls07 bike luggage
 
locatio shot of pete mcneil from adventure pedlars taking a break at the roadside, his camino ti is loaded up with tarmac ul bike luggage and leaning against a grassy/rocky bank

 

Exo-Rail seat post mounting system

Our initial plan was to design a mounting system that would let you use a seat pack with a dropper seat post for aggressive trail riding. But we soon realised we had the opportunity to design a system that could benefit all kinds of rider – not just those heading off the beaten track. So, our design brief was for a system that would:

  • reduce sway in seat packs

  • make it easy to mount and remove the seat pack from your bike really quickly

  • be compatible with dropper seat posts without any fiddling around

  • be compatible with older seats packs (with some retro-fitting)

  • be compatible most micro adjust saddles

What we came up with was the Exo-Rail. Simple to install, elegant and unobtrusive when on the bike, and with no moving parts to clang about. Plus, it ticked every box on our design brief. Our next step was to develop our seat packs so that riders could really benefit from the convenience and stability of the Exo-Rail.

 

Alpkit Exo-rail attached to a bike saddle, close up shot
Alpkit Exo-rail attached to a bike saddle, profile shot including wheel
Alpkit Exo-rail attached to a bike saddle, angled shot

 

Koala seat packs development

We wanted to capitalise on the convenience of the Exo-Rail with our Koala seat packs, but we were keen that any changes would not reduce their performance without the Exo-Rail. We developed a slide-on, slide-off sleeve to make the Koala Exo-Rail compatible, with one strap to clip into place. For those without the Exo-Rail, the attachment is the same as before.

 

Alpkit Koala 13 in jaffa orange 500 denier cordura mounted on an exo-rail on a bike
Alpkit dropper seat post compatible Koala 7 in black VX21 fabric mounted on an exo-rail on a bike

 

Other than this, the shape of our 13 L capacity Koala has seen minimum changes – with some reinforcement in the nose to ease packing. However, Koala 7 has taken on a completely new form, a form that lets you drop your seat post and take on the technical terrain without even unclipping a buckle. The Exo-Rail lets you mount a seat pack without fastening it onto your seat post, and a slimmer shape keeps it out of the way of your wheel.

New Glider touring frame bags

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that the Glider bears some resemblance to our Possum ½ frame bag. We’ve created the Glider to meet the needs of the diverse ‘types’ of rider. The Possum was designed for modern MTB geometries, which made it harder to fit them to touring bikes. The Glider is shaped to fit typical road, gravel and touring geometries with higher stand over heights, and we’ve shaved 2 cm off the width to give you more clearance between your legs and your frame bag.

 

Alpkit glider 46 in chilli red vx21 on a camino ti bike
Alpkit glider 48 in lego blue on a camino ti bike
Alpkit glider 50 in LS07 tarmac UL on a camino ti bike

 

Stem Cell II

Stem Cell will always have a minimalist design, but we’ve slightly increased the capacity of the Stem Cell without adding bulk by changing its shape, adding a loop of webbing at the base that can be attached to your fork for added stability.

 

Alpkit Stem cell in Vx21 lego
alpkit stem cell 2 cordura jaffa, mounted on a sonder bike
alpkit stem cell 2 in tarmac ul ls07

 

New Fabrics

We’ve also expanded our range of fabrics for creating bike luggage to give you more control over what you’re strapping to your bike. From now on, riders will be able to choose between VX21, LS07 (Tarmac UltraLight), and 500D Cordura.

VX21 is hugely resistant against wear, and its laminated construction offers a stiffness that gives frame bags excellent durability and makes them easy to pack. However, we recognised a demand for something more durable against abrasions on long, far, and fast adventures. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we saw a need for more durability of the ‘rough and tumble’ variety for steep, technical, rock-strewn adventures.

Our unlined LS07 ‘Tarmac UltraLight’ fabric is light, waterproof, and abrasion resistant - geared at cyclists looking to shed every last gram at no sacrifice to durability. The robust 500D Cordura more suited to the rougher treatment that more hardcore bike bags are subjected to. We can also print onto it, which gives us more scope for funky artwork (who doesn’t love funky artwork?).

 

location still life image of camino ti loaded up with tarmac ul cockpit luggage
 
location still life image of camino ti loaded up with tarmac ul koala seat pack
location still life image of camino ti loaded up with tarmac ul glider frame bag, fuel pod 22 and fuel pod 25

 

The beauty of our UK made bike luggage lies in our ability to respond to demand and evolve to reflect the bikepacking scene: we can welcome changing trends when other manufacturers may shy from them. We’re excited to find out what you think of our bike luggage developments, and looking forward to seeing what you strap luggage onto next!

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