I didn't know a saddle bag could make me as angry as the Silca Seat Roll Asymmetrico
The previous model bounced off my bike into the gutter never to be seen again: this one ends up dangling from the saddle rails
The roll pack is a nice idea when it comes to packing. But no one wants to have to stop and reattach their saddle pack. Less so when riding in a group. A simple strap around the seatpin would hold it in place and likely solve the problem. Ditching the the Boa dial and using Velcro would probably give better results too. Boas are great on a pair of shoes, but no good in this application.
Easy to pack and unpack
Kept slipping out of position
We don't often give products a score of one star out of five but the Silca Asymmetrico deserves it. The one thing a saddle pack needs to do is stay attached to your saddle and hold your spares. And the Silca doesn't.
There are several different designs for the humble seat pack. From big ones to small ones, ones that clip on to the saddle rails, and most commonly those fixed on with Velcro straps.
Silca have used a single Boa strap for attaching their £52 Asymmetrico roll up pack to your bike. A minimalist design using a fastening device we’re more used to using on our shoes. At a first glance the solution looks excellent. However, in practice we discovered a fatal flaw.
Silca Seat Roll Asymmetrico: construction
Unlike most other saddle bags which come with an opening at the front the Silca seat roll rolls out flat. Taking its inspiration from a tool roll. Inside are four compartments to slot your kit into. These were the perfect size for one inner tube (700x25), tyre levers, a small multitool and a gas canister with a small valve.
Slot one into each pocket, roll the pack up lengthways and then secure with the big velcro strap. Once neatly wrapped up you can attach it to the underside of the saddle rails. This is done by feeding the Boa cables over the saddle rails, hooking them around the catch on the bottom of the pack and tightening the Boa dial.
The seat roll is simple and easy to fill, much easier than stuffing everything in via one hole at the end of a saddle bag. I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves standing at the side of the road struggling to stuff everything back into a saddle bag as tyre levers grip the inner tube, or a multitool catches on the tube’s valve or there’s not enough room next to the gas canister.
While the seat roll is easy to fill, it’s a little limited in space, as there was no room for anything more in those pockets. But it packs up nice and small and tucks neatly away under the saddle. A reflective strip on the velcro strap that holds the pack together was a nice touch, although it obviously gets very mucky very quickly if the roads are wet.
As you can see in the pictures, and tell from the name, the Boa strap isn’t placed centrally on the pack. This makes sense when looking at how a bag fits under a saddle. There’s not much room behind as the seat pin gets in the way. This design holds most of the pack away from the seat pin where there is room.
Silca Seat Roll Asymmetrico: the ride
Filling and fitting the pack was easy. But there was a major downside to its attachment method. Once riding it didn’t take long for the vibrations from the road to result in the pack vibrating and moving up and out from under the Boa strap, leaving it dangling off the saddle rails.
This wasn’t as bad as with the previous model which would regularly fall out within a few hundred metres of re-attaching it (especially on cold days with cold fingers when it was impossible to tighten up the Boa enough to keep it in place) but it happened enough to convince me it wasn’t a result of me attaching it incorrectly.
Going on customer reviews and comments I wasn't the only one to experience this with the previous model (that eventually bounced off my bike and into the gutter, never to be seen again) and there was more material to this updated version which did help, but it’ still wasn't enough to guarantee it stayed in place.
It seems to me that the asymmetrical positioning of the strap is part of the problem. If it was in the middle it might stay in place. My theory is the lack of padding in the material the roll is made from is the main problem. Any padding would have likely resulted in better grip through its compression when tightening the Boa dial.
Without padding, and with mainly hard items inside, there was no give in the bag for it to compress into the spaces around the saddle rails. No matter how hard I tightened the dial, if there is just a slim bit of material between a multitool and a saddle rail there is no compression to give extra grip. No stretch in the Boa cable didn’t help either, I suspect.
I tried putting the items (all very common, I wasn’t carrying anything that you wouldn’t on a normal ride) in different sections, although an inner tube would only fit into the main pocket a the others are two narrow. My thinking was that by positioning the inner tube against the saddle rails there would be a tiny bit of cushioning. But there isn't much versatility here as the inner tube has to go in the central pocket as the others aren’t wide enough.
The result was many an infuriating moment, stood at the side of the road reattaching it. Not what you want on any ride.
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Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling 1989 when watching the Tour de France on Channel 4, started racing in 1995 and in 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium. During his time at CW (and Cycle Sport magazine) he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He became the 130-year-old magazine's 13th editor in 2015.
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