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my new framebags… finally!

I’ve been hankering after frame bags for a long time now but collecting all the materials together and finding myself a sewing machine in a place where I could spread out and sew in peace proved to be more problematic than I expected. All the elements finally came together at my friend Lea’s house in the mountains near Cuernavaca.

Still smiling...

... after a week at the sewing machine; ...

...the time it took to produce this collection of bags. The aim is to get rid of my front panniers once everything has been repacked in the new configuration.

Purpose made tool kit which contains everything needed to deal with punctures and the other most common maintenance issues.

Reflective tape, red lining... it's all in the details. This side has a flat pocket for things like my writing pad and a map or two. The other side has two compartments for larger items and the bag is padded where its contents may rattle and bang against the frame or each other.

{ 19 } Comments

  1. Owen | November 14, 2010 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    Sweet! Are you taking orders?

    Is that a separate one in between the seat tube and the back wheel? Do you know how much capacity (litreage) you can get with the big one?

  2. anna | November 14, 2010 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Well, given the amount of time it took me to make them I’d have to charge an insane amount of money to make it worth my while. Plus I’m going to be in the jungle of Guatemala soon enough where sewing machines are hard to find. But I’m glad you like them.

    Yep, that’s a separate one between the seat tube and the back wheel. I’m not really sure of the capacity – how would I go about measuring that?

  3. Owen | November 14, 2010 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    Ummm you could take the measurements and work it out with some kind of equation which is prob beyond my capabilities, especially given the odd shape of the bag.

    A more primitive but less brain-straining method would be to take another bag with a stated litreage, fill it with stuff and then find out how much of that same stuff fits in your frame bag. Do you know how many litres your front panniers are meant to take?

  4. Owen | November 14, 2010 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Also (off-topic), are those Marathon XR tyres on your bike? How do you find them on sealed roads? I am thinking about getting Marathon Extreme (which have kind of replaced the XR) – but worried about whether the tread is smooth enough for riding on the road.

  5. anna | November 14, 2010 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Hum. I reckon the frame bags, collectively, have a smaller capacity than my two front panniers but I have also made a sling for my sleeping bag which will free up space in the rear pannier where it used to live. So maybe I can still carry the same amount of stuff. I do keep trying to get rid of stuff but I’m not very good at it. Books are my biggest weakness.

    Tomorrow’s task is packing everything on the bike to see how it all works. I can report back to you if you want!

  6. anna | November 14, 2010 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    On tires – I spend as little time as I can on paved roads and speed is never really my priority. I’m pretty happy with the XR’s. I think they are alright on sealed roads if you pump them up nice and hard. I can’t be bothered switching tyres all the time like some people do and I would prefer to be comfortable on unmade roads.

  7. Lars | November 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Very nice! Hope they don’t weigh much!

  8. Francesca Coles | November 15, 2010 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    The bags look great, Anna. Good on you for slaving over the sewing machine and making them yourself – it must be very satisfying. I hope they travel well with you. Where to next? I gather it’s back to Australia for Jodie Lea.

  9. anna | November 15, 2010 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Cesca, nice to hear from you! I’m off to Campeche tomorrow on the bus to pick up where I left off. I’ll be heading in my zig-zaggy kind of way towards Guatemala.

    I hope all is going fabulously in Melbourne.

    Lars, the whole point is they don’t weigh much because the bike frame itself is the structure. I’m looking forward to putting them to test on the road.

  10. Melda | November 15, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Looks like you found the right thread then! :)

  11. seth | November 16, 2010 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Is that some type of logo on the main framebag? They look very well made.

    Any plans to sell your front panniers and rack? I might be interested as my framebag did not turn out how I expected…

  12. Jeremy Taylor | November 16, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    To measure the capacity, put a plastic bag inside your frame bag, fill it carefully with water. Once you can get no more water in, seal the top, remove the bag and pour the liquid into a measuring jug. I would like to do this with all commercial bags as I am not convinced that they are all accurate.

  13. anna | November 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Seth, it’s a fish! I think I’ll be keeping the panniers since I’m not sure if I can carry everything I might need in cold climates in the framebags.

    What happened with yours?

  14. seth | November 16, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Nice! I thought it was a fish! About my framebags, I just could not get anyone to actually make them for me.

    People looked at me weird when I explained what they were for…

    I’ll take a crack at it, but I’ve never sewn a thing before. I may also just bite the bullet and order my front rack and panniers!

    Enjoy Chiapas!

  15. anna | November 17, 2010 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    Seth, I had trouble finding someone to make them for me, too, which is why I ended up making them myself. I tried to find someone when I was on Isla Mujeres because there were people there who sewed all sorts of odd things for boats but no-one seemed keen. (I am lazy about sewing if I have a choice.)

    You could do worse than just get panniers and racks.

    Jeremy, that sounds like a recipe for getting a very wet bag but I can see the logic behind the idea. I don’t think I care enough about it to take the trouble though.

    Melda: yup, I managed to get some decent thread – astonishing how hard it can be!

  16. Alan | November 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi Anna,

    The bags look great, well done!

    Don’t toss out the front rack and panniers yet, you may need to carry a little weight on the front wheel just to keep the bike balanced on the dirt. i.e. if you shift too much weight rearward, your steering may become quite ‘light’ This can be problematic on loose dirt / sandy tracks / roads.



  17. karin | November 23, 2010 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    beautiful work anna, amazing how you did this, great job the look good, enjoy your riding

  18. zanny | December 1, 2010 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    hey bags look great!

  19. susan | December 14, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    the bags looks nice. well done :)

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