SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
AXIOM OCEANWAVE CITY+ SEAT BAG
439g inc bracket $135 CAN (£79.10)
The Axiom Monsoon Oceanwave City+ is described as a waterproof, bike packing inspired urban seat pack/bag. One that is “ideal for seat bag users who have wheel/frame clearance issues, or trunk bag users who’d prefer not to use a rack”. I’d agree and suggest it was also a good bet for day rides, or those riders wanting more carrying capacity than a wedge pack can offer.
Pros: Well-designed, lightweight, rugged, versatile, lifetime warranty.
Cons: Not a con as such but check saddle/rail compatibility first.
The main bag is made from 600denier polyester, reclaimed from fishnets, (hence the oceanwave moniker), given a waterproof polyurethane coating. When we say waterproof, in this instance, we’re talking IPX5, which isn’t impenetrable but quite common for bike luggage and waterproof in the everyday sense. As a precaution (especially on bikes shunning full-length mudguards/fenders) I tend to line luggage with a dry sack, especially if monsoon conditions are promised.
Six litres translate as a single compartment with a cargo net integrated within the outer “roof” section, for capturing lightweight, bulky items, such as a micro-jacket, gloves and cap, which you might want quick, easy access to. Then of course, there’s those impromptu rest stop purchases...The softshell fabric allows for a decent amount of expansion too, and the maximum payload is 2 kilos, which is quite generous and could entertain a sturdy lock, along with tubes, snacks, multi tool and other nick knacks.
Polypropylene reinforcement at the sides and foam tops and bottoms ensures decent shape and lateral stiffness, which is boosted by the Rixen Kaul mounting arms, which slide into the sides. A roll top closure reminds me of an envelope, locking the elements out.
Axiom haven’t been shy when it comes to retro-reflective detailing either and the end panel features a sturdy light mount clip - easily up to the job of toting bigger, weightier models.
Some clothing clips, such as this Moon can make release a struggle but I’d much sooner that, over it being ejected come the first bump.
The Rixen & Kaul® CONTOUR® MINI Saddle Adapter is a key part of the bag’s success. Designed to accommodate saddle rails up to 7mm diameter, the angle is adjustable and ensures it’ll play nicely with carbon fibre posts, suspension, and dropper models.
I’ve attached ours to carbon saddle rails and with no obvious ill effect, given the bracket’s composite construction, modest payloads involved and my own moderate 70 kilos. Its spent much longer of our test period clinging on to titanium and stainless-steel counterparts. Installation and setup are very straightforward, although getting the alignment bang on and to my tastes took a few tries.
Saddles are another consideration, getting the mount too close can hinder release. Talking of which the arms slide into the bag’s side channels and release from the saddle clamp by depressing the red button while pulling away. Again, hardly difficult but takes a few attempts to become intuitive, especially in the dark. Spares are available too, should you fancy porting it between bikes.
These points aside, it offers excellent clearance when paired to suspension posts, including the Kinetic 2.1 and the Cane Creek Thudbuster G3. In the former context, I’ve been able to leave the SQR bracket in situ, so I can simply switch over to the SQR tour, when I fancy hauling the kitchen sink.
Visually, and alongside Zefal Adventure R5 Waterproof Saddlebag it didn’t look like it would swallow 6 litres. However, it was pleasantly surprised. High centre of gravity requires some forethought, placing heavier stuff at the bottom. Scores on the doors... A moderately beefy U lock, change of clothes (packed small) spare tubes and a multi tool.
The external draw cord cargo net will snare micro jacket, gloves, cap with scope for a litre carton of milk and similar essentials you might pick up mid ride, or route home. The padded sections do an excellent job of soundproofing, no annoying jangle when blatting along unmade roads and/or washboard tarmac.
Even laden gills (so long as you’ve observed the rules of loading) I’ve only noticed it in the most positive sense. Aside from the clean aesthetic, there’s no annoying sway, or bounce, allowing me to concentrate on maintaining a solid tempo and just enjoying the ride.
This has remained consistent, regardless of whether Ursula and I have been exploring green lanes or enthused out-of-the-saddle-efforts on my fixed gear winter/trainer. The only time I’ve needed to consider its positioning is when dis/mounting-just a matter of leaning the bike more when swinging a leg over.
I’ve been out in some wild, late summer rains for a few hours’ sans dry sack and contents have emerged bone dry. The treated outer shell seems to do an excellent job of repelling rain, causing it to bead up and roll away. I wasn’t surprised to find ours passed my garden hose test with flying colours.
Talking of which, the laminated layer means most wet, slimy stuff doesn’t cling on too readily. Caked on mud/slurry also shifts convincingly with a warm sponge, although a quick shot of bike wash/similar gentle detergent certainly helps.
On some day rides, I’ve added the dry sack as a precaution but so far, not a requirement, given the fabric’s qualities. However, both bikes sport guards. On wet gravel, or mountain bike rides sans guards, I’d be inclined to pop stuff in a dry sack, if only to safeguard against stuff falling out and into muddy gloop. A risk you run with single compartment luggage, especially if your multi-tool and tyre levers have slid to the base.
Ours has shrugged against the usual brushes with brickwork and other rough surfaces, overhanging foliage etc. No signs of wear, or other damage. Not that I’d expect it from this end of the market and the lifetime warrantee against manufacturing defects inspires confidence.
$135 Can dollars (£79.10 at present rates) is competitive, if we’re just basing it on price alone. Rixen Kaul Contour Sport Seat Post Bag is a post mounted design, (so arguably less versatile than the Axiom) based around a frame and offering a 7 litre payload, spread over three compartments. £74 (check) However, at 700g, it’s a good bit heavier, which may not be welcome.
Ortlieb Saddle Bag Two is a high visibility design using a similar saddle rail mount and stabiliser strap but a more bijoux 4.1 litres and £70.00. Then of course, there’s the Carradice Carradry SQR Bag at £75. One of my favourites, in many respects bombproof and great for those who want to lug the kitchen sink. The bracket is also compatible with several suspension seatposts but at 1390g, it’s the last thing I’d want near a carbon post and can be a bit of a handful when fully laden.
All told, I’ve been very impressed with the Axiom Monsoon Oceanwave City+ 6 litre, a well-engineered option for day riding on a pared to the essentials’ road, or cyclo-cross bike. Especially smaller framesets running 700c wheels, where clearance can be problematic. It has bridged the gap between wedge pack and big post mounted bags/panniers handsomely and isn’t far behind some likeable budget bike packing models, in the size stakes.
Verdict: 4/5 Well designed and executed bag for day rides, especially for riders of smaller frames.
Axiom Cycling Gear (axiomgear.com)
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2021
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH