Home > Gear, The Blue Ridge Parkway, ultralight bicycle touring > What Did Not Work: The Viva Saddle Bag Support

What Did Not Work: The Viva Saddle Bag Support

My touring kit weighed in at a tad over 18 pounds and was carried in the Carradice Camper Longflap Saddlebag.  I’ve toured out of the Carradice several times before and I’ve found it to be just the right size for a week or two on the road.  Until this last trip I’ve always supported the bag with a rear rack, but in my never ending quest to unencumber myself, I decided to leave the rear rack at home and support the bag with a Viva Saddlebag Support.

Not a good decision.  Not a horrible decision, just not the best choice for touring with an 18 pound kit.  The Viva supported the weight, but just barely. By the end of the five days the rack had bent to allow the bag to partially rest on the fender.  Not a big deal, but not ideal.  Part of the problem was the distance from the upper support (a Nitto quick release) to the Viva was too short and the entire load was resting on the Viva.  Either a taller rider/seat stem (I’m 5’10”) or a shorter bag (like the Barley) may have been perfect.  I’m sure it would have been fine with a lighter load as well.

I’ll still use the Viva support for overnight camping, but for touring I’ll be going back to using a full rear rack.


  1. Stuart
    September 23, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    For all I know you’ve already tried this, but if you haven’t: I’ve had good luck with a Carradice Bagman Expedition rack supporting a Nelson Longflap (so a bit smaller) for camping loads (and all kinds of other loads). Wiggle in the UK has great prices on Carradice stuff, <$30 for the Bagman Expedition. So if you want to try it out, not *too* pricey.

    Here's a link to what I'm talking about if you're unfamiliar: http://goo.gl/eJ49

    Keep the posts coming, good stuff!

  2. velohobo
    September 24, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Thanks, I’ll check it out. I would like to do away with a rear rack. It would save a few pounds.

  3. arlen
    September 24, 2010 at 7:27 am

    been there….
    i have gone rackless with my mtb …
    i believe in the “super twinkie”
    you will be surprised in what you can carry…
    along with the frame pack…
    and setting up for your self a good handle bar harness system…
    liked i shared with you not to long ago with pictures of my set up…
    one good point to keep in mind….
    velcro has its place…
    but not for strapping down your kit…buckle straps are the best…

    • velohobo
      September 24, 2010 at 7:34 am

      If you don’t mind, I’ll share those photos with the rest of the readers (I think they are in my e_mail. I’ve been really bad about not checking my e-mail lately, sorry).

      I like that term “Super Twinkie”!


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