For those who favour traditional saddlebags to carry their cargo (but find fitting and removing them a pain), Frost and Sekers’ wood and stainless steel mounting system offers both class and practicality to your ride…
TRADITIONAL saddlebags (think venerable Carradice Camper Longflap as an example) have stood the test of time for good reason: their top loading design and easy-to-pack shape makes them supremely practical. They’re repairable and solidly made. They soften up, fade, and weather well. On a more emotive level, they tell a story, as evidenced by the patches their owners love to sew on them.
But it has to be said, these same traditional saddlebags aren’t especially easy to attach and remove from your bicycle’s saddle rails, where they hang. And, on the topic of saddles, you’ll need to run one with special eyelets, like the handsome Brooks series. Various devices exist to tackle these issues, the latest of which is this offering from London-based Frost + Seker.
The handle feels good in the palm and the stainless steel mount seems solid and hardy.
With its steel build and chunky, comforting wooden handle, the Quick-Lock can’t claim going to be the lightest option on the market; weight weenies need not apply. But it makes up for its weight with a very satisfying, tactile feel. The handle feels good in the hand and the stainless steel mount is solid and hardy.
In use, it works really, really well. There’s a reassuring ca-clunk as it locks into place. Aside from day to day use, I’ve taken it on an overnighter bikepacking trip, across all kinds of terrain – from old-fashioned English bridleways to rocky, roughstuff descents – and there was never a question that it wouldn’t stay put. With its simple, overbuilt construction, I’m confident in saying it should last many a year, too.
Downsides? Fitting the Quick-Lock is a very fiddly affair, best performed by three hands or a dozen dextrous fingers. I found it easiest to remove the seatpost and stand the saddle upside down. The mount itself is sandwiched between the clamps of the seat post, which can be a bit tricky to balance in place. Two long bolts and one big central bolt are provided (to cover different styles of seatposts). As far as I can tell, this should work for most generic seatposts, as well as more fancier Thomson offerings too. If you’re a Brompton devotee, there’s a specific model available. Thankfully, any frustration felt with fitting the Quick-Lock is soon forgotten once you actually use it. Especially when it comes to clasping that lovely handle!
Saddlebag thigh rub drives some people nuts, whilst others don’t seem to care at all.
As a general note, bear in mind that saddlebags tend to rub against thighs whilst you’re riding. This drives some people nuts (a full bag creates more thigh rub), whilst others don’t seem to care at all. If it does bother you and you intend to fill the bag to its gunnels, you’re probably best served by fitting a small supporting rack, to create some space between your thighs and the bag and to help support the weight of the bag. Without a rack, the Quick-Lock is officially designed to carry up to 4kg. In reality, it certainly feels capable of hauling a good deal more.
Frost and Sekers also offer their own saddlebag; the 15L Otis. It’s relatively simple and minimal in design and has a softer feel than the Carradice Barley Bag I own. For the most part, the Otis is free of gubbins; no extra webbing, sidepockets, or ‘Longflap’ design, as can be seen on models like the Fabio Chest and BXB Goldback. But, it does cut a sharp profile and it’s a very practical, day to day size. I can see its clean, good looks appealing to city commuters.
The Otis goes for the traditional, leather strap approach for closing the bag. I’m more of a fan of plastic buckles for speed of access, even if leather straps are undeniably better looking. Still, those on the Otis are big and chunky, which makes them easy to use with gloved hands. There’s an optional shoulder strap too that clips into place, turning the Otis into a rather becoming shoulder bag.
The first version I tried out (and the one pictured above) was actually a prototype model. This was returned and replaced with the finished product, which I’ve been using since. Price-wise, the mount is £80; it’s made in the UK from quality materials, so I think that’s too be expected. The bag feels a little on the expensive side at £140, at least compared to a Carradice equivalent. But, it’s made by good people who are passionate about urban cycling, so you at least know where your hard-earned crispies are going to a good place. Lastly, the Quick-Lock comes in simple cardboard packaging… with no plastic in sight. Thank you!
There’s a nice Insta video for how it can be used here. And, over at Path Less Pedaled, Russ Roca offered some detailed first impressions too, including a mostly real-time fitting, which can be found here.
Facts and Stats
- Product name Quick-Lock and Otis Saddlebag
- ContactFrost + Sekers
Disclosure: Product provided by Frost and Sekers