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Friday, February 15, 2013

Speed Sleev Seat Sleev

Speed Sleev Seat Sleev Saddle Pack for the minimalist

The Speed Sleev Seat Sleev is a simple device at first glance, but is actually an advanced retention system for your carry goods.

Able to hold as much as you can stuff in it, thanks to the wide elastic band with different size "pockets" for different size items.  

The pockets are actually sleeves open at both ends that allow you to access your items without opening the whole system.  

There is also a cover that protects from mud and flying debris.  This is made out of super light-weight ripstop nylon, and surprisingly has not gotten lost yet.

Pictured above is a comfortable amount of items to carry in the Speed Sleev. Adding more tends to compromise the load and could lead to lost items.  You have to be brave to store your tools in the sleeves at first as there is nothing but the elastic to keep them secure.  The shape of the CO2's and the Fix It Sticks multi-tool seems to work best.  They each taper on the ends which help the elastic cup around the ends.  The rubber tube never slips as the rubber provides enough friction.

With no empty spaces to fill this is the most compact saddle pack possible.

Care should be taken that the inner tube does not touch the bolt on the post as shaking could rub a hole in the tube eventually.

The pack did not rattle or give any evidence it was there.

On my maiden ride I tried to stuff a nylon tool pack in with the tube, and promptly lost the tool bag.  Everything else stayed put, and to date there have been no other issues.  The trick is really to only carry items that fit the selected pocket, and that are not prone to slip.  

As long as the item fits within the sleeve, or tapers smaller at the end of the sleeve, there seems to be no issues.

The hook and loop fasteners are more than ample to hold the contents.

To secure to the saddle: pass the fasteners between the inside of the rails from underneath, then over the rails and around and under the Speed Sleeve to connect on the bottom.  Where the straps are sewn to the Speed Sleev should end up directly under the saddle between the rails (as the top of the Speed Sleeve), not on the bottom side of the Speed Sleeve.  This is identical to the strapping method for any saddle bag, but most people get it backwards.

The Speed Sleev Seat Sleev is a cool little inch item that will satisfy the minimalist riders and give quick access to tools for racers in a hurry.  Sleev, not Sleeve, spelled with 2 "E's", not 3.

Response from Speed Sleev:
Thanks for the review, pretty spot on.  We have made a few changes, including a stronger strap so it will truly hold whatever you can jam in there, and the tube holder section is hinged for easier loading and better retention of different size objects (like the tool you wanted to put in there).  
We are also using some new materials in [the second] edition [of] the original, the new bag is made mostly our of carbon fiber sail cloth.  We are also releasing a bigger size that will carry two road tubes and more Co2's or 1 29er tire for MTB application.

I look forward to trying the new version.  I do not use the Speed Sleev much, as for me, it is not that speedy, and high risk of losing items.

Update:  I have not used the SS at all.  I lost a few items out of it, so it is really not working for my needs.  I have seen their new version that holds items at 90 degrees to what I had, so maybe this retains them better.  I just feel safer with things zipped up and secure.
The SS does fine holding a tube with a CO2, but adding other items could lead to trouble.
I look forward to trying their new improved version soon.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fix It Sticks

Fix It Sticks is the newest mini tool yet to hit the market.  The idea is genius in its simplicity and practical in its pack-ability.

Small tools with power applications.  
Pictured here with Phillips head, 4, 5 and 6 mm Allen wrenches.
As the picture shows, each hex-shaped steel bit fits into the other alloy body to form the T.  The coupling is a perfect fit and feels solid.

Aluminum machined bodies hold those common driver bits, and the bodies fit together to form a T-handle allowing huge torque.

While it would seem universally adaptable if the bits were replaceable, the reality is they would get lost and leave you stranded when you most need it.  The bits instead are pressed into the body for a permanent fit.  On mine I can see a slight bulge where the bit was really pressed in firm, so you know it will hold.  Fix It Sticks does offer a "build your own" option so you can get the bits you want, and you are not limited to just two sticks, get three and have 6 tools instead of 4.

The downside is the lack of a chain tool that other mini-tools might have, but we await a super light alloy chain tool compatible with the Sticks.

I have been testing the Speed Sleeve at the same time and have not found a multi-tool that would fit it satisfactorily until now.  The Fix It Sticks fit perfectly into the Speed Sleeve and will not fall out like my former favorite tool, rest its soul.

The Speed Sleeve is my favorite "saddle bag" for a minimalist approach and the Fix It Sticks compliment that minimalist light-weight mentality perfectly.

Fix It Sticks will be available in April 2013.  They offer a Kickstarter program where buyers can get a discount for pre-ordering a set in order that the seller earns capital to build inventory.

Mine are prototype aluminum, but the production models are anodized orange.  I probably would have opted for a torx bit for my disc rotors over the supplied Phillips bit.  I also added my own magnetic 8mm Allen end to turn this into a 5-way tool, but am bound to lose this unintended accessory.

The Fix It Sticks are a very cool and functional tool that will see years of service on many rides.