List Price: £16
Fastening: Roller 2.1 Mounting System
Additional Features: Built in tyre levers
Overview and Specifications
Scicon describe the Soft 350 RL 2.1 as “a bag designed to safely store the bare essentials”. It is sold as a subtle bag hidden away under the saddle designed to fit neatly in with the lines of your bike. The clues to the Soft 350’s main specifications are in its name. The 350 part of the name stands for it’s capacity of 0.35l. In comparison the Topeak Aero Wedge Medium that I have used before has a capacity of 1.4l expanding to 1.6l when it is opened out using the zip. If you feel you need the extra space Scicon have saddle bags using the Roller 2.1 mounting system up to a capacity of 0.695l – full range available here.
The RL 2.1 part of the name stands for the Roller 2.1 (more information below) which attaches the bag to the underside of your saddle using a unique clip on system similar to one used to mount your Garmin device to the handlebars. The great news is you can buy additional mounts for the system, so instead of having to have multiple saddle bags for your bikes you can have one with multiple mounts, making switching between bikes much easier. The zip for the Soft 350 runs around three sides of the bag making access to the contents really easy. This was especially noticeable when compared to the zip off front of the Topeak Aero Wedge Medium I had been using previously, which I found made accessing anything at the bottom really difficult.
The Soft 350 also has two red tyre levers included, one which slots just below the fitting system on the outside, and one which slots on the top of the inside of the bag. This is a really handy feature and is one less thing you have to find space for inside the bag. When viewed from the sides or behind the bike the Soft 350 has a reflective strip that you can see in the photo below. It also has the Scicon logo with a rubber loop which can be used for attaching bike lights. This was the main disappointment for me as the stitching on the loop was already loose when I bought it, and with repeated adding/removing of lights will be unusable in a matter of weeks.
How Much Fits Inside?
This was the big test for me, how much can I actually fit inside? I use my saddle bag for my on-road maintenance kit. This means I will never forget anything vital keeping me prepared for when I have problems on a ride. My aim was to get the following in the bag:
I have had the luxury of riding with a saddle bag almost three times the capacity of the Soft 350 (the Topeak Aero Wedge medium) so on paper getting my maintenance kit in this bag was going to be a struggle. However, as you can see from the photos the Scicon came up trumps. I managed to fit in everything I consider essential for a trip out on the road. This was a really pleasant surprise as my biggest worry with purchasing this bag was that it was going to be too small, so I was really pleased how much the Scicon managed to eat up.
I think part of this was down to my inefficient packing of my previous saddle bag due to the front opening zip rather than the all-around zip that the Soft 350 offers. It really makes it easy to pack your kit in and access it without having to dig right to the bottom. The Topeak Aero Wedge is also an inconsistent shape, kind of like a bottleneck. I always found packing this quite difficult, as you could not really line up things along the edges without compromising space for bigger items in the middle. The Soft 350 whilst significantly smaller is far easier to pack and means less wasted space.
Why pack a multi tool?
I know many don’t consider this essential but for me I think it is. In a perfect world nothing will every need adjusting on the ride, but why leave yourself short if it does? I remember once being out without a multi tool and one of my cleat bolts worked loose. I had to ride the whole way home with my left foot feeling like it was pedalling on ice. Not much fun, and well worth the extra weight/space.
Where is your second tube?
The reality is I don’t carry one on 90% of my rides. For anything less than about 100km I have not yet been caught out. If I puncture once the spare tube goes on. I have never been unlucky enough to puncture twice (that’s tempting fate!), but if I were then I would repair the second tube using the slime scabs that I carry with me. I tend to chuck a second tube into my jersey pocket for anything above about 4 hours, or where I know I am going to struggle with phone reception and can’t put in a mercy call to my wife should the worst happen.
Why are you only carrying one canister?
I also have a frame mounted micro pump, as I don’t want to rely just on a gas if I do get a puncture.
Where are your phone and keys?
I’m not sure about most people but I see a saddle bag as a permanent fixture on my bike for things that I never want to be riding without. My keys sit in the small, zippable pocket of my jerseys, and my phone inside a Birzman Weather Warrior in one of the bigger pockets.
What do you think you are missing from your kit?
I am probably going to try and add in a small amount of gaffa tape and some cable ties plus a quick release chain link. This should hopefully cover all bases, and I think I should be able to squeeze them in.
The RL 2.1 Saddle Mounting System
This is a great feature, meaning that the you can use multiple bags on one bike (maybe have a larger one for longer rides), or easily swap one bag between multiple bikes. I also found an added advantage that it meant I could easily attach my bike to the maintenance stand by the seat post without having to remove the bag each time.
I know it isn’t all that complicated adding/removing a standard saddle bag from a bike, however the more I used the Soft 350 the more I realised I will never go back. I would liken it to the first time getting a remote control key for my car. It isn’t really that much simpler than just unlocking the car door using a standard key, but when you get one you would never give it up!
The mounting system comes in two parts, the clamp and the mount.
The clamp sits over the rails of your saddle, and screws up using the red dial. I decided to put mine just on the angle of the rails where they rise towards the back of the saddle so the Soft 350 sat away from my seat post.
The mount for the Roller 2.1 system is very similar to the one you would use to mount a Garmin GPS to your handlebars. You push it on so the saddle bag sits at a 90 degree angle to the saddle and then twist. The only notable difference to a Garmin mount is that the Roller 2.1 only works in one direction, meaning you have to set the bag with the back part facing at a 90 degree angle to the left before twisting.
- Due to the ease of access from the full width zip I was able to pack in and access more in the bag than I was expecting.
- The mounting system makes removing the bag from the bike easy. In the past I have had multiple bags for ease of use on different bikes, but from now on I will just buy additional mounting systems.
- The Roller 2.1 mounting system makes clamping your bike to a maintenance stand using the seat post much easier as you do not have to remove the saddle bag every time.
- Built in tyre levers saves on space, and they are replaceable as a separate component.
- In my opinion it looks really attractive compared to a cumbersome saddle bag mounted to both saddle and seat post.
- The stitching on the bike light loop on the back was very poor meaning it would not be useable in the long term.
Overall I am really pleased with my purchase. I was really worried the the Soft 350 would be too small for my needs, but it managed to fit in my essential maintenance kit. The Roller 2.1 mounting system is also really easy to use, and I will be adding more in so I can have different bags set up for different types of ride. In addition to the practicalities the Soft 350 is a good looking saddle bag, sitting nicely at the back of the bike floating along behind you.