Note:Ortlieb and I have known each other for a long time and we exchange ideas regularly. This also gives me the opportunity to test new bags and ride them extensively. That's why this post should be marked as advertising. But you've already put it in the right place.
Just a few months ago, Ortlieb introduced its new frame bags, including the RC, a version with a roll closure. I have already written about it here. I have been riding the new bag on my bike for a few weeks now and would like to give you a first report.
The rolled difference
To say it right from the start: It’s not a question of either/or with frame bags, nor of better or worse. Rather, it is simply an addition for all those who would rather have a rolled closure instead of a zip.
I really welcomed the RC because it has a clear advantage: the roll closure gives me much better and more comfortable access to the contents and space of the bag than the zippered version offers.
Instead of the zip, rubber tabs aka silicone rings are used here. At first glance, this looks like a possible breaking point, but the silicone rings are very stable. I will see how they behave in changing temperatures and high sunlight. In any case, the first 500 km with the Frame-Pack RC have convinced me.
One question that reached me via Instagram in connection with the roll closure was to what extent it can be operated while riding and whether opening and closing it in this version does not take far too long.
In fact, opening the pannier while riding is not really feasible with the roll version, simply because you would have to open three fasteners. However, I have never opened the zipped version while riding, or very rarely. For riders who like to have access to the contents of their bag while on the move, the zip version is more suitable.
But whether it’s a zip or a roll closure, it’s similarly quick. Shortly rolled and then simply pull the elastics over the counter holders. Done. Takes less than 10 seconds. Therefore, the argument of time loss is not really relevant here from my point of view.
To show you how little the frame bags differ – apart from the fastener – I have placed them next to and on top of each other:
Mounting & details
The attachment to the frame is also the same as for the new frame pack with zip on the right side, which I had in Morocco.
Included are three large and wide velcro straps, three silicone rings and three narrower velcro straps for attachment to the head tube, down tube and seat tube.
There are a total of 5 different strap positions on the top tube – 2 at the front and 2 at the back. This means that the strap position at the front and rear can be adapted to any additional pockets on the top tube. There are 4 possible positions on the seat tube and a total of 8 positions on the down tube.
Inside the pannier, as usual, an adjustable Velcro fastener ensures the correct adjustment of the pannier width so that it does not bulge too much when loaded. On my test model you can see the attachment of the inner width adjustment. I assume that this will no longer be so visible in the final version. However, it doesn’t bother me.
Ortlieb gives the weight of both bags as 250g. I weighed them and found a slight difference of 50g: the Frame-Pack with zip weighs 200g (weighed), the one with roll closure 250g (weighed).
The Frame-Pack RC is available in a 4-litre and a 6-litre version. I have the 6 litre bag because it fills my frame on the Fargo well and is enough space for me.
And I don’t need to mention that both bags are waterproof.
Overview Ortlieb Frame-Pack RC (6 litres)
- Sizes: 4L (M) and 6L (L)
- Weight: 250g 6L version (250g reweighed)
- Closure: roll closure with silicone rings
- Triangle a=length=50cm,
- c=lower edge length=55cm (re-measured).
- Depth top top tube=6 cm
- Material: PS21R – This is a PU-coated nylon fabric from Ortlieb.
- Colour: Black matt
- Price: approx. 130 euros
The Ortlieb Frame-Pack RC is now my preferred frame bag. At first I was sceptical about whether such a roll closure was actually practical and offered the advantages I was told. In the meantime, I am a fan and get along very well with the closure.
Overall, I like the fact that Ortlieb is working on the diversity of the range and thus offers every rider taste a variant. If you can’t decide, try the roll version. Not in the shop, but on the bike. You will notice that the contents of the bag are easier to access and the stuff is easier to pack.
If you need to access your bag while riding, you should use the zipped version. Everyone else should be happy with the roll version. The operation is very simple.
When riding, the buckles do not interfere, or rather no more than any other frame bag comes up against the inner legs from time to time. However, the rider should roll the buckle well, otherwise it can stick out too far. But in general this is not a problem.
6 litres is quite a lot, even if I wish Ortlieb would build a proper full-frame bag sometime. For me and my current requirements, however, it’s perfectly adequate.
It remains to be seen how the silicone rubbers perform in practice and at different temperatures. I would have liked to see a replacement rubber in the scope of delivery – just in case.
UPDATE 3/25/21: Today I loaded the frame bag with some food and a 2L full hydration bladder. Rolling up the closure worked well, even if the drinking tube sticks out in front. When closing then the middle silicone rubber is torn. The bag is a pre-series model and the rubber is torn at the edge of the holder. This has already been recognized by Ortlieb and this edge has been disarmed accordingly. The other rubbers have held. My conclusion: when loading just make sure that the rubbers are not pulled too much. The bag was then probably too much with the hydration bladder, although it fits in terms of space. The roll closure then probably does not allow a drinking tube. Riders of hydration bladders should therefore choose the zipper variant. And replacement rubbers in the scope of delivery would be good. But the bag closure holds reasonably even with two rubbers.