Truly light: Test ride with the Cyclite bikepacking bags

Echt Light: Testfahrt mit den Cyclite Bikepacking Taschen
Echt Light: Testfahrt mit den Cyclite Bikepacking Taschen
Note: Cyclite provided me with the bags for testing at my request. So this is advertising. 

A lot has happened in recent years when it comes to bikepacking bags. In addition to an increasingly differentiated range of bags and systems, there are also more and more manufacturers producing customised bags. And there are also new companies that have made a name for themselves in the seemingly fragmented market of Ortliebs, Revelates and Apiduras with fresh ideas and new approaches.

Tailfin is one such company, as is Restrap, which has reinvented itself. Or Cyclite from Germany.

Cyclite was founded by Christoph and Max in Grassau in Upper Bavaria and they focus primarily on the weight and aerodynamics of their bags.

I think some of you have already seen the Cyclite Handle Bar Aero Bag, the triangular and arrow-shaped handlebar bag that can be attached to handlebar attachments in particular.

Based on decades of experience, we have developed our own 200D nylon 6.6 HD ripstop fabric for this purpose. The extremely high-quality material guarantees high abrasion and tear resistance as well as an unrivalled light weight.

But anyone who thinks that the membrane is particularly thin and susceptible to damage is mistaken: the bags feel very robust and the fabric is not that thin. I would compare it to the Ultra Fabric laminate, perhaps a little thicker. It feels like the Revelate Ripio frame bag, or my Gramm frame bag made from X 21 RC Black Expedition material.

To keep the shape of the bags, Cyclite has installed stabilisers, but these are removable, so weight fans can reduce the weight even more. In my opinion, the shape of the bags is very good. This is very comfortable in practice. However, I wouldn’t ride them without the stabilisers as they would be too “flabby” for me.

So far I haven’t had Cyclite on my radar, but rather as an offer for bikepacking in the road sector, i.e. Transcontinental Race, Three Peaks Bike Race or North Cape 4000, where weight and minimal air resistance are very important.

Cyclite bags have not yet been used to any significant extent in off-road orientated bikepacking endurance races such as SRMR, AMR or Tour Divide.

But of course I wanted to test these bags and was therefore delighted that it worked out.

There are a few things that I really like about Cyclite:

FIRST: Firstly, the range of sets on offer. The race and touring sets make it easier to get started and you get a good overview of what you might need and what is possible.

SECOND: The AR app for fitting your bike is just as customer-centric: before buying a bag, you can use your smartphone to test whether the desired model fits your bike and put together the ideal set including colour.

The new augmented reality solution 3D BAG FIT is integrated into the respective product view in the web shop. Bikers can use their smartphone to test at home whether the bag model of their choice will fit their bike.

THIRD: Also new for 2024 is the offer to have a customised Cyclite Full Frame bag built. At Cyclite, this is called the Full Frame Bag / 01 and fills the frame triangle to the maximum.

Cyclite Full Frame Bag /

To ensure that it fits perfectly into the individual frame size and geometry and makes the best use of the available volume, it is custom-made to measure in Germany.

Press release Cyclite

FOURTH: There is also a video for each bag on the Cyclite website, which presents the features and assembly in detail. I found that very practical and helpful.

FIFTH: And last but not least, each bag also comes with transparent frame protection patches that you can cut to size and apply before attaching the bags. That’s what I call thoughtful and very user-friendly.

The Cyclite bikepacking bags in the test

I tested the entire current range of bags. Thanks again to Max for making it so uncomplicated.


Cyclite Saddle Bag / 01

The Upper Bavarians have two saddle bags on offer: a small bag with a volume of 8 litres and a large one with just under 13 litres. I opted for the larger one as I needed a bit more packing volume for my test overnighter in the spring.

Assembly is very simple. A wide Velcro fastener secures the bag to the seat tube. A loop is then pulled through each side of the saddle rails, which is then hooked into an aluminium hook. This is then tightened to secure the bag in place. You should work with a little more vigour here, because if you are too hesitant, the bag is not really secure and can move during the ride.

You also have to pack the Cyclite very well. I had a very well-packed bag on one stretch and it didn’t move at all. On the return journey I was less careful, which resulted in the saddle bag moving slightly during the ride.

Attaching the loop coming from the saddle linkage to the metal hook actually works very well.
However, it is a little fiddly when wearing gloves. This should be taken into account in the cold season.

The bag can be closed as usual by rolling it up and then closed with a click fastener and then secured by tightening it. It has a compression valve, which in my opinion no serious saddle bag should be without these days. There is an elasticated strap on top, which can be used to attach additional items. For example, a waistcoat, banana or jacket.

Cyclite bags also always have reflective elements, which is very useful in road traffic. When the bag is rolled up, a reflective strip is always visible at the back. There is now also an extra holder for the Garmin Radar, which can be combined with the saddle bag.

The volume of 12.9 litres is more than sufficient. I had my tent and clothes in there and still had enough space. You can compress the saddle bag quite well, which makes it comfortable to ride in.

The saddle bag requires a minimum vertical distance of 23 cm between the saddle frame and the rear tyre (measured when fullies are compressed). If a lowerable seat post is used, the lowering must also be taken into account to prevent the bag from touching the rear tyre and causing damage.

The weight is officially stated as 318g. I have weighed 295g. To give you a comparison, I also compared the Cyclite bags with the race editions from Apidura and Restrap. From my point of view, these are the current competitors.

However, Apidura and Restrap don’t have such large saddlebags in their race range. That’s why I’ve also included the small 8-litre Cyclite version. If you look at the weight, then the large Cyclite is an interesting alternative, at least in comparison with the Restrap, as it offers almost twice as much volume with just 50 or 70g more weight.

The 8-litre version is the second-lightest in this comparison list and is also in the middle in terms of price.

ModelCyclite Saddle
Cyclite Saddle Bag
Apidura Racing
Saddle Bag
Restrap Race
Saddle Bag
Weight318g / 295g self-weighed228g210g250g
Preis180 Euro150 Euro163 Euro144 Euro

Cyclite Top Tube Bag Large / 01

I’ve always wanted to try out a long top tube bag, so I took the opportunity to order the large Top Tube.

The Cyclite Top Tube Bag essentially consists of two bags: a compartment with a flap lid at the front and one with a zip at the back. Like all Cyclite bags, the bag is waterproof.

In addition to a well-covered cable guide, the front compartment also has a small inner compartment with a zip. The magnetic flap fastener works perfectly and can also be opened and closed easily while riding.

The rear compartment is closed with a double waterproof zip. The advantage of this is that it can be opened from both sides, which is also very useful when travelling.

And if you like, you can simply remove the divider between the compartments and save another 10g in weight.

The top tube bag is very dimensionally stable and is fixed in place with Velcro straps. These look quite slim, but hold quite well. However, the bag tilts while riding and when loaded. Of course, this occurs more off-road than on the road.

My suggestion would be to perhaps use rubberised straps and rubberise the underside of the bag, like Tailfin or Ortlieb do. This should reduce movement and hold the bag in place better. It might also be worth considering if the top tube bag were at least bolt-on at the front. Together with a strap at the back, the bag should then sit more securely.

Overall, this Top Tube Large is my favourite Cyclite bag. At 2.2 litres, it offers plenty of volume. I have packed a power bank, charging cable and tools in the rear compartment. My USB charger, snacks and handkerchiefs in the front. There’s plenty of space and in terms of weight, I’m really thinking about adding this bag to my shortlist for the Trans Balkan Race.

The weight is officially and reweighed at 188g with divider.

The width of the front compartment with lid is 6cm. The rear compartment is 5cm wide. The length is 42.5cm (directly at the top tube). It measures 13cm at the highest point, 10.5cm at the front and 6.5cm at the back.

ModelCyclite Top Tube Bag
Apidura Racing Long Top
Tube Pack
Restrap Race Top Tube
Bag Long
Weight188g self-weighed200g239g
Preis110 Euro86 Euro90 Euro

Cyclite Frame Bag Large / 01

Of course, the first thing that catches the eye with this frame bag is its shape. Its function is to provide enough space for a bottle in the frame triangle. This also works well, on my frame it works best with 0.5 litre bottles.

For my L-frame, the bag was a little too small for my taste, although it looks quite good in the pictures. But for smaller frames, this is certainly a good way of transporting a bottle in the frame triangle on the one hand and utilising the remaining space on the other.

The bag is divided into two parts, but can also be converted into one if you remove the divider. This also saves weight. Like the other Cyclite bags, it is very dimensionally stable. And of course waterproof.

The lower pocket on the drive side is quite small. Not much fits in there and it’s also a bit tricky to get to the contents as the zip doesn’t give you much room.

I had a spare inner tube and some small items in there. The top compartment, on the other hand, is quite spacious. Inside there are two mesh compartments and a plastic hook. So you can also store or secure something there. The frame bag holds a total of 3.6 litres. This is sufficient for minimalist tours or races.

But if you need a little more, then you should take a look at the new range of customised Cyclite Full Frame bags and have something built to fit your frame.

The upper compartment also has a cable/hose opening. This allows you to carry a hydration bladder or a power bank to charge your sat nav on the go.

There is also a flatter pocket on the non-drive side, which is closed with a waterproof zip. Small items can be stored here. However, these should be rather flat, such as a multitool, gel, bar or wallet.

According to Cyclite, the bag weighs 232g with the wall reinforcement. I weighed 257g. Without the reinforcement, however, it weighs just 140g. This actually makes it the lightest frame bag. In comparison, the Apidura with 4 litres and 205g, as well as the Restrap with 4.2 litres and 247g would be somewhat lighter.

At 6cm wide, it is narrow enough to prevent your legs or knees from bumping when pedalling.

It is 44.5cm long and 11.5cm high at the front, 23cm at the back.

ModelCyclite Frame Bag
Apidura Racing Frame
Restrap Race Frame
Weight232g/257g self-weighed/
140g without stabilizers
Preis140 Euro121 Euro113 Euro

Cyclite Handle Bar Roll Bag / 01

I’m rather sceptical when it comes to classic handlebar rollers, as they are often too fiddly for me and it also takes time to take them off, pack them and then put them back on again. That’s why I use harness systems “privately”.

However, the Cyclite Handle Bar Roll works really well and is very easy to fit.

This is mainly due to the two clip straps that secure the bag to the handlebars. This alone is almost enough to keep it securely in place. Nevertheless, the Cyclite is additionally secured to the fork by two straps. This is a solution that I only know from Cyclite. The strap is attached to one side of the fork with a loop and then clicked onto the lower side of the bag with a clip.

In practice, this is ok and it avoids the otherwise typical strap for fixing to the head tube. However, it is important that Cyclite specifies a minimum distance for the handlebar bag:

In addition, the distance between the (upper) handlebar and the tyre must be at least 21 cm.

The handlebar roll has a roll closure at both ends. This is very practical when packing. However, I would also like to see a valve here.

Overall, the bag is easy to pack and compress. I like the fact that the roll can be closed lengthways with straps if necessary. If you close the sides of the roll normally, the roll closure sometimes builds up. With the straps running lengthways, this build-up is avoided, the width is reduced and the roll fits better between the handlebar ends on drop bars.

I had all my sleeping gear in the handlebar roll, including sleeping bag, pillow, inner sleeping bag, sleeping mat, longsleeve, long pants, down jacket and gloves. There was even some space left in the 12.6 litres that Cyclite claims for the bag.

There is an elasticated strap on the front of the handlebar roller. This can be used to secure small items. The handlebar roll can also be combined with the Handle Bar Aero Bag, the distinctive V-shaped handlebar bag from Cyclite.

Here, too, the typical Cyclite reflective stripes can be found on the waterproof fabric. The bag looks very robust and is really compact.

The weight is 198g according to the manufacturer. I weighed 206g.

ModelHandle Bar
Roll Bag
Apidura Expedition
Handlebar Pack
Restrap Race
Bar Bag
Restrap Bar
Bag small
Weight198g/206g self-weighed275g320g389g
Preis125 Euro125 Euro132 Euro120 Euro

Cyclite Handlebar Aero Bag

The Aero Bag is the bag that made Cyclite famous. It was built to be optimally mounted on aerobars and also ensure good aerodynamics.

It can be opened like a pelican’s beak and, with a volume of almost 5 litres, offers plenty of space. It would even fit my sleeping bag and sleeping mat. Made from waterproof Cyclite fabric, this bag is also available in white and black. It has small mesh pockets on the sides for stowing small items.

The stiffeners on the inside can be removed to reduce the weight of the bag from 208g (217g when weighed) to 139g. However, I think the stiffeners are important as they give the bag good dimensional stability.

The Aero Bag can either be mounted on the handlebar roller or separately on the handlebars. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit the bag to my Salsa with aerobar, as my lamp protrudes downwards and blocked the space. However, I fitted it to my MTB for demonstration purposes, where it also fits well.

The Handle Bar Aero Bag is ideal for mounting on aero handlebars or in front of a Handle Bar Roll Bag. When mounted on standard handlebars, it must be well supported towards the fork crown or rest on the head tube.

Make sure you watch the Cyclite assembly video, as it explains how to correctly mount the bags on the handlebar rollers or individually and how to use the straps on the top of the lid.

Cyclite also offers a water bladder for the Aero Bag (Aero Bladder), which has a covered hose/cable channel. This bladder holds 2 litres and is therefore an interesting alternative or addition to the hydration pack or the bladder in the frame bag.

With the Aero Mount, Cyclite also offers a solution for mounting your light on the Aero Bag (Aero Mount). This is very cleverly thought out and an interesting solution for long-distance road cyclists.

I wouldn’t see it off-road for the time being. But the bag itself is definitely suitable for this. I think someone at this year’s Atlas Mountain Race was also riding with this aero bag, mounted on the Aerobar. Cyclite bags have also been successfully ridden in the Silk Road Mountain Race.

Incidentally, the bag is not as big as you might think: it measures 22.5cm from the top to the handlebars. It is 18cm wide at the top rear, 13cm at the bottom rear, 5.5cm at the top front and 6.5cm at the bottom front. The height at the back of the handlebar is 16.5cm.

ModelCyclite Handlebar
Aero Bag
Apidura Racing
Aerobar Pack
Restrap Race
Aero Bar Bag
Weight208g/217g self-weighed150g278g
Preis150 Euro104 Euro120 Euro

Cyclite Food Pouch

This food pouch is the most minimalist and, at 35g (30g reweighed), the lightest handlebar bag I know. I like to ride with food pouches and use them to transport a bottle, among other things. However, this doesn’t really work with the Cyclite Food Pouch because it’s a bit too narrow for that. At least with my bottles.

But with its 0.8 litre volume, it can still hold a few bars and snacks. Weight fans will be pleased, because they have a little more transport space for almost no extra weight. The base is a mesh net at the centre and the Food Pouch cannot be closed at the top. You should bear this in mind when loading it. This means that stuff can fall out again in the field. For example, a banana, if you’re cornering too hard around potholes in the forest floor.

The Food Pouch would not be suitable for me, as it cannot be closed and is not suitable for drinking bottles. But it is definitely interesting for anyone who wants to create more transport space on the handlebars but doesn’t want to accept any real extra weigh

ModelCyclite Food PouchRestrap Race Stem Bag
Weight35g/30g self-weighed86g
Preis40 Euro65 Euro

Conclusion Cyclite bikepacking bags

I’ve already mentioned it above:If you value low weight and aerodynamics, perhaps ride more on the road and moderate gravel, for whom performance is particularly important and who is interested in a beautiful bag design in two colours, you should definitely take a look at Cyclite.

Despite the low weight, the bags are stable and seem to be able to take a lot. I asked around active Cyclite users in the run-up to this test and didn’t get any negative feedback.

I like the attention to detail, the experience of the developers, which they have channelled into the bags and detailed solutions, and the application-oriented approach of the Upper Bavarians. See also the five points I mentioned above: ready-made race and touring bag sets, AR app for customising your bike, individual full-frame bags from 2024, detailed assembly videos and transparent frame protection film included.

The design is modern and practical. Ultimately, I think it’s really a question of individual design taste as to whether you choose Cyclite or not. It’s certainly not a question of function, durability and practicality in everyday use.

I particularly liked the large top tube bag. But I also found the handlebar roll to be compact and easy to handle. And in terms of space, the Cyclite bags are well equipped for light racing with a volume of around 17 litres through to longer rides with more luggage with a volume of up to 38 litres.

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