Looking for a stylish seat bag that can carry everything but a computer for your daily ride? This Banjo Brothers Minnehaha Canvas Bag review may be for you.
Leather and canvas are making their way back into daily cyclist life with Brooks saddles, leather grips, and canvas bags. Canvas bags are what Minnehaha Bags are all about. Minnehaha is run by the same sweet guys at Banjo Brothers, these two guys really understand customer service and deliver a product they believe in. Regardless of the number of clueless emails I’ve sent to them over the years, they always replied with an upbeat answer and sometimes even photos to explain what I was doing wrong.
One of the best looking (in my opinion) products in the Minnehaha line is the Canvas Saddle Bag, size Medium. The size of the bag is not too daunting when you look at it, there are some saddle bags that really are trunk bags hanging from your saddle. Yet, the size fits everything I could want plus some room for things I didn’t really need.
Minnehaha Canvas Saddle Bag
- Max. Dimensions: 9″L x 9″H x 11″W – 650 cubic inches / 10L
- Thick hardwood dowel inside supports heavy loads
- The main panel of bag is a durable sandwich of 1 1/2 layers of 18oz. canvas, thin padding, and an off-white canvas liner for a brighter interior.
- Bottom reinforced with a riveted HDPE plate to keep the bag from sagging under load.
- Exterior lashing points (extra straps not included).
- Detachable reflective tabs.
- Interior key/wallet pocket.
Lots of Room in this Seat Bag
Utilizing the capacity of this bag I commuted through February with this bag strapped to the back of my Trek XO cross bike. On a normal day, I had two tubes, two tire levers, a mini pump, multi-tool, spare blinky light, a rain jacket or thick thermal jersey, wallet, keys, phone and a snack. All of this was held inside the bag with room to spare.
Not so Idiot Proof
I’ll regret this statement but I am not a fan of Brooks saddles. I have not been able to find one that worked for me one bit and the thought of riding one more than 10 miles makes me cringe inside. Brooks saddles do have their benefits. Mostly the built-in rings at the back of the saddle that much higher and larger saddlebags are made to hang off of.
The saddle that I used to test the bag out with was a WTB Deva, which is considered a racing saddle by many. Yes, they make adapters to clamp on to your rails to make it so you have these rings at the back of your saddle but the thought of clamping anything to my nice titanium saddle rails felt like blasphemy to me. I installed the saddle bag as best as possible and left it that way until I was ready to finish the review. In an email to Mike at Minnehaha, he told me the set up was all wrong. Instead of making one large loop over the seat rails I needed to make two smaller ones.
The leather strap provided wasn’t long enough to achieve the mounting that was recommended so I pulled out a handy toe strap from pedals I no longer use. As you can see below the toe straps are much longer, without the needed holes to clinch down on I was able to also get the bag much tighter to the saddle.
When reinstalling the bag correctly I decided to move it to my Salsa Casseroll which will be seeing more commuter mileage through the spring. The new mounting style and ability to really tighten down on the strap made a huge difference on how the bag swung around on the back of the bike. No longer did it rock back and forth or rub as much on the back of my legs.
I really enjoy this bag. Packing a lunch or my huge SLR camera is not difficult. The bag is not completely waterproof so keep electronics and valuables in a ziplock bag. I went through torrential downpour a couple nights and had success with things at the bottom of my bag surviving Having the weight under you instead of on the front as most people like is better for handling. The price is right at $69.99 as it carries what I normally put in a pannier which runs about that same price. I haven’t seen one of these bags in a bike shop yet during my travels. Ordering directly from Banjo Brothers will be the easiest option.
This article was originally written by me and published at CommuteByBike.com in 2009. Disclaimer: This bag was provided at no charge for review.