Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Friday, February 11, 2011

ByeKyle Simple Strap Review

I hate saddle bags.  While I don't mind them on other people's bikes, on my own they just look clunky saddle-mounted bike luggage.  They just seem to ruin the aesthetic of a clean, simple and purposeful bike. 

Unfortunately function gets in the way, and I'm not such a slave to self-perceived fashion that I'm willing to risk that I won't have any mechanical trouble and therefore skip out on carrying some emergency essentials.  I still need to carry the basics, and when the pockets get full of gels, bars and a spare bottle there's only one place left to carry tools- the bike.  Solution?  Enter the Simple Strap.   

The ByeKyle Simple Strap is one of those rare finds that seems too good to be true.  It's functional, durable, USA made, cost-effective and versatile to be used for a variety of on- and off-bike applications.

The Simple Strap is primarily marketed as a means for mountain bike racers  to carry a tube and/or CO2 canister on their bike.  Sure you can use a bag, but who wants to fumble with that when they're in a hurry on the race course? 

I can remember a picture of Lennie Kristensen on the cover of Velo News after he won Le Tour de VTT, a race that at the time was dubbed as the Tour de France of mountain biking.  The race is still around but has since lost some of its luster.  I vividly recall Lennie's bike had a tube electrical taped to the top of the stem for easy access in the event of a puncture.  One of my first acts of pro mimicry was to tape a tube to my stem for my races in 1997 and 1998. 

The problem with tape is that although it's secure, it's not really that convenient.  If you're wearing full finger gloves it's nearly impossible to quickly unwind or rip the tape to get to your tube.  Once it's undone there's also no way to reuse the tape to carry your blown tube or used CO2.  The Simple Strap changes all of that.

While I considered running my tube Lennie-style on the stem I instead opted for the cleaner under saddle mount.  Some racers just attach it to the seat tube, but I found that it rubbed on my legs too much in that position and didn't feel as secure as I would have liked.   Ultimately the size and setup of your bike will influence where a tube and CO2 fit the best, and I've seen them mounted on both the top and bottom of the stem, on seat posts, saddle rails, or anywhere inside the main triangle.    

With it mounted to the saddle rails it's not only tucked out of the way but also makes for a very tidy setup.  After I figured out the best fit for the tube and Big Air canister I cinched it down and have never had any trouble with it since.  

Previously I'd used ski straps to hold a CO2 and/or tube to my seat post.  While the rubber padding helped keep things from moving around it never quite felt secure enough and when I crashed or transported the bike it would often spin out of place.  The rubber on the Simple Strap is strong enough to keep it from moving around, but it needs to be in contact with your bike to really hold tight.  If there's one instruction to using the simple strap, that's it.

I bought two of these last spring and used one all of last season for every training ride, mid-week world championship and endurance event that I entered.  In previous endurance races I had used a saddle bag to carry two tubes, but last year I stuck with my everyday Simple Strap kit and just kept extra tubes in my drop bags.

For $7 including shipping it's a steal.  I'm so sold on these that I bought a couple more for my new bike and just to keep on hand. 

The simple strap is available in a rainbow of colors and is available online at www.byekyle.com

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