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Culprit P.E.R.K. Saddle Bag

Review: Culprit P.E.R.K. Saddle Bag

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We Liked

You know sometimes it is good to be a reviewer of cycling equipment; on occasion we get our hands on equipment that isn’t even available to general public yet… Recently our friends at Culprit Bicycles sent us a pre-production saddle bag, the P.E.R.K. to see what we thought of it. In this instance P.E.R.K. stand for Portable Essential Repair Kit. If you have never heard of Culprit Bicycles, they were started in 2012, by founder Joshua Colp. Culprit Bicycles broke out of the gate, by becoming one of the first bike manufactures to hit the market road bikes with disc brakes. Their Cros Blade aero road bike could either be run with rim or disc brakes, and it was well warmly by the bike industry. Five years later the Cros Blade is still available, but today it is only available as a disc brake frame. Today Culprit is looking to expand into the components & accessories business as well. Culprit Bicycles is currently working on bringing a couple ideas through to the production stage. The Portable Essential Repair Kit is one of those items; the second item is called The Culprit Covert Op Stem. The Covert Op Stem is designed to clean up the stem area to improve airflow by moving a riders Shimano Di2 box and cable inside the stem. The final component is clip-on aero bars designed to work with Covert Op Stem.

Highlights:

  • The Culprit Bicycle Portable Essential Repair Kit comes with 19 Tools
  • Tools include a high-quality mini ratchet wrench and scale plate torque wrench
  • Pocket for a mini pump and plus room to store 2- 20 oz. Co2 cartridges
  • Saddle bag has highly visible reflective piping around the top and bottom of the bag
  • The saddle bag comes with a water resistant bag to keep the tool dry in the rain

Description of the Exterior:

The Culprit Bicycles P.E.R.K. Saddle Bag is made of nylon and is approximately 5.75”L. X 3.5” W. X 1.5”T, and it is wider and thinner than most of saddle bags currently on the market. The 1/8”reflective nylon piping around the top and bottom of the saddle bag increases visibility in the dark. The saddle bag uses two nylon zippers to open the just like a book. The bag has an exterior spare tube pocket made of stretchable nylon with durable 3/4” Velcro® cuff to keep the spare tube snug and in place. The other side of the bag has two pockets made of flexible neoprene. One of the pockets is great for securing a mini pump, while the second pocket can easily store 1-20 oz. Co2 Cartridge. The P.E.R.K. Saddle Bag attaches to the saddle rails with ample 17” strand of Velcro®. Finally the P.E.R.K. includes a water-resistant bag for those wet & grimy days.

Descriptions of Interior & Tools

The inside of the bag is staged to secure the various tools, as well space for ID card and bank cards, keys, as well extra space for one more 20oz. C02 cartridge. Once the bag is opened a treasure trove of tools comes into view. The P.E.R.K Saddle Bag comes with the following inset bits: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm hex bits, T10 and T25 Torx® bits, and Slot 5 and PH2 screws bits. The insert bits fit into what be the smallest ratchet wrenches I have ever seen. The mini ratchet wrenches measures in at just over 3.5 inches long and comes with 2.5” extension. Other goodies inside this tool kit include six self-adhesive patches, with two stout tire levers, a thread-on inflator, a mini chain tool, plus a (0,1,2, Mavic) mini spoke wrench. In my opinion the crown jewel of this tool set is 4.5” long, 10 Newton meter scale plate torque wrench! I cannot think of another seat bag & tool combo that comes with a torque wrench…

What We Liked:

Man this tool kit is great for heading out to Wednesday Night Worlds! All of the necessary emergency tool in one small saddle bag! Ok I have to admit, sometimes I scramble to get everything ready for those after work evening races. For the most part I have been pretty lucky, I normally bring a lot of tools with me, but I really end up only using the trusty 5mm hex wrench or tire levers during the Wednesday Night Worlds. However, given that I have broke single spokes, had rear derailleur cable detach, headsets rattled loose, and worse, it is a good idea to bring a full assortment of tools just in case. Really this kit will help cover 95% of all roadside incidents, unless you snap a crank arm in half or worse snap a fork, in those instances no tool is going to help except a cell phone.

I really like the fact I have torque wrench out on the road with me. As I have gotten older, I find myself emulating one aspect of Eddy Merckx riding more and more. In the early 1970’s Eddy Merckx’s was known to adjust his saddle height frequently while out on the road trying to find a comfortable position. As I have gotten older, and the hamstrings have gotten tighter, I find myself changing my saddle height out on the road quite a bit. When I was riding on steel or aluminum frames, I changed my saddle height once or twice a week while out riding and was never concerned about ruining my frameset. When I starting riding a carbon frames, I suddenly became worried about making those adjusts out on the road, I was definitely worried about over-tightening my seat binder bolt and destroying my carbon frame. So once I got a carbon frame, I began to stretch those hammies more, and adjust the saddle height less. In the short time I have been riding with the P.E.R.K. bag; I have tweaked my saddle height a couple times out on the road. Using the scale plate torque wrench to properly fasten the seat binder bolt gives me piece of mind.

Over the past couple weeks I have finally got around to building up a Specialized Crux frameset that I picked up last winter. I received the P.E.R.K Saddle Bag on the day that I was investigating why I was having a significant chain skipping issue given I was using a brand new chain, little used cassette, and front chain rings. After thoroughly observing my drive train in action, I decided swap out the derailleur hanger. I decided to give the Culprit ratchet wrench and 2.5mm insert bit a try. From the very first 180 degree turn of ratchet, I was very impressed with how smooth the bearings were, I still felt that way 20 seconds later. Once I removed and replaced the slightly bent hanger, I re-tightened the delicate bolts with the ratchet again. I can say I really liked how the small ratchet offered a significant amount of control over using a smaller individual allen key; especially something as small as a 2.5mm. Additionally I thought it was simpler to use the correct amount of force to fasten the bolts, then using a larger ratchet wrench. In fact when I took the scale plate torque wrench to the bolts, the bolts were already tightened perfectly to the proper torque specs. Next I continued using the tools to install rear derailleur and re-tightened the rear derailleur cable bolt. Although I needed to pay attention to scale plate numbers, I really liked using the torque wrench to accurately fasten both the derailleur’s hanger bolt and cable anchor bolt. Although I wouldn’t like using scale plate torque wrench all of the time, for a road side emergency or when I wanting to adjust my saddle height out on road, I feel confident I would not over-tighten a bolt.

We Didn't Like

Honestly I can’t of think of anything I really do not to like about the Culprit Bicycles Portable Essential Repair Kit Saddle Bag. Weight weenies, which I am not one of, might think 410 oz. before adding 2 Co2 cartridges and mini pump is too excessive to throw on their hot rods. I on the other hand think the extra protection is worth a little bit of extra weight.

The Final Say

The Culprit Bicycle Portable Essential Roadside Kit & Saddle Bag is well thought out portable tool kit. The P.E.R.K is the only tool kit that I have come across that has a torque wrench. Given that more and more cyclist are riding on carbon frames, with carbon cockpits, having a mini torque in your saddle bag is essential for keeping bolts fastened within torque specs and preventing damaged equipment. I can’t think of too many cyclists who wouldn’t appreciate this well thought out kit…it would make an excellent Christmas Present! If you are interested getting your hands on this great tool kit visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/culprit-aerodynamic-stem-and-clip-on-... to place a preproduction bag order. While you are there check out the Culprit Covert Op Stem and Culprit Clip On Aerobars for your next gravel grinder that allows clip on bars. I think adding a Culprit Covert Op Stem to the 3T Exploro Frame with Shimano Di2 would create one sick bike!

Notes:

There is one extra item this tool kit needs… It needs some small needle nose pliers for pulling cables taught when a cable gets loose.

I found that the spare tube sits in-between the saddle rails if folded length wise until the tube is about 4.5 to 5 inches in width. This way the saddle bags sits more squarely then if the tube is rolled up like a cinnamon swirl.

It is still amazing to watch Eddy Merckx change his saddle height on the fly without the assistance of a team mechanic. Check this video of the 1973 Road World Championships from Spain. http://www.veloaficionado.com/blog/eddy-merckx-seat-height-1973-worlds-b.... He makes the changed about 5 minutes into the video.

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