Review: Carradice SQR System

Product: Carradice SQR System| RRP: £26.95

The bag and SQR system in full effect - carrying around 10kgs of luggage with ease.

The humble, venerable saddlebag is, and has always been, a great way to carry moderate loads on a bike. The bag sits neatly in the slipstream of the rider, high enough to avoid being snagged on gateposts and undergrowth (if you’re riding off road) and out of the spray and grime (when you’re on the tarmac). Traditionally, saddlebags are attached to the bike by straps which thread through saddle loops on Brooks saddles with another strap which wraps around the seatpost, meaning that you don’t need a rack, keeping your bike a little leaner when you’re not toting a load.

The problem

One downside with traditional saddlebags is the faffing around involved in attaching a reattaching them. Another is that many modern saddles don’t have the necessary saddle loops to attach a saddlebag. Step up the SQR system from Carradice, which makes removing and attaching the saddlebag a two second affair and also allows a traditional saddlebag to be carried on a bike without saddlebag loops.

The solution?

A close up of the rear of the bag with SQR metal frame attached. See how the existing leather straps attach the bag to the frame.

The Carradice SQR comprises two main parts; a strong, rigid, powder-coated steel bracket to which the saddlebag is attached using it’s standard leather straps; and a tough ABS plastic bracket that attaches securely to the seatpost with two stainless steel bands. The bracket contains a spring loaded retainer which means that, once attached, the bag and bracket cannot break free.

The bracket attached to the seatpost. Two 6mm allen bolts tighten the stainless steel bands against the seatpost using the same type of tightening mechanism as a drop bar brake lever. The red button at the top operates the spring loaded retainer that keeps the frame and block firmly attached to each other. Simple, secure, strong and effective.

Two sizes of stainless steel bracket are available; the standard bracket s fit seatposts from 25mm to 32mm, while the oversized version fits post sizes 32mm plus, therefore ideal for folding bikes with large diameter seatposts.

The attaching and detaching procedure is simple. To attach, you just offer up the bottom rung of the bracket to the slot at the bottom of the seatpost bracket, pull back the red spring-loaded retainer, drop the bag into position and release the spring. Detaching, as they say in instruction manuals the world over, is the reverse of attaching. Bottom line is that it’s quick and intuitive.

Once detached, another neat feature becomes apparent when you’re carrying your bag into work/college/shops. The black metal frame incorporates a black webbing carry-handle, making bike to workplace portage a cinch.

If you’ve got more than one bike, you can buy additional seatpost brackets, meaning you can hot swap your saddlebag from bike to bike. The SQR metal frame fits all the bags in the Carradice range, from Barley (tiddly and small!) to Camper (freaking huge!) and other traditional saddlebags that are designed to fit laterally across the bike attached to the saddlebag loops.

Other solutions

The SQR isn’t the only quick release option for traditional saddlebags. Carradice also market the Bagman, which is a more traditional saddlebag support with a quick release. This also allows non-loop equipped saddles to mesh with saddlebags. However (though I’ve never used one) the attach-detach system doesn’t look quite as slick as the SQR and the rack remains in position when the bag’s not on the bike. It does however, give the bag some support at the bottom, which some riders  with low saddles, might appreciate. For me, however, with my high saddle, it’s not an issue.

The boat-cleat trick

A quirky  DIY approach using a boat cleat bought from a marine hardware shop (that I’m too chicken to try), but it might work for you! Check out the YouTube link.

Summary: A simple, tough, cleverly though out solution to a generations-old saddlebag toting problem.

Rating: theeverydaycyclist double thumbs up (that’s pretty darn good)

Link: www.carradice.co.uk

NB: This is a non-sponsored, honest to goodness, ‘I use this every day’ review – not some rehashed product press release.

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14 thoughts on “Review: Carradice SQR System

  1. dexey

    I use a folder for most of my cycling. Both my folders need the saddle post to drop fully to keep them stable when folded. The Carradice device prevents that.
    I’ve been using the boat cleat idea all this year. I bought a 150mm cleat for less than a fiver off eBay and trimmed the horns until it was an easy fit. I use a velcro strap around the seat post. It works well, weighs little, and has no bits that can break.
    A triple thumbs up for the cleat. I’m going to put one on my 8 litre Carradice wedge bag next.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Good to hear from someone who’s successfully fangled the boat cleat idea – I suppose if it works for an uber-world-tourist it’s good enough for someone like me who generally bimbles a few miles back and forth to work.

      Re: folders and the SQR – good point – the Brompton requires it’s saddle to drop all the way down (with the standard length post) and a few others use the post as the ‘third leg’, the two wheels being the other two legs. However, I used an oversized SQR on my Dahon D7 with great success. I made sure that the SQR block was as high up on the post as possible and it still allowed the bag to be placed at a reasonable height and for the seat post to drop down sufficiently to allow the bike to stand up in a stable fashion when folded.

      If I didn’t have the SQR I’d be tempted to pop down to the marine hardware shop (which we actually have in Liverpool!) and buy the necessary kit. However, the SQR is working a treat. There is, however, another hack that I want to try soon – adding a detachable/stowable shoulder strap to the Carradice. Anyone out there tried this?

    2. Stephen

      Does the saddle bag not slide forward along the rails then? I would be concerned about bumping it regularly with my legs whilst pedalling

      1. theeverydaycyclist

        Hi Stephen – no, the design of the mount keeps the saddlebag well clear of the backs of your legs – much better than the traditional method of mounting a saddlebag.

      2. Stephen

        I meant the boat cleat trick here — was that what you were replying to? I have found the wooden batten to knock against the back of my legs when using a non-Brookes saddle (without additional saddlebag mount points).

      3. theeverydaycyclist

        Ah I thought you meant the SQR. Never tried to boat cleat trick personally – looks nice and rootsy but I imagine a lot of bag-sway would ensue.

  2. dexey

    I have a B and a Dahon and the Dahon has the ThudBuster seatpost.
    You will still need to go to the chandlery. I’ve altered panniers by adding straps and the like and I sew them using a small sailmakers needle, a palm and whipping twine. The whipping twine is white so I go over the exposed stitches with a Bic permanent black marker. The quick release catches and webbing you can buy at B&Q or on eBay, of course.

  3. Ian

    With reference to the shoulder strap,I have a Super C saddlebag and a Bagman.The bag straps therefore remain in a loop to affix to the Bagman so I bought a couple of large split rings ( like you keep keys on ) fixed them into the loops and borrowed a shoulder strap off an old rackbag ( though I imagine you could make/buy one ) with a clip on each end and clipped them into the rings.

    Easy to attach and detach and keep the shoulder strap in the bag ready for use.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Ian – excellent idea *scratches beard thoughtfully and wonders where he can buy split rings from*. I’ve got a detachable strap from an old holdall that’ll do the job nicely! I was going to buy some swivels and screw then into the end of the wooden dowel, but your idea is much less invasive!

  4. Stephen

    How much seatpost do you need available for clamping this device?
    I have a bike with a fair amount of exposed seat post but the top few inches are all tapered.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Hi Stephen – You need about 3 1/2 inches of exposed post to fit the SQR. However, I fit my SQR snug underneath the seatpost bolt to get it at the right height, so it might not work with your tapered post I’m afraid.

      1. Stephen

        Will probably work with my other bikes though – so probably worth investing in one or more of these and a long flap saddle bag. May have to think of other options for this particular bike as I would like to use it for summer commuting.

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