80 Days, 80 Framebags, 80 Dollars Each

The sale has ended!  I’m super psyched that it was so successful.  I was able to get a lot more effficient at making framebags during the sale, and I’ve been able to update and simplify my pricing, including free shipping on all orders.  I’m also excited to make more bags that aren’t just black – now I have all of the colors of Xpac in stock.  Check out the new prices at my custom framebag page – I think I still have the best deal for a custom framebag around!

 

 

 

 

The rest of this page I will leave for posterity:

A Basic Black Bag - no fancy features, but a solidly constructed, precision-fit framebag for 80 bucks!
A Basic Black Bag – no fancy features, but a solidly constructed, precision-fit framebag for 80 bucks!

You heard that right!  I’m offering custom Basic Black frameBags (BBB’s?) for $80 each.  I’ll be offering this deal until I sell 80 of them, or until 80 days runs out – whichever comes first.

But Nick, Why?

Well, think of it as a retroactive Kickstarter project.  Last year was the first year for Rogue Panda Designs, and it was a great start.  I even turned a small profit.  But I also spent a lot of money on industrial sewing machines and other tools.  And I spent a lot of time improving my skills and making that small bit of profit.  So while I’m excited for the new year of sewing, I’d really like to kickstart the business and recover all those starting costs from last year.  And what better way to do that than to offer people a great deal?

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My lovely Juki walking-foot machine. This thing runs like butter and turns out framebags like nothing else.

And How Are They So Cheap?

The savings come from economy of scale and simplicity.  This deal is for a basic single-compartment bag, without any really fancy additions.  It also doesn’t apply to full suspension bikes (although I’ll do a FS framebag for $100 instead of my usual $120 in the spirit of the deal).  If a lot of people order bags like this, I can streamline the production process, saving me time and saving you money.  I’ll be doing these in batches and shipping as they get finished – as of January 20th, I’ve finished my first 6 bags and I’m starting on my next batch.

I can do hydration ports or side pockets for a small extra charge, but for other features you’ll have to pay a little more (contact me at info@roguepanda.com for details).  Basic Black Bags are still made of Dimension-Polyant X-Pac fabric, but only in black; that way I can meet the factory minimums and save on fabric.  They come with my usual attention to detail, and there are no compromises in the quality of the bags.  I can design your bag quickly and accurately from just a photo, and it’s guaranteed to fit, or your money back.

Interested?  Here are the details:

  • You can order your bag on my Etsy Site or use the PayPal links below.
  • Shipping within the US is just $5 (not in the US? Just send me an email).
  • Make sure to send me a photo of your bike for sizing to info@roguepanda.com – see my Custom Fit page for details on taking the photo.
  • Bags will currently ship in about a week from the date of ordering.  If I get a rush on orders it could be longer; email me if you need to know the current lead time.
  • I will default to putting the zipper on the right side of the bike, since that is the most popular choice, but feel free to request a left side zip (email me or add it as a special instruction to your order).

Basic Black Framebag – $80:

BBB with Hydration Port ($85):

BBB with Side Pocket ($90):

BBB with Side Pocket and Hydration Port ($95):

Feel free to contact me with any questions at info@roguepanda.com.

Update: Finished product photos!  Here are some pictures from the first batch of 6 bags:

The first batch of bags!
The first batch of bags!
Closeup of the side pocket option.
Closeup of the side pocket option.
This is a hydration port on one of the framebags. I use Hypalon fabric, because it frays very little and can be easily cut by the end user. So the port starts as a hole the width of a hydration tube, and the user can widen it to fit a bite valve, if desired.
This is a hydration port on one of the framebags. I use Hypalon fabric, because it frays very little and can be easily cut by the end user. So the port starts as a hole the width of a hydration tube, and the user can widen it to fit a bite valve, if desired.

Photo Credit: the top photo was taken by my friend Barley, of Barley Farm Designs fame.

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Playing with Time Lapse Videos

So I played around with my new Ricoh GR this morning (I love this camera!) and decided to try making some time lapses.  This is a time lapse video of the final assembly of a seatbag:

I only shot the final seams and finishing work, which took about 40 minutes. The design and all the prep take about twice that, which has become a common theme in my work – time spent in the beginning pays off later with easier assembly.

How It’s Made: The AZ Flag Bag

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Last week I decided that my road bike needed a new framebag.  Something flashy and fun.  So I decided to make an Arizona Flag bag!  I took a lot of photos of the construction, so this will sort of be a make-your-own framebag tutorial as well.

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Step 1: Math!  What I did here is trace a scaled photo of my bike onto some paper.  I then put that in front of my computer screen with an image of the flag on it, and I was able to zoom in and out until I found the right size to make the flag.  Then I traced it and, voila!  Both drawings have the same scale.

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Using tailor’s chalk (one of my favorite tools ever) I traced the rays of the flag onto some yellow and red X-pac.  The yellow will be the background, and I cut every other ray out of the red, leaving some room to fold the edges underneath.

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I folded over a ruler to get crisp lines, then sewed the rays onto the yellow piece with my new Juki.

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The hardest part to get right was where the rays meet in the middle, because sewing fabric into a sharp point is very hard to do.  Luckily, since the star covers that area I was able to trim the rays a little short.  🙂

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After all the rays were done, I sewed the yellow-and-red piece to some blue Xpac and added the star.  The star was the most difficult part of the project, because I’m used to dealing with Xpac and cordura, which tend to play pretty nice – the cotton I found for the star liked to stretch and move around.  I’m not 100% happy with how it turned out, but it still looks good.  If I make another bag like this I’ll use PVC-coated polyester fabric instead, because it’s much easier to work with and more durable.  Since this was for my road bike, I’m not worried about the durability, and I didn’t want to wait for the PVC fabric to arrive in the mail, so I used what I could find locally.

I forgot to take pictures of the next step – I made a cardboard cutout of my frame (using the scaled frame drawing that I started with), and used it to figure out the best place to cut out the flag.  On most bags, I don’t bother with a cardboard template and just lay the design out onto the fabric directly, but for this project it was really helpful.

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Next up, the zipper and the logo.  I was very fortunate to have two sewing machines set up, one with red thread, and the other with yellow.  Otherwise the zipper would have taken forever.  As it was, it was a bit tedious, with quite a bit of back-and-forth between the two machines.  After putting the zipper in, I could breath a sigh of relief, because the rest of the production is the same as a regular framebag.  Normally it takes about an hour to get from a photo of a bike to this point.  For this bag it took an entire day.

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After a good night of rest, it was time to plan the velcro – I laid out the locations of velcro straps on one side of the framebag, and then lined them up to transfer the marks to the other side.  I’ve found that transferring the marks is more accurate than re-measuring, and easier to boot.  Once again, tailor’s chalk is the bomb.

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I tack the velcro onto each side of the framebag using a long straight stitch – since this isn’t structural and is just to hold the velcro in place, a long stitch makes the work go faster.  Sewing it on doesn’t distort the fabric like pins would.  I’ve thought about trying to find a faster process for this (glue?), but I think the peace of mind is worth it – I know the velcro won’t shift as I’m putting the bag together.

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All the pieces ready for assembly.  I decided to make this bag skinnier than most, because of the skinnier tubes on my road bike and because it’s such a large frame.  So I made the panels around the edges 3″ wide rather than my usual 3 1/2″ (including seam allowances).  I also included a slight taper to make the bag skinnier at the bottom for derailleur clearance – my derailleur is mounted pretty high on this bike and I didn’t want to cut the framebag off above it.  The sections that will lie against the down tube and seat tube are Xpac and ballistic nylon sewn together.  I sew just along the long sides and leave the ends open so that I can put foam in between the two later.

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Finally, the real seams of the bag!  When I bind the edges with grosgrain ribbon, the seams will get an extra line of back-up stitching.  With the V69 thread I use on my industrial machine it probably isn’t necessary.  But it’s a good precaution to take.  The velcro attachments are reinforced more, with extra stitching.  I used to use bar tacks for this, but bar tacks are really best for shear strength, rather than the peel strength that is required here.  So back-and-forth straight stitching perpendicular to the direction of force is a better way to go, in my opinion.

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Once all the main seams are done, it’s time to bind the edges with grosgrain to cover them and prevent fraying.  This is one of the places where the Juki really shines.  Vroom, vroom.

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And the bag is nearly done!  Just two more steps left.  You might notice that there is a small seam left unfinished (left side of this photo).  There’s another one unfinished on the top corner, and this is where I’ll slip foam in between fabric layers to pad the down tube and seat tube.

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Sandwiching the foam between two stiff objects is one of the best ways to get it in there.  Here I’m using my L-square and an old ski pole with the tip removed.

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This is it!  The final seam to close the bag!

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A bit of careful work and the loose ends of the grosgrain are tucked away under the final piece.

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The moment of truth- turning it right-side-out.

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Yours truly, stoked about the bag.

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And one last shot of it on the bike!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed seeing how a framebag comes together.

Custom Fit

I can design custom framebags, seatbags, or other items to fit any bike.  I work off of photos, so there’s no need to make a cardboard cutout of your frame or anything like that.

I’ve found that designing bags off of photos like this is actually more accurate than tracing the frame onto cardboard or paper, and there’s no need to ship anything in the mail.  Your fit is guaranteed – if your bag doesn’t fit your bike the way you want it to, you can send it back and I’ll fix it for you.

What I’ll need is a photo of your bike that includes a ruler.  Here are some tips on how to take a good photo:

-Put the ruler in line with the frame of the bike.  It doesn’t matter where in the frame it is.

-Point the camera straight on at the side of the bike, rather than at an angle.  It also helps to crouch or kneel, so you’re not taking it from above the bike – your camera should be level with the center of your frame.

-Take it from at least 5 feet away to avoid parallax errors

Here are a couple of sample photos that are done well:

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This photo is spot-on, as good as it gets.

 

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This photo is almost perfect, but it could be taken with the camera about a foot lower. Other than that it’s a great shot. I can work with a photo like this, but of course its better to take one like the first photo above.

 

 

Here are some testimonials about the fit process from my customers:

High quality material and craftsmanship. The fit is spot on and best of all I didn’t have to send in a template. – Jonathan from Maryland

I gotta be honest….I had my doubts about making a frame bag from a photo….but this bag you made is likely the best fitting frame bag I have ever owned….and I’ve had quite a few. – Brian from California

This thing is made of a wicked-burly (technical term) material and fits perfectly. – Mac, from Arizona

Seatbags

My new seatbags are now available for $99 with free shipping*!  As of May 8th, Highlines are sold out and there are a few Picketposts in stock.  The next round will be in sometime this month.

Highline Seatbag ($99): Buy Now Button

7″ Picketpost Seatbag ($99): Buy Now Button

9″ Picketpost Seatbag ($99): Buy Now Button

I have two models of seatbags right now – the Highline and the Picketpost.  The Highline will work on full suspension bikes, and the Picketpost is a hardtail-specific framebag.

Up until now I’ve only made seatbags on a custom basis, but I’m excited to announce that I am having these made in batches, by Wet Dreams River Supply right here in Flagstaff.  All bags are made from Dimension-Polyant Xpac (VX21) with a VX42 bottom panel.  Non-slip fabric is included on the seat post attachments.  The seat rail buckles have a latch-cam design for extra security.  All bags have the option to tie down to your seat stays, which improves stability considerably.

The volume of the bags is about 6-12 liters for the Highline and a little more for the Picketpost.  Weight is pretty light.  I’ll get more accurate measurements by the end of next week when all the different sizes are in.

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The Full-Suspension-Compatible “Highline” Seatbag

The Highline seatbag (named after one of the toughest sections of the Arizona Trail) is a bag that will fit full suspension bikes, or hardtails with less than 7″ of exposed seatpost.  If you’re using it on a hardtail, there are optional straps to tighten the bag down to your seat stays for maximum stability.

As with any seatbag, I recommend placing heavier items closer to the seatpost, and trying to fill the space behind the bag with light, bulky items such as clothing or a sleeping bag.

Picketpost Seatbag
The Picketpost Seatbag for hardtail bikes

The Picketpost seatbag (named after many folks’ favorite Arizona Trail passage) is a hardtail-specific seatbag which comes in two sizes – one for 7″ or more of exposed seatpost, and one for 9″ or more of exposed seatpost.  It has velcro straps which tighten the bag down to your seat stays for extra stability, and it’s wider behind your seatpost so you can store heavier items there without swinging weight.  From the rides I’ve taken with mine, and feedback from my customers, I believe that this is the most stable seatbag on the market.

Note that the Picketpost is not recommended for full-suspension bikes.  It may be possible to tighten the velcro straps down to another location on your frame, but I’ve only heard from one customer who successfully tried it so I can’t recommend it.

The bag pictured above is loaded the way I tend to ride it (using mostly just the space behind the seatpost), but I’m a pretty minimalist bikepacker.  There’s a lot of expansion room behind your seat – I’ll post better photos next week.

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I can also fit to non-standard seatposts like the thudbuster pictured above, or make a bag specific to your bike to maximize usable space – contact me for details at info@roguepanda.com

*Sorry, but the free shipping offer only applies to shipping within the United States.  If you live abroad you can still place an order, but I’ll send you an invoice afterwards for an extra $15 (for Canada) or $20 (for everyone else) to cover the increased shipping costs.

Handlebar Rolls

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One of the most adjustable handlebar rolls out there.  The attachments to your handlebars can move along a daisy chain made of heavy duty webbing, so you can space them out as wide as possible for maximum stability, or closer together to accommodate brake levers and shifters if need be.

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Dual daisy chains allow for easy and robust attachment to H-bars or loop bars, and also shock cord loops for storing quick-access items like rain gear or a warm hat.

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A set of straps on the front allows you to attach a sleeping pad, packrafting paddle, or other items to the outside of the roll.

The price for a roll is $80 and I can make them any size from 6 inches in diameter up to 9.  Order at my Etsy site, or email me at info@roguepanda.com with any questions.