Review: Swift Ozette Randonneur Bag

When I first came across Swift Industries, I didn’t even have a use for the Ozette randonneur bag and yet, I really, really wanted one. My last touring bike was set up for a handlebar-mounted bag. At the time, I chose Arkel as a manufacturer and I still have it, but I wasn’t happy enough with it to put it to use on the new Geekhouse tourer. I wanted my front weight as low as I could get it and the Arkel sat too high. The older model bag also wasn’t water proof. Or even water-resistant. Not ideal for a touring rig. The 2013 model is water proof, however.

Two large panniers and a large randonneur-style front bag is all I need for touring portage. The Ozette randonneur bag has so far, been the perfect choice for the Geekhouse. Without leaping to any great tech-overview, I’ll just say that Swift and Geekhouse are a good pairing and when it comes down to it, the 10.5 litre capacity of this bag is a large improvement over what I was used to with the Arkel (which has 10 litres of space but the aforementioned weight distribution makes it a less than ideal option).

Along with the large compartment, there are five external pockets and a top map-case. The two back pockets will fit an iPhone, a point and shoot camera, film and anything else you’d need to access without reaching under a jacket and into a jersey pocket. The front pocket is out of reach while riding, so things like first aid, camping supplies, or what have you would go there. The map-case is big. Big enough for maps or cue sheets. Each of these are covered with a loop-secured, top-flap. For quick stashability, the two side pockets do wonders. All in all, I fit everything I’d need for a long ride, like a Brovet, just fine.

All of this from a classic design and a waterproof construction. Now, securing the bag to the appropriate rack is the most important part. My Geekhouse rack is wide enough to where the velcro straps hold the base of the bag just fine. With a “tombstone” rack extension, I could slip it in the bag’s sleeved support but it wasn’t enough to keep the Ozette laterally-stable. Two zip ties did the trick but I’ll still use a decaleur for increased support, at which time, I’ll remove the zip ties. This will enable me to use the handy shoulder strap Swift supplies.

Right now, out of the box, so to speak, the Ozette randonneur bag is a customizable, modern-spin on a classic design. I picked my colors, added it to the shopping basket on Swift’s site and it showed up under a month later. All for $210. I have nothing against Berthoud, Ostrich or other manufacturers, I just wanted to support a new, smaller company in Seattle. Plus the olive looks great on the bike. See more at Swift Industries and if you’re still reading without clicking through the Gallery, check out more detail photos there!

  • odenator

    Looks hot on the geekhouse. How many miles did you put on that Brooks till it was comfortable enough to go touring on?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      You just gotta bear with it. Ass sweat is going to break it in. That or rain-riding. That said, I’m doing a big 30ish hour ride (one shot) next week that I’m putting a broken-in saddle on for.

  • Eric Baumann

    that bag looks great and really completes the bike, swift will definitely be at the top of my list whenever I find myself in the market.

  • Steven Choi

    So when are you going to do another multi-day tour? The first one you did down CA was super inspiring!

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I’m trying to squeeze one in between Eurobike and Interbike…

  • mywynne

    Very nice. And thumbs up on the benchmade (griptilian?) – I just picked one up when I was down in Portland, top notch.

  • Lauren McPhail

    Thanks, John! I was looking for the perfect bag to put on my new Cinelli della strada that I will be getting soon!

  • aeriolabehaviour

    love it!

  • Harry Major

    Prolly: word of warning, these are not close to fully waterproof. This my Girlfriend and I discovered after spending all day riding through the rain in Japan only to find everything was wet (2 handlebar bags, 2 roll-top panniers and 2 shortstack panniers). Great bags, great company, but do be careful; if you are likely to ride in prolonged rain make sure you have dry sacks to put your gear in. Wet gear and sleeping bags on tour is a massive bum out.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I usually keep essential items in my bar bags in a dry sack. As for panniers, I always go with Ortlieb.

    • edscoble

      That’s useful to know Harry, was deciding on getting a custom randonneur bag for an ultralight touring bicycle, but if it doesn’t hold water out like my current bag in a downpour, it’s a no go.

      Inasmuch as I like my drybag, it would be nice to not have to make it less accessible.

      • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

        You should check out the Arkel bags…

  • zeeeeeeecore

    sonufabitch, what a bike!!!

  • Impalpablestate

    Been using Swift’s saddle bag for more than a year and it’s one of the best purchase i’ve made.
    Quality~

  • edscoble

    I agree a decaleur will make a massive different, get one custom made for your stem perhaps?

    Can’t love my Gilles Berthoud bag enough, it’s a fantastic change from the old English saddlebag method on long ride.

  • Joe

    I’ve wanted one of these for a while now, they seem like the perfect cross between the classic berthoud type and modern style and materials. I also love the look of the acorn bags, but they won’t ship to the UK. I was just wondering about your geometry for carrying everything on the front – what sort of trail is that? Looks gorgeous by the way – especially the stem and the drillum(!) levers.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      71.5 HTA, 49mm rake is about 68mm with 43c tires. If my math is correct….

  • Ace Metric Cycles

    THIS THING IS SO SICK.