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Techs-Mechs: Silca Reimagines the Saddlebag [Plus a Cool Pump]

Silca partners with Yanco to change the way you stash your tools. Also, they still make quality pumps.

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It's funny, I needed a few minutes to remember that seat rollups were a thing. Are they still a thing? In my mind they're an old-timey precursor to the modern saddle bag, which you can stash easily, zip securely, and forget about. The seat rollups I know come with leather and are ideal for randonneur riding -- trust me, I know about this part. Anyway, they seemed quaint but I never thought about them.

Until now, as the Silca Seat Roll, made by Yanco, hit my inbox. I've been growing irritated with my saddlebags, which only hold tools and which have to be emptied out completely to find what I need, most times. Turns out, after all these years, I'm a seat rollup customer in waiting. And when I finally do something about that, I am pretty sure this is where I'll turn:

Silca seat roll 1

Silca seat roll 3

The Skinny:

  • Yanco is a dude in LA who hand-makes all sorts of packs and bags, with high quality material and stitching. This isn't your typical factory piece. And yet the MSRP is $55.00 (pre-order price, demand is presently outstripping Yanco's sewing speed).
  • The horizontal and vertical straps give the Silca Seat Roll more security than any rollup I've seen. Typically you just get horizontal straps. Also the lack of a strap to the seatpost means no rubbing on your shorts, which sounds silly until your $150 bibs start wearing out at the inner thigh.
  • The exterior is Martexin waxed duck canvas. I'm not an expert on waterfowl canvases, but it's supposedly very water-proof.
  • As opposed to a crammed saddle bag, you can lay out all sorts of stuff -- credit cards, cash, keys, and tools -- in a nice, orderly fashion.

Silca seat roll open

Oh, and Silca, who have been making pumps since there was a tire that relied on inflation, would like you to know that they have a new item out for the mini-pump craze that I've noticed lately. It's called the Pocket Imperio, and at 8 inches long and weighing a mere 5 ounces, it certainly fits the market. I haven't tested it yet, but it claims to reach the highest pressure of any mini-pump on the market, 89 PSI at 200 strokes (that's a standard, not a requirement that you pump 200 times), by importing some technology from its well-respected Imperio floor pump. The aluminum head gives it integrity where needed, and the metal plunger inside a silicone insulating sleeve reduces the friction which generates heat and which, in turn, lowers the efficiency of a typical mini-pump. Does it work? I'll let you know, or try it for yourself.