February 2017 Product Picks: Northwave, Bell, Silca, and Pearl Izumi

by James Huang

February 3, 2017

For this edition of Product Picks, U.S. technical editor James Huang is all about covering the extremities: Northwave’s radical-looking Extreme RR road shoes for your feet; Bell’s Stratus helmet, the less-expensive alternative to the Zephyr flagship model, for your head; and Pearl Izumi’s PRO Softshell Lite gloves for your hands. Silca’s novel Seat Roll Premio tool wrap perhaps doesn’t fit the theme, then, but its innovative Boa saddle attachment system could certainly be considered “extreme” for a saddle pack. Will any of them pass muster? Read on and find out.

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Silca Seat Roll Premio tool roll

by James Huang

There are all sorts of different ways to attach saddle packs to your bike, but to our knowledge, Silca’s new Seat Roll Premio is the first one to use a Boa cable-reel system. While such complexity may seem like overkill on such a simple item, it doesn’t take long to see merit in the idea: tightening the dial not only secures the pack to your saddle, but it also compresses the pack’s contents down at the same time. Regardless of what you’re carrying or what sort of saddle you’re using, there’s no excess cable dangling about, either.

Inside the simply designed tool roll is just enough room for road bike essentials: an inner tube, tire levers, two CO2 cartridges, an inflator head (preferably Silca’s own Eolo, naturally), a small multi-tool, and perhaps some cash and identification.

Silca builds the Seat Roll Premio from waxed cotton instead of the usual woven nylon. Quilted reflective stitching provides a bit of low-light visibility, too.

Our Take:

The Boa system is invariably what everyone inquires about when they first see this pack, so I’ll just say this right away: it’s fantastic, and I’m amazed it hasn’t been done before. As promised, it holds extremely tight, looks very tidy, and just like on Boa-equipped shoes, a single pull of the dial releases the cable tension completely so you can quickly pull the pack off when you need to access its contents.

Using Boa on a saddle pack at first seems like overkill, but it’s actually a perfect application for the technology. It holds the pack tightly up against the bottom of the saddle while simultaneously cinching up the pack’s contents, and with no excess material flapping about in the breeze.

Despite being perfectly positioned for road spray, the mechanism hasn’t clogged up, either — and even if it does, Boa’s liberal warranty policy will probably cover it.

Otherwise, the pack itself is well designed, with pockets that are ideally sized for the intended cargo — but no more, so don’t plan on overstuffing it. According to Silca, the Seat Roll Premio is only meant to hold tubes up to 700x45mm in size, for example, and that’s for one that’s carefully wrapped.

The three-pocket design is simple, but effective. Some care is required when packing, though, so that everything rolls up neatly.

Either way, what ultimately separates Silca’s tool roll from others is the additional strap that wraps lengthwise around the whole bundle. It seems insignificant at first, but it does a great job of making a loaded-up tool roll look much tidier and neater than other tool rolls that aren’t so equipped.

Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the bag’s premium pricing, but seeing as how this one actually has something to offer that others don’t, it’s at least a little easier to justify the indulgence.

Price: US$48 / AU$90 / £48