The Speedsleev Ballistic Nylon Seatsleev is described as 'a minimalist compression saddle pack that holds your daily ride essentials'. It's essentially a folding Velcro wallet with designated stash points, aimed primarily at road or trail riders who want to travel light and can't stand clutter. TT bikes and other race rigs are the obvious candidates, but it's also useful for touring, when you don't fancy foraging in a pannier for tools or spares.
I'm something of a 'rat packer', cramming stuff in anyhow (possibly rebelling against my late father's military career), but have found myself warming to the Seatsleev's rugged simplicity.
Talking of military, it's made from 'Ballistic Nylon', which was the forerunner to Kevlar, and originally devised to protect service people from shrapnel injuries. History lesson over, this suggests it's an excellent material to make bike and other outdoor luggage from. Reputedly harder to dye than other blends, ours was black with bold, white graphics but there are orange, green and white options should you prefer.
Speedsleev's website only lists one size, with a weight of 50g; ours was labelled Large and weighs 80g on the road.cc Scales of Truth. It's certainly available for sale in large and small sizes online.
Ripping open the Velcro reveals elasticated 'pockets' designed to swallow a tube, two tyre levers, a multi-tool, CO2 inflator and a spare 16g cartridge. In practice, tubes would need to be either vacuum sealed, packet fresh, or really tightly bound with an elastic band to fit in.
With some lateral thought, things aren't as prescriptive as they sound. I need to carry a 15mm wrench with me on my fixed-gear builds, and I've successfully snuck a flat 'giveaway' model (the sort that used to come with new bikes) behind a contemporary 13-function multi-tool. Bijoux designs, such as the nine-function Topeak Mini 9, can also share their pouch with a small glueless patch kit.
On longer rides, I might want to add a couple of cable ties, and these were packed in beside two slender composite tyre levers, so there's definitely a bit of leeway for personalisation.
Having rolled everything together, simply wrap the big Velcro straps around the rails, sealing everything shut. There's no risk of ejection, or infuriating percussion over washboard tarmac or unmade roads, and it's easy to remove when locking up in the street or for longer cafe stops.
Hidden beneath the saddle, it's sleek and unobtrusive – provided you've secured the Velcro properly. The kit 'inside' is reasonably well sheltered from the elements, with the fabric seeming water-resistant in the everyday, caught-in-a-sharp-shower sense. For the most part, it's on par with Cordura nylon packs.
According to Speedsleev it should come with a raincover, but ours didn't; some online sales sites sell it with, others without... If it doesn't, you can buy one for £5, though I've found other models with elasticated hems in my spares bin that made decent substitutes.
If you are caught out without a cover, the resulting silty racoon stripe is easily dismissed with a damp cloth, but the fabric does take a while to dry out, even at room temperature. Remember to whip out electroplated multi-tools before you pop your bike away or the bits will be sporting that unsightly orange taint. I've also machine washed ours at 30 degrees and it's emerged from the drum looking packet fresh.
There are two schools of thought here. One says £15 buys a perfectly serviceable wedge pack with similar capacity, materials and a tab to hang your blinkie rear light from. The other is that spending twice that gets you an extremely sleek option that fits in a flash and should last well.
Minimalist but practical alternative to traditional wedge packs
road.cc test report
Make and model: Speedsleev Ballistic Nylon Seatsleev
Size tested: Large
Speedsleev says: "The Seatsleev is a minimalist compression saddle pack that securely holds your daily ride essentials. It easily stores a tube, CO2 cartridges, tire levers and a multi-tool, and is ideal for roadies.
"The Speedsleev is a cinch to install. The pack lays out flat to easily slide your ride essentials into the pockets. When you are ready to ride, the pack rolls together tightly and securely with Velcro. Another set of straps wrap behind the saddle rails and around the Speedsleev to secure it your bike.
"A black rain cover is included."
I would broadly agree with that description.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Speedsleev lists these features:
Material: Lightweight Ballistic Nylon
* 1 Tube
* 1-2 16g CO2S Cartridges
* 1 Air Chuck Inflator
* 1-2 Tire Levers
* Weight: 50g
Decent grade of nylon, well made too.
Does exactly what it says on the tin, unobtrusively, but unless you are running full-length guards I'd keep a waterproof cover handy at all times.
Lightweight design and disciplined packing will be a winner all-round.
Not necessarily a system I'd adopt wholesale across my fleet, and pricey compared with wedge packs of similar capacity. That said, it's well made and user friendly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Speedsleev fits in a flash and is extremely unobtrusive, thanks to decent materials and organised layout. Perfect for light road and TT builds, and this level of organisation also lends itself well to touring, where you might need easy access to tools/essentials.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very lightweight, rugged and user-friendly.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing per se but rain cover is a must on wet rides without mudguards.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? For a TT or similarly pared-to-the-essentials build, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, in the above context.
Use this box to explain your score
Decent alternative to the classic wedge pack and ideal for minimalist lightweight builds, if maybe a little too prescriptive for some packers.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)