Just a quick one!
I don’t have a whole lot to add except that, in case you’re wondering, YES, THEY ARE PINEAPPLE-FRIENDLY!
Ok, ok, maybe I really just wanted to share a few fun photos. Or grab another picture of my favourite bike leaning against my favourite wall. But whatever!
Seeing as you’re here…
Although I always aspire to carry less, the more I use these fork bags, the more I appreciate having that extra bit of space… even if they hide that lovely truss fork (which they’re specific to, I’m afraid to say).
What do I like?
For one, they’re super easy to access, which isn’t a given in the world of bikepacking. All too often, svelte shapes often trump day to day practicality. And two…
When I’m not carrying pineapples… I slot my two-person tarp/pegs into one side, with room to spare for a couple of bags of corn chips on top. The other leg carries my solar panel, food, a flask of mescal, and a waterproof. Yes, life’s necessities!
Each bag has a little mesh pouch for snacks or a rag/bottle of oil and you can cinch them in when you’re not running them at full capacity, so stuff doesn’t rattle around too much.
What do I notso like?
I love gear that’s made to last – and after many months, these bags remain as good as new. But dare I say they’re a bit overbuilt?! They sport heavy, double-toggle YKK no 10 zippers (yes, the big guys!) The main body includes a super solid stiffener, an inner compartment and a whole bunch of straps, all of which contribute to a 750g combined weight. Not that 3/4kg is heavyheavyheavy… It’s just that it’s not exactly ultralight. I’d certainly be grateful if they weighed a few hundred grams less, which I feel could be the case, without any radical compromises in durability.
But let’s put this in some kind of numerical context. Jones’ unicrown fork weighs 1350g. The Jones ti truss fork is 1050g. That’s 300g in credit, so to speak. Which… kind of means the bags weigh 450g. Caveat: you need the ti fork!
When debating the relative merits of different packing systems some time ago (yeah, I’m a fun guy to hang out with), I compared this setup with a unicrown fork, Manything Cages, and cargo bags. I can’t remember the specifics, but whilst the latter came out lighter, capacity and practicality were considerably less too.
Other irks? They’re not so easy to remove, as they mount to the fork via a somewhat awkward-to-reach strap system. Did I mention they’re $250?
But… but… is this really bikepacking? Aren’t these panniers? Low riders?
Kind of. But not really! They mount directly to the truss fork, which means there’s no need for an additional rack. They’re relatively slim (thus good for trail riding) and completely rate free on bumpy dirt roads (though the straps to catch and flutter in the wind). Weight is nicely distributed too. In short: I think they’re a great ‘inbetween’.
THE BIG PICTURE
I love gear that affords a little give and take in my bike touring life – whether I’m hauling some extra cold-weather gear, or grabbing a pineapple at the market – without needing to play either bikepacking Tetris or going for the full trad pannier setup. I guess I’m an inbetweener.
Although I’d always aspire to pack light and leave these bags behind (saving myself a sweet 750g), I really appreciate them for extended, freeform trips. They’re tough-as-nails. They’re cavernous. And the bike still feels like a ‘trail bike’ offroad.
I can also see these Jones Truss fork bags being really well suited to the packing needs of shorter riders, given the limited framebag space/scope for a reasonably sized seatbag.
The pineapple, btw, was delicious. Juicy and fresh. Less than $2. Whatever you think about the bags, it was well worth the weight!
Questions? Ask me in the comments!