Ortlieb recumbent backpack: got one, love it. But check your rack size.

Not me, not my pony tail, but it is a nice photo of
Ortlieb’s recumbent backpack and panniers in action.
(External link. Photo thanks to

Review: Ortlieb recumbent backpack. Got one, love it, but verify size of rear rack.

I’m a New York City Ortlieb dealer, just so you know.  Call me biased, but if I thought there was a better bag, I would have bought whatever was better. The Ortlieb recumbent backpack is the bag I use as my racktop bag.

On a typical day-long ride, it carries my water bladder, the day’s clothes, food, maps, rain gear, “ten essentials”…. Coolest thing is that it sits in the slip stream and I’m convinced it gives me a slight speed increase in the same manner as the very cool (but now discontinued) Terracycle tail sock.

The Ortlieb bag has nifty backpack straps that attach (click, click, click, click, easy) to turn it into a surprisingly decent daypack. Water bladder drinking tube goes through a standard-sized sealed hole so pack contents stay dry in the rain. The reflective patches are 3M or similar quality — VERY bright and positioned for good reflection both to back and sides. All in all, it’s a great bag. I wish it were cheaper, but when you see it, you’ll understand — very high quality and built to last.

Rack size can be an issue. I use it on a 4 1/2″ wide, 18″ long HP Velotechnik rack (as on the Grasshopper, Street Machine or Scorpion). It’s designed for racks of this dimension, pretty standard for Euro bents. It wouldn’t work as well on a narrower rack like a Tubus or a shorter rack.

The Ortlieb “recumbent backpack” on a Grasshopper fx,
on the George Washington Bridge, during a two-day trip
through Harriman State Park. Nice bag.

Hope that helps.


Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2012 Robert Matson

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