Fat-bike Radio color man, Mr’ J.K Livin’, brings us this story about his journey to the frame bag of his dreams, hand made by Andrew the Maker at http://atmhandmadegoods.com, for his Schlick Tatanka. Welcome to the ride!
When out on the roads and trails, I tend to think of myself as a pack mule. You always have a guy on a ride that has “The Backpack” you can fill up with road sodas…that’s oftentimes me. To that, I have always been jealous of people with frame bags. The prospect of relocating the weight of core fat-biking essentials had me salivating…and room for beer in a freshly unencumbered sack had my back ‘smiling’.
The blank canvas and future home of gear.
ATM Handmade Goods is a frame and accessory bag company based in Kansas City, MO. Initial contact with Andrew the Maker was very pleasant and he directed me to his website in order to figure out how to measure the frame to create a template for him to work from.
The instructions are detailed and thorough. The execution of building this template is best suited as a two-person operation (with one, hopefully, having some arts & crafts savvy, which I lack). It took a couple attempts to accurately trim the template to fit the frame space exactly (operator error).
Took a try or two but here is the basic template with the braze-ons and such marked out.
Time to open the coloring book and get at it!
Being unfamiliar with a bag of this nature, Andrew provided sample pictures upon request as to the placement possibilities for color schemes and the terminology of zones on the bag. I had inquired about attaching gif or jpeg on to bag. He stated that it was possible, but pretty cost-prohibitive. Andrew then sent a swatch table of 40 colors to choose from via email. There are a few fabric options available and we decided upon using Terrain X-Pac Laminated Ripstop Fabric, which offers the desired level of water resistance. I did a mock-up upon deciding on the colors and placement and shot that pic over to Andrew for suggestions/approval of my fashionable color scheme decision.
I expressed my desire for the bag to house content that normally I hump along with in my backpack. The primary occupants that dimensions were given were for flask (because, ya know), lock, a pump and small amount of tools…or a small amount of beer (because, ya know).
A sampling of the gear that I want to be able to offload from my back to the frame bag.
With the color scheme in place and desired inner homes for some gear locked into the design, Andrew was able to get to work.
Fast forward roughly 3 to 4 week and the bag arrived!
Installation was a snap! Non slip frame straps (3 top tube, 3 down tube, 2 seat tube) were secured in under a minute.
ATM frame bag installed and ready to use.
The larger, main compartment is located on the rider’s drive side. Sewn into the interior were two downtube straps for an ABUS lock, two toptube straps for a pump and an internal divider separating the flask holster from the lock area and home for a spare tube.
A smaller accessory pouch is positioned on left side that is probably, normally intended for maps, phone, what have you. My uses have been ferrying coozys, bottle openers oh, and as an impromptu beer holder!
I was also pleasantly surprised with how the divider and holster detached in order to accommodate some ‘precious’ cargo.
Taking a leap of faith, I ventured to tempt the fates and clip a bluetooth speaker to the bag with the zipper and top flap near the nose cover acting as anchor that worked to ridiculously effective results.
Even when I dropped the the damn speaker and the clip broke…(off-steed thank you) the smaller accessory pouch saved the day and allowed for comparable earbud-free riding.
This bag has endured a couple heavy rain events where some tech was in the bag. The fabric and water resistant zippers stood up to the tests. Clean up has worked out effectively even on the white portion of the bag, which I hadn’t thought through a little soap, water you know…not the washing machine (and it plays well with others).
I FINALLY, dared to venture with NO backpack and rely on the benevolence of others to ferry beers and what-have-you on a couple of rides involving the Goonies, the Healing Power of Beer and others to unexpected slick feelings of back independence.
I looooooooved that I was able to transfer the weight of my essentials from my back to the steed and use my legs to transport some of these heavier wares. There is a definite period of separation anxiety and impact on my body’s geometry but, as with most change of habits, everything adjusted itself within a few miles.
ATM Handmade Goods made the process of developing a durable, secure, convertible and completely customizable frame bag that you can personalize both enjoyable and approachable. While I’ve set up my frame bag for a more urban assault usage, it is important to note that the ability to customize the ATM frame bag means that whatever adventure you are going on there is a configuration that will work for you. The retail cost rests on the north side of $200, but as with many things, you do get what you pay for.
I probably will always roll with a bike briefcase on my back (like Linus’ security blanket), but it will probably be from me being predisposed to want to be that damn pack mule!
The description of the ATM Full Single Compartment Frame Bag from Andrew’s website.
Here’s our most popular full frame bag, custom-made to fit YOUR frame! It features 1) a large main compartment equipped with an internal divider on the drive side and 2) a thin pocket sized for a folded map, phone or wallet on the non-drive side. Design includes:
- Exterior panel of either Cordura or XPac fabric – YOU choose
- Side panels are 1000D Cordura with a closed-cell foam stiffener
- #8 water resistant zippers
- UV resistant thread
- Hook and loop removable internal divider
- Frame Lover straps to reduce paint wear
- All bags made to YOUR specifications