I’ve always ridden with saddle bags. I had a Timbuk 2 bag for a while, but it ruined a pair of my bib shorts when the velcro rubbed. For a long time, I had a Sci Con bag that I really loved. Unfortunately, it did not love saddles with oval carbon rails. It would work, but it would also come loose and require tightening, which would sometimes lead to a broken mount and waiting on a replacement. As I grew tired of that game, I was also getting more immersed in roadie culture and doing more racing as well as riding a nicer bike. As the bike began to look visually cleaner, and the times when I would ride with no saddle bag began to grow, I looked to see what else was available.
As it turns out, Just Enough Tools had a new product, and they actually got in touch with us right when I was looking for something. What they had was a new version of their Jet Roll called the Jet Roll Phantom.
The Jet Roll series of products are a high quality tool roll, made of a variety of materials, that come with a leather strap for attaching to your saddle. But I wasn’t interested in attaching them to the saddle rails. What I had been thinking about doing for a while was just completely getting rid of my saddle bag and keeping everything in my jersey, and this was the perfect product to make that happen.
I took a look at the Jet Roll Supersonic, the Jet Roll II, and the Jet Roll Phantom, but the one I ended up using was the Phantom. They are all essentially the same with the various names representing different materials, but the reason that the Phantom turned out to be the best option is because it has a bit of elasticity.
It’s made of a synthetic leather that is water-resistant and feels very nice to the touch, but the elasticity is what made it possible for me to use. I had been preparing for the downsizing, and I’d gotten rid of everything I could. I was only planning to carry a ST-15i from Serfas, I’ll talk about it more on it’s own soon, that has tire levers, a patch kit, and the CO2 inflator all integrated plus two CO2 cartridges and a tube. That’s pretty minimal, and yet, when I initially sat down with the Just Enough Tools products, I couldn’t get it all to fit. I think I could have ditched one of the CO2 cartridges and had an easier time, but that’s getty pretty risky. If your hands are cold, and you make a mistake, you are stuck.
I ended up leaving everything in the saddle bag for a while. When I eventually made my way back to the Just Enough Tools products, I spent quite a bit of time figuring how to best fit everything in. Eventually, I did get it to work. The secret was to ignore the pocket closest to the buckle and allow it to wrap around more, but I found the slight elasticity of the Phantom made things much easier. The wrap that Just Enough Tools supplies for the tube, made famous as the Livestrong bracelets, is a bit of brilliance that helps as well.
Once I figured it out, I got rid of my saddle bag and started carrying the Phantom in my jersey pocket on every ride. I’ve been riding with it for about a month now, and I love it. I could just drop all the pieces into my jersey, but having the Just Enough Tools product means it’s easy to stash with my other gear and not forget. It fits in my jersey well, and it has allowed me to go without a saddle bag.
Bottom line, this is a great product. It’s primarily marketed as a tool roll that attaches to your saddle, but I think the real genius of it is it’s ability to work in your jersey. Just Enough Tools has a ton of great options, but I think the Phantom is the best of them. The only downside is that it’s a bit pricey, but I think it’s ultimately worth the splurge. Saddle bags aren’t cheap either, and this way you can ditch your saddle bag for good.
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