We live and breathe cycling. As a true bike couple, we spend almost every free minute on our bikes. Downhill or enduro, that’s what we usually do. However, we also got ourselves some gravel bikes and discovered the benefits of long gravel tours. Since then, we have been passionate about spending whole days on our gravel bikes and have been making plans for weekend trips for quite some time. The only thing missing was the right luggage.
Transporting luggage on a bike is not really a new concept, of course. Typically, you use simple luggage racks, whether at the front on the fork or above the rear wheel. Looking at the endless choice of traditional luggage racks, you quickly start wondering whether there might be better solutions. Our bikes do in fact have the necessary mounting options for classic carrier solutions. But let’s give the new gravel bags a chance.
How convenient that I (Judith) am in charge of the Deuter brand at Bike Discount and that I was really looking forward to the new Cabezon and Mondego gravel series. The core difference between the series: Cabezon is waterproof, Mondego is not.
But how else do they differ and do I really have to buy the more expensive series if I want to carry more equipment? We’ll answer that question in this review.
First of all, the bags look really good. The workmanship and quality of both series are impeccable and promise durability. So, let’s start by sorting through the test samples and taking a closer look.
We begin with the handlebar bag.
The bags from both series are very easy to attach to the handlebar and stem with velcro straps and both will hold equally well. The delivery includes four spacers to adapt them to different handlebar sizes.
The Cabezon handlebar bag has two parts. The black part is attached directly to the handlebar, while the actual bag in tubular form comes separately. The latter can be filled, rolled up on both sides and closed with click fasteners. A valve allows excess air to be easily released. The bag can then be very easily attached to the holder with two straps. We have often been using the elastic straps on the holder for our jackets.
The Mondego handlebar bag, on the other hand, has only one part. It is stable and can be opened very easily at any time with a zip. In addition, the bag has two small side compartments, one of which also opens with a zip. We used this bag for things you need to keep on hand, such as snacks or handkerchiefs.
Again, we could always use the elastic straps at the top for a jacket.
The frame Pockets
The frame pockets come in two different sizes for both series. On my smaller frame, I used the smaller version while Luca opted for the larger one. The bags are very easy to attach to the frame via Velcro straps.
The Cabezon bag has two zipped compartments, a small side compartment and a large main compartment. The Mondego, on the other hand, has only one large zipped main compartment. Both bags are spacious and hold all the tools you should definitely have with you. At least that is how we have always been using these bags.
Two completley differens saddlebags
With the saddle bags, however, there are greater differences.
Here, too, the Cabezon model consists of two parts. The holder is attached to the seat tube with Velcro fasteners and additionally secured to the saddle with clip fasteners. Thus everything sits tightly and securely. The actual bag is separate and can be easily loaded. The actual bag is separate and can be easily filled. Just as with the handlebar bag, you then roll up the loaded bag, release excess air through the valve and click it securely onto the holder. This way you have your clothes stored waterproof no matter what. We also found the fact that the handlebar and saddle bag of the Cabezon series could be taken along without a holder very convenient.
The Mondego saddle bag can be attached to the seat tube and saddle following the same procedure, but it consists of only one part. Nevertheless, it holds just as much as the Cabezon and we were indeed amazed at how much we could take with us. Thanks to the roll up design, the bags can always be adjusted to the required size, so they’re always really compact. Nothing moves around and the bags are firmly attached.
It’s amazing what two people can transport with these bags. You can easily spend a whole week on your gravel bike.
After a few rides, the layout of these bags, which are optimised for graveling, has shown itself to be quite positive. Since the bags are all positioned along the wheel axle, there are no right or left bags. So you don’t have to worry about loading the sides evenly. You can put your ‘stuff’ wherever there is enough space. Since we often travel at speeds of over 28 km/h, it would be annoying if the bike wasn’t balanced. Another positive aspect is what I would call ‘general accessibility’. In other words, parts such as the wheels, the drivetrain or the brakes are not covered by the bags. This meant that Luca could quickly check the bikes on a daily basis.
In general, we have to say that all velcro straps, fasteners, etc. are perfectly adjustable and the bags can thus be fit to a wide variety of frames. They’re PFC-free and all feature reflective details. The Mondego series is made of recycled and bluesign® certified material.
The new gravel series from Deuter really appealed to us.
If you want to be on the safe side, you should probably go for the waterproof Cabezon series. Even if it doesn’t rain, water still tends to come from below. Thanks to their impermeability, the Cabezon bags are also very easy to clean. If you don’t attach great importance to both aspects, you are just as well off with the Mondego versions.
Both series can be attached to the bike equally easily, have a similar capacity and are in no way inferior to each other in terms of workmanship and quality. So get on your bike and get out into nature.
We wish you many wonderful rides and adventures.