Gear Review- Oveja Negra 1/2 Frame Bag

The simple things in life tend to make the most joy. I was skeptical of the usefulness of bike packing frame bags for a long time before riding with my uncle in South Dakota last Fall on his Salsa Warbird equipped with a Revelate Tangle 1/2 frame bag. I had a flat about 20 miles into our ride and my uncle wanted to show off his new tire pressure gauge (also awesome but more on that later), he reached into his frame bag and it was like a scene from Mary Poppins…stuff just kept coming out. He pulled out his air gauge, a Clif Bar, and I caught a glimpse of the rest of his kit stuffed in there and I was a little impressed. That awkward dead space above a traditional bottle case setup was now useful!

I started shopping around using the following criteria: the bag had to be made in a small shop (think not sweat shop), it had to be a spacious 1/2 bag, and it needed to be at least water resistant. I quickly came across my selection, the Oveja Negra 1/2 Frame Bag. Oveja Negra is a relatively small shop in Salida, CO and they make truly cool products in a seriously cool place! 

Below are the bag specification from the Oveja Negra website:

  • Full zip main compartment (drive side)
  • Half zip tool pocket (non-drive side)
  • Hook & loop closure hydration/wire port 
  • Adjustable/removable Velcro® One-Wrap® top tube straps allow for a more customized fit
  • YKK® Uretek water resistant zippers
  • X-pac® VX21/VX42 water resistant face fabrics
  • Cordura® abrasion resistant fabric along tubing
  • MIL-SPEC webbing and binding
  • High Density closed-cell foam padding along down tube
  • Reflective Oveja Negra logo
  • MADE IN THE U.S.A. of domestic and imported materials

Build Quality & Design

The craftsmanship of this bag is really high quality and it shows right out of the box. All of the zippers and fabrics are water-resistant and look/function great! I opted for MultiCam Camo as the color matches my Revelate Designs seat bag, but there are 6 other colors available and if you reach out, I am sure Oveja Negra could whip up something custom. The zippers pull and function as they should and the placement of the zippers is really well-thought out and accessible from the saddle. 

One of my favorite features of the 1/2 frame bag is the high-contrast interior fabric that really stands out compared to the outer fabric and the interior items that you will be reaching for. I was unsure about the bright green initially, but after using it once it made perfect sense!

Extra Touches

There are several pieces of the bag that really set the Oveja Negra bag apart from the rest of the pack. First, it looks really good! The reflective Logo and adjustable velcro make the bag really look good and function well on the bike. Second, the inclusion of a bike pump/tent pole strap in the bottom of the bag is a big deal. My old school long frame pump fits perfectly in the straps. The zippers have covers where they close for extra moisture resistance and there is even a hydration bladder port for running a large bladder in the frame bag. So many extra touches made this bag really stand out. 

An extra large size bag fit my 62cm Surly Disc Trucker really well and the adjustability of the velcro one-wrap makes this bag extremely adaptable for other bikes that I ride including my single speed. I am beyond excited about this bag and after almost 200 miles of use, I will not ride another gravel, touring, bikepacking or commuting bike without one of these bags strapped to it! 

To purchase or see more specs/measurements head over to the Oveja Negra website.

First Impression: Surly Disc Trucker Do-It-All Bike

This is my initial impression of owning and riding the Surly Disc Trucker. I am not affiliated with Surly in any way. I have been searching for a used version of this bike for a few years and I finally found one in Montana and shipped it across country for a steal of a deal. I will post a long term review after peddling the DT for a considerable time and update with a link here. Although my riding experience is with a 2012 model that I purchased used, I will be using specs from the current new Surly Disc Trucker.

Surly Disc Trucker Overview

Bike tourers have long since flocked to the Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT) as a reliable, strong, and simple touring bike for excursions across continents or for grocery runs down the street. Surly upped the ante in the mid 2010’s with the introduction of the Surly Disc Trucker, the disc version of the Long Haul Trucker. Similarities abound between the two bikes with the major difference being the braking system. The LHT is equipped with V-brakes and is compatible with cantilever brakes whereas the DT uses a mechanical disc brake system.

The DT is available in 26″ tires for smaller framed riders as well as 700c tires for normal to tall riders. The biggest area that Surly was ahead of the game is what they call “Fatties Fit Fine”, a slogan printed on the side of the bike meaning that larger than normal tires fit this bike. The 26″ version can fit up to 26×2.1″ tires (with or w/out fenders) and the 700c version can fit 700×50 or 29×2.0″. I have fitted my DT with 29×1.8 Kenda Slant Six mountain bike tires and the size is perfect as a do-it-all one bike quiver. I can smash a long gravel ride or ride smooth single track with the same tires. I do have a spare set of wheels that will be equipped with touring tires in the mid-30c range for long tours or dirt road bikepacking without singletrack. The Alex Adventurer wheels that come on the Disc Trucker are solid and have been known to be setup tubeless with a ghetto setup and the right tires.

Components on the Trucker are high quality without jeopardizing the affordable nature of the bike. Compromises were made in places where possible (brake levers and saddle) and solid components were used in places that compromises shouldn’t exist (hubs and drivetrain). Most users are going to replace their saddle anyways as the WTB Volt is truly uncomfortable on long rides. I replaced my Trucker saddle with a Selle Anatomica. Expect a gear review on this saddle soon as it is my favorite all-around saddle for any riding activity.

What I Like About the Disk Trucker

  • The Disk Trucker is Tough- With a steel frame and simple components, the DT is designed to be a rock solid performer in all conditions. Repairs are made easy by the steel frame and widely available and common parts that can be found in bike shops around the world.
  • The Disk Trucker is a Surly- The trucker is sold in tons of countries around the world and is a favorite of tourers traveling around the world for a reason. These bikes last and perform well. Plain and simple.
  • The Disk Trucker is Customizable- Want to take a bike tour of South America? Strap on some racks and panniers and start peddling South. Want to ride some mellow singletrack? Lose the racks and fit a fat-ish tire and get after it. There is very little that this bike can’t do and there is a lot that this bike does really well!

What I Dislike About the Disk Trucker

Nothing. Seriously, nothing. I am a pretty critical person and I can find fault in almost any gear, but for what this bike is, it’s perfect for my uses. Obviously, components can be upgraded to suit your riding style or needs, but the bike is ready to go out of the box. If you expect speed and agility that comes from a carbon race bike, you will be disappointed. If you expect a squishy downhill bike, you will also be very sad. However, if you expect a solid, jack of all trades workhorse, you will enjoy getting on your Surly Disk Trucker everyday like I do.

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