The LEED Frame Bag for E-Bikes & others
My Pick for a Frame Mounted Battery Bag.
As electrically assisted bicycles have grown in popularity so to has the technology and the products used in building and supporting them grown as well. As little as four years ago I had never even heard of a center mounted battery bag or frame bag as they are often called. Today there are a number of them on the market. Frame bags are a great option for E-bike’s because they put the extra weight of the battery where it interferes the least with the bikes handling. Low and in the center. It also utilizes an area that is otherwise unused except for the water bottle. The downside to this is the bags must be narrow under 4 inches and frame bags can often look rather clunky. There are frame bags specifically for batteries as well as some large general purpose frame bags that lend themselves well for this purpose. Having just increased the size of my battery capacity on Night Rider (see story here) I had the opportunity to research what was out there and to try out the Leed Battery Bag. The top four factors influencing my purchasing decision would be size, appearance, quality and price. Night Rider was a showpiece for the business and as such its appearance came second only to quality. Fortunately, Night Rider is jet black making it a perfect color match to just about every bag out there.
The Leed Battery Bag satisfied those top three factors beautifully with it’s low cost and unobtrusive appearance. Since I was adding a smaller battery pack in addition to the larger previously installed battery pack inside the rear rack I did not need a huge bag nor did I need extra pockets. Most large or full-size frame bags interfere with the traditional water bottle mounts. Although not a deal breaker by any means if I could keep my water bottle where it was, then all the better. The Leed Battery Bag did this for me but only because I did not fill it to capacity. Had I done that I would have had to replaced my expensive stainless steel 16 ounce water bottle with a 12 ounce one or lowered the bracket by at least 3 inches.
The Leed Battery Bag sells for $39 & comes in three sizes; small, medium and large. It’s sold by Leed Bicycle Solutions located in Mountain Green, Utah. All of the comments and customer reviews I have read about the Leed Battery Bag were positive although I could not find any long term reviews. All three sizes have the same 3 inches wide x 6 inches tall measurement so figuring out what you need is pretty straight forward. The nose of the bag is a triangle shape so starting 4 inches back from the nose of the bag it tapers from 6 inches tall to zero. Starting with smallest, the sizes they are: 17 inch, 19.5 inch and 21 inch. Subtract 4 inches from any of those sizes and you will have the usable inside dimension of your new storage area. So a 17 inch bag has a 13 inch long by 6 inch high by 3 inch wide area, leaving the front 4 inches of the bag available for smaller items. The bag appears to be very well designed and although the material is much lighter than I had expected it seems well constructed with very tight stitching and plenty of straps to hold it in place. Hopefully this light weight material has good abrasion characteristics and is stronger than it looks. The bag has three wide Velcro straps for the top tube one wide strap for around the seat tube and to narrow straps with buckles at the front. One for around the head tube and one for the down tube. These straps anchor the bag securely and pull the bag straight and true. According to the manufacturer “this bag will survive any weather you give it!” And judging from its appearance I have no reason to doubt this. Ultimately I will build a hard shell enclosure for this area ( See Triangle Frame Cases) but until then the Leed Battery Bag looks and works great. Check back here in about a year and I’ll tell you how well it held up. If it rips brakes or tears before then I’ll be sure to let you know.
Although the Leed bag is built for the Leed 24 volt e-bike systems & battery packs it sells it should work equally well for any battery that fits inside. Because of the light weight material however I’d be hesitant about using it for a heavy SLA battery. To determine which size bag to order simply measure the length of your top tube from between the head tube and the seat tube. (See picture) My bike is a big 22 inch Marin Pioneer Trail and the top tube measured just over 20 inches. Because I was concerned with a very tight fit I ordered the 19.5 inch bag thinking that the smaller size would pull tighter. After installing it I realized this was not the case at all and in fact I had to extend the front most strap that goes around the head tube by a few inches. (See picture) The batteries that I am using are the 12 volt LiFeP04 bamboo encased SLA replacement battery sold by Clean Republic. Originally I had mounted four of these under the rear rack to give me a 48 V battery pack. I now wanted to up this to 72 volts by adding two more batteries. The CR batteries measure 4″ high x 6″ long x 2.5″ wide. I stood two of these on end and slid them in sideways tight to the seat tube end of the bag. This made for a snug fit but allowed room for a third battery or in my case two head lamp power packs with room to spare. Although the batteries fit nicely their 6 inch length made for a snug fit. So snug in fact that I was afraid the sharp corners would wear through over time. To prevent this I wrapped the bottom half of my two batteries using a heavy thinly padded upholstery material. This gave me an extra layer of cushion between the battery casing and the bag.
Leed has provided a opening in the top front of the bag for electrical cables. The opening is made by folding and stitching the material in such a way that it leaves a 2 inch slot between two layers of material. This not only helps in keeping the weather out it but it completely hides the opening from view. In my case I also needed another opening at the back of the bag. A hole punch and brass grommet took care of this in a few minutes. (See picture) Since the bag is made from a nylon material you can also easily cut it with a hot knife which seals the edges to prevent runs. If you do this however make sure that your opening is either big enough to pass your wire connectors through or make a smaller hole and push your wires through first. After the wires are in place then install your wire connectors. When all was said and done the finished product looked great.
So, does this make the Leed Battery Bag the best bag on the market? Probably not. Since every job is different and every rider has their individual preferences, how you outfit your bike and the products you use are very much up to you. For this particular job however, the only thing better looking than the Leed Battery Bag would have been to build a hard shell battery case which as I mentioned earlier, I plan to do at a later date.
If you want a bag that is built specifically for the rigors of hauling heavy dense fragile objects with sharp corners (batteries) on rough roads filled with pot holes there are only three others that I have found. If you know of more please use our comment box or email us and let us know.
The HPC (Hi-Power Cycles) Bag is pricey at $119.00. HPC is a small E-bike manufacture located in Los Angeles, CA. They build and assemble all of their own E bikes and claim that there bags are also 100% hand made in the USA. HPC offers three different frame bags. Their basic bag is called a half frame bag and comes in medium 19.0 x 4.0” x 5.5” or large 21.0” x 4.0” x 5.5” They also offer a frame bag built specifically for full suspension bikes which they call their full frame bag and this year introduced a new frame bag for the Montague line of folding bikes.(read Montague/HPC review) All bags are made specifically for electric bikes using a 1000 Denier Waterproof Nylon with hard shell polycarbonate side panels. According to the manufacturer some other noteworthy features include dual YKK heavy duty lockable zippers, thick foam padding to cushion the battery, Industrial strength velcro straps and high quality cam lock straps to tightly and reliably secure the battery to your frame.
The HPC is nearly identical in appearance to the Leed Bag and probably would have worked just as well. It may also be constructed with a heavier material but for the $80 difference in price I could have bought two more Leeds to have as spares. For more information on this bag go to HI-POWER CYCLES
The Falcon EV sells for $65.00 plus shipping. They are a US company founded in 2003 and based in Tallahassee, FL. http://www.falconev.com/batteries.html The Diamond frame battery bag as Falcon EV calls it measures 17″ long x 11″ tall x 3.0″ deep and is full size triangle shaped battery bag made for 19″ frames or larger. It utilizes the entire area beneath your top tube which means removing your water bottle if it’s down there. On the upside however, the Falcon has a large mash pocket on one side that appears large enough to hold that dis-placed water bottle. For more details plus a complete review of this bag go to Falcon EV 19″ triangle bag at Endless Sphere. or visit the website at Falcon EV.
The EM3 ev Triangle Frame Bag is new to the market as of last year and sells for $35.00 plus shipping. Had I wanted a full size frame bag this is no doubt the one I would have chosen. It is by far the best dollar value. It measures 17″ long x 10.2″ tall x 3.1″ wide and is triangle shaped. All though it is similar in size and shape to the Falcon EV bag, it is in the opinion of the manufacturer, a superior product. See EM3 Endless Sphere thread for explanation.The EM3 ev Company responsible for this bag was started by a long time Endless Sphere member and E-bike enthusiast that goes by the name of Cell_man (Paul). He has an excellent reputation among members of the forum and the E-bike community in general. He added this bag to his inventory about a year ago. Prior to that he sold the Falcon EV bag. His description of the IEM3 triangle bag is as follows: Internally the bag is generously padded where it sits on the bicylcle tubes. 3 internal velcro straps are fitted. A fleece lining allows an additional velcro strap (1m included with every bag) to be used to additionally secure items inside. 2 cable access points are fitted at the front and at the top rear of the bag. Side panels are also padded. A long zip makes it easy to fit a battery which fills the bag completely. A total of 8 extra long velcro straps secure the bag to the frame. For a detailed review of this bag read EM3 ev / Cellman Triangle Battery Bag.
Although I am quite sure that the three bags described above are excellent products and some offer more capacity or added features than the bag I chose from Leed Bicycle Solutions none of them satisfied my top four factors for choosing a frame bag as well as the LEED Battery Bag.
Full size frame bags with a triangle shape like the Falcon EV and the EM3 ev have an inherent problem in that they will only fit flush to the bike frame on all three of its sides if that bike frame happens to have straight tubes (not curved) & they are running at the same or very similar angles as the bag. If you look at pictures of bicycles that have been fitted with full size frame bags many of them do not fit tight and most look tacky. (see the two pictures below from Falcons EV website) Consequently, even if you’re lucky enough to have a black bike like mine it still sticks out and looks like there is a big black funny shaped bag hanging from Velcro straps in the center of your bike frame. If however, functionality trumps appearances when it comes to your bike, then consider yourself lucky as you’ll have many more choices than I did. As for the HPC Bag it was simply a matter of economics. I do not buy based on price alone but price is still important. In comparing the HPC to the Leed I found both bags to be well built, with very similar shapes and dimensions and both bags had plenty of happy customers. However the HPC Bag sold for $119 while the Leed sold for $39. Which bag would you have bought?
The following three companies offer frame bags large enough to put multiple battery packs in but these bags are NOT designed for use with batteries and do not have any of the additional padding supports or access holes that the frame bags discussed above have. That said, they are large enough and have the potential to be modified for use as a battery bag. So, if the above bags don’t fit your needs take a look at these bags. Clicking on the company name will take you to the company’s website and clicking on the “For pricing” link will take you to the Amazon page for that product.
IBERA makes a full line of cycling bags but nothing specifically for E-bike’s or their batteries. They do however have one large frame bag
that measures 15.7″ long x 11″ tall x 2.5″ wide.it’s a good looking bag but with only 3 straps and a rated capacity of about a 1/2 lbI’m pretty sure it would not last very long without some modification. For pricing see Ibera Large Triangle Frame Bag at Amazon.com.
Revelate Designs is a company from Alaska that builds and supplies bikepacking and adventure cycling gear. Although none of their bags are specifically designed for carrying batteries they appear extremely rugged and do offer plenty of straps. With prices starting at over $100 there not cheap but if they another option. For pricing seeRevelate frame bags at Amazon.com.
Jandd Mountaineering as the name implies builds and supplies mountaineering gear and bikepacking gear. They are located in San Diego, CA. They have a wide selection of frame packs as they call them with prices ranging from $38-$46. For pricing see Jandd frame packs at Amazon.com.
Click here for all of theFrame Bags at Amazon.com.
The Bike Bag Shop is another good resource for all types of bike bags and you won’t get sidetracked with hundreds of other items as can often happen at Amazon.com.
Another option I discovered while on eBay was Uraltour Custom Frame Bags. This is a eBay vendor from Russia that makes custom frame bags from your specifications for $42 plus shipping. So, if you’re feeling adventurous here is his link: Uraltour-Custom-Frame-Bike-Bicycle-Bag