A month or two ago we ventured north up the M1 to visit the folks at Alpkit, have some strange flavoured coffee and talk framebags. Alpkit are a UK-based outdoor company that specialise in kit to make life in the Great Outdoors all that more enjoyable. They’re laid back, passionate about what they do, and prefer to let the products do the talking when it comes to the marketing.
Needless to say we like Alpkit, their products and what they stand for, seeing many similarities between them and the team here at Genesis. With any luck this will be reflected in the framebag that they’re currently busy prototyping and will hopefully be available soon. We’re trying hard to come up with one design (different sizes) that’ll work with both the Fortitude and new High Latitude 29er models.
Bikepacking (aka off-road touring) has been around for a while but has slowly gained popularity with the development and introduction of increasingly lightweight kit. There are a few small framebag makers that offer off-the-peg and custom solutions, but most are overseas/US based (shipping, duty = £££). Alpkit decided to do things a little differently in that they’re able to offer a fully-custom, Nottingham-made, framebag service to your own personal specification and measurements. Send off a cardboard template of your front triangle (marking cable stops, bottle cage bosses, etc), decide on spec/features, pays your money, wait a couple of weeks and, hey presto, a nice UK-made framebag that fits snuggly, efficiently filling all the available space. There are a few writeups of their Stingray framebag here and here.
The majority of Alpkit’s framebags will have passed through the skilled hands of Manufacturing Co-ordinator, Anna. She was busy working away on a couple of orders when we visited. Where possible they’ll make products at their UK HQ. It’s certainly forms the starting point for a lot of the prototypes, testing and tweaking that their various products go through.
We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the new ‘commuter’ (read: ‘as yet unnamed’) framebag that they’re currently working on that will offer a viable alternative to the rack and pannier.
Easy-on, easy-off, yet secure when fitted and complete with shoulder strap for carrying when off the bike.
So there you have it; a nice insight into Alpkit and a sneakpeak at the framebag they're currently working on for us.