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Interbike 2015 Reviews

We made it through another week in the land of excessive flashing lights and smoky yet air conditioned desert that is Las Vegas.  Don’t get us wrong we enjoy meeting our retailers, catching up with old industry friends and making new ones (quick shout out to Faraday-they make rad e-bikes!). But the only thing sweeter than returning to our fresh, clean PNW home is reading all the awesome reviews! Here are links to what the top magazines are saying about our new 2016 products:

Bicycle Times Magazine

Momentum Magazine

Western Bike Works:

Velo News

Thanks for all the Ortlieb love and see you next year!

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E Bikes+Ortlieb = the Perfect Match

When stripped down the main purpose of Ortlieb bags is to carry your possessions from point A to point B and keep the contents dry while doing so. No bike on the market allows you to travel from point A to point B faster and further between distinations than e-bikes. The integration of Ortlieb bags and e-bikes seems like a no brainer and the “Bag Man” agrees! Read his review of Ortlieb products below:

Electric Bike Report: Waterproof Ortlieb Bike Bag Review by the “Bag Man”

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Duffle RS

There are several light-weight roller duffle bags in the outdoor market today. They attempt to achieve the goal of easy travel when heading on an adventure, but all fall a little short. We can proudly (and perhaps biasedly) say that Ortlieb has made the ultimate adventure-travel roller duffle- the Duffle RS. This bag was the winner of the 2014 European Outdoor Industry Award and soon we expect it to be top choice for retailers and consumers alike.

One of the features that makes the Duffle RS stand out among its competitors is that, like all Ortlieb products, the bag is 100% waterproof. It utilizes 3-d welding (pioneered by Ortlieb) and a combination of PVC-coated polyester and cordura fabric to ensure its water-tight nature. The zipper, which runs the length of the bag, is a TIZIP waterproof zipper. The zipper can also be locked using the integrated wire loop and small cable lock.

The designers paid special attention to the roller function of the bag. They opted for an adjustable grip handle that has plenty of leg clearance for comfortable towing instead of a heaving telescopic towing frame. The bottom is reinforced with foam padding to enhance stability when fully loaded. The industrial grade wheels are 90mm and set in a rigid floor plate made of contoured aluminum for increased floor clearance. It is ideal for both airport terminals and rugged outdoor terrain.

Reading over this, it sounds like a bunch of marketing gobbledygook, but this bag is the real deal. See the chart below for how the Duffle RS compares to other brands. As employees of Ortlieb we are stoked to offer this bag to the outdoor community. Basically, there is no other word but “cool” for the Duffle RS.


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Winter Bike Riding Is…

Winter Bike Riding is…

…a drag. That is the first word that comes to my mind and I have a feeling that it is a sentiment that is shared by many people. We all have our reasons: it is cold, it is rainy, it gets dark too early and it goes on and on. There is just something about the winter months that make you hang up your helmet, happily grab your keys and enjoy the toasty seat warmer on your drive to work.

This fall I bought and put together my first commuter bike and only rode it to work once before daylight savings ended. I keep thinking once it is spring I will start riding again. Lately though I have really missed riding and have begun questioning if all the excuses I have come up with to avoid the commute are valid. Here are the results of my internal argument to ride (weather or not).

Excuse: It is too cold. Well this one works for the Northeastern and north Midwestern states (links to snow storm news). Here in the Pacific Northwest the climate is mild. The winter months are actually quite pleasant and though the sky is perpetually grey the temperature averages 45 degrees. Last Monday it was 62 degrees a record high for this time of year!

Verdict: Invalid

Excuse: It is rainy. I played youth soccer growing up and spent countless hours running around a muddy field (without a raincoat!) chasing a soccer ball with a big smile on my face. So what makes the rain such a deterrent to ride now? It may be annoying to arrive at work wet but that’s why they make raincoats. Furthermore that’s why we make waterproof panniers to hold dry clothes to change into upon arrival at work. If I am not riding because of the rain then I probably shouldn’t represent a company that makes waterproof bike accessories.

Verdict: Invalid

Excuse: It gets dark too early. This is the true excuse that stops me from riding into work. My route to work involves roads, skinny shoulders and a trail known to be home to a few coyotes. Riding solo in the dark could be potentially dangerous. Though you can buy bright headlights, taillights and dress in reflective clothing (and put some high-vis panniers on your bike!) as a new commuter, I am not comfortable riding in the dark with cars zooming by.

Verdict: Valid

So maybe bike commuting isn’t the best idea in winter when the sunsets at 4 p.m. but I still have the plenty of other opportunities to ride. There are actually events all over the country that were created to celebrate the “joys” of winter riding.  Winter riding is what you make it, so why not make it fun?

Here are some fun winter events going on around the country:


chilly hilly
Chilly Hilly on the Ferry
frozen forty
Fat Bikes! Frozen Forty
worst day
Costumes of Worst Day Ride





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Chili, Moss, Steelblue, Lime- Ortlieb 2015 Product Updates

Here at Ortlieb we are super excited because 2015 is bringing the most extensive product updates we have seen since the foundation of the company. Seriously, there are over 150 new article numbers! What makes these updates more interesting is though we have a record number of changes, we only have a dozen brand new products. This means that most of the changes are to products you already know and love- but don’t worry they are all positive changes!

Here are the most notable changes you should be aware of when shopping for Ortlieb products:

QL2.1 mounting system

Almost all of our panniers have been upgraded to QL2.1 mounting system. The QL2.1 system is based on the proven QL2 system but with improvements made to key features. The upper mounting rail consists of one piece for higher stability. The system allows for the use of extremely flat nuts on the internal side of the bag, creating a level surface to avoid damaging whatever you stuff in your panniers. The lower hook rail reduces abrasions on the carrier and prevents damage to the rack tubing. It is also rotatable to fit your rack as precisely as possible. All hooks are adjustable to the rack without requiring any tools.

New Fabric Colors

All bags made with Plus materials have received a vibrant makeover. The fabric is still made of abrasion-resistant Cordura but in all new colors. The bags are tone on tone instead of the traditional color and black. The color ways are: lime-moss, signal red-chili, denim-steelblue, granite-black. View the new colors here!

The Plus material bags are not the only bags to have a stylistic upgrade; the Packman Pro2 and several of our City & Commuting bags have adopted the new color way as well. The colors now reflect a more modern aesthetic while some, such as lime, are fun, bright and flashy.

Urban Line

The new Urban Line was designed to be a visually appealing, smart detail design and high quality fabrics. Admired in offices, cafes and shops throughout town, these fashionable bags with their aesthetic textile look are ideal for bicycle commuters and recreational riders.

The fabric is PU laminated cordura cotton blend. It comes in two colors Coffee or Pepper. Just like any Ortlieb bag, the material is 100% waterproof. And for the first time ever the Back-Roller Urban is being sold as a single pannier (to be easily paired with the commuter bag).

View the entire Urban Line here!


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Sweet 2014

There is something about the holiday season and 2014 coming to end that makes you reflect and appreciate all of the ups and downs that the year has brought.

Here at Ortlieb there has been a disproportional amount of ups and we are so grateful for the all growth and excitement that has occurred this past year. I could go on to list all of the highlights of the year but instead I will pick one that I believe is truly special: the re-initiation of Friday Pastry Rides.

As a small company who works less than 20 feet from all team members with open office doors and no cubicles, it is hard to remember that activities outside of the office are an important part of building camaraderie. This August we had two employees join the Ortlieb Customer Service department, Paul a long time bike enthusiast & industry vet and myself (Lisa) new to both the bike industry & serious riding (though I bought my first commuter bike this fall!). With fresh faces and enthusiasm around the office we helped to motivate Ian & Jeff to bring back this sweet company tradition (pun intended).

On Friday mornings we all meet bright and early before work and ride from the office via the Interurban trail to a local bakery in downtown Kent. The ride takes about 40 minutes there and back with a few minutes break spent ogling the delicious French pastries deciding on which to indulge and cancel out all the calories we just burned off. Loading our pasties in an Ortlieb bag we head back to the office in time to change, make coffee and enjoy our treats before diving into the work day. It sounds simple and it is but it allowed us as a team to bond over what is at our company’s core- riding bikes!

Bicycle riding is at the heart of why we all work in the bike industry.  We really love bikes and by re-instating Friday Pastry Rides we were all reminded of the endless positive experiences investing in bike culture can bring.

So here is too more Friday Pastry Rides and growth in 2015! Cheers!



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Source Hydration Resovoirs

I always thought that hydration reservoirs were all the same. They all fill water, have a hose and a little valve to suck the water through with the goal of keeping you hydrated while biking, hiking, skiing, whatever. This past weekend I got to test out our Source hydration reservoir while on an 8mi. hike near Snoqualmie. I learned that there are some small technical features that can set one hydration system apart from others.

The Source WXP LP 2 liter hydration pack fit perfectly in my REI flash 18 pack with plenty of room for snacks, neck warmer, gloves, extra socks and my down coat when I got hot. Here are a few features that stood out about the Source Hydration reservoir:

Cap on Mouth Piece
-At first this annoyed me because you have to twist the valve open and uncap it to take a drink. However, if you leave the valve twisted open and just put the cap on it is easy to take a sip of water. Also the cap protects the mouth piece from getting dirty      which is a plus.

Three ways to fill the reservoir
UTA-Traditional way through a twist open/close cap on the side of the reservoir
-Through an opening on top- this deserves a shiny gold star in my books because I  always had trouble with water spilling out the side opening on other reservoirs.
– UTA Universal Tube Adapter (available as part of the Ultimate Hydration System Kit)  allows you to refill the reservoir directly through the tube with have having remove it from your backpack.


The water tasted good 
-This is by far the most important part of any hydration reservoir. Many hydration systems claim that theirs taste the best, but Source’s hydration reservoirs use a PE film that are BPA and Phthalate free guaranteeing a clean water taste!

*Random side note: Hydration systems can still be put to good use when not outside adventuring. I have to give credit to my friend, Mac Hansen, for what he dubbed as “The Hamster Initiative”.  The hamster initiative is simply hanging you reservoir above your bed so that way you always have quick and easy access to water anytime day or night!

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Christmas Gift Guide

Here is a breakdown of great gifts for whatever type of rider or adventurist is on your list!

Committed Commuter: Urban line Commuter bag

Okay, technically these are not available until 2015 but this bag is so awesome you can do the thing where you print off a picture of the present and wrap it in a tiny box with an IOU note. The Commuter bag is durable & waterproof for your ride on the city streets and has a sleek aesthetic suitable to carry into the office. Available with Ql2.1 or QL3 mounting system and two different sizes and colors.

Bike Tourer Extraordinaire: Back Roller Classics

No matter how many miles this person has under her or his wheels, a set of reliable panniers is always useful. When you are carrying all of your possessions in bags strapped to a bike, they need to be the best bags you can get. Our back roller classics have been the bag of choice for long distance riders for over 20 years!

Rondonnee Rider: Seat Post Bag

Our seat post bag comes in two different sizes and four different colors to match your riders’ specific needs and taste. The bag is lightweight, has an internal mesh pocket for organization and a bungee cord system on top of the bag that is perfect for strapping a lightweight rain coat. You can read a review of the bag here.

Hiking Nut: Packman Pro2

This day pack is 100% waterproof with a roll top closure, similar to our bike panniers. It is compatible with hydration packs (add a Source pack as a fun stocking stuffer). The Packman Pro2 is large enough to fit extra layers of clothing and snacks and has a waist and chest strap for extra support. Plus it comes in four new colors for 2015 that are available now!

Paddle Sport Guru: Ultra lightweight Dry Bags

The PS10 lightweight dry bag is perfect for keeping the paddlers belongings dry while not weighing down their kayak, canoe, raft, boat, etc. The bags range in size from 1.5 liters up to 75 liters. Whether they enjoy small day trips on the Lake or paddling down the Colorado River you can find the right size for their adventure.

Jack of all trades: Velocity

For the person who has more interests than fingers they can count them on, get the Velocity. The velocity is a simple one pocket, 22 liter bag with padded back. It can be used as small duffle for weekend getaways, carrying a yoga mat & towel, toting books or knitting supplies, a laptop or a journal or all of the above to a coffee shop, can be worn while riding a bike through the city to the local brewery and for anything else “Jack’s” little heart desires. It is a seriously cool and quite useful bag.