A while back, I acquired a new set of Radical Design side seat pods (25 liter volume total) for the Q, having given my prior set to my sister for her trike, and the set before that to Glen for his trike. This set, with yellow side panels for high visibility, is a keeper! I have however, altered the bags over how they come from Hubert’s factory in Holland, making them lighter and easier to use like the pair I gave Glen. Link to Radical Design: click HERE.
My old pair had two straps that fit over the recumbent seat, just as the new pair, but on the old ones, the straps came in a fixed length to fit a standard trike mesh seat (15.75 inches). The new set has the two straps adjustable with two large plastic buckles, which allows them to be used also on seat like a hardshell that are much narrower. I imagine this saves time and money on the production end of things, but from a rider’s viewpoint, it is not a welcomed change.
The reasons are this: First, once the straps are adjusted for my seat, I never have to readjust them again, so why do I need those large plastic buckles to the right of my rib cage? Also, the strap is so long that the extra length must be tucked in somewhere so it doesn’t flap around while riding. This would be no big deal I suppose, but the bags are removed sometimes at night camps, so it’s just easier and quicker to sling them on the seat without dealing with extra strap hanging out there (especially if it’s raining while loading). Third, all that extra strap and the two buckles adds … yep, weight … not much mind you, but every little gram counts if you’re going long distances.
The new bags also included inside inserts of closed cell plastic to help them retain their shape. The inserts also add weight, along with the extra cloth necessary to hold them in place inside the bags, but with them in, I could not zip the bag shut over my sleeping bag.
Here’s what I did: I precisely cut a small slit of about 2 inches, and then manipulated the soft insert into a roll so that I could pull it out and discard it. This left a small slit on the inside of each bag. So, I took the bags to a seamstress who specializes in outdoor gear (found her through REI). She took care of the small slits, and she also removed the two large buckles and extra strap material, and then sewed the ends into the seams of each bag like the other side, so now the bags are the lightest possible weight, hold the greatest amount of gear, and are foolproof to sling over the seat. The cost for all this work was a paltry $20, well worth it for the upsides. I like simplicity and ease of use!