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Silca Grande Americano Seat Roll review

19 Nov 2018

Stylish and secure under saddle storage for your tubes and tools

Cyclist Rating: 
• Quiet and secure • Looks great • Easily transferable
• Limited carry capacity • Seems to work better upside down

Some rules are made to be broken. But the commandment forbidding the strapping of a European posterior man-satchel to your bike, like the taboo against marrying within the family, is there for the common good and should generally be respected. It’s in 'The Rules', and we don’t pay Frank Strack a six-figure salary to see those rules ignored.

'Rule #29 // Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases'

However, this can create problems. Just as a saddle pack can draw unwanted attention from the fashion police, so no one wants to see your herniated back pockets bulging towards them either.

Buy the Silca Grande Americano Seat Roll now from Merlin Cycles

Yet what happens when you exhaust the capacity of your overstuffed jersey?

A popular workaround to this common malady has been to use an old-fashioned toe strap to lash a roll containing your tubes and other spares beneath the saddle.

With its retro looks, reminiscent of when riders would secure a spare tubular tyre in the same spot, this solution is generally considered aesthetically acceptable by even the most pooterish critics.

Beyond the rules

Now Silca, bastion of expensive good taste, has got in on the act. Its Grande Americano seat roll is the largest in a range of three similar options.

Classic in appearance, but with a modern method of attaching, it’s a fabric holster with a trio of pockets. Capable of swallowing two road tubes, a multi-tool, and tyre levers, while still leaving room for a couple of CO2 cartridges, I even managed to fit in my admittedly tiny micropump.

Designed to also suit gravel gremlins and touring cyclists, it’s equally able to accommodate a single 700c x 40c or wider tube in the expandable central pocket, along with the aformentioned extras.

With the roll first laid out and all the innards inserted, its top flap then folds over to secure them in place, before the whole lot wraps up like a little pastry parcel.

With a stretchy velcro-ended strap securing everything together, this assemblage then relies on a wired Boa closure system to attach it beneath the saddle.

On one side is a dial, while on the other is a mooring point to provide retention once the wires are threaded through the rails.

Wrapping both around itself and the saddle, a rubberised guard protects and grips the rails, making the Grande Americano further disinclined to slide about.

Using a ratchet to tighten, an upwards yank of the same dial releases the tension immediately, allowing for near instant removal.

Constricting the Silca Grande Americano into place, it’s the same system as found on cycling shoes and ski boots. Industrially strong, there’s zero chance of it working loose once fitted.

On the road

It may be because I run my saddle pretty far forwards, but I found the pack actually fitted better under the saddle when run upside down.

Although the Boa cables are designed to sit towards the bottom, running it the other way round allowed it to also butt up against the seatpost, resulting in a more secure attachment.

As the folded-over opening then faces downwards, in theory, this might make it more likely for items to escape. However, I never had any problems.

In fact, running it the right way up left the Grande Americano prone to squeezing its contents upwards above the Boa cables, and in turn, loosening slightly. Either way, it never caught against my thighs.

Overall construction quality is excellent. Its 1000D ballistic Nylon features a water-repellent finish that's pretty impenetrable to spray.

Pleasingly, it looks almost like waxed cotton but is actually far tougher. The Boa closure is also well-proven.

Silca unarguably makes some nice things. Just as its floor pumps won’t spoil the look of even the swankiest of flats, so this saddle roll won’t besmirch the most minimalist of bicycles.

Very simple in design, the only standout elements visually are the twin lines of red stitching and the colour-matched wires on the Boa system.

It certainly looks nice on my desk, sitting next to my perforated leather cycling mitts and my liberty print Rapha doodahs.

So stylistically would it pass muster with the keepers of ‘The Rules’? I reckon so. But for those who don’t see taste as a moral question, does it provide any benefit above a standard saddle pack?

Yep. First up, it’s incredibly secure. More so than any regular saddle pack I’ve used. There’s also zero chance of it, or its contents, rattling around.

Buy the Silca Grande Americano Seat Roll now from Merlin Cycles

At 100 grams it's light too, undercutting many of its rivals. It’s also easy to pop on and off, great if you’re always swapping between multiple bikes.

Basically, it does everything you could want, won’t get you in trouble with the style police, and is lighter and more secure than comparable alternatives.

If you don’t mind the price and don’t need the extra carrying capacity it’s tip-top. Just make sure you get the fit right.