Curve Cycling Rocket Pooch and Titanium Cage (First Look)
Curve Cycling just introduced a completely new cargo cage and pack system called the Rocket Pooch and Rocket Titanium Cage. We had the chance to give it a look and take a few pics prior to launch. Find details and impressions here…
Melbourne-based Curve Cycling has been making bikepacking-specific bikes for a while now, as well as wheels and forks. Today Curve announced its first luggage system into it product catalog. Designed to be mounted onto utility forks equipped with triple mounts—aka, Three-Pack Bosses—the new Curve Cycling Rocket Pooch is different from most cargo cage systems. For one, it has two components that make a complete system. Each Rocket Pooch system consists of a Pooch bag and the Rocket Ti cage. The bag and titanium cage are sold together as they are designed to work together. They are also fairly large. A pair can stow up to 8-liters worth of gear, which rivals the carrying capacity of many seat packs. This makes the Rocket Pooch more akin to a pair of micro-panniers, really. Both the bag and cage are available for pre-order for $149 ($229 AUD) and come with a two-year warranty against manufacturing defects. Let’s take a look…
Curve Cycling Rocket Ti Cage
The 83 gram Rocket Ti Cage is certainly well built. It has a vary minimal design that’s welded from two pieces of titanium: a flat, slotted mounting plate and the cage tubing. The cage bolts directly to the fork via the plate’s single slot. You could probably use it with just two bolts, but Curve states that it’s specifically designed to be used with three. When bolted to a standard three-pack, it can be slid up and down by about 7mm to adjust the vertical placement.
The Rocket Ti Cage is quite different from most other cargo cages. It’s clearly designed exclusively for the Rocket Pooch bag. As far as I can tell, it wouldn’t be much use with other bags, although you could likely strap a dry bag to it, if you so desired. However, unlike other cages, there aren’t many points on which to affix straps. The attachment points are only applicable to the Pooch bag: the tubing on both wings and the bottom provide Pooch-specific strap loops, and the top offers a tab to slide the Pooch onto via a built-in pocket. The ti cage weighs about 83 grams and the wings span about 125mm wide. It has a depth of about 62mm.
Curve Cycling Rocket Pooch Bag
As mentioned, the Rocket Pooch bag features four connection points to attach it to the ti cage. First, the top rear pocket is pulled down snugly over the top of the cage. Second, there is a velcro-backed webbing strap at the bottom of the bag which loops through the lower cage tubing. Then, there is a strap on each side which loops around the cage wing.
The side-strap system (below) is a little different. Each webbing strap loops around the cage rail independently and is secured by being sandwiched between two other velcro-backed straps. This seemed a little odd at first, but it certainly feels pretty secure. The entire system is quite secure and stable, actually. Given that there are four points of attachment, it doesn’t seem like any of them would see an imbalanced amount of stress.
The Rocket Pooch itself has a lot going on. In addition to two mesh side pockets and the small front pocket with two drain holes, there are two main compartments: the large roll-top main bag, and a smaller zippered lower section. Curve claims that the main bag body is waterproof. To accomplish this, they used two layers of a PU-coated Cordura. Both have stitched seams, but the internal sleeve is floating, so theoretically, it should be highly rainproof. However, I might worry that it could break down a little over time and lose a little bit of its waterproofness… but only time will tell. The main compartment also has a cup-shaped internal structure made of thin closed cell foam that’s sandwiched between layers. This creates a nice sturdy shell to help the bag keep its shape and protect contents—a nice touch, in my opinion.
One frustrating thing about cargo cage packs is that they usually consist of just a single, long bag with a roll-top opening. Getting to contents at the bottom of the bag usually means pulling everything else out. That’s not the case with the Rocket Pooch. The design divides the space into two sections with a smaller, zippered lower compartment suitable for a spare tube and maybe a small bottle of sealant. And, it has a small mesh sleeve at the top (anchored to the bottom of the foam backed upper compartment) that’s perfect for a multi-tool or other small gadget. To me—being the minimalist that I am—the separate lower pocket seems a little excessive, but I can certainly appreciate this feature and see how others might like it. And, I’ll probably find it nice and handy once I put these to use.
As for all the other pockets, which there are many, I definitely appreciate the mesh sleeves on the side. They’re not big enough for things like energy bars, sealant, or chain lube, but I could see how they’d be handy for small snacks, trash, or other bits and bobs. The small pocket with the drain holes is perfect for a bottle of chain lube, sealant, a deck of cards, or other such similarly sized item.
- Max capacity: 4L per bag
- Material: Titanium/100D/400D Cordura
- Mounts to: Three-pack Bottle Mounts
- Weight: 83 grams (cage) / 197 grams (bag)
- Place of Manufacture: China
- Price (1 cage, 1 bag): $149 USD / $229 AUD
- Manufacturer’s details: CurveCycling.com
- Very quick and easy to attach and remove bags
- Highly stable and secure with four mounting points
- Nice usable packing space with two compartments and organization pockets
- Seems well built. Both the cage and bag appear to be durable
- Waterproof. If indeed the main compartment proves to be completely rainproof, that’s a nice benefit, especially for longer tours.
- Expensive. $298 for a pair.
- Heavy when compared to more minimal designs
- Cage is not useable with other bags or bottles
As you probably assumed from hints in the article above—and the fact that the bike used for photos isn’t currently operational—I haven’t yet put this pair of Rocket Pooches to use. However, I did give them a hard look and installed them, of course. My first impression was that they might be a little bit overbuilt. They are also quite expensive and the cages can really only be used for one purpose (to carry the Rocket Pooch).
With that said, all the intricacies grew on me after I played with them for a while. The obvious benefit is that they offer a lot of usable storage and organization in a partially waterproof design. They’re also quite stable feeling and seem pretty well built. And, even though the four point attachment system looks pretty complicated, they’re really quick and easy to attach and detach. I could see how that could be quite beneficial on a big tour where removing bags is often required.
Overall, for long-distance bikepackers looking for extra space in a front-loading type of setup, I think the Curve Cycling Rocket Pooch could make a nice, user-friendly option, if you have the budget. When compared to a rack and small pair of panniers, they are substantially more lightweight. And they still offer a decent amount of packing space in a very stable system.
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