Rockgeist Fiber Flight Frame Bag Review
Rockgeist recently introduced a new subset of custom frame bags, the Fiber Flight Series, that come in three fabrics and offer an interesting aesthetic at less weight. TJ Kearns tried one for several months for this review…
Words and photos by TJ Kearns
Greg Hardy started Rockgeist in 2014 with the intention of designing gear specifically for multi-day backcountry racing. He wanted to create lightweight, durable, and highly functional options that would enable riders to travel further without having to worry about their gear.
While frame bags aren’t the most difficult bike luggage to construct, ensuring proper fit can be exceedingly complicated. Not only are there a multitude of frame designs, but most frames come in four or five different sizes. Greg has perfected a method of making bags that fit perfectly for his clients without having to see the bike in person or fiddle with cardboard templates. He calls his method PhotoFit Template Creation. Rather than ask his clients to trace out a triangle and mail it to him—which has a lot of pitfalls, especially when it comes to bolt-on designs—he has them take a strategic photo of the bike with a tape measure juxtaposed at the toptube. Clients then email the images to him and he mails back a perfectly form-fitting frame bag.
A few months back, I visited Greg’s shop in Asheville, North Carolina, to check out his operation and talk about his new line of Fiber Flight Series bags. According to Greg, Fiber Flight is the ultimate in ultralight bikepacking gear, and he recommends it for folks who ride on clear, established trails. Fiber Flight bags are offered in three different types of fabrics, each differing in weight and strength.
X-Pac LiteSkin is about 20% lighter than its VX21/42 X-Pac counterpart, and has the added benefit of higher abrasion resistance. LiteSkin is considered to be an ideal balance of durability, weight, and price.
Dyneema 40 is one of the most durable pack fabrics used for the most demanding backcountry environments. It affords durability that compares to Cordura Ballistic Nylon, but at 57% less weight.
Cuben Fiber Hybrid
The ultimate in ultralight gear. It’s recommended for bikepackers who ride on clear, established trails. It is important to note that seam strength and durability are not sacrificed. Double layer cuben is used on straight seams, with quadruple layer cuben on corners, and zipper stitching is reinforced with cuben fiber tape.
While I was at the shop, Greg took some measurements of my Why Cycles Wayward to custom make a bag to fit its curvy toptube. A couple days later a package arrived at my door containing a beautifully crafted bag constructed from Dyneema 40. I was immediately impressed with the workmanship of the bag and by how light it was. The attention to detail is top notch.
Installation was simple. The bag attaches with four Velcro straps, two bolts where the water bottle cage would be with two large stainless steel washers, and a lace-up system on the top tube. This is my first experience with a lace-up frame bag, and I am sold on the concept. Not only does it up look great, but it allows you to easily adjust the bag depending on how much gear you have packed into it. It uses a cord made out of polyester that is weaved in a criss-cross pattern through nylon tabs on either side of the top tube. Additionally, a lace-up attachment system minimizes frame abrasion, although that’s not something I worry much about on a titanium frame.
The nose of the bag is flared out just a little to allow more volume at the front, where there is little risk of knee rub. Being 6’4” tall, I have the luxury of riding an XL frame, which results in an incredibly voluminous frame bag. The bag fit perfectly and followed the Wayward’s elegant lines. The body of the pack features two compartments separated by a divider that can be opened up into one big compartment. The lower space is perfect for a 2L water bladder and allows you to easily remove it for refilling. The upper compartment is ideal for housing all the usual suspects: stove, toolkit, spare tube, toiletries, pump, and extra food.
As mentioned, this bag is constructed from Dyneema 40, the middle-grade Fiber Flight fabric. Commonly used in high alpine technical climbing packs, Dyneema is known for its light weight and durability. The 40 in the name refers to the denier of the fabric, and Dyneema is an ultra high molecular polyethylene that is mixed into the fabric for reinforcement. This particular bag uses Cordura Ballistic Nylon along the entire spine, save the nose, which uses X-Pac LiteSkin L42. The reason for going with ballistic was that this build was not meant to be ultralight, but ultra durable for its weight. X-Pac was used in the nose as it is not an area that sees a lot of load and Ballistic Cordura would have been overkill.
Here in Pisgah our trails are tight, twisty, rooty, and rocky. Contact with bushes and tangles with rhododendron trees are quite common. After three months of use on the bike during countless rowdy trail rides and multiple bikepacking trips, I have had no issues with abrasions. Despite looking a little dirty, the bag is still in perfect shape. I have no doubt this bag will last quite a while.
The Dyneema 40 Series of bags range from $195-$270, depending on features.
- Customizable and made specifically for each frame
- Completely handmade in Asheville, NC, with excellent craftsmanship
- Upper and lower compartments separated by a velcro divider
- Fiber Flight bags are ultralight and ultra-durable
- Well thought out mounting system
- Made to order (wait time varies)
- Made for Why Wayward XL
- Weight 350 grams (12.3 oz)
- Price (as tested) $250
- Place of Manufacture Asheville, NC, USA
- Manufacturer’s Details Link
Overall, the Rockgeist Fiber Flight frame bag has really impressed me. The fit and design are top notch and it is impressively light. The bag has been along for the ride on a number of trips now and has performed flawlessly. I can overstuff it without having to worry about failure, and when it comes to riding the rough and rowdy trail of Pisgah I know that I am good to go with this bag. The added flare in the nose is a nice touch to increase volume and the zipper garages keep dirt and grime from clogging the zipper. The lace-up system on the top tube gives the bag a unique look while allowing an easier way to adjust the bag’s fit. Rockgeist’s PhotoFit program is incredibly simple to use and the build quality is superb. Head on over the Rockgeist.com to check out the new Fiber Flight Series and peruse Greg’s other offerings! Also, make sure to check out the site visit article here.
About TJ Kearns
TJ Kearns is a adventure sports photographer/good times facilitator based out of Pisgah Forest, NC. When he is not behind the glass you can try to find him exploring the depths of Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest or the Cohutta Wilderness Area. As one of the founding members of the Eastern Divide project he is always in search of new routes and ways to connect the dots on the east coast. Follow him on Instagram @TimothyJamesPhoto.
New in gear
- Apr 26, 20192019 Sea Otter Finds (Part 2)
- Apr 23, 2019Endura MT500 Kit Review: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
- Apr 18, 20192019 Sea Otter Finds (Part 1)
- Apr 17, 2019Hexlox Review: Miniature Crime Fighters
- Apr 10, 2019Frances Cycles and the Farfarer Trailer