Wizard Works Shazam! Saddle Bag Review
The Wizard Works Shazam! Saddle Bag is a modern take on a classic design, with a massive carrying capacity, roll top closure, and rugged construction. After several months of use, Miles shares his impressions, including the positives and negatives of relying on such an enormous bag for bikepacking as a saddle bag and handlebar bag—plus a closer look at the Carradice Bagman Support.
During our live What’s In Your Bag series on YouTube, we had a few questions regarding traditional saddle bags and basketpacking setups. Specifically, how they differ from a modern seat bag or handlebar roll. In my opinion, traditional saddle bags and basket bags focus less on saving weight and more on function and simplicity. Although UK-based Carradice was, and perhaps still is, the go-to manufacturer for burly saddlebags with impressive carrying capacity, there are other options popping up from manufacturers like Swift Industries, Bags by Bird, and Wizard Works that we’ve had great success with. I had Harry over at Wizard Works put together a Alakazam Basket Bag that I reviewed here, and at the same time he sent over this Shazam! Saddle Bag for me to check out.
The Wizard Works Shazam! Saddle Bag is a somewhat traditional long flap saddle bag. As with all of Wizard Works’ products, it’s handmade in London, available in custom made-to-order colours only, and exists in one massive size. Similar to the Alakazam Basket Bag, the Shazam! uses a roll-top closure with an exterior long flap closure to keep its contents secure. Unlike other saddle bags we’ve seen, it relies on hardshell construction by way of a 1mm HDPE sheet, which is designed to add stability and structure to the entire bag, while also giving it a recognizable ‘U’ shape. There’s also an internal aluminum reinforcement at the upper attachment point to provide plenty of rigidity.
I chose a rust cordura and olive X-10 X-Pac construction, to match the basket bag, of course. The Shazam! attaches to the saddle loops via two Voile Nano Straps, which works well for those running leather touring saddles or most Brooks saddles. For those running a saddle without loops, you’ll need to pick up an aftermarket adapter like the Hobopieces Restuvus or Carradice Bagman QR. Although it’s possible to simply secure the bottom of the bag onto a seatpost with the provided nylon strap, Wizard Works strongly recommends an additional saddle bag support. The Carradice Bagman Support – Expedition works perfectly. The Shazam! can also be used as a handlebar bag, and requires no extra adapters or supports in that position.
The Shazam! has one large main compartment that’s concealed with a roll-top closure and an exterior flap. The interior has a fluorescent yellow floating liner, which makes finding small items much easier. There are also two exterior side pockets that Wizard Works claims can hold a full-sized burrito each. The main flap is extendable, so when the top is unrolled, it makes for a truly massive bag. Truthfully, I never packed the Shazam! that full, and for the most part I’ve focused on keeping things tight and closer to a 10L pack size—which is still quite big.
Paired with a Carradice Bagman Support, I had no issues with excessive sway or movement while riding doubletrack and gravel roads. That said, it swayed noticeably more when empty or packed very lightly. It performed better when packed down with a few pounds of gear. The exterior, although not waterproof, did an excellent job at keeping its contents dry on several extremely wet commutes this winter. As expected, Wizard Works’ craftsmanship is top notch and the Shazam! is built to last. As mentioned earlier, it might not be my first choice for a technical singletrack bikepacking route, but for those commuting and touring gravel roads on the same bike—it’s certainly worth checking out.
Here’s an example of how much you can fit, which is probably a touch over half full. The highlight video above was shot with this packlist.
- Western Mountaineering NanoLite Quilt
- Dutchware Chameleon Hammock
- Dutchware Beetle Buckle Suspension Kit
- Outdoor Research Helium Jacket / Pants
- Timmermade Waterbear Balaclava
- Multi-Tool (side pocket)
- Shoulder Strap (side pocket)
Carradice Bagman Expedition Support
I took Wizard Works’ recommendation and picked up a Carradice Bagman Support to keep the bag away from my legs. There are other options out there that may work, but due to the monstrous size of the Shazam!, it takes a large support to properly fit the bag. The Shazam! is 7” (18cm) deep from the upper attachment point, and the Expedition Support is 6.8” (17.5cm) deep—so they work pretty well together. The Bagman Support clamps on to the saddle rails, which then attaches to the one-piece steel support, which provides a place for the bag to rest. Keep in mind that the support has a max capacity of 22lb (10kg) and requires 8.3” (21cm) from the saddle rails to just above the rear wheel.
I’m happy to report that it works as intended and did a great job keeping the Shazam! Saddle Bag sway free and away from the back of my legs. It wouldn’t be my first choice to run this kind of setup on a singletrack bikepacking trip, as there’s a good chance it could get hung up on something quite easily, but that’s not what it’s designed for. For dirt road touring, I think the Carradice Expedition Support serves as a great alternative to a much heavier rack and pannier setup.
- Weight: 387 grams
- Place of Manufacture: TBD
- Price: £34.00 (~$41.50 USD)
- Manufacturer’s Details: Carradice.co.uk
Running the Shazam! as a handlebar bag is another option that’s officially endorsed by Wizard Works, and offers an equally good user experience. Like a basket bag setup but without the extra weight of a rack and basket, running the Shazam! on the bars offers a massive amount of storage that’s easy to pack and readily accessible on the go. It’s a bit large for my taste when lashed to my bar, as it sits quite high and due to its size I’ve had no choice but to squish my cables against my bike’s headtube.
For those riding small frames, adding in a minimalist front rack like Soma’s Champs Élysées Mini Front Rack could be a good option to add more packing space. Due to its size and design, it still wouldn’t be my first choice for technical riding, but it’s nice that the fit is relatively universal and can be used in a few different ways. It’ll be important for riders concerned with tire clearance, in both the front and the rear, to take some measurements before ordering. Unlike more modern seat bags and handlebar bags, the Shazam! is quite tall, which may be limiting for those on smaller frames. You’ll need a minimum of 7” of clearance from the upper attachment point to bottom of the bag to avoid tire rub.
- Handmade in London, UK.
- Made to order using colours and fabrics of your choice.
- Thoughtful design and works as intended.
- Works as a handlebar bag as well.
- No internal padding due to HDPE internal sheet.
- Requires saddle loops or adapter, plus an additional support to limit rubbing.
- Not as streamlined as a seat bag.
- Capacity: 10.8L-22.5L
- Material (as tested): Olive X-10 X-Pac, Rust 1000d Cordura, Nylon Liner
- Weight: 840 grams (29.6oz)
- Place of Manufacture: London, UK
- Price: £179 (~$220 USD)
- Manufacturer’s Details: Wizard.Works
Not everyone needs ultralight, pint-sized bags for racing down the Continental Divide. For many bikepackers, there’s plenty of adventure to be found on dirt roads. With that in mind, saddle bags like the Wizard Works Shazam! (or even small panniers) make a lot of sense. I’m all for packing differently depending on the terrain I’m riding, and if I were to head out on a non-technical gravel tour tomorrow, the Shazam! would likely come along. However, for more remote, higher-consequence trips, I don’t want to rely on so many adapters for my saddle bag setup to function. Knowing myself, I’ll probably rip the Carradice Bagman Support right off a saddle one day, and this setup presents potential complications that a modern seat bag just doesn’t have. That being said, the Shazam! is thoughtfully executed, beautifully made, and I’d consider it a home-run for Wizard Works.