There are quite a few of our Leopards out in the wild now, but not so many Clouded Leopards. We thought it was time to throw the spotlight on them a little.
While the Leopard is our main full triangle frame bag, the rarer Clouded Leopard appears in a smaller form to fit around frame features on full suspension bikes, or space retained for water bottles on hard-tail frames.
So what are the advantages of a Clouded Leopard over a Leopard?
A good question, and the answer will depend in part on your intended use, but here's a few suggestions to help you think through the options:
- If your preference is to use bottles over a hydration pack and you have a hard-tail frame, then a Clouded Leopard will provide the storage space on the frame for gear while retaining the option for you to fit a bottle or two.
- A Clouded Leopard can be a useful addition to your setup for long day rides providing a space of sensible proportion to store food, spare clothes, tools etc in a space central on the bike to preserve normal handling characteristics. Some of our customers have opted for this specifically to reduce the amount of weight on their back where they are already carrying a hydration pack.
- If you have a full suspension frame, depending on the configuration of the shock/ linkages, the Clouded Leopard will fill much of the remaining space while maintaining sufficient clearance for the suspension linkages, like the one pictured below:
If you're after a lightweight system, then the Clouded Leopard will weigh around 120g or so less than a Leopard for the equivalent frame.
Are there any disadvantages of a Clouded Leopard over a Leopard?
There are some, but how significant you'll find these in practice depends on several factors. Here are some more things to consider:
- You'll have less storage capacity with a Clouded Leopard, especially if you select one to work around two bottles. Also, unless you have a full complement of very lightweight kit, you're probably going to need to store some of your gear elsewhere on the bike or on your back.
- There is an small loss of overall storage capacity within the main triangle resulting from the space around frame features or bottles that are too complex to fit the bag into.
- If you haven't already got any, you'll need some good side-entry bottle cages. There are many available, but we quite like these.
Do you do a Clouded Leopard that is a universal fit?
In short, no we don't, but there are some good reasons for this. Whenever we make a frame bag, we want it to fit your frame exactly and to accommodate all those internal or external features that are specific to your frame; cable stops, crud catcher bosses, etc. If we try to average the fit across a number of makes and sizes, then it stands to reason that the fit is not perfect on some of these. By custom building each bag to suit your frame and your requirements, you're confident of getting exactly what you want.
Overall, the Clouded Leopard will deliver a lightweight solution that lends itself to day-ride duties as much as overnight trips when used in conjunction with our other storage systems in the bike. It will open up opportunities for users of full suspension bikes as well as those hard-tail riders who are looking to reduce the weight of gear/ water on their back by utilising bottle space on the bike.