We connected with Andrew from Andrew The Maker (ATM) Handmade Goods last year after noticing that he was doing some fun things with paracord in his bag designs. After chatting with him over the phone, he created one of the most unique kits we had seen in a while. His first ever partial lace-up frame bag was created for my Fatback Corvus, along with matching hip sacks and a super compact handlebar roll.
Andrew has created a signature style for himself with unique attachment methods, fabric and color choices, and customizable options. After sending us his first partial lace-up, he has been pumping out bags of this style ever since. In addition to frame bags, saddlebags, and handlebar rolls, Andrew creates a variety of products that are unique in terms of construction and function. He has camera bags, fanny packs, unconventionally designed top tube bags, saddle sacks, and wallets. Andrew does all of this with the utmost attention to detail and quality, and has been doing so since the company’s inception in 2012.
We have had a blast testing the ATM kit over the last year. Here was our first look article, for anyone who is curious on our first impressions.
Custom Lace-Up Frame Bag
I’ll start off by saying that this bag looks really good. The construction is sharp, and we get compliments on the camo and royal blue color combination, as well as the paracord weave all the time. Andrew did a great job matching the blue on my Corvus for this kit. He has an eye for style.
One of the stand-out features of this bag, aside from it’s aesthetics, is how stiff it is. The bag comes with a large plastic stiffener on the top which allows for extreme stability, especially in comparison to other partial frame bags. The plastic stiffener also ensures the bag stays this way over the length of its life, when many bags would start to sag. Speaking of stability, the paracord weave is a lot more stable than you would think. There is no wiggle while riding, and it also stays put while packing and riding rough terrain.
The partial lace-up frame bag is super spacious for a half bag on a size small bike. I can fit a pair of heavy gloves, a wind layer, and a down vest in the large pocket, while still having room for small, more flat items on the smaller side pocket. Because of the stability and tight paracord weave, you don’t experience very much damage to the top tube of your fame, and it doesn’t interfere with other velcro straps on top tube bags.
The custom bag was specifically designed around the wide bottom bracket, essentially allowing more capacity because of this. The bag tapers from the front to the rear, taking away the dreaded leg rub issues while still maintaining a large capacity, something that Andrew communicated with us about prior to completion of the bag.
It might be a bit more time consuming to install and take off, but thats just fine with us, as we don’t plan on taking off this bag off the Fat Back Corvus for a while.
The BarBar Bag is ATM’s smallest handlebar bag. It has proven to be great for day rides, and whether Andrew planned on it or not, bikepack racing. This bag endured the length of the Arizona Trail, during the Arizona Trail Race last April. It carried all of the layers that I needed at quick access, excluding jackets.
With the items above the bag was basically stuffed to capacity, which certainly put the water resistant zipper to the test. The BarBar Bag passed that test and the zippers still function perfectly and look great. The bag was difficult to close when it was so packed. A nice stretch fabric around the zipper would have eased the closure, but the paracord loop pulls on the ends of the zipper certainly aided in the process. We also found that the dual zipper pulls allowed us to open and close the bag with more convenience especially when opening from different angles.
The bags minimalist design eased the burden when dealing with cable and housing interference, as it was narrow enough to not reach the shifter and brake levers. It is also short enough to fit under the front brake cable on most of the mountain bikes that we tested it on. The bag is even easier of a fit on drop bar bikes. Dimensions are approximately 8” wide x 4” diameter – just slightly too short for a standard size water bottle.
The small bag size aids in the stability of the bag. With 4 daisy-chain loop options to wrap the provided 1″ Velcro straps and the shock cord stabilizer, the bag was not going anywhere.
Goodtimer Hip Sack
We have seen the fanny pack on the rise in the past year or so, and for good reason. It’s a useful and good-looking accessory bag for when you don’t want to wear a backpack, but still need some extra space. It works very well on day rides to carry snacks and essentials, and we even brought it out on the ski hill to carry our mirrorless camera and cards for apres skiing.
The zipper functionality is very similar to the BarBar Bag, just a little longer. Once you open the bag, you will be greeted with a bright yellow interior with pockets and dividers to keep smaller items from bouncing around.
The hip belt is a continuation of the main body of Xpac which tapers into a nylon webbing strap. The hip belt could have certainly been more robust, but as long as you don’t carry anything too heavy, it serves it’s purposes while still allowing easy adjustment for different hip widths.
With a simple movement, you can easily move the belt from your back to the front to access your belongings, and spin it back quickly without unbuckling it. The Goodtimer also comes with a nice piece of foam padding on the back to protect your back from items inside the bag.
Every ATM bag is delivered with a quality of construction, elegance and functionality that can not be understated. Being able to hone those characteristics is a special thing. Our ATM gear has proven to be great for day rides, but equally as functional for bikepacking trips. Bottom line, if you are looking for a highly-functional bag that looks outstanding, Andrew is your man.