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Well designed, rugged and protective, the Miss Grape Node Road 2H top tube bag has just enough space for the essentials. It's a bit fiddly to fit, but once on it's stable and secure.
If you've a frame with those little eyelets in the top tube that usually just sit there unloved and ignored, the Node Road 2H is a good way to give their life some meaning – although fitting it is a bit of a challenge.
The bag is made from tough nylon fabric with a highly water-resistant PU resin coating and reflective accents, and a rigid plastic panel that fastens at the bottom of the bag to stiffness. But the overlap of the zip covering, the narrow nature of the bag, and the elasticated straps that cover the holes in the stiffening panel make it tricky to get a hand in to pass the bolt through the holes, and then operate the hex key required to tighten it.
Once tight, though, the bag does sit securely and reliably on the top tube. It's one to fit once and leave on rather than humming and hawing about whether to remove it or not. You might be tempted to try fitting the bag without the (removable) stiffening panel at the base, but without it the bag is surprisingly floppy, so it's best to grapple with it for optimal rigidity.
It's a useful size – there's plenty of space for a spare tube, multitool, patches and energy bar, or even a super-minimalist wind jacket, and the panels on the outside of the bag are good for tucking in bits and bobs such as an energy bar or gel.
If you wanted to carry your phone in it, it's a neat fit for an iPhone 7 in a zipped protective case, and though an iPhone XR (15.5 x 8cm in a hard but minimalist protective case) just about fitted, it wouldn't with additional protection – and without that you're leaving your expensive gadget at the mercies of any vibration that travels through the frame and into the hard-based bag. Personally, I'd favour a rear jersey pocket if my phone was larger, with a more protective case.
Although the bag isn't marketed as waterproof, only water resistant, the zip and fabric put up quite a fight in heavy downpours and the contents stayed dry, though I wouldn't want to risk expensive electronics.
The zip can be operated single-handed, if not exactly easily. The large loop zip-pull is glove friendly, though, which makes it a good choice for year-round use.
At £60 it's definitely at the higher end of the price scale of top tube bags, even compared with other premium bags. The Apidura Racing Bolt-on Top Tube Pack is £52, for example, and the Straight Cut Top Tube Bag £55. Even the notoriously high-end Brooks offering comes in at less, its Scape Top Tube Bag £50.
That said, the Miss Grape is very well made and tough, and once in position it's incredibly secure, so although it costs quite a bit more than many similar options on the market, to me the Miss Grape feels like a solid investment. If you don't like a Velcro strap attachment, this is a good alternative.
Well-made, effective and durable Velcro-free option – expensive but a solid investment
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Miss Grape Node Road 2H
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aimed at those looking for a top tube pack for essentials and whose bikes have two fixing points in the top tube.
Miss Grape says: "The Node 2H Road has two holes underneath and is mounted (screwed) only on frames with the two-bolt mounting holes on the top tube. Thanks to this mounting system, the Node 2H Road is particularly stable. This ensures that the bag clings to the top tube and avoids the annoying lateral rocking when pedalling."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Miss Grape lists:
Two-hole bolt-on mounting system (requires appropriate holes in bicycle top tube)
Nylon 420 polyester 300 dotted fabric with water-repellent polyurethane resin coating
Heavy-duty nylon plastic zip with loop zip-pull
Side sleeve pockets
Internal stiffening panel
Extremely well made from very high-quality materials.
Did a great job of providing stable and handy storage with no annoying Velcro straps.
Early days, but no sign this is going anywhere in a hurry.
Not the lightest but very robust.
It's expensive even compared with other premium options, though it is well made and should last for a long time.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The secure attachment with no Velcro straps to get in the way or catch on shorts; the sturdy build quality; and the general aesthetics.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive, and fiddly to fit, although once on it was secure and did its job well.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £60 the Miss Grape Node Road 2H is definitely at the higher end of the price scale of top tube bags. The Apidura Racing Bolt-on Top Tube Pack is £52 and the Straight Cut Top Tube Bag £55; even the Brooks Scape Top Tube Bag is less at £50.
Alpkit's Fuel Pod 25 is £44.99, while the LifeLine Adventure Top Tube Bag is just £15.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably, because I hate Velcro straps on top tube bags.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good but expensive – well made, durable and fits securely to an appropriate tube. I like the fact that it's largely a fit-and-forget option.
About the tester
I usually ride: Liv Invite My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.