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review

Pro Discover Team Frame Bag 5.5L

6
£99.99

VERDICT:

6
10
Large, ultralight and waterproof frame bag, potentially let down by an ill-judged patch of Velcro
Ultralight
Large size
Waterproof
Irritating hook and loop patch
Weight: 
135g

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If it fits in your bike's main triangle, Pro's Discover Team frame bag is a waterproof, superlight solution for carrying 5.5 litres worth of stuff. You are paying a premium for the light weight, though, and you might want to pay heed to a potentially irritating patch on the side before shelling out.

The Discover Team frame bag – not to be confused with the Discover frame bag – is as minimal as they come. It's available in just one size, it has one main compartment with one long zip for access, and it attaches with four Velcro-type straps. (The Discover frame bag is the same size but weighs more and, at £60, costs considerably less. The marketing blurb on the Pro website is pretty much the same for both bags.)

> Find your nearest dealer here

Pro, if you don't know of it, started in 1981, and was bought in 2008 by Shimano. It remains a subsidiary of one of the biggest brands in cycling.

Weight

For the Team version, Pro has pared down this frame bag to the very minimum of what you need for it do its job. The main benefit is that it is ultra light – 135g on the road.cc Scales of Truth. Or, if you take the removable mesh pockets off, 121g.

For comparison, most frame bags in this size range are over 200g. The Ortlieb Frame-Pack Toptube we reviewed last autumn over at our sister site off.road.cc comes closest at 170g, which is really not that close at all, especially given that at 4 litres capacity it's considerably smaller than the Pro Discover Team.

Features

The Discover Team frame bag is made from a fully waterproof material (Pro says a mixture of polyester and nylon). It has welded seams and a waterproof zip. There is no stitching anywhere, the zip is welded in, and the Velcro-style hook and loop straps are also welded on.

2021 PRO Discover Team Frame Bag - zip.jpg

There is one large compartment that boasts an impressive 5.5 litres of capacity. About halfway along front-to-back there are a couple of vertical Velcro-type tabs that allow you to divide the main compartment in two. Its usefulness is more in stopping the bag from bulging out too much, as opposed to creating two compartments. There's still enough full-length space above and below to fit longer objects like tent poles and/or a pump.

You also get two small internal mesh pockets, Velcro-removably attached to the right hand side just below the zip. They are both the same size and not quite big enough for my phone. I guess you could put a credit card and your keys in there, but for a minimalist frame bag like this one, I thought they were entirely pointless. Good job they are removable, then.

There is no cable port, or any way to get a hydration bladder hose up from the bag other than to leave the zip slightly open. As this bag is designed to be fully waterproof, I wouldn't criticise this design decision.

Attachment

Other manufacturers of frame bags offer theirs in different sizes, with a webbing ladder and Velcro loop type attachment for versatility and fitting as many frames as possible. The Alpkit Possum we reviewed last summer is a good example of this.

The Discover Team frame bag continues its minimalist theme here, too. As I said, it comes in one size, and you get four fixed-point Velcro attachment loops. Pro uses special straps which are rubber backed on the frame side, while the other side is both hook and loop; the strap goes through a slotted tab and then back on itself. While the strap lengths look generous on the frames I tried, if the tubes on yours are particularly oversized, they might not work.

2021 PRO Discover Team Frame Bag - strap.jpg

There are four of these straps – three to attach to the top tube, and one at the back to attach to the seat tube. I didn't really notice any kind of sway in the testing period, though it is worth noting that other bags use more straps – it is not unusual to see a strap for the head tube and another for the down tube. More straps are self-evidently going to reduce sway more.

Sway is more pronounced with heavier items in the frame bag – I used the bag mainly for stashing clothes on all-day rides that started off frosty and ended summery. If you are planning to carry tools or other heavy items, do a lot of climbing out of the saddle, and are worried about sway, this might not be the bag for you, as there is no option to easily add more straps.

Fitting and size

The frame bag is 16cm tall and 7cm wide (unstuffed). The length along the top is 46cm, sloping down to 34cm along the bottom.

On a medium (54cm) Kinesis Tripster ATR (as pictured below), the frame bag fits perfectly (there is 49cm of inside length underneath the top tube). With the seat tube bottle cage mounted on the lowest two bosses and the down tube bottle cage on the top two, I can still fit and access two 500ml water bottles without having to resort to side-opening bottle cages.

2021 PRO Discover Team Frame bag on Kinesis Tripster.JPG

On a medium (54cm) Kinesis Crosslight Pro6, the frame bag still fits but there is less space for bottle cages.

On the Tripster, which has internal cable routing, the fore-aft placement of the straps and tabs works well from a weight distribution point of view. On the Crosslight, the gear and brake cables run on top of the top tube; here the straps and tabs have to go around the cables rather than underneath. This is both because the strap placement on this frame is right where the cable stops are on the top tube and because the straps are quite chunky and wouldn't fit under the cables.

As there is no adjustability, you might want to try before you buy to make sure this frame bag is compatible with your intended bottle arrangement and your frame's cable management if it is not internal.

In use

With 5.5 litres of capacity, this frame bag will easily swallow a long sleeve winter jersey, a waterproof, a spare tube and tools, and food. There is a lot of space there. The bag is black on the inside; other brands use a brighter colour to make it easier to find stuff.

The zip opens front to back and has a little rope loop that makes it easy enough to open and close with gloves, while riding.

It does tend to bulge out a fair amount if you stuff it full, which then means the bag can touch the knees on every pedal stroke. I find this mildly irritating, but I accept that this comes with wanting this kind of capacity inside the frame – it is the same with every frame bag I've used.

2021 PRO Discover Team Frame Bag - back.jpg

What you don't get on other frame bags, though – and this is my main gripe with this frame bag – is the Velcro/hook-and-loop patch on the left by the seat tube. It looks like it is there for frames with skinny tubes, so the extra length of strap can be attached to it as it comes back through the slotted tab. When I was using the bag, I preferred attaching it so the strap wouldn't poke out the side at all. Even though it wasn't a snug fit around the seat tube, because the straps are quite stiff, it worked perfectly well.

2021 PRO Discover Team Frame bag Kinesis Tripste - patch on left.JPG

As a consequence, the patch on the left of the bag sits there all hooky (and loopy), ready to scuff up your shorts and your leg on every pedal stroke. The picture shows the effect after a 100km ride: shorts damage and skin irritation.

2021 PRO Discover Team Frame bag hook and loop patch - irritated skin and shorts.jpg

Even if you have skinny tubes and you cover all of the patch with the return portion of the strap, the strap still ends up sticking out, so you might still end up with irritated skin and scuffed up shorts.

I think this is a design flaw, and I'd want that patch to not be there, especially as this frame bag appears to be designed for the long-distance gravel racer. Long days (and nights) in the saddle would exacerbate this problem.

Value

The Discover Team frame bag is towards the expensive end, at a penny shy of £100, though there are others around this price.

We've reviewed a couple of frame bags over at off.road.cc that cost a similar amount: the Miss Grape Internode 40.6 is a little less at £95 but is smaller at 3 litres. The Ortlieb Frame-Pack Toptube is a little more at £105, and smaller at 4 litres, but is waterproof to IP67.

> Buyer’s Guide: 26 of the best bikepacking bags

You can spend considerably less – the Merida Framebag Travel L we reviewed last summer is the same size, water repellent and not as light but cost £47.99 (at the time of reviewing). The Alpkit Possum 52 is smaller at 4.4 litres and costs £75.99.

Conclusion

The Pro Discover Team frame bag is well made, fully waterproof and ultra light. It provides a useful amount of storage inside the frame, provided it fits. You just need to decide whether you can live with that irritating patch, and whether you are willing to pay a premium for saving weight.

Verdict

Large, ultralight and waterproof frame bag, potentially let down by an ill-judged patch of Velcro

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Pro Discover Team Frame Bag 5.5L

Size tested: 5.5l capacity

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?

Pro says: "Designed to provide you with a better sports' bicycle experience the PRO Discover Team Frame Bag provides bikepackers with a large storage solution which straps neatly within the front triangle of your bike. It features a 5.5-litre capacity, welded seam construction and is both light-weight, at just 135-grams, and fully waterproof. The Discover Team Frame Bag also boasts an anti-sway design to ensure it stays in place even on the roughest terrain."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Pro lists:

Lightweight frame bag for bikepacking

Provides storage space inside the front triangle

5.5l capacity

Fully waterproof

Welded seams

Anti-sway design

Weight: 135g

Material: Polyester / Nylon

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

It's the lightest comparable frame bag I could find.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
4/10

The Velcro patch on the left hand side by the seat tube irritated my shorts and skin – it might not be the same for you.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

As a frame bag, it worked well on a medium Kinesis Tripster for long rides. The bag is stable enough, despite having fewer points of contact than most. My main bug bear is the Velcro patch on the left hand side by the seat tube.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It fits my bike well and it swallows a lot of stuff without bothering the scales too much.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The Velcro tag on the left side by the seat tube is irritating, both mentally and physically.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It is towards the more expensive end, though there are plenty of others in this price range.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Probably not, I would look at less expensive options – the ultralight weight is not enough of an incentive for me to pay a premium.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they were looking for an ultralight frame bag, yes.

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Pro Discover Team frame bag is well made, fully waterproof, and ultra light. It provides a useful amount of storage inside the frame, provided it fits inside your frame. However, for me it is let down the irritating patch of Velcro near the seat tube. It is also towards the expensive end.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: All of them!  My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift

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