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The Restrap Race Top Tube Bag prioritises functionality and quality – the construction, finishing and durability are all first class. This longer than average (for a 1.5L) design won't be for everyone, but if you need quick cockpit access for competitive events, it's great.
This offers a 1.5 litre capacity, is 370mm at its longest, 110mm at its highest and is 45mm wide. The long version, suited to those with larger frames, is a whopping 490mm with a 2L capacity.
The bag is handmade with an X21 technical waterproof outer, a waterproof 6oz nylon inner lining and YKK Aquaguard two-way zip. The sides are reinforced with plastic to ensure the bag holds its shape, even when empty. The zip cover that Mike was sceptical of when he reviewed the previous version of this bag has been done away with.
Two rubberised straps hold the bag to the top tube; a wide Velcro one and a second narrower one that secures with a plastic buckle. A stiff collar hugs the head tube and a thin bungee cord slips into a buckle to hold the whole thing in place. The collar is great design and while it does suit a longer head tube, it adapted to everything I put it on.
The front strap has its limitations with very chunky frames. It's 21cm at a stretch, and you need at least two of those for a secure overlap – so any tube over 19cm diameter or so is going to be an issue.
The rubberised straps and bag's underside seem durable without being aggressive towards your paint, and it left no marks at all on my test bikes.
Inside you find ample pouches to section off the contents – there are four interior sleeves, plus a wide elasticated band that's useful for securing things like battery packs (though there's no cable port).
On the outside, the two mesh pockets are ideal for gels, and can be accessed very easily.
While it's child's play getting the bag from one bike to another, it's definitely better suited to frames with more steeply sloped top tubes – the long, thin design can get in the way when you're straddling it, otherwise. If you are actually racing, this may not be an issue – stops will be rare and you're unlikely to be idling over the bike.
The bag really holds its shape, even when you don't have it packed out. The plastic sidewalls not only provide rigidity on any terrain, they also offer protection for contents. They don't stop you really pulling open the top to view the entire contents, either, though the two-way zip stops you having to every time you want something from the far end.
My only gripe with the design is the lack of padding on the underside. You need to pack strategically, particularly if you plan to venture on to rough stuff; things like keys and tools will rattle against the top tube if you don't.
The whole unit is very well-made. It wipes clean easily and the only the interior is showing any signs of use, with a few marks where contents push against the base. I've had no issues with water ingress, even after holding it under the shower for a few minutes. Restrap's lifetime guarantee covers materials and workmanship, too.
Apidura's Long Top Tube Bag with a 2L capacity is a similar design and has an RRP of £72, so perhaps Restrap's offering is reasonable. However, both look pricey against the more common short designs such as Craft Cadence's £39.99 Top Tube Bag and the £50 Brooks Scape Top Tube Bag (although the Scape is only 0.9L). Lezyne's Energy Caddies are even cheaper if you're okay with less than a litre capacity.
I can't knock the Restrap Race Top Tube Bag for quality and functionality, and if you really are racing (or at least, not standing around admiring the view a lot...) then clearance on high top tubes won't be an issue – there's very little not to like.
Thoughtfully designed and well made, but long thin shape can affect standover on tall frames
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Restrap Race Top Tube Bag
Size tested: 1.5L
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?
Restrap says: 'Durable and lightweight, the Adventure Race Top Tube Bag is designed with ultra-distance racing and audaxing in mind. An X21 technical waterproof outer, waterproof 6oz nylon inner lining and YKK Aquaguard two-way zip keeps inclement weather at bay, whilst reflective detailing boosts visibility and safety when riding through the night.
"Built to be practical and functional, the bag is held firmly in place with a rubberised velcro strap and an adjustable MOLLE hypalon fitting, which allows the bag to function seamlessly with all Restrap Frame Bags. A rigid internal plastic structure keeps the bag upright and stable and the universal headset fitting accommodates all headsets, including bikes with a low stack height. A stretch mesh side pocket provides storage for nutrition, wrappers and other on-the-fly essentials.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Capacity - 1.5L
Weight - 183g
Max length - 370mm (regular)
Max height - 110mm
Pack strategically to avoid anything rattling on the top tube.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does exactly what you want - offers convenient and direct access to kit while on the move, can be quickly detached and stands up to rough stuff and whatever the weather wants to throw at it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The two-way zip and useful interior compartments.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of underside padding.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are plenty of shorter options offering similar capacities for less money, but you're getting something for the premium – the less usual streamlined shaping and really excellent quality.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is extremely well made, quick and easy to mount and remove, and has a lifetime warranty to boot. Only the lack of padding on the underside is a little disappointing.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…