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Verdict: 
Minimalist, weatherproof and robust storage for small amounts of stuff when out on the bike
Weight: 
203g
Contact: 
VeloPac Musette Blue Ice
7 10

The VeloPac Musette Blue Ice is a good choice for carting a minimal amount of stuff about on a bike, come sun or rain, but it could be a little wider.

The traditional musette (not to be confused with the small bagpipe played with a bellows, common in the French court in the 17th and 18th centuries) is a disposable cotton bag handed to racing cyclists in the feed zone, upon receipt of which the rider sits up and spends a few seconds stashing the contents about his or her person before discarding in the direction of a grasping roadside fan.

> Buy this online here

Designed to throw quickly over one shoulder and be accessed from the front with one hand, the USP of a musette is quintessentially fleeting. Fortunately, just as discarding chains after a few hundred kilometres of use is not the norm for your common-or-garden cyclist, it is perfectly acceptable to purloin a bit of cycling's historic usefulness for permanent everyday duty – particularly if it works from a biomechanical standpoint.

Made in the UK, VeloPac's design places the Musette central on the back, held high enough to clear the hips and thighs, keeping it stable and not inclined to slip forward when you're bent over the bars, a common fault with shoulderbags when cycling. And when off the bike, the strap can be lengthened quickly to sit lower about the waist for easy access.

Material and finishing is of a high class – the waterproof tarpaulin fabric and double-reinforced stitching will almost certainly outlast you. There's a waterproof zip with a winter-glove-friendly pull-tag, and the strap is stitched at an angle to spread the load across the width of the strap-bag interface and to ensure it sits just so.

VeloPac positions the Musette as 'perfect to transport your favourite cycling publication back from the newsagents' – so long as your publication is no bigger than A4 size and not thicker than maybe 100 pages, cover included. I found it to just fit a slim A4 mag, a single A4 sheet slipping in square-on with 5mm to spare. A 200-page A4 softback revision book borrowed from a passing teenager simply would not fit at any angle.

For the café-surfing Fixie-Guardianista set, it fails that test too – under no circumstances would my copy fit in any way without emerging a crumpled shambles of eco-hairshirtery and pompous middleclassification (other ad hominem derogatory media stereotypes are available). And if you do have a hefty ream onboard, forget stashing that boutique leather-chrome must-have accessory just purchased form the pop-up artisanal cycling outlet at the farmer's market en route.

> Need more space? Read our guide to the best cycling rucksacks

From empty, there's space enough to stash a Moleskine-size diary, wallet, keys and sunglasses case – but any more than that, you're getting overstuffed and it won't sit right on your back.

But maybe the above is a little unfair – this is a simple design that's not purporting to be a load-lugger. If your thing is café-surfing of a Saturday's am, sans bulging pockets and with no major purchasing intent, the VeloPac Musette will do you right. And if your bent tends towards leaving your chosen publication jaunting out the top in a deliberately-casual manner, this is your bag, baby.

Verdict

Minimalist, weatherproof and robust storage for small amounts of stuff when out on the bike

road.cc test report

Make and model: VeloPac Musette Blue Ice

Size tested: 36cm x 26cm

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?

It's for carrying minimal amounts of stuff on a bike, and keeping it dry.

VeloPac says: "This is our NEW 2016 musette upgraded to a durable, waterproof Tarp fabric. This fabric is used for heavy duty applications including truck side curtains, marquees, vehicle covers, banners etc where durablity and water protection is vital.

"Gone are the traditional press stud closures & in it's place a water resistant zip to ensure the contents are kept dry & not lost mid-ride. It's sized to accept an A4 document so perfect to transport your favourite cycling publication back from the newsagents!"

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

Key design Features

Simple & elegant design

Waterproof

Durable 550D Tarp fabric

Reinforced double stitched seams

Adjustable 38mm wide webbing strap

Water resistant zip closure

VeloPac zip puller

VeloPac label on side panel

Accepts A4 size documents

Dimensions 36cm x 26cm

Made in Britain

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

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

Well, so long as you don't try to overload it.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The attention to construction.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The measurements – if it were a cm or so wider, it could fit a much wider range of documents/publications.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? For minimalist cartage, yes.

Use this box to explain your score

It was a bit annoying that A4-size publications thicker than about 100 pages were impossible to store. An increase in zip opening of maybe a cm would be almost indistinguishable and would greatly increase ability to store thicker fare.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling

4 comments

Avatar
guyrwood [760 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Oh my god, what were they thinking?! This is a cycling product, slap another nought on the price before anyone notices, for the love of god man!!!

Avatar
fenix [596 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I'm surprised its that cheap. How come their phone pac that's 1/4 of the size is more expensive? Something is out of whack

Avatar
psling [227 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
fenix wrote:

I'm surprised its that cheap. How come their phone pac that's 1/4 of the size is more expensive? Something is out of whack

 

Simplicity probably. The phone pac has 3 compartments (1 zipped), a card slot, some foam padding, and is probably more complex to assemble being smaller. The musette is just stitched up three sides plus a zip and a strap.

Avatar
fenix [596 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

There is that i suppose. Still seems wrong.