Topeak's Toploader is a very nicely made top tube bag that's big enough to swallow a decent amount of things that you'd want to hand, without being so bulky that it gets in the way. It's a useful luggage option for all sorts of riding.
Top tube bags are mostly sold as a bikepacking thing at the moment, because bikepacking is cool. Most of us aren't out bikepacking every weekend, but a top tube bag is still a useful thing to have. It's a place to store things you might want to have easy access to – snacks, a camera, your phone, money, and so on – and it's easy to throw on the bike if you need it. The Toploader has just three Velcro straps; it takes half a minute to fit.
A bag in this position has to walk a tightrope between being useful and annoying. Too small and you won't be able to get the stuff you need in it. Too big and you'll catch your legs on it all the time. I'm happy to report that the Toploader is just about right. The 0.75l compartment will swallow your phone, some flapjacks and some change quite easily. There's a movable divider to split the space into two for a bit of organisation, and the zip has a nice big toggle and is easy to use.
Once you've got the straps nice and tight it doesn't move about too much; sometimes you'll catch a leg on it, and when you're climbing while out of the saddle you find you need to keep the bike a bit more upright than you would without it, but it's not that intrusive. If you find it too bulky attached to your steerer you can turn it around and fit it between the top tube and seatpost instead. It's not quite as accessible there but it's more out of the way.
The Toploader isn't waterproof, but even fairly persistent rain didn't work its way through the zip, and if it's really hooning it down then there's a built-in rain cover to keep your stuff dry, which lives in a side compartment and fits using two Velcro straps; it's easy enough that you can do it as you're riding.
Who can make use of a bag like this? If you don't like to stop on a ride then it's a great place to store food for the journey, especially in changeable or cold conditions where you're wearing multiple layers and your jersey pockets aren't that accessible. It's great for audaxing, touring or bikepacking too: a bit of easily accessible extra space. There are plenty of bags like this out there, and the Toploader is a good example and a bit bigger than some more triathlon-orientated options. It's not cheap but it is nicely designed and made, and it's built to last.
Good extra luggage space for keeping your essentials to hand
road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Toploader
Size tested: 0.75L capacity 23.5x12x7cm
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?
Topeak says: "The perfect travel mate for any journey. If you're a bikepacker, you won't want to miss this. TopLoader is a large capacity top tube mounted bag giving bikepackers quick and easy access to energy bars, phone, wallet, tools or any small essential gear they need close at hand."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CAPACITY 0.75 L / 45 ci
COMPARTMENTS Main divided / padded
MATERIAL Polyethylene / nylon Lightweight, durable, water repellent and stain resistant
BAG ATTACHMENT Adjustable nylon straps
TOP TUBE DIAMETER Fits ø35 - ø46 mm
HEAD TUBE DIAMETER Fits ø34 - ø75 mm
ADDED FEATURE Integrated rain cover
SIZE 23.5 x 12 x 7 cm / 9.3' x 4.7' x 2.8'
WEIGHT 169 g / 5.96 oz
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: nicely made, good size, well thought out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to use, good mounting, good rain cover and zip.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
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 score
It's well made and does the job. A good 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.