I do a lot of distance and multi-day riding and when I'm out, I invariably use a top-tube bag. The Deuter Energy Bag doesn't reinvent the concept in any way but does make a mundane item look good and is easy to fit and use.
- Pros: Looks good, easy & stable fixing
- Cons: Having to 'hide' the 2nd buckle up front; not waterproof
The fact that these bags are usually referred to as tri-bags gives an idea as to where they are most commonly seen, but they can be a handy addition to any bike, especially if you do some big miles or just hate having your jersey pockets overstuffed with an assortment of bits and bobs. I use them a lot as most of my riding is over 100k or over multiple days, and a bag like this makes a lot of sense. Mainly I use them for extra food, as it's ideal for stashing a couple of gels and bars, plus maybe some cash and a credit card.
This Deuter bag doesn't offer anything more than any of the other bags on the market, but it does present it better than most. First up, it's quite attractive for what it is, with a dark blue chequered material on this test unit with reflective logos either side. Two Velcro straps sit underneath to fasten it to the top-tube, and both are of a length that will fit narrow tubes and bulky oversize or off-road frames too.
At the front are, unusually, two further straps rather than one to fasten around the steerer. This helps the fit if you run a low stem, allowing just the lower strap to be used. I did find it a bit difficult to tidy away the unused strap without slightly fouling the stem when turning; creative looping and folding helped, but because the strap and buckle were still there meant it couldn't be completely eliminated.
Once on and the straps snugly fitted, the bag was stable even on a round profile tube (even better on a flat-topped tube), with minimal movement side to side. There are two zipped compartments, the main one on the top the primary compartment, with the zip on the side giving access to a slim pocket – ideal for cash or cards.
As a convert to these bags it did see a good bit of use, and swallowed a useful amount of kit when I needed it. Seven or eight gels would fill it to the brim should you so wish, but two gels and two bars for day-long rides left room for anything else you might need. Alternatively it would take two tubes plus levers, or a mobile phone (my Samsung Galaxy S7 fitted nicely, anything larger might be a push) and anything else you might want, so they are pretty versatile.
Another thing I tend to use them for is storing an external battery if you are running heavy duty lights when night riding; it's an ideal place for the battery and cuts down on wiring running around the bike.
I did get the bag wet once when caught out in the rain, and although it initially shrugged the water off, it did get soaked through after 15 minutes or so. Not a problem if all you are carrying is food in wrappers, or inner tubes, but be wary if you have a non-waterproof phone or other susceptible items inside. Some bags come with a specific rain cover, the Deuter doesn't.
Also, invariably, when carrying gels and food, the bag can get mucky on the inside. I rinsed it out in warm water with no ill effect.
Time will tell on durability, but as it's a relatively static item once on the bike, it should last a good few years. The material itself seems pretty hardwearing and the zips good quality.
Value-wise, at full £15 RRP it won't break the bank. Altura offers a similar bag, the Sprint Energy Pack, at the same price, or if you want something waterproof, the Topeak Tri-Bag With Drybag Cover is available but for the rather higher price of £22.99. Mike also rated the Restrap Top Tube Bag highly, but it's £29.99. The Deuter bag is currently available for around £10 online, making a good deal if it's what you're after.
Neat and attractive bag ideal for easy-to-reach snacks and accessories on longer rides
road.cc test report
Make and model: Deuter Energy Bag
Size tested: Midnight
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?
A neat and compact top tube bag for food, essentials or spares in addition to your pockets or as an alternative.
Deuter says: "The Deuter Energy Bag provides an easy solution to your energy needs as it'll remain in arm reach from you when you're cycling. It is secured to front top tube of your bike with Velcro attachments. This way, when you need to fuel up on energy, all you have to do is un-zip a small bag that is right in front of you and snack on whatever comes to hand.
"The Deuter Energy Bag is also handy for storing your mobile phone, keys or money. With the reflective detailing, you are guaranteed to be more visible in low light conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Weight: 65 g
Capacity: 0,5 l
H x W x D: 7 x 5 x 14 cm
Well made and free of defects, it appears strong and durable.
It does what it was designed for very well – it holds a good number of gels or other items and doesn't move around too much if properly secured.
As these kind of bags don't suffer too much abuse, providing the Velcro straps hold out it should last a few years. The material used is tough and can withstand soaking and washing.
Empty, it barely adds any weight to the bike at 65g, but that can change depending on how much you manage to cram in.
At £15 it isn't cheap, but it's less than some, and can be had for a tenner online at the moment which makes it better value if you are after a quality top tube bag.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The bag performed well. It's stable when attached properly and takes quite a bit more than you would guess. The zips are easy to access and operate, but you need to give thought to how you layer the items – getting something out from the bottom of the narrow bag can be tricky when on the move.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ability to fit most steerer setups with two straps was handy (and annoying, see below), and in the dark blue finish it complemented the bike nicely when mounted.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Having two straps at the front made fitting bikes with short or long steerer tubes a doddle, but the one you didn't use (unless you have a really tall steerer and can use both) is a pain to tuck out of the way without it catching the stem somewhat. A bit of creative folding helped but didn't cure the issue.
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
If you find this type of bag useful then the Deuter variant is a very good one. Well made and attractive (for a top tube bag!) with quality zips, it should last a long time.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman AirPro Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives