To complement its extensive range of adventure bikes, Specialized has come up with the Burra Burra line of strap-on baggage which includes a seatpack, handlebar harness, top-tube pouch and pizza bag. The Burra Burra Framepack is designed to fit inside the frame triangle and comes in three sizes – 3, 5 and 8, with each number corresponding to litres of storage – and the subsequent small, medium and large bags are designed to fit different sized frames.
Bikepacking luggage has gone from the preserve of the handmade cottage industry to being something the big boys have taken an interest in as the genre has suddenly become A Thing, and Specialized has come in hard with its Burra Burra bags.
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The Burra Burra is made from a suitably rugged looking coated nylon that's welded at the seams for added strength and weather resistance; it's also an easy surface to keep clean so you don't fall into the 'cycling tramp' category too quickly.
A semi-rigid spine runs internally along the top of the bag and continues down the front and back to give the bag structure and to lessen any bag sag and sway, and it's a firm base for all the straps that are attached to it. There are seven of those straps in a variety of styles, so it takes a while to attach the Burra Burra to the bike and cinch it all down.
Three Velcro straps secure the bag to the top-tube: a wide strap sits centrally and has a reinforcing strip holding it to the bag, a slimmer strap holds the bag at the rear, and at the head-tube end there's a strap that can be moved between several webbing loops so you can get the right fit around any cable bosses you might have in that area. The two rearward straps are rubberised to stop any thigh Lycra rubbing or fluffing, which is nice, while the front is a plain, slim nylon affair.
A slim nylon Velcro strap tightens the bag to the head-tube and can be moved between webbing loops as well, and just below it a rubberised strap holds things to the down-tube, tightening down via a camlock buckle.
Two similar rubbery straps and buckles are out back to fasten the rear to the seat-tube. These camlocked straps can't be relied upon so much to tension the bag to the frame, a task best left to the Velcro straps, and are better at just keeping the bag in place. The rubberised straps come supplied goodly long and can be cut easily to suit your particular dimensions when everything's all sorted, with those loose ends tucked into tidying loops.
Running along the bottom of the framebag is a line of eight loops sewn into a strip of webbing for you to attach whatever bikepacking accessories you should so wish.
Big day out
The 8 litre capacity of our test framepack is split between a cavernous main compartment and two smaller pockets on the left hand side for frequently required smaller bits and ride essentials. You can fit a fair bit in this largest of the Burra Burras – enough on its own for a big day out on the bike or as part of a bikepacking luggage system for longer jaunts. Spare tubes, a pump, food and extra layers will easily squash into the main compartment, while the smaller pair of pockets can look after slimmer items such as cash, keys, phones, mini-tools and beard wax.
Such is the capacious size of the main compartment that a divider or pocket in there somewhere would be handy for a bit of organising potential to save you scrabbling about so much for the thing you need, or turfing everything out. Nothing that sorting important things into separate dry bags wouldn't also achieve, but still...
The Burra Burra 8 is only 15cm deep so there's a good chance it's not going to get in the way too much of water bottles and removal thereof, but this is going to vary according to bike design and bottle boss placement.
Specialized says that the Burra Burra is water resistant rather than waterproof, but the coated nylon construction and welded seams do a very effective job of keeping the wet stuff out. Similarly, the urethane-coated YKK zips are classed as weather-resistant rather than waterproof but they're quite leak free, and the main compartment zip is further protected from the elements by a large flap that extends the full length of the bag.
Here's the rub...
Such is the size and design of the Burra Burra 8 that it can get quite bulbous between your legs when even lightly packed, and you might find that it rubs the inside of your knees and calves. This is, of course, entirely dependent on your pedaling style and also where your frame design puts the bag, but I found it incredibly awkward to ride with. The zip flap on the right-hand side was also an issue as it rests proud of the bag, further extending its inter-thigh width.
I'm happy to admit that I might have a freakish heels-in knees-in pedaling style, but I know I'm not alone and I found it impossible to ride with the Burra Burra without having to painfully adjust my pedaling style. Other riders had less of a problem, although they did say that the sticky-out zip flap could get annoying, catching every random pedal stroke. Try the bag fully stuffed before you buy if you're in any doubt.
The Burra Burra Framepack is an incredibly well made bit of kit, sturdy and very resistant to the weather, with a well thought out and secure, if fiddly to set up, multi-strap system. While it has these good points and nicely thought out details, the width of the bag could be a deal-breaker for some and the protruding zip flap a silly annoyance to many. And while we're being picky, the main compartment could do with a divider of some sort.
> Beginner's guide to carrying stuff on your bike
At £95 (according to everyone except Specialized, which lists it as £85 on its website), the Burra Burra is at the top end of the price range for a frame bag; for that money you could get a custom-made bag to fit your frame and bottles rather than something off-the-shelf. But in the world of bikepacking luggage where a lot of it is handmade and sometimes a little handmade round the edges, the Burra Burra stands out by being well made, sturdy and a lot more weather resistant than a lot of bags.
A very good rugged and highly weatherproof bag with some nice details, but some might find knee clearance issues
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Make and model: Specialized Burra Burra Framepack
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?
Specialized says: "The Burra Burra Framepack 8 is the largest in our line, measuring out to an ample 50x5.5x15cm. It features a strong, reliable, and sturdy six-point attachment system, flush with coated webbing and camlocks. The pack itself is constructed from coated nylon, so it's highly resistant to inclement weather, while its two welded side pockets create safe storage with easy access to your small ride essentials."
Strong and sturdy it is, and well endowed with straps and webbing, but the large compartment can be a bit of a black hole.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Specialized lists these features:
Coated nylon construction is welded for added strength and weather resistance.
Six-point attachment with coated webbing & camlocks creates added security and restricts bouncing and shifting.
Weather-resistant, urethane-coated YKK zippers prevent water infiltration.
Two welded external side pockets allow safe, easy access for your smaller items.
Reflective logo accent increases your visibility to motorists in low-light conditions.
Dimensions (cm): 50 x 5.5 x 15
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Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Specialized Burra Burra is a very good framebag; it's mostly well thought out, sturdy, highly weather resistant and can carry a bunch of stuff, as long as it doesn't get in the way of your knees.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tough, weatherproof, capacious.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The main compartment could have benefited from a divider, the zip cover was an annoyance to some, and for me the bulbous design critically got in the way of my pedalling.
Did you enjoy using the product? No, it hindered my pedalling.
Would you consider buying the product? No, see above.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd tell them to try it fully loaded before buying to see if it worked with their biomechanics.
Use this box to explain your score
The Burra Burra framebag is at the top end of the price bracket for this sort of kit, but it can punch at this weight with a sturdy and weatherproof design. Check to see if the lack of main compartment divider and protruding bag and zip-flap might irk you, though.
Age: 47 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I'm on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, fun
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