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While handy for touring or commutes where you just can't be without your phone, the BTR Deluxe Bike Bag & Phone Mount is too bulky for enthusiastic riders – plus it's either waterproof or transparent, but not both.
The BTR Deluxe's five straps seem excessive; it has three underneath and two on the front for a full-on death grip along all 22cm of its length. The variety of strap lengths and fixing types (Velcro, shock cord and webbing) mean it should fit around any frame, though.
The overcooked theme continues inside, with two strongly elasticated clip-together straps to keep your banana from breaking loose in transit, plus a large plastic key hook. Your phone is secured beneath the (effective) touchscreen-compatible window with a combination of fabric, Velcro and elastic. Should you ever turn your bike upside down and shake it with the zip undone, these will all prove useful.
The textured straps are a good idea, but their tenacity is undermined by the bag's bottom being shiny, so the whole thing can still slip. The pack is prone to slowly settling to one side or the other, especially under the high-up weight of a phone.
With phones getting so big, the BTR is inevitably wide enough to be cumbersome. My knees brushed it while seated until I adapted, but I personally found it impossible to avoid when stood up – I ended up rubbing it with my legs so hard it was like I was trying to make fire. It is not your friend on hard climbs, and won't please racy riders.
It's also a disappointment that its raison d'être – along with your phone screen – disappears in heavy rain. The zips might be waterproof, but the rest is just showerproof, so for full protection you're forced to slip on the elasticated (and Velcro-strapped, because safety first) rain cover. Which is black. Turns out black is a bad colour for a window, so say goodbye to using your phone. The rubber headphone port remains uncovered, however, so at least you can still hear its lonely bleeps.
If you're gently commuting or touring and only rarely get out of the saddle, this pack could prove handy. BTR doesn't give an internal volume, but our Medium version is exactly the right size and shape for a pint glass (don't ask how I found out), so easily accepts tools, a packable jacket, snacks and a phone. The Large is 0.5cm wider and 2cm longer, and swallows today's tray-sized mobiles.
There are slimmer and less intrusive top-tube bags available, although many – such as Zefal's reliable, £34 Z Race and the £47 Apidura Expedition – are a lot more expensive. Also, many don't cater specifically to phones, with Deuter's £15 Energy Bag being a good (but not waterproof) example of basic design.
In practice, there are better ways to carry luggage (such as saddle or frame bags) that don't restrict your movement, plus better, lighter ways to carry phones, such as bar mounts. These also sit further forward for better visibility – it's a long look away from the road to find the BTR Deluxe – while phone pouches are both waterproof/and/ transparent, if you can imagine such technology.
For gentle touring, the Deluxe will get the job done without letting you down, and the price is good. But it won't convince more energetic riders that the underlying idea of combining phone displays with luggage is the magic bullet. If it is, it's one that hits you in the kneecaps.
Belt-and-braces design can't rescue the flawed concept, but can keep relaxed riders happy
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road.cc test report
Make and model: BTR Deluxe Bike Bag Phone Holder, Phone Mount & Waterproof Rain Cover GEN 5
Size tested: Medium
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?
BTR says: "This is our latest version of our most popular bicycle frame & phone bag ... This Deluxe version has waterproof zips as well as water-resistant material and a raincover.
"The phone pocket is large enough for all smartphones, including the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy range."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
BTR lists these features:
-Water Resistant Material & Waterproof Zips
-Quality Side Reflective Material Strip
-Clip Fastening on the longest strap - to ensure it fits a wider variety of bike frames & adjusts easily
-Textured non-slip straps
-2 Elasticated Luggage Straps
-1 Key Hook
-Easy Access Secure Phone Pocket with Touch Screen functionality
-Available in Medium and Large
Well put together, if a little clunky.
Fine for gentle pootling, but bulky and gets in the way during standing efforts.
Chunky build should last.
Complicated design adds weight it could live without.
It's impossible to avoid serious rubbing when up out of the saddle unless you pedal like John Wayne.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeps your phone visible and reasonably protected while adding storage space, but its size interferes with pedalling. Opaque waterproof cover is a disappointment.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Didn't rattle like I thought it would.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Bulky, prone to slowly listing to the side, not totally waterproof.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's at the cheaper end of the spectrum, despite its plethora of features.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No – for my style of riding it gets in the way of my legs.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Unlikely. If they rarely stand or sprint then it gets the job done, but there are better options.
Use this box to explain your overall score
While the Deluxe certainly does everything it should, it doesn't do it that well because it's overdesigned and under-effective. No amount of extra straps and fixings can make up for the fact that phones don't easily fit between active riders' knees. It gets a very average score of 5 because relaxed riders will find it just fine.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking