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review

Alba Optics Division Bag

7
£60.15

VERDICT:

7
10
An effective bag for keeping everything safe and separated, but expensive for what it is
Effective, safe storage
Can be strapped to the bike
Water-resistant
Not fully waterproof
Not best tuned for on-bike use
Weight: 
276g
Contact: 

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The Alba Optics Division Bag is an effective, simple and useful padded bag with customisable dividers to keep your valuables, electronics and glasses safely stowed. You can use it on a frame, but it's most at home as hand luggage – it's not fully waterproof.

For many the idea of a division bag is a little extravagant – after all, most glasses come with their own cases, and many cameras do too. To be honest, until recently I thought them an extravagance too. But I've now realised that easy organisation, and the time that saves, is actually quite valuable – a seven month-old baby will do that to you...

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I used this in two roles: as a place to keep glasses safe and secure day-to-day and, more importantly, as transport for cycling valuables when travelling.

2021 Alba Optics Division bag - inside loaded.jpg

The bag has three soft dividers that Velcro into any spot along its length. This allow you to very quickly and easily move the dividers or remove them completely in order to fit different things.

2021 Alba Optics Division bag - movable dividers.jpg

It also has a net pocket across the top for other bits and pieces. All of this is secured through a simple zipped top with a robust zip that doesn't get caught or pull at all.

2021 Alba Optics Division bag - mesh compartment.jpg

The Division Bag can be attached to a frame with two buckled straps (on the long edge) or two Velcro straps (on the short edge). It also has a number of D-rings, loops, and a moveable cord – it's versatile enough you can strap it onto most things.

2021 Alba Optics Division bag - cord.jpg

I used it on my bike, on a pram, in a bag and strapped to a bag, and it always stayed secure.

2021 Alba Optics Division bag - back.jpg

It can work as a bar bag for bikepacking too, thanks to the water-resistant ripstop material, but it's not actually waterproof as it has untaped seams and a regular zip.

> 26 of the best bikepacking bags — how to choose lightweight luggage

I found it easily takes four sets of glasses, each with large frames (Koo Spectros, Roka Matadors, Oakley Jawbreakers, and Rudy Project Defenders... if all these fit in, anything will).

2021 Alba Optics Division bag - inside.jpg

For trips I found it useful for organisation as much as safe storage – it takes a couple of pairs of glasses, a few gels, a bike computer, my phone wallet and some sun sleeves – the kind of things that, when thrown somewhere in the back of a car (especially alongside baby kit), easily get lost.

Value

At £60.15, the Division Bag feels quite expensive given its 'hand luggage with occasional bike use' nature. Ortlieb's Ultimate Six Classic is almost the same price (15p cheaper!), but offers considerably better mounting options, is larger, and has better waterproofing, making it far more versatile. On the downside, you need to buy the dividers separately.

Meanwhile, you could do much of the handy organising with bar bag, such as the £70 Wizard Works Lil Presto! Barrel Bag, and again get greater versatility (but again, no internal organisation).

Overall

The Alba Optics Division Bag is well made and very good at what it's for, but that use is somewhat limited – yes, you can fix it on your bar or frame, but it's not tuned for serious on-bike use. That, for me, impacts the value somewhat, especially as you can get more capable bags for the same money.

However, in terms of purely organising kit and keeping everything safely apart, it's great.

Verdict

Effective for keeping safe and separated, but more at home off-bike than on

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Alba Optics Division Bag

Size tested: one size

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?

Alba says: 'The Division Bag is the perfect storage solution for your essentials, keeping your riding gear (such as a GPS, digital camera, snacks, tools, Alba Optics sunglasses and more) safely and neatly organized.'

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

Alba lists:

– 3 litres dry bag

– Padded walls

– Adjustable compartments

– Functional D-Rings

– Mountable on the bike

– 210D / 420D ripstop nylon

– Weight: 290gr

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Seems well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Does exactly what's needed – it kept my kit separated and safe.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

This is an expensive bag, and you can find others that perform a similar job for less.

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

It is a simple idea and it does it well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Its simplicity - it's easy to add, remove, or adjust dividers to fit anything you need.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It is expensive for what it is.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £60.15, the Division Bag feels quite expensive given its 'hand luggage with occasional bike use' nature. Ortlieb's Ultimate Six Classic is almost the same price (15p cheaper!), but offers considerably better mounting options, is larger, and has better waterproofing, making it far more versatile. On the downside, you need to buy the separators separately.

Meanwhile, you could do much of the handy organising with bar bag, such as the £70 Wizard Works Lil Presto! Barrel Bag, and again get greater versatility (but again, no internal organisation).

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? In a sale...

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's an effective and useful bag for storing your valuables when on a trip, but there is no getting around the expense – and for bikepacking there are more appropriate options out there. It's good at what it does, though.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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