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review

Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack

9
£72.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Both waterproof and solid, an excellent way to store a lot of things on your top tube
Large
Lightweight
Solid fixings
Slim profile
Two-way zip
Cable port
Removable inner
Stiff sides
Movable divider
Weight: 
200g
Contact: 

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The Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack squeezes two litres of flexible storage into a slim form factor with rock-solid fixings. Featuring a charging cable port and a two-way waterproof zip, it's hard to beat if you need to max out your storage for going fast, far or in between.

At 45cm, this is one of the longest top tube bags around. I ride an XL frame and most of the top tube gets taken up with its quick-access goodness. A potential downside of this is hitting your knees when full, but at 4.5cm wide it's in the Goldilocks zone for storage vs knee clearance.

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Apidura has reinforced the sides by lining the removable inner with a flexible, strong plastic sheet. The inner is a soft material that's stitched to the plastic, then the liner is held to the outer with Velcro. It's not advertised as removable in the specs, but I found it a real bonus when an oat bar exploded and got mashed into the liner over the course of a long rocky ride. Being able to wrestle the liner out and scrub it down got everything back to clean and tidy.

2021-apidura-backcountry-long-top-tube-pack inside.JPG

Other internal features include a removable Velcro-and-elastic divider, which lets you separate kit while also holding the sides in when full. At the front there's a covered cable port so you can pass charging and light cables through. The bottom of the inside is slightly padded to help protect items like battery packs from repeated impact with the top tube.

2021-apidura-backcountry-long-top-tube-pack divider.JPG

The outer is made from a custom-developed lightweight laminate, and all panels are welded together, making it 100 per cent waterproof. Zips will always give a slight risk of ingress, but the one Apidura has chosen is as good as any I've seen on bike luggage. There are two pull-tags, so you can open the bag from the top or bottom – a very handy feature when on the bike and wanting to access a particular bit of kit. For example, I kept my food at one end, and stashed gloves/tools at the other.

2021 Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack - zip
2021 Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack - zip 2

Branding is kept pretty minimal, with reflective logos either side.

Fixings

The fixings are rock solid. At the front there's a 20mm cut-out through which the 24cm Velcro strap passes before wrapping around the stem. Underneath there are two fixed 25mm Hypalon-reinforced Velcro straps, centred 12.5 and 25cm back from the front of the bag. I make them long enough to go around a 60mm-diameter top tube, so plenty generous, but as they are fixed, if they interfere with your frame bag's fixings you're out of luck.

2021 Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack - front

At the rear of the bag base there's another movable Velcro strap, sliding through one of two slots in the underneath of the bag.

Finally, the bag is pulled tight with a thin 15mm webbing strap that loops around your seatpost and holds fast with a buckle and elastic tidy loop. To be honest, this is a belt and braces approach from Apidura; it's easily removed and if you don't like it I doubt you'll miss its presence.

2021 Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack - rear strap

Weight is a racing-svelte 200g. For a rigid 2-litre bag with five fixing points and a waterproof zip, that's pretty darn light. For comparison, Restrap's Race Top Tube Bag is only 10g lighter at 190g, but misses half a litre of capacity, has no cable port and isn't as waterproof.

For an ostensibly simple item Apidura has packed in a number of tasty features to aid stability and usability. Out on the bike it doesn't disappoint, staying firmly put even when knocked by a wayward knee. The zip is stiff when new, and does loosen a bit, but remains firm and in place no matter the load or terrain.

With a full load over the roughest of terrain at the fastest of speeds, there was nothing to distract me from rattling eyeballs and puckering trousers of impending doom. When excessive body language was required to keep things upright, on occasion a leg would contact the pack, but the secure fastening and stiff sides meant things returned to where they should be without issue.

2021 Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack - rear

Speaking of load, how much can you fit into two litres? For me it's a decent mini-pump, four energy bars, a Garmin inReach GPS tracker, a huge Topeak Alien X multi-tool, inner tube, a Dynaplug tool, patch kit and tyre levers, with room to spare.

> Emergency essentials: 10 things to take with you on every ride

If you're headed out on a really long ride, chances are you'll be dealing with changing weather, in which case it's nice to be saving those jersey pockets for soft, light clothing you want to lose as the day warms up. Not having the heavy, hard stuff on your back at the start of a day is a great feeling, and the Racing Long pack makes it easy to access everything as needed on the go.

Value

At £72 the Long pack isn't cheap – I'd call it an investment. Yes, you can buy top tube bags for as little as £15, but they are almost certainly not waterproof, or have the well-thought-out features on show here. As mentioned above, the Restrap Race is another 'large' bag, and pound-per-litre the Apidura offering wins out. Even more so against the Miss Grape Node Road, the Apidura bag shows good value.

> Buyer’s Guide: 26 of the best bikepacking bags

The most obvious competition is from Apidura's own Backcountry Long Top Tube Bag – slightly smaller at 1.8 litres, 7cm shorter but sloping less at the rear, with the same 4.5cm width and £2 less. If you wanted a more upright pack or needed it to fit a shorter frame, that would be your bet.

Adding value, Apidura offers a warranty 'for the reasonable lifetime and intended usage of its products'. And if it deems the product outside of that it offers what seems a fairly-priced repair service. Its website lists a good number of repair tips too, including how to fix a broken zip, which isn't covered under warranty.

Conclusion

Apidura has a great reputation in the ultra-distance racing and riding community, so if you want to give your money to a company interested in keeping you riding fast, far or in between in return for some great on-bike storage, the Racing Long Top Tube Pack should be at the top of your list.

Verdict

Both waterproof and solid, an excellent way to store a lot of things on your top tube

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack

Size tested: 2L

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?

It's for people wanting to store as much as possible within easy reach on the top tube.

Apidura says:

The Racing Long Top Tube Pack is designed for ultra-distance cycling competition and the needs of time-conscious riders for who need to carry a bit more, have smaller frames or simply want more close-to-hand storage while riding. With a fully waterproof two-way zipper and reinforced straps for stability, this waterproof top tube bag is ideal for storing battery packs, mobile phones, layers and race essentials.

Constructed from an ultralight laminate developed for Apidura, this bag fastens securely to the top tube, stem and seat post and works alongside a wide range of frame bags. An adjustable internal divider and the fully waterproof two-way zipper make it easy to arrange and access belongings, while keeping everything dry.

A closed-cell foam padding structure protects your frame and electronics from damage and for added convenience, a protected cable port enables charging of devices on the go. Specially designed, high-contrast reflective features enhance side visibility in all light conditions.

The Racing Long Top Tube Pack is a useful standalone bag for daily riding or as part of a full Racing Series setup. For smaller sizes, see our Racing Top Tube Pack.

Materials

The Racing Long Top Tube Pack is made from Hexalon, a bespoke laminated fabric developed specifically for Apidura. Designed to fit the demands of ultra-distance competition and audax, the material is waterproof and lightweight, with strong tear and abrasion resistance.

The attachment points are reinforced with Hypalon, a durable rubberised nylon that provides extra protection against friction and puncture.

Care

Wash the Racing Long Top Tube Pack by hand, using a mild diluted soap if necessary. Air to dry. Do not machine wash, machine dry, or iron

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

Apidura lists:

Foam base and adjustable internal divider to protect contents

Bespoke, fully waterproof two-way zipper

Slim-line design to avoid knee rub

Protected cable port

Reflective graphics for 24-hour visibility

Ultralight, waterproof construction

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Welded seams throughout – faultless build.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Stays put, easily opened, waterproof, customisable.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Early days, but it's made to last around the world, many times.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
10/10

For the storage and features, very light indeed.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

£72 is at the higher end of cost, but it's worth it.

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

Can't fault it. It's an instant classic for the ultra-distance crowd and those needing to schelp a lot of stuff in reach.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The waterproofness – confidence of dry things is happiness.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

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

For the price per litre, it works out well. It's not cheap viewed alone, but you are investing in a premium product that should last many decades of riding.

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 overall score

The only thing to mark down is price – it's on a par with other high-end offerings. But don't let that put you off – it's worth it.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

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