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The Craft Cadence Top Tube Bag is well made and well designed, with a very reliable magnetic and Velcro closure that's surprisingly easy to operate mid-ride. The Velcro straps for attaching the bag are better suited to frames with larger diameter tubing than narrow tubes – something to bear in mind if you're wanting a bag you can switch between bikes where that might be an issue.
The 1.5-litre bag measures 20.5x11x5cm and is made from 600-denier, TPU-coated polyester, with welded seams and a padded base. Some localised reflective logos and detailing break up the otherwise uber-practical, goes-with-everything black.
Its cover flap is secured by magnets and Velcro for belt and braces security, while keeping access a one-handed affair – even at a decent pace it was easy to access, though it does require a more definite tug than some.
On top there's a nifty loop for mounting a computer, GPS or phone. There's also a small, carefully located channel intended for headphones or battery cables and the like.
Craft Cadence says the bag is fully waterproof, and I've had no issues during some decidedly soggy outings. The fabric is showing no signs of wear, either.
Inside, there's a large open section with a zipped pocket on the side. To give an idea of size, it will swallow a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, an energy bar, tube and tyre levers, with bank cards, keys and possibly a slim wallet in the zippered pocket. Given the season, I went for liner gloves, spare cap, tube and micro jacket.
Framesets with internal cable routing – or fixed gear bikes running just a front brake – are obvious hosts, but bikes with 'guitar string' cable runs along the top tube should have no compatibility issues. Oval/flatter top tubes with a wider surface area are ideal, offering greater support and minimising potential sway/slippage, especially if you're carrying something bulkier or heavier inside.
The Velcro straps for attaching the bag are quite long and work fine with oversized, hydroformed aluminium alloy frames, but the thinner tubes on my winter bike required thick, rubbery DIY shims to achieve rock steady tenure. (Thinner tube sets, such as my 531c road frameset, were non-starters.)
There's also an optional stem strap. It's something I've largely left off, but could be useful provided your bike doesn't run a slammed stem.
One thing to bear in mind is that luggage tethered to frames with Velcro can leave lines in the lacquer – or worse, if anything wet and gritty sneaks beneath. Applying some good quality helicopter tape should prevent this.
Though slender, the bag's profile is broader than some and had me wondering whether if I'd be adopting a slightly exaggerated 'knees out' pedalling style, but although there were occasions when my knees connected – primarily when I was hopping out of the saddle on an unexpectedly sharp or taxing climb – I've been able to cruise along unhindered.
There are cheaper options out there, but also a fair few that are more expensive – especially those employing a magnetic main flap.
Restrap's Race Top Tube Bag is a very long, well-engineered example that will also gobble 1.5 litres of kit, but it's £59.99 and the zipper design won't be to everyone's taste. Brooks' Scape Top Tube Bag is £50 but the front mount won't suit everyone – nor will the single compartment.
Apidura's Racing Bolt On Top Tube Pack is a slightly spartan but very stable and user-friendly model with a magnetic closure; it's smaller, with 1L capacity, but costs £52. It also has a Velcro sibling, for £50.
Restrap's Top Tube Bag is cheaper at £32.99 and is extremely well made, assuming you're happy to go the zippered closure route, but it's nearly half the size, with just 0.8L capacity.
Slightly cheaper than the Craft Cadence is UPSO's Tebay Top Tube Bag, which boasts a 1.5-litre capacity with two internal compartments and a choice of colourways, and is made from old lorry tarp (complete with blemishes). Again, it's a zip closure – 'one-handed' according to UPSO, but only 'showerproof'.
Overall, the Craft Cadence Top Tube Bag is solidly made and pleasant to use, at a pretty good price.
Well made bag for lighter loads, better suited to bikes with larger diameter top tubes than slimmer/retro types
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Cadence Top Tube Bag
Size tested: 1 litre
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?
Craft Cadence says: "A waterproof, one-hand access top tube bag that you can mount your computer on.
"A fully waterproof, zipperless Top Tube Bag fit for any cycling adventure - on and off-road. With its magnetic enclosure system, cable outlet for external battery pack/electronics, loop for mounting your cycling computer/phone, and neat compartmentalisation inside, it is a top tube bag like no other in the market."
I'd say it's a well made bag with some nice detailing but best suited to larger diameter tubing.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Craft Cadence lists these details:
20.5cm x 11cm x 5cm or 8.07 inches x 4.33 inches x 1.97 inches (length, max height, width)
600D polyester coated with TPU, seamless welding construction
Magnetic + Velcro enclosure system
Straps with anti-slip rubber grippers
Zipped pocket on the inside for easy organisation
Front strap is removable for those with slammed stems
Well organised and secure on larger diameter top tubes. Achieving good tenure on narrower steel tubes required lateral thought on my part, and some DIY shims.
Seems well made, with no signs of wear or deterioration during the test period.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall performance has been good. The big flap requires a little more effort than some to open, given the magnets and Velcro, but is still easily accessible on the move and at a decent pace. Provided you don't over-stuff it, there shouldn't be any issues with sway or knee clearance. The fabric is reasonably water repellent but I would pop things like a phone in a freezer type bag if the weather's looking iffy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Solid construction, easily accessible but very secure cover.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
More of an observation than a dislike, but it's better suited to framesets with larger diameter tubing.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's well priced – cheaper than Restrap's Race Top Tube Bag at £59.99, and Brooks' Scape Top Tube Bag and Apidura's Racing Bolt On Top Tube Bag, both £50.
Restrap's Top Tube Bag is £32 but nearly half the size, while UPSO's Tebay Top Tube Bag, made from old lorry tarp and with a 1.5-litre capacity, is £35 but its 'one-handed zipper' is only showerproof.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? On balance, no.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good bag with some nice features, at a decent price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)