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The Merida Framebag Travel is designed to hang beneath the top tube, making good use of otherwise relatively empty space. It's generally well made and user-friendly, but check that your frame's main triangle will swallow it without restricting access to bottles/cages.
The bag comes in two sizes – medium (4.6 litre) and the large (5.4 litre) we have on test, which measures 15x51x7cm.
It's made from waterproof 210 denier Ripstop TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), a material sometimes described as bridging the gap between rubbers and plastics. Lightweight, yet rugged and flexible, it's a sensible choice for lightweight bike luggage.
Access to the inside is via waterproof zippers either side. These have long, elasticated tags, which tuck neatly into garages when not required.
The inner compartment is lightly reinforced to keep its shape, and lined in yellow for easy spotting of goodies.
A divider lets you organise kit more precisely, attaching via Velcro to the main bag so removable should the need arrive.
On one side is a medium zippered pocket for wallet/smartphone or similar valuables, on the other is a mesh 'wall' divided into three pockets – two medium, one small – with elasticated tops. There's also an elasticated key keeper.
That's as prescriptive as things get, so no problems with pumps, big tubes, a folding tyre, micro jacket, arm/leg warmers and so on.
The bag attaches to the frame via a series of relatively thin Velcro straps that'll entertain larger 'oversized' oval or hydroformed tubing. There's scope for adding more through the webbed nylon tops should you find sway an issue, although these aren't supplied.
Although my winter/training bike wasn't the ideal test rig in terms of space, I managed to get everything to play nicely by switching to side-entry bottle cages. For reference, said frameset (pictured below) is 54cm (semi-compact geometry), broadly equivalent to a to 58cm horizontal design.
Though hardly pencil thin, the chromoly tubes aren't particularly buxom, so I had to draw the Velcro pretty tight around the top tube and had some reservations regarding sway. Thankfully, the down tube and seat tube strap kept everything reassuringly solid.
I didn't load it to the gills, but the Travel bag had no problems swallowing a multi-tool, several tubes, a mini compact system camera, full water bottle, micro jacket, keys, wallet, dynamo USB charger and a mini Gorillapod tripod.
Despite some initial scepticism and fear that I might be riding bow-legged, the setup remained in check and allowed me to bimble along at a steady 18-20mph for as far as my legs would take me. There was some slight bob noticeable along unmade roads and when navigating washboard tarmac along remote lanes, but nothing untoward.
Crucially, the bag wasn't brushing against my thighs and I haven't had to nip up the straps tight mid-ride. I have kept a close eye on them, snugging the top tube straps fractionally tighter after the first few rides, but in fairness this was precautionary rather than remedial. I would have preferred more substantial straps, especially if looking towards regular gravel/bikepacking adventures rather than commuting or road-biased weekend touring, but they haven't let me down.
A decidedly arid testing period didn't present much opportunity to assess its water repellency. The zips and fabric are designed to be waterproof, and it passed my three-minute close-range garden hose test with flying colours – bone dry inside. When I did encounter a heavy downpour the water just beaded up then rolled away.
Matt did find that the seams could leak in heavy rain in his test of the medium Travel bag on our sister site, off.road.cc, so it's sensible to keep water-sensitive kit in dry bags.
At £47.99 the Merida isn't a bad price compared with others in the bikepacking frame bag world, and it does offer a little more space than some. (The medium option is the same price.)
You can pay less: Passport Cycles' large frame bag is a little smaller, with a capacity of 4.8L, and a good bit cheaper at £34.99 (and its Velcro attachments seem more substantial) – Rachael tested the medium size on off.road.cc.
BBB's Middle Mate frame bag only comes in one size – 4L – and is £34.95.
The Woho X-Touring frame bag Stu tested is the same price as the Merida and lighter, but again a little smaller.
Topeak's Midloader comes in a larger 6L size, for £54.99, while its 4.5L sibling is now £46.99.
While there's a lot of competition, the Merida Framebag Travel is competent and well worth closer inspection if you're looking for a wallet-friendly option.
Decent performing option, but more substantial Velcro straps would give better peace of mind
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Merida Framebag Travel L
Size tested: Large
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?
Merida says: "Available in medium/4.6L and large/5.4L sizes, the MERIDA FRAMEBAG TRAVEL is perfect for overnight trips or any ride where you just need a little extra gear. By placing the FRAMEBAG underneath your top tube, you can fill that unused space inside your frame and keep gear within easy reach, meaning no need to dismount to grab what you need.
'The FRAMEBAG TRAVEL mounts quickly and easily to almost any frame using several adjustable velcro straps and won't rattle around to distract you from the road. The tough, Ripstop Nylon material is waterproof to keep your gear safe and built to survive the most gruelling of conditions.
'The internal space of the FRAMEBAG TRAVEL is designed to be versatile. An internal divider helps keep your gear organised and includes a mesh pocket for valuables such as cash and keys. Simply remove the divider to add more space or to carry larger items. Reflective details help keep you safe on the roads."
My feelings are that it's a nicely executed bag with decent performance overall, but the Velcro straps could be more substantial.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
SIZE M L
VOLUME 4.6 l 5.4 l
HEIGHT 15 cm 15 cm
LENGTH 44 cm 51 cm
WIDTH 7 cm 7 cm
WEIGHT 246 g 260 g
MATERIAL 210D Ripstop TPU 210D Ripstop TPU
Generally well made but the straps, though functional, could be more substantial.
Sits in the main triangle, holds a reasonable amount of kit in a very organised way and seems waterproof, in the everyday sense.
Bag should be rugged enough, though I have some minor reservations concerning Velcro's longterm durability.
Unobtrusive for a large bag (although measure your frame's main triangle first).
It's on a par with others.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by the Travel Frame bag. It will hold a decent amount of kit and internal segregation is useful. It seems waterproof in the everyday sense, and the Velcro system holds everything steady.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Materials, layout and general design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd prefer more substantial Velcro straps.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Passport Cycles' large frame bag is a little smaller, with a capacity of 4.8L, and a good bit cheaper at £34.99, BBB's Middle Mate frame bag only comes in one size – 4L – and is £34.95. The Woho X-Touring frame bag Stu tested is a couple of quid more than the Merida and lighter, but again a little smaller. Topeak's Midloader comes in a larger 6L size, for £54.99, while its 4.5L sibling is £46.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Worth considering.
Use this box to explain your overall score
A decent frame bag with some nice touches, though I'd prefer more substantial Velcro straps for peace of mind.
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)