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The Miss Grape Node Road offers an unusually slim design and a useful 0.75 litres of space that's very easily accessed. It is well made with good materials, but this quality comes at a cost.
At 4.8cm in diameter, the Node Road is narrower than many top tube bags, especially those aimed at bikepacking.
The bag has a large non-adjustable Velcro strap that goes around the top tube, and a removable front strap that secures around the stem/headset with a camlock buckle. For many bikes the location of the top tube strap will be fine, but it is fixed, so does have the potential to interfere with cabling or cable stops.
The strap has some very sticky fabric sewn into the bottom, while the bag itself has silicone dots for grip. This helps make the bag more stable, preventing it from rolling side to side.
The bag is made from incredibly strong and reasonably light nylon polyester, which is very water-repellent and also very hard wearing. On the inside is a second layer of fabric that helps smooth the bag, and a sheet of firmer material lodged between gives a firm shape that holds well.
While it isn't officially waterproof, the material stands up fine, even against a hosepipe.
On each side is a section of smoother fabric with a gap that could potentially give a place for a map, audax card or something thin that doesn't need water protection but does need easy access.
The main compartment is opened with a large zip. Opening the zip is very easy with the big looped puller making it simple, but while closing is still possible single-handed, it does take a little more effort. Once closed the zip is kept quiet and out of the way in a large zip garage.
There is no cable port, though, which some may find a shame.
When loaded full the bag can flop a little from side to side, but careful packing to ensure weight sits lower down does help. When pedalling I had no problem at all, with legs and knees staying well clear of the bag.
At £60, the Miss Grape Node Road is up there with the most expensive options of all: that Apidura is £52, for instance, while the Restrap is £64.99 (it's gone up £5 since our review last year).
At the other end of the scale, it's worth looking at the LifeLine Adventure Top Tube Bag which offers a similar size and performance – and is 20g lighter at just 80g – for £15.
The Miss Grape Node Road offers a useable amount of storage that is easy to access, and it's good in poor weather. It stays in place well, not moving much thanks to good fabrics in key areas, and it's reasonably light and narrow.
The straps might not be the perfect location or size for all bikes, though – and there's no denying it's expensive.
A strong, stable pack of a very useful size, but expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Miss Grape Node Road
Size tested: 25x7cm
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?
Miss Grape says: "The Node Road is an ultralight top tube bag designed for Road/Gravel use. Its width of 4.8 cm, the narrowest in its category, minimises the possibility of contact with the legs while pedalling."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Miss Grape lists the following:
Nylon 420 polyester 300 dotted fabric with water-repellent polyurethane resin coating 10,000 water columns, tear-proof with very high mechanical resistance.
Custom polypropylene ribbons, black/green and black colour.
Nylon plastic accessories.
The Node bag is produced in Italy and certified according to Reach CE n. 1097/2006. 1097/2006.
Length 20 cm
Height 8 cm
Width 4,8 cm
Easy to open and close and very stable, empty or full.
The materials feel very strong and robust and should last a long time.
Not superlight as claimed, but still a reasonable weight and not significantly heavier than even the lightest.
It's reasonably narrow, and I had no issues while either in or out of the saddle.
More expensive than almost all other top tube bags.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's ideal for most day rides, or as part of a multi-bag setup for multi-day trips.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fixed-position strap under the top tube.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's more expensive than most other bags. The Alpkit Fuel Pod is larger, also a simple one section zip and – while not as sturdy – it has a cable port. It's £35. The Restrap Race Top Tube bag runs it close at £59.99, although has a different design and setup. At the other end of the price scale, the similarly-sized Lifeline Adventure top tube bag is just £15.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is really well made, the zip is easy to use on the go, and it's impressively resistant to rain and spray. It's good, but not colossally better than much cheaper bags; to score higher it could do with a removable/adjustable main strap, a cable port like many of its competitors, and perhaps a more attractive price.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.