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review

Restrap Race Frame Bag Large

9
£89.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Well made and well designed frame bag that should last a long time
Bombproof attachment - no movement at all
Not overly bulgy when stuffed full
Rugged build
Made in Yorkshire
Attachment points can't be adjusted around frame bosses
Weight: 
236g
Contact: 

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The Restrap Race Frame Bag Large is very well made – in the UK - and holds four litres of stuff very securely. It has a zipped pocket on either side and an internal vertical divider to stop it bulging into your pedalling knees when stuffed full. At £89.99 it's not the cheapest, but early indications are that it will last a long time.

This is the latest iteration of Restrap's Race Frame Bag that our Mike reviewed a couple of years ago. Where it used to be one size only, there are now two – the original £79.99 small version, which is 3L, 180g and not full length – and this new Large. It has a capacity of 4.2L and weighs 236g on our Scales of Truth.

> Buy now: Race Frame Bag Large from Restrap for £89.99

The vertical divider attaches with Velcro. You don't have to use it, but it does help with organisation and, more importantly, with keeping the bulge at bay. I find it annoying when my knees brush a frame bag on every pedal stroke, so I appreciate one that's found the perfect balance between capacity and width. This has it down to a tee.

Size-wise this is probably a bit overkill for most day rides, but it's perfect for longer trips. The big pocket on this one swallows a battery pack, spare tube, waterproof, arm and knee warmers, tent pegs, tent poles and more with ease, with more room for bits like cables, credit cards, passports and so on the other side.

2022 Restrap Race Frame Bag Large - inside.jpg

Restrap publishes the exact dimensions on its website, so it's possible to check whether it'll fit in your frame beforehand. That's a good idea, as it's 50cm long – it only just fits on my medium (54cm) Kinesis Tripster ATR. If your frame is medium to small, it's definitely worth checking.

I can usefully fit a 750ml bottle on the seat tube and a 500ml on the downtube underneath this frame bag, but the Tripster does have three bosses for each location – and I have the bottle cages tweaked as far down as they will go.

Attachment points

The Restrap Race frame bag uses the same attachment points as the non-Race version, and they look pretty similar to Apidura frame bags too – in other words, this type of attachment is proven in the field.

2022 Restrap Race Frame Bag Large - top tube straps.jpg

On top, you get three tabs; these are rubberised (it's hypalon) on the non-Velcro side for a bit of frame protection and good grip. There are two straps with cam buckles for the downtube and another for the seat tube, and together they make for bombproof attachment. There is absolutely no sway or movement in the bag at all.

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

The attachment points are fixed though, so can't be adjusted around external cabling, bosses or anything else. That said, I didn't have any issues with clashes.

2022 Restrap Race Frame Bag Large - front.jpg

I used this frame bag on a few long day rides, but the main test was on a four-day off road bikepacking trip. It proved a useful companion, carrying a lot of stuff without any niggles at all. In fact, on my 54cm Tripster frame, I feel like it really maximised the available space. For longer trips, this is now my frame bag of choice.

Pleasingly, there is absolutely no sign of any wear at all, so I'm confident this one will come on a fair few adventures with me yet.

2022 Restrap Race Frame Bag Large - rear.jpg

While the outer fabric, inner liner and zips are all waterproof, the bag overall still isn't entirely sealed – the seams aren't taped. The test period saw a run of lovely dry weather, so in lieu of genuine rain I stuffed this with towels and subjected it to a garden hosing on a shower setting. After 2-3 minutes water had found its way through the seams and made them damp, but to be fair real rain – probably even heavy rain – would take far longer to dump so much on this bag.

While a drybag is clearly in order for absolute protection, the ingress is not excessive, and it looks like Restrap has forgone taped seams in favour of reinforcing them from the inside for durability instead. That gets my stamp of approval anyway.

Value

At £89.99 this is certainly not outrageous, especially as it's made in the UK and backed with a lifetime warranty. Apidura's Racing Frame Pack is a similar size at 4L and costs £98, though it's a bit shorter so could be a good option on smaller frames. Meanwhile its Expedition frame pack is a little less at £90 for the 4.5L version, and it's actually lighter too at 170g.

Ortlieb's Frame-Pack Toptube is more expensive at £115 but actually gets an IP67 rating, which means it can withstand spending 30 minutes in a metre of water. Ideal if you'd rather not use a separate drybag.

You can also pay less; Alpkit's Analoko frame bag is also 'highly water resistant,' and the size 48 (4L) costs £42.99. Alternatively, LifeLine's large Adventure Frame Bag is also 4L and costs £24.99 (at least it does officially, but it's Wiggle so you're unlikely to even pay that much).

Overall

This new large bag is well designed and well made – in the UK – and feels made to last. Its attachment points are secure, and on my medium frame at least it uses the available space perfectly. It's very good indeed.

Verdict

Well made and well designed frame bag that should last a long time

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Restrap Race Frame Bag Large

Size tested: Capacity - 4.2L

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?

Restrap says: "The Adventure Race Frame Bag is a durable and lightweight bag, ideal for ultra-distance racing and audax riding. Built to be practical and functional, an X21 technical waterproof outer, waterproof 6oz nylon inner lining and YKK aquaguard zips keep inclement weather at bay, whilst reflective detailing boosts visibility and safety when riding through the night."

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

Restrap says:

WATERPROOF MATERIALS

A specially developed combination of technical materials like VX21 and 1000D textured nylon work in conjunction with coated nylon linings to keep the worst of the elements at bay.

VEGAN FRIENDLY

Our signature brown Restrap label may look like leather but fear not - no animals have been harmed in the making of our products. PU leather or heat-pressed labels mean our kit not only looks great, but is cruelty free too.

REFLECTIVE DETAILING

As much as we'd like to always ride in ideal conditions, we know that's far from the reality. Reflective details aid visibility in low light, poor weather and outright darkness so when the day draws to a close, your adventure doesn't have to.

Capacity - 4.2L

Weight - 240g

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Great build quality (bar one small bit of slightly questionable stitching on the internal divider).

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

At a penny under £90 it's not cheap, but it is made in the UK and feels built to last – and it has plenty of rivals at similar prices.

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

It's easy enough to put on the bike, and once on it stays put. It takes a lot of stuff without bulging out too much and had no signs of wear after a four day bikepacking trip. That's exactly what I want from a frame bag.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It swallows a lot of stuff without interfering with pedalling.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It doesn't work on smaller frames, and the attachment points are fixed.

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

While it's possible to spend less, the Restrap bag is certainly not expensive if you're comparing with equivalent products from the likes of Revelate Designs, Ortlieb or Apidura. Alpkit's Analoko is about half the price, and Lifeline's Adventure Frame bag is about half that again at £24.99.

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

Restrap's Race Frame Bag is very well made, holds a lot of stuff and attaches securely. It's also backed by a lifetime warranty. Yes it could be completely waterproof rather than extremely weather resistant, but that's true of many bags like this. If the 50cm length of this large option suits your bike, there's not really anything to complain about.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: All of them!  My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift

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