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Restrap's Race Frame Bag Small is excellent quality, offers decent waterproofing and carries a fair amount of kit in an organised fashion. It's not cheap, but a lifetime warranty allays any fears of this bag not lasting.
Restrap offers its Race frame bag in either a large version, as Iwein reviewed, or this small, the main difference being that the large has a volume of 4.2 litres, while this one is a more modest 3 litres.
You can still carry the majority of the stuff you need for a day ride if you are using the small one on its own, or various essentials if you are using the bag as part of a system.
I could carry my usual load of an inner tube, mini-pump, multitool, CO2 canisters, patches and a well-folded lightweight gilet, with space spare for anything else I might need.
Inside there's a partition in the main pocket that runs down the centre of the bag, and also a couple of mesh pockets for keeping smaller things organised. This stops stuff rattling around when you're riding on rough surfaces, and makes things easy to dig out while on the move.
The zip on the other side gives you access to a slimmer 'document' pocket – ideal for credit card, passport and so on.
Restrap has used a mixture of VX21 material and 1000D textured nylon to keep the elements out, and it does a great job. On some of my Restrap bags water can seep in through the zips over time, but on this Race Frame Bag there are flaps fitted over them which directs the water past the zips. This meant I had no issues with rain or water sprayed up from the front wheel gaining access to the inside.
The fabrics are highly durable, too. I have some Restrap bags that I bought over two years ago which have seen loads of abuse on my gravel bike, and they still look like new.
Other neat details are a hole at the front to direct cables through to reach things like power banks, should you be charging things on the go.
Fitment to your bike is simple, with the Restrap using two wide Velcro tabs for the top tube and loop-through clips and straps for the down tube to ensure a secure fit.
The two tabs used for the top tube don't clash with the fixing points used on any of Restrap's other bags. I've used the frame bag alongside a Race Top Tube Bag Long and Restrap's standard Top Tube Bag with no issues.
As for sizing, this bag is 370mm along the top tube edge, 55mm deep at the head tube, and 180mm as it travels above the down tube. At this point it angles up towards the top of the seatpost for 220mm, leaving a depth at that end of 95mm. (The measurements are all shown on Restrap's website.)
As long as you have room between the top and down tube at the front of the bike, you'll find that regardless of frame size this bag doesn't take up a huge amount of room.
I could still get two 750cl bottles in position without them being a faff to remove for a drink while riding.
When it comes to value, Restrap's bags are at quite a premium price point, but then again you can't argue with the quality. Handmade in the company's Yorkshire factory (you even get a small label signed by the machinist), they come with a lifetime warranty, and the finish is exceptional.
They're also cheaper than some – Wizard Works' Framebagracadabra frame bag, for example, in a similar size (3.5L) is even more expensive at £99. It is also handmade (in London), but lacks details like the flaps over the zips, which hampers the waterproofing.
The Miss Grape Internode Road 3L also lacks the zip covers and there is no cable port either, something that miffed Matt a bit when he was testing it, and that costs £90.
Apidura's Racing range is similar in design to the Restrap. It offers two sizes of frame bag, 2.4L and 4L, priced at £90 and £98 respectively.
So, the Restrap bag isn't cheap, but it compares well with its rivals. Yes it's a bit of an investment, but a worthwhile one. Its design enables it to carry a fair amount of kit in a secure manner, and it is very well made.
Very organised storage design with excellent build quality, and great attention to detail
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Restrap Race Frame Bag Small
Size tested: Capacity - 3L
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."
It is a non-bulky bag that can easily carry your ride essentials.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Capacity - 3L
Weight - 180g
All Restrap products carry a lifetime guarantee to be free of defects in materials and workmanship. We stand by our products and will cover the cost to repair or replace any defective product.
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.
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.
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.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It can carry all of your essentials and keep them dry.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Internal pockets keep things organised.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than other bags on the market from the likes of Wizards Works, Miss Grape and Apidura.
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
It's excellent. The choice of material is great for performance, and it really is brilliantly made. The price is competitive too.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!