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review

Restrap Race Musette

8
£24.99

VERDICT:

8
10
It's the last word in quick-and-easy on/off-the-bike portage of small items
Non-slip adjustable shoulder strap
Closure button
Roll-away elastic strap
Three colours
None apart from the £25 price tag
Weight: 
71g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Restrap Race Musette is a great backup way to carry a small amount of planned or unexpected stuff when out on your bike. With a few nifty features that mark it out from 'just a bag', it won't change your life but it could make your next day out more practical.

Musettes have been a part of cycle racing since at least the 1950s, and despite various attempts at evolution or substitution, even today the vast majority of pro cycling teams load up the humble cotton bag with food and drink, then send staff out to feed zones to hand them off to passing riders. That they work so well amongst a dense peloton moving at 50kph, enabling racers to get food and drink into their faces without crashing in a pile of limbs and splintered carbon, is testament to how well they fit into the sport's ever-shifting physical dynamic. That they have remained unchanged for nearly a century speaks to the maxim 'if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it'.

> Buy this online here

Of course a cotton bag is a cotton bag. What Restrap has done is added its own twists on the iconic design, taking away nothing except the cheap-as-chips price while adding actually useful functionality.

First and foremost, the strap. It's made from marine-grade Hypalon rubber – it will never fray, it's very strong and, being rubber, it doesn't slip easily when worn over clothing. This is important in a musette, as when you're bent forward on a bike with a decent load in the bag, you don't want it sliding forwards around your knees.

2020 Restrap Race Musette - strap.jpg

The Hypalon rubber is so grippy you actually have to run your fingers under it to reposition the bag if needed. The strap is also adjustable for length using one of Restrap's solid, small snap buckles. Both ends of the strap are sewn into the bag at a 45-degree angle so it sits perfectly. This length-adjustability means the strap can be extended fully and the bag positioned centrally on the back, coming up under both arms and around the neck – thereby centring it and absolutely guaranteeing no movement if you need to ride someplace with a fair old bit of body language.

The bag itself is made from waterproof fabric and comes in three colours – olive, orange or black – and the internal seam is stitched over with nylon webbing for reinforcing. If you manage to rip this bag at the seams, you really should reconsider your job as a depleted-uranium courier.

The top of the bag is closed with a single popper fastener, allowing it to be closed over while holding bulky items. I have a musette that features a zip, and while more secure for small objects, this limits carriage of larger items. I can confirm that the Race Musette does accommodate one eight-week-old female spaniel (working, not cocker). Your mileage may vary as to successful retention of other breeds.

2020 Restrap Race Musette - button.jpg

The final trick in the Race Musette's bag (sorry!) is the ability to fold, roll and secure itself into a small-fist-sized ball. Sewn inside the top of the bag is a short loop of wide elastic, which, once the bag is rolled, folds over to hold it in a compact bundle. This then makes the musette perfect for popping into a pocket or a frame bag, ready to handle the evening dash to the shops once you're unpacked and set up at your campsite, or to drag the evening's supplies those last few miles to your preferred location.

2020 Restrap Race Musette - folded.jpg

It's also grand for a morning's cruise about cafés and bookshops, perfect for holding a paper, magazine or two, wallet and sunglasses.

Many, many other brands make musettes for far less money – I liked the Velopac Musette, but found the zip made it a bit volume-constrained when closed. Even Rapha's take on the musette is only £10 – and you can get any number of designs for as little as £2 if you look around. So at £25 the Restrap may indeed be the most expensive musette in existence. That said, you're paying for the tech involved in the strap/elastic loop and the time spent by the Made-in-Leeds artisans to sew it up with reinforced stuff.

> Beginner's guide to carrying stuff on your bike

I'm not a hundred per cent sure the fabric being waterproof is much of a benefit given that the top can't be sealed, but it does mean if you plonk it down on wet grass or a rain-splattered table, your magazine or whatnot will remain dry.

So, in fitting with the overall Restrap Adventure Race ethos, the Race Musette is as technically loaded as a musette can get, is made from bombproof materials and far outperforms the standard cotton strap variety on the bike. If that's worth £25 to you, this is your bag, baby.

Verdict

It's the last word in quick-and-easy on/off-the-bike portage of small items

road.cc test report

Make and model: Restrap Race Musette

Size tested: n/a

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?

It's for people wanting a superlight, pocketable way to carry expected or unexpected stuff, on or off the bike.

Restrap says: 'The Adventure Race Musette Bag is a stylish addition to our range, both on and off the bike. Made from 6oz waterproof coated nylon, our musettes are durable and reliable. A popper fastener keeps everything secure, whilst an adjustable Hypalon shoulder strap tailors the bag to any user. Included on the inside of the bag is an elastic loop, allowing the bag to be packed down and folded to a minute size, allowing it to fit into a jersey pocket or any other luggage with ease.'

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Can't fault Restrap quality.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

It does the job really well.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Early days, but the construction and materials suggest this is likely a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

For what it does, 71g is light.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
10/10

Given it stays put, very comfy.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It's more expensive than most musettes, but you're paying for features that a basic cotton version simply cannot match.

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

Perfect. Didn't budge an inch.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The non-slip shoulder strap.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

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

Really the only thing to mark down here is price – everything else is really well executed.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 46  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is: Velocite Selene

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, Dutch bike pootling.

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

Add new comment

15 comments

Avatar
brooksby | 3 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

So at £25 the Restrap may indeed be the most expensive musette in existence.

Challenge accepted!

https://www.sfbags.com/products/vitesse-cycling-musette

starting at $79!!

Avatar
Eton Rifle | 4 years ago
2 likes

Just had mine delivered today. Very fast service from Restrap. It's a cracking little bag. The strap keeps it solidly in position and can be adjusted really easily. The fabric feels solid and the whole thing looks really classy.
Packs down really small. Delighted with it.

Restrap also make a standard musette that is bigger, more bulky and has a standard, slippery webbing strap instead of the rubber job on the Race Musette. Don't do what I did and order that one by mistake first...

Avatar
bechdan | 4 years ago
0 likes

I can only imagine road.cc is getting paid to review/advertise this, yet another overpriced / over engineered product that the majority of your readers don't want or need.

Avatar
Compact Corned Beef replied to bechdan | 4 years ago
8 likes

Pretty sure most of the stuff on here isn't something 'most people need' if we're being pedantic. How many pairs of shoes does anyone need, for example. And concluding that 'it won't change your life but it could make your next day out more practical' is hardly a puff piece...

Avatar
Paul7189 replied to bechdan | 4 years ago
6 likes

It's a lightweight bag that's hand made in the uk. £25 is hardly anything compared to £10000 bikes, £500 shoes and £300 bib shorts is it?

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to bechdan | 4 years ago
15 likes

Guy who wrote the review here.

I can 100% confirm that my opinion was not bought. It's my opinion, formed over multiple rides carrying various loads (yes, including a spaniel. Very briefly). Yes, I get paid a small amount for the 2-3 hours that it takes to sit down, collect thoughts, research alternatives, and craft the review you see here. Personally I do it because I like writing about bike stuff, and helping others either discover products they may need/like/love, or to help them avoid buying something that won't meet their needs, or justify their price.

What I can confirm is that I have NEVER had any influence from anyone on the Road.cc team to present a product in a favourable light. On the contrary, if I want to award a product five stars the process involves a separate justification to the editorial staff - and a fair few get knocked back. Road.cc 5-star reviews really are well-earned. 

On the flip side I've written some reviews I'm sure the brands would rather had never seen the light of day. One I know directly resulted in a global cycling brand pulling a flagship product from the market entirely (it really should have never left the designer's imagination).

...might I suggest that just because you don't want this bag, or consider it overpriced, you don't speak for the rest of the cycling community who like to have choice in product. Hell, maybe people like having the choice to buy products that are engineered to suit their specific needs - even if those products are at a price point you personally find grotesque? 

Choice is good. Always.

Cheers

Mike

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to KiwiMike | 4 years ago
3 likes

Pics of the spaniel or it didn't happen.

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
15 likes

As requested. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to KiwiMike | 4 years ago
3 likes

So cute!

Avatar
bechdan replied to KiwiMike | 4 years ago
0 likes

I can't claim to speak for the cycling community no but is this something that readers want to see? Why not have a poll

Perhaps despite being a cyclist my view is in the minority and road.cc isn't the right place for me, I guess it takes all sorts to keep things interesting.

Avatar
barongreenback replied to bechdan | 4 years ago
11 likes
bechdan wrote:

I can't claim to speak for the cycling community no but is this something that readers want to see? Why not have a poll Perhaps despite being a cyclist my view is in the minority and road.cc isn't the right place for me, I guess it takes all sorts to keep things interesting.

Basically you're asking for a set of reviews that cater exclusively for your needs?   That's a little odd.  I don't think I've ever read a print or online cycling publication where I've thought that I like 100% of the things they review.  Plus diversity of reviews encourages me to look at or even buy things I'd never considered before.  In this case, I enjoyed the review even though I'd never probably buy one.

Although @kiwimike - major error in not including the spaniel pic in the original review  3

Avatar
quiff replied to bechdan | 3 years ago
0 likes

Late to the party, but I just actively went looking for musettes and have just read two £25 musette reviews on road.cc in a row. So yes, I want this sort of thing too. 

Avatar
coose123 replied to bechdan | 4 years ago
12 likes

I want reviews like this, never thought about having something like this for bike packing. great easy way to carry that little bit extra you forgot to the campsite like food or beers just before you set up camp. keep reviewing all corners of cycling goods, if you it doesn't interest you, don't read, easy.

Avatar
Eton Rifle replied to coose123 | 4 years ago
5 likes
coose123 wrote:

I want reviews like this, never thought about having something like this for bike packing. great easy way to carry that little bit extra you forgot to the campsite like food or beers just before you set up camp. keep reviewing all corners of cycling goods, if you it doesn't interest you, don't read, easy.

My thoughts as well. Sometimes on tour, you need a bit of spare capacity to carry a bit of shopping to the campsite. I've been using a packable rucksack that cost about the same as this musette but I prefer the look of the musette.  Restrap make some top-quality kit.

Avatar
fenix replied to bechdan | 4 years ago
8 likes

Looks decent to me actually. I'm considering getting one. I could pop it in a pocket and pick up some shopping on the way back from a ride. Certainly easier than stuffing things under my jersey.

You should look harder. I'm sure there's plenty of things that we don't need - probably 12k bikes sold to fat out of shape civvies but I still want to read the reviews.

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