Restrap Race Top Tube Bag review - plenty of storage space without getting in the way of your knees
The rigid construction of this bag helps it keep its streamlined shape
The Restrap Race Top Tube Bag is an excellent high-capacity option which is sturdy and can be opened one-handed. Its longer length means it boasts a 1.5 litre capacity whilst also being quite streamlined and, with its rigid design, it doesn’t tend to get in the way of your knees. The quality of the fabrics and construction lead me to believe that it will stand the test of time, too.
Holds its shape
Internal sleeves are too narrow
Internal sleeves don’t offer on-the-go access
No cable port
Top tube bags are designed to offer easy access on the go to smaller items such as valuables, snacks or low bulk layers such as arm warmers - they make a good alternative be used instead of stuffing your jersey pockets or a saddle bag.
Capacity wise, Restrap’s Race Top Tube Bag sits in the middle of the sizes on offer by bikepacking bag brands. 1.5 litres is a useful amount of storage space and one advantage of going for something a bit smaller is that you’re less likely to hit your knees on it.
Let’s take a look at the features of Restrap’s offering and how it stacks up compared to the best bikepacking bags.
Restrap Race Top Tube Bag: construction
The bag consists of a X21 technical waterproof outer, a waterproof 6oz nylon inner lining and YKK Aquaguard two-way zipper which is designed to hold out poor weather conditions.
Those zips provide easy access to the contents inside, allowing access from both the front and the back. But whilst zips are quick and convenient, they don’t match the waterproofing of roll top or a lid-closure constructions. That said, through long periods of moderate rainfall, the YKK zip didn’t have any problems.
Offering a 1.5 litre capacity, the Race Top Tube Bag measures 370mm long, 110mm high at its tallest point and is 45mm in depth. The sides of the bag are reinforced with a rigid plastic, which helps the bag keep its shape, when empty or full.
Inside the main compartment is an additional elasticated strap which can be used to hold a smartphone (my phone measures 165mm by 70mm and it fits comfortably) or a battery pack. There are also four interior sleeves to organise your items inside, though they are quite narrow (more on that later).
Some top tube bags have a cable port which allows you to store a battery pack inside the bag and charge a device which is mounted to the bars. But the Restrap toptube bag misses this feature.
On each side you have a mesh pocket which is a useful place for stuffing gels on one side and used wrappers on the other.
A reflective logo has been printed on both sides of the top tube bag, which adds a touch of side-on visibility. Bikepacking trips can often start very early or continue into the night, and so this safety touch is welcome.
The bag is held in place on the top tube with two straps, closest to the head tube there’s a wide Velcro one and at the rear end is a narrower one which uses a plastic buckle. There’s a bungee cord system that wraps around the steerer tube to also help keep things sturdy.
Restrap Race Top Tube Bag: the ride
With the retention straps holding the Restrap Race Top Tube Bag in place so securely, I found it is easy to operate the zippers with just one hand to get inside while riding. YKK’s Aquaguard two-way zipper itself is also of very high quality - it runs perfectly smoothly, and I’ve never run into a situation where it’s accidentally caught the lining inside. Both zips also have a toggle attached which helps with easy access when you're wearing gloves.
I found the rigid structure of the bag useful for packing gear and I can report back that it also holds its streamlined shape when packed full. The width of the bag is just 45mm, which is fairly narrow - thanks to this (and the rigid shape), I didn't have any issues with my knees bumping into the bag while riding.
Despite being unobtrusive on the bike, the 1.5l capacity offered a handy amount of room. I found it was a good space for storing a smartphone, battery pack, arm warmers and a handful of snacks - all of which are useful to have access to on the go.
While there’s enough space to carry the essentials, the internal compartmentalization could be better in my opinion. I think it would be easier to access more items on the go if the internal sleeves were vertical instead of horizontal - I didn’t end up using them as much as I wanted too. They are also rather narrow, and so they were really only good for storing keys which I didn’t need access to until the end of the trip.
In terms of the waterproofing, the Aquaguard zip and Restrap’s materials held up well through prolonged moderate rainfall. I didn’t have any biblical deluges during the testing period, so can’t say whether it would hold out in all conditions - though I would always recommend double-bagging any valuables anyway.
The bag is very well made, and the materials have proved durable - there haven’t been any signs of premature wear. Even though the straps are robust, they’re also kind to the top tube - after removing the bag, I checked the frame and the straps haven’t left any marks.
Restrap Race Top Tube Bag: value and conclusion
Priced at $97.99 / £64.99, Restrap’s Race Top Tube Bag is in line with the prices of options from other bikepacking brands we’ve rated highly in the past. Apidura’s Racing Long Top Tube Pack has a slightly larger capacity of 2 litres and is $96 / £74, while Brooks’ smaller Scape Top Tube Bag (0.9l) is $60.00 / £49.99.
Overall, the Restrap Race Top Tube Bag is a very well-made bag and a sturdy place for storing frequently used items and food that you’ll need access to on the go. I’ve been known to dodge fitting top tube bags as I find there’s nothing more frustrating than it getting in the way of my knees, so it was a really pleasant surprise to have a handy 1.5 litres of capacity without any knee-bumping issues.
This bag has proven to be a very reliable part of my current go-to bikepacking bag set up. My only gripe is that it’s a shame that there’s no cable port for charging devices connected to your bars.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
I’ve been hooked on bikes ever since the age of 12 and my first lap of the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in the bright yellow kit of the Hillingdon Slipstreamers. For a time, my cycling life centred around racing road and track.
But that’s since broadened to include multiday two-wheeled, one-sleeping-bag adventures over whatever terrain I happen to meet - with a two-week bikepacking trip from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia being just the latest.
I still enjoy lining up on a start line, though, racing the British Gravel Championships and finding myself on the podium at the enduro-style gravel event, Gritfest in 2022.
'Possibly La Vuelta' - what's next for Geraint Thomas?
Another Tour de France bid looks unlikely for the Ineos Grenadiers leader, despite impressive Giro d'Italia
By Tom Davidson • Published
Mark Cavendish praises 'eternal optimist and special person' Geraint Thomas after stage-winning Giro d'Italia lead-out
Manxman also reveals he jokingly asked Thomas for a lead-out during the race
By James Shrubsall • Published
The 'World's premier gravel event': What is Unbound Gravel and who's racing it
WorldTour roadies, track world champions and MTB Olympians joining thousands of participants, Unbound Gravel has grown to be the world's biggest gravel race.
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published