The ubiquitous top tube bag has become something of a “must have” for many cyclists of different disciplines now over the past ten years or so. Triathletes, bike packers, mountain bikers, and long distance riders on road or gravel have gravitated toward using these sorts of accessories. Most commonly referred to by the model name of a certain pioneering company of the idea and having the form of a motorcycle’s fuel tank, these handy bags are really nice to have on longer rides. Whether you race ultra-distance gravel events, or are out for a few hours of back roads fun, these bags deserve a closer look.
This example is a new model for the Bike Bag Dude company from Australia dubbed the “Garage Bag” for now. This top tube bag is one of the more spacious offerings in the genre’ measuring approximately 11″ long X 3″ wide X 4″ high (at the tall end by the head tube). The bag slowly tapers in height back to about 3 1/2″ high before “rounding off” at the end. The bag weighs 140 grams and is made from top quality materials. They are also fully seam taped and are built with YKK Size 8 water resistant zips. MSRP is $95.00 USD plus freight
I used this bag on various rides, commutes, and a recent century plus gravel road adventure. I’ve used a lot of top tube bags and I have a couple of “musts” when it comes to these types of bags. One is that the top tube bag must not flop side to side. The other is that the top tube bag must close easily with one hand while riding.
I’m happy to have found that the Garage TT Bag passed my two “musts” with flying colors. First of all, the Garage Bag uses two strap system on the bottom which is adjustable to work with whatever frame bag you may be using. Also, there is a wide “stem” attachment with all attachments being made from a material called “One Wrap”. This isn’t your typical hook and loop closure material, and it acts differently than traditional Velcro type attachments. One Wrap holds like crazy, but it requires far less effort to undo it than a typical, high grip Velcro would. The adjustable system and the One Wrap combine to lock down this bag and it doesn’t flop around or move at all.
The second thing is opening and closing. The Garage has a top quality zipper and a nice string on the zipper pull which allows easy opening and closing with one hand. I used the secondary strap, which is loose, to loop around a fabric loop at the end of the Garage TT Bag and then I anchored this down to my frame bag to further enhance opening and closing stability. Nice!
The Garage TT Bag lives up to its name in terms of storage. It has one giant interior space big enough to hold a spare water bottle, if you’d like it to. In my use, I was able to stick an iPhone 5, a point and shoot camera, a multi tool, and plenty of food for a long ride in the Garage TT Bag with room to spare. In fact, the bag has so much room you might want to customize it and partition it off to further help you organize within its space. One thing I noted was since the Bike Bag Dude design puts the seams on the outer part of the bag, the inner part is much more like the inside of a box with clean corners and edges. This makes clean up a snap, by the way.
At The Finish: Bike Bag Dude is a small, custom maker of bike packing gear located in Austrailia, but service to the US is reasonably quick and the prices are right for the level of customization and quality of materials here. (You can specify colors at no upcharge and can have customized fabrics or modifications for a reasonable fee.) The bag performed flawlessly for me on many rides with several types of loads on a few different bikes. However; one should take into consideration that at 11″ long, this bag may interfere with your stand over on your bike. Otherwise, I had no nits to pick with this big bag.
Check out Bike Bag Dude Garage TT Bags here on their site.
Note: Bike Bag Dude sent over their Garage TT Bag at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We were not paid nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.