Review: Banjo Brothers Frame Bag
Above is a great example of what I normally carried in the frame bag. A random piece of fruit or a small, light-weight, rain jacket are missing from the photo.
Roughly a month ago I did a quick preview of the Banjo Brothers Frame Bag, which you can read over here. The bag has around 700 commuting miles and a couple accidental tumbles while gravel grinding.
Banjo Brothers Frame Bag $32.99-34.99
Size on test: Medium
Size and type of bike tested on: 56cm carbon cross bike, 55cm carbon road bike, 17″ mountain bike
Use and Abuse
The main testing ground of this bag over the past few weeks was on my cross bike during my August commuter assault. 60 miles a day for 2-4 days a week during the month of August. Only once during this assault did I not used the frame bag and used a backpack instead to see if my opinion of this frame bag could be swayed.
The bag looks pretty brand-new even with the daily use. The only thing showing wear is some mud on the bottom down tube strap. The velcro and straps aren’t fraying and they never scratched any of my frames due to a nice piece of padding between the velcro strap and frame.
The zippers have a nice weather resistant cover to them and in the handful of rainstorms I caught myself in, the fabric nor zippers let in water. This is also in part of the front “pocket” that you can pull the zippers into.
There are a few things I really like about this bag.
- Reflective piping around the rim of both sides make this bag a great extra piece of safety when riding at night.
- The smaller and larger pocket compartments are a nice touch. Allowing me to put smaller things like multi-tool, money and keys in one pocket and then food/jacket and tubes in the other pocket.
- Double zippers allow you to access gear easily from either end of the bag. Pretty crucial in the dark when you are looking for your arm warmers that you buried thinking that you weren’t going to need them.
- The padded piece between the velcro and frame are pretty killer.
Some of these downfalls will depend on your frame size and usage
- My front bottle was pretty hard to get out when using the frame bag. If you are using this frame bag for bike camping or long rides get in the habit of drinking out of your seat tube mounted bottle and then rotating when you empty that one. They do advertise you can run a 70oz hydration bladder in the bag.
- Take care when trimming the velcro. If you plan on moving it between bikes it may be long on some frames and rub your leg. There is no way around this, but if you keep it on one bike you can trim the velcro straps perfect and never run into a problem.
Overall Thoughts and Review Conclusion
I used this mostly during the testing for review while bike commuting. This bag may not be ideal if you have to lock up outside or leave your bike parked somewhere that the bag could be lifted. If you are doing some longer rides, want to test out bike camping without breaking the bank or just want a different way to carry some essentials with ease – give this bag a try. You can’t beat the price, quality or company standing behind the product.
To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed using this bike, when we plan out some overnight bike camping this fall I plan on picking up another one for my gf’s cross bike. Pairing a Banjo Brothers Frame Bag with one of their Handlebar Bags and Waterproof Trunk Bags, I believe she’ll be set as I’ll be carrying the tent.
Padded Velcro Straps
Downtube Sway Strap
Up close top tube strap
Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review purposes
Preview: Banjo Brothers Frame Bag
Needing a bike bag? Scroll to the bottom for an exclusive discount with Banjo Brothers!
The exploding market of bikepacking has lead to the design and development of many useful products for the utility cyclist, specifically frame bags. Up until a couple years ago if you wanted to go with the minimilist approach of strapping things to your bike without a rack in a “frame bag” you were going to pay a decent amount of coin for someone to sew a bag for your bike. Thankfully, you can now find many bags coming to market that are more universal fit and ready for your excursions.
Banjo Brothers Frame Bag $32.99-34.99
Size on test: Medium
Size and type of bike tested on: 56cm carbon cross bike and 55cm carbon road bike
Blurb from Banjo Brothers
The Banjo Brothers Frame Pack is designed to maximize the gear-carrying efficiency of your bike. Built from tough-as-nails ballistic nylon with waterproof zippers and a “no-rattle” zipper-pull garage, you’ll quickly wonder what you did withouth this bag. Two pockets – one full size and one flat pocket to organize smaller items – includes wallet pouch and key clip. Our Med Frame Pack fits up to a 70oz hydration bladder
Cut-to-length straps fit oversized tubes to 3″ dia. Small fits sloping frames down to 15″ 102 cu in Interior Dimensions: 15.5″ x 5.5″
- 01064 (medium) is 15.5″L x 5.75″ H x 2″W and 01063 (small) 14.75″ L x 4.25″ H 1.75″W
Initial Thoughts and Usage
Last week I strapped this bag to my bike for my first commute to work. Inside I had the standard flat kit, wallet, phone and then a handful of fruit. The bag felt pretty empty but very stable against the main triangle of my road bike. Today it looked like it would rain so I threw in a pretty compact rain jacket, some more food and a pair of gloves. Again, the bag felt pretty empty (maybe 70% used.)
While riding I don’t notice the bag below me too much. The first 10 minutes of the initial ride I noticed my knees very barely brushing the bag but the velcro wasn’t rubbing me and to be honest my pedal stroke is one that I can brush the top tube with my knees when I get tired. In a cross wind the bike catches a bit more but it doesn’t feel like a sail even under some large gust coming out of the foothills of Boulder this morning.
So far, I’m pretty stoked on this new addition to my commuter rig. Thanks to it’s size I don’t need a backpack and I love that it has two pockets for easy fetching of food or keys. It apparently can hold a 70oz hydration bladder so that will be the next thing to try. Both of my bottles are accessible but the front can be a tight squeeze with the tight carbon cages I’m running.
20% Discount with Banjo Brothers Through July
That’s right, Banjo Brothers wants to know if folks that read my reviews actually purchase stuff. They are offering a 20% off discount off anything if use BIKESHOPGIRL at time of checkout (case sensitive.) http://bit.ly/12SPsAu
Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review.
Interbike ’12: SKS Germany Frame Bags
Keep up to date with the Bike Shop Girl coverage of the 2012 Interbike Trade Show with coverage, previews, exclusives and interviews.
If you know me, you know my lure to bike packing and going Survivor style on a bike. SKS is bringing a few affordable options for on the frame bags. They aren’t handmade or to the detail that something like Revelate Designs but a good addition for commuters, longer distance riders and people testing the water.
MSRP $22.99 The small bag sits within arm’s reach on the front top tube, secured with velcro attachments. Easily fuel up on energy bars while still riding. The bag lid protects the contents from the elements. Reflective details guarantee improved visibility in low light conditions. Dim 5.75” x 2” x 2.75” Volume 0.5L
MSRP $22.99 A bicycle bag made of sturdy nylon with straps for frame mounting. The bag features storage compartments (e.g. for mini pump, repair kit, tire levers, mini tools, or small change). Weight 115g Dim 10.5“ x 8.5“ opened
MSRP: $29.99 Triangular frame bag made of sturdy material offers space for tools and spare inner tubes. It is safely secured to all kinds of bike frames with its three Velcro strap attachments and the flexible reinforcements. Reflective piping for improved visibility. Dim 14” x 2” x 4.8” Volume 1.35L
MSRP: $29.99 Triangular frame bag made of sturdy material offers space for tools and spare inner tubes. It is safely secured to all kinds of bike frames with its three Velcro strap attachments and the flexible reinforcements. Reflective piping for improved visibility. Dim 9.8” x 2” x 8.3” Volume 1.4 L