Comes in three sizes with respective capacities of 2.5L, 3L, and 4.1L
Pros: Affordable; easy-to-pull water resistant zippers, abrasion resistant panels; foam padding along all tube sections
Cons: Some frames will have unused space since the bag isn’t custom-sized
Frame bags for dual suspension bikes are a relatively new product, and we wanted to see how Revelate’s new Full Suspension Frame bag fared on any type of ride we took it on. We were so impressed we might never take it off.
- Gender: Unisex
- MSRP: $90
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- Bikepacking: What to bring, what to leave at home
Frame bags for full suspension
High volume bike bags, once associated only with long-distance, multi-day bikepacking trips or tours, now come in options slim and svelte enough to take on your daily ride. Revelate Designs is now cranking out bags and accessories in every shape and size, for whatever your carrying capacity fancy.
The granddaddy of them all is definitely the frame bag, the one that fills up the bike’s center triangle. The folks at Revelate have done a darn good job trying to mass produce bags that will work on just about any bike. This provides a huge cost savings and cuts down on the long wait time that frequently accompanies having a bag made just for you.
Once almost an exclusivity for hardtail mountain bikes, as more and more people have discovered the benefits of frame bags over backpacks for longer rides or tours (a better-feeling back, for one), the demand for frame bags for full-suspension bikes has skyrocketed. Earlier this year, Revelate met that demand with a frame bag that can accommodate a variety of dual suspension bikes. We took the aptly named Full Suspension Frame Bag on a few rides last fall to see if a bag made for the masses was worth the hype.
First things first: This bag only works on bikes where the suspension mounts horizontally to the top tube (think Salsa, Pivot, and my trusty Canyon Lux). In order to address different frame sizes, Revelate has provided a printable PDF with paper cut-outs that you lay inside your frame to determine which of the three sizes you need. I was surprised that my size Medium Lux seemed to verge on the border of a size 2 and 3 (don’t assume that a size small bike equals a size 1 bag, etc). Following one of the cardinal rules of bike bag fitting, I made the conservative choice for the smaller size.
The bag’s shape makes it easy to figure out how to attach it to the bike. It’s padded with closed-cell foam along all tube sections for protection, and foam spacers on the down tube help protect the frame and bag from abrasion. Unfortunately, the unusually large center triangle on my bike meant that I had some dead space between the bottom of the bag and the down tube. Not wanting to waste it, I wedged my tool wrap/tube beneath the bag where it stayed snugly put. Obviously, a stock frame bag won’t fit every bike perfectly, but at least the Velcro straps were long enough to reach my down tube even though the bag didn’t fill the space perfectly.
To Moab, of course
My first outing with the Revelate bag was an overnight bikepack on the White Rim Trail in Utah, and I gave it the primary purpose of snack storage. For this, it excels. Almost all of the food I needed for two days out (one large Chipotle burrito, one small frozen burrito, a few ProBars for emergency, gummy worms, three PB&J wraps, two Snickers, and a few more odds and ends, including a multi tool and pump) fit nicely in the pack, and I didn’t have to do much smushing at all. It was incredibly easy to access my food stash due to the swoon-worthy molded-tooth, water-resistant zipper that glided open and closed every time I used it. Zippers are a big thing in the bikepacking world. This one is bomber.
After rinsing the red rock dirt off my bike after the White Rim (I doused the bag too, since it was covered in a fine layer of pink dust, and the inside stayed dry although it doesn’t claim to be waterproof), I took the bag out for big day of singletrack at Buffalo Creek, southwest of Denver. For this excursion, I wore a fanny pack with a 2L hydration bladder but stuffed basically everything else (arm and leg warmers, wind layer, food, tool and pump) into the frame bag.
When we stopped for snacks, I even caught my too-cool-for-school non-bikepacking buddies eyeing the ample storage space of the bag. They also seemed impressed that the bag doesn’t bulge out the sides. I’ve ridden with frame bags that do this, and they quickly ruin shorts or inner thighs with chafing, but the Revelate one is practically forgettable. In a good way.
For a sub two-hour ride on the town trails, I wanted to see how much water I could fit in the pack, since it obviously takes the place of bottle cages. I was shocked that two bottles stacked easily inside, with room for the pump and tool. I could have probably stuffed a bar or two in, as well. There is an exit port in the zipper hood if you’d rather throw a hydration bladder in. How nice to be able to zip around the trails, fully hydrated, with no weight on your back and no bottles jiggling in their cages!
Revelate Bottom Line: A frame bag that stays put
Just as ‘bikepacking’ bags are no longer only for taking your bike on a camping trip, the sky’s the limit when it comes to how to use the Revelate Designs Full Suspension Frame Bag. Although a custom bag will always fit best, this bag was just as well made and had all the features you’d want in a frame bag, at a fraction of the cost. If you’re a stalwart backpack-wearer whose bike has the geometry to accommodate this bag, I urge you to give it a try. After all, two burritos can break your back.