You just want to go for a long ride after work or a relaxed tour of a few hours. Your bike doesn't have a rack, and you don't want to lug around a backpack either. So where to put your energy bars, keys, cell phone, and mini pump? Stuff your trouser pockets? No, there is a much more elegant way. In this case, a smaller frame bag on the bike is the best solution. It is perfect for small luggage, i.e. if you only plan a small trip with your bike. These compact frame bags are especially popular with road cyclists, they don't ruin the clean design of the racer, yet the essentials are on board when you're on the road.
If you want to explore the world on two wheels, a larger frame bag will help you to literally load your bike to the hilt and make full use of its transport capacity. Along with panniers and lowriders, a frame bag is an important piece of storage when bikepacking. Frame bags come in different sizes, and you can also choose between several mounting positions. This makes frame bags a versatile jack-of-all-trades among bike bags.
How large is a frame bag?
Frame bags come in a wide range of sizes. There are compact tool bags that are well-filled with one or two spare tubes, a mini pump and a multitool. They range in volume from 0.5 liters to one liter. The size of these bags is roughly comparable to a hip bag. Medium-sized frame bags have between one and three litres of capacity. That's enough for your snack and a light rain jacket. Large frame bags hold about five liters.
Frame bags come in different sizes, so you can buy the right bag for every MTB, road bike or e-bike. Especially if you ride a mountain bike Fully, you should measure before, which bag fits next to the shock in the frame.
Frame bags on an e-bike
An e-bike is equipped with a lot of technology, possibly there is not much space left for a frame bag. A frame, which is already home to the e-bike battery and the electric drive, is quickly overwhelmed with a bag. The technology of a pedelec is usually installed on the down tube and seat tube, with these e-bikes it is possible to attach a bag to the top tube. However, on some e-bikes the display sits exactly at this point, a saddle bag would be an alternative here. There are many different bicycle bags, so there's a solution for every bike.
Where should your frame bag sit?
There are five different places in and on the bike where a frame bag can be attached. Which one you choose is entirely up to you, they all have their pros and cons. Some of the bike frame bags can be taken off at different places on the bike frame, others are designed for a specific spot.
- Frame bag on the top tube, behind the stem.
These bags are easy to keep an eye on when you're on the bike, so they're perfect for your valuables. Some of these bags have a clear view pocket on the lid that lets you keep your smartphone or a map in view.
These bags are also called "Cockpit Bag" by some manufacturers.
- Frame bag under the top tube, behind the head tube.
A top tube bag is particularly interesting for two bike disciplines. Many of these bags belong to the large frame bags with a lot of content. They offer a lot of storage space, so they are perfect for bikepackers on trekking bikes and gravel bikes suitable. These bags are also ideal for anything a mountain bikerwants to reach during the ride, but can't necessarily take a bump. The pockets are within easy reach, yet they're protected by the frame in the event of a crash. So you can get to your snacks, but don't flatten your phone in a crisis.
You can also find them under the English name "Top Tube Bag"
- Frame bag vertical on seat tube.
These frame bags are attached to the seat tube of the bike with multiple straps, and a single clasp holds them to the top tube. When buying, you need to make sure the bag doesn't get in the way of your crank. They re often triangular, to make the best use of space.
- Frame bag on the top tube in front of the seat tube.
A bag that hangs under the top tube and below the saddle is often rather long and narrow. It's perfect for a rolled jacket or an extra bottle of water.
- Frame pocket in frame triangle:
These bike bags are the giants among frame bags, they use the space in the bike frame almost completely. Therefore, you should measure the frame before buying such a bag, so that the bag then also fits inside. Depending on the model, these bike bags only work in combination with a diamond frame, i.e. on bikes with a high top tube.
They're also called "frame packs."
Frame bags also come in a special edition for bikepackers: you'll also occasionally find fork bags that attach directly to the fork without a front rack.
A Clever Subdivision
Many larger bike bags are divided into compartments on the inside so that you can sort your luggage neatly. If your bag has a clear compartment on the lid, you can use your phone for navigation. Especially bags that are within reach of the biker often have an additional elastic mesh pocket on the outside, so you can get to your food without much fumbling.
This is what you should look for when buying a bike frame bag:
- If you don't want to buy a small "frame bag", you should measure your frame before you buy and also consider the dimensions of the bag. In a diamond frame pretty much any frame bag fits, in a trapezoid frame the installation can be more difficult. A mountain bike full frame may only fit a smaller bag.
- If you want to carry a lot or big parts, a frame bag is not the right choice. You can't stuff the bag so that it bulges out the side, because then it would be in the way of your kicking legs.
- A frame bag travels close to the road. It gets dirt and rainwater right off it. So it should definitely be waterproof you don't want energy bars with a splashy flavor, do you?
- If you go for branded bags from Topeak, Evoc, Vaude or Birzman you can expect the quality of the bag to match. Also Lezyne and Giant are known for their high-quality bike accessories. Bike bags, for example, are extensively tested for mounting point durability and waterproofing, and long researched to find the best materials for bike luggage.
- If you have one or more bottle cages on the frame, it may be tight for a frame bag.
Fitting your frame bag
To attach a frame bag properly is actually not that difficult, because most of the time you just have to tape some velcro. With a few tricks it's even easier and you protect your bike from damage:
- You can mount your frame bag basically everywhere, provided it fits without wobbling. A loose bag can get in the way when you pedal, or it can completely lose its grip on the way. Therefore, you should carefully close the straps of the frame bag.
- Take a new frame bag for a few short test rides first. This way you will quickly notice if the bag is in the right place, if it is in your way or if it changes the center of gravity of your bike adversely.
- It is particularly annoying if a loosely attached bag leaves scratches in the paintwork of your bike, so you need to tighten the straps firmly.
- To avoid scratching the frame of your bike, be sure to clean the frame before mounting the bag to remove fine particles such as dust or sand, which would otherwise act like sandpaper between the bike frame and the bag. First clean the frame with a suitable bike cleaner. You'll also find bike-care polishes at our Bike-Cleaner that form a protective layer between the paint and the bag."
- If you travel often and a lot with a bike frame bag, and especially if that frame bag is heavily loaded, you can use protective stickersto protect your bike frame from scratches.
- Although it's tempting to just leave your frame bag on your bike permanently, every once in a while you should take it off and wipe underneath. That way you remove newly accumulated dust.
You can easily order the right bike bag online
To help you find a bike bag that fits your bike and your travel plans, we have many different bike bags to choose from here in our online shop. There are of course not only frame bags for your bike, here at BMO you can also find bike baskets, saddle bags and handlebar bags. Your frame bag is probably too small for file folders. But for trips to the office, there are stylish messenger bags or shoulder bags with mounting systems for the luggage rack. If you don't want to carry things on your bike, but want your bike to be your luggage, you can put it in a bike bag so it's well protected when travelling by plane or train