Ortlieb have cemented their reputation as ‘the original waterproof pannier brand‘ with good reason—their bags are superbly made and designed. I bought a set of Ortlieb Back Roller Waterproof Panniers for my 2011 France and Spain Tour and they are still going strong a decade later…
When Ortlieb (eventually) made their approach on the fast-growing bikepacking market the expectation level was appropriately high. Could the German brand deliver equally exceptional luggage for the rack-less touring market?
In this review, I am looking at the Ortlieb Frame-Pack TopTube bikepacking frame bag. This bag is designed as a solution for riders who want to use their frame’s main triangle for storage space, while still being able to house water bottles on the frame (it only takes up the top half of the frame triangle)—this is my preferred set-up.
The best bikepacking frame bag, for me, will fulfil the following five criteria:
- It maximises the available space within the frame triangle
- It keeps its contents completely dry and easily accessible
- It remains secure and does not sway from side-to-side
- It does not rub on your knees or catch on your shorts as your pedal
- It is built to last and goes the distance
It is surprising when you put the above criteria against many bags on the market you find one or more of the elements is missing. I have tested numerous bags that fall down at these hurdles, in particular #2 – keeping the contents dry and accessible.
Waterproofing is Ortlieb’s speciality, so I expected that the Frame-Pack TopTube would deliver on keeping my kit dry. From experience, I also expected the bags to go the distance and remain securely attached to the bike. Ortlieb delivered on these expectations, as well as on the other three points…
The Frame-Pack TopTube attaches to the frame using secure Velcro straps; the tails of these straps are kept away from the fabric of your shorts thanks to a simple holding strip on the left-hand side of the pack. Once attached to the bike, the Frame-Pack maximises the space within a 56 cm top tube frame and sits neatly and securely.
The Frame-Pack TopTube is the ideal size to maximise the available space, but crucially does not stick out too far into the path of your rotating legs; avoiding that annoying situation of your knees catching on the frame bag as you pedal.
To access the bag, you use the heavy-duty waterproof T-Zip. This requires quite a firm pull and is a little difficult to do ‘on-the-fly’; but it is 100% waterproof—guaranteed to keep your belongings safe and dry within. This level of protection is a huge bonus compared to many ‘water-resistant zippers’ that in fact let in water if you are riding through a torrential downpour for several hours. The Ortlieb frame bag is IP67 waterproof rated—everything within stays bone dry, even when I have pressure-washed the bike…
Solid, secure, built to last, and completely waterproof. The Ortlieb Frame-Pack TopTube ticks all the boxes and will keep your kit safe and dry, so you can ride the distance and adventure you choose.
>> Shop the Ortlieb Frame-Pack TopTube Bikepacking Frame Bag here