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As soon as I removed the Mountain Frame Pack from its package, it was clear that Apidura has raised the bar for adventure-based frame bags. This bag is a perfect companion for medium to long gravel road races and all-day explorations, holding everything you need to extend the ride as long as your legs and lungs will allow.
The quality and craftsmanship of Apidura is noticeable right away. The material feels durable. The laminated exterior fabric seems like it will work well at both discouraging nicks and cuts as well as repelling water. The stitching is clean, and high-stress areas are reinforced. The hook and loop fasteners have soft, rubberized backing to prevent slippage and also prevent damage to the frame‘s finish. This means I can do away with my pipe insulation top tube guard I have employed with other frame bags.
A closer look at the Mountain Frame Pack reveals finer details that are a testament to the thought and attention to detail of Apidura. The contrast of the interior color makes items stand out and easy to distinguish. The zipper pocket in the main compartment is perfect for secure storage of small items such as credit cards and ID. It is also a great location for items such as patches, tire boots, and tire levers. The left-side compartment is more compact, but is great for food items. Elastic mesh divider pockets allowed items to be segregated. This is great for keeping gels and bars separate, as well as securing items such as CO2 canisters and multitools to prevent rattling of these objects on gravel roads.
Small but welcome features become more obvious the first time you ride with the Mountain Frame Pack. The hose port is larger than others I have seen, making the Camelbak tube with the 90 degree elbow much easier to route, even with the bag mounted. The bag is narrow, so your legs have plenty of clearance and will not rub, yet it has ample storage for medium to long adventures. This is accomplished by both the height of the bag and the compartments which keep the bag from bulging. The main zippers have large loops that even thick-gloved fingers can operate. The zippers are the nicest I have seen and easily unzip and zip. The mesh dividers in the left compartment made it much easier to get the food item I desired quickly while on the go. The extra height at the front of the bag along the downtube allows longer and bulkier items to be stowed here. I found it was just right for a spare 29er tube and hand pump.
The large Mountain Frame Pack has a listed capacity of 8 liters and weighs 160 grams (5.6 oz). Check your frame dimensions versus the Apidura bag dimension shown on their site when deciding which size is best for your bike. Apidura bags are also available for road bikes, making them perfect partners for randos and brevets. The main differences between the road and mountain bags are the length and the lack of the zip and mesh pockets on the road version.
Apidura has really done their homework with regards to frame bags and other adventure cycling, gravel grinding, and bikepacking gear. It is also apparent that they have refined their designs through use and customer feedback. Apidura has requested that I give them commentary on the bag and let them examine it after several months of usage. In addition, they get regular feedback from their brand ambassadors who are constantly using and abusing their gear. This level of product evaluation and development shows in their Mountain Frame Pack as it is the nicest frame bag that I have used. Look for a long-term review here after several months of usage.
Details of all Apidura gear can be found on their site at www.apidura.com. Apidura bags can be purchased through their US dealer Western Bike Works (www.westernbikeworks.com) or through Bow Cycle (www.bowcycle.com)in Canada. Additionally, they can be ordered directly from Apidura. Shipping time to the U.S. is an impressive and quick 2-3 days on average.
– Alex (Steak Sauce)