Last summer, after I built up my Pugsley, I knew right away that I needed a frame bag for it because I couldn’t fit the damn spare tube in my seat bag! Since I needed a solution “yesterday”, I couldn’t order a custom full-frame bag. I settled for a Tangle, Revelate’s stock, rectangular bag that only occupies part of the main triangle. I ordered the largest size, of course, and it fit well, leaving enough room in my giant main triangle for a full-size water bottle or two.
The Tangle has a full length zipper on the right side to access the main compartment, and a second full-length zipper on the left side that accesses a flat accessory pocket. Both pockets are lined with a bright yellow fabric to improve visibility. The main compartment is exactly the right size and shape to hold a hydration bladder (although I never used it that way), and you can put wallet, cell phone, etc in the flat pocket. All in all, well worth the money.
With the recent release of the Revelate-Surly co-branded Pugsley frame bag, I felt it was time to upgrade. I was quite frustrated in my inability to find any details of this bag online. Now that I’ve received mine, I thought others considering this purchase would like to know some details, so read on.
First, here’s a comparison of the full-frame bag to the Tangle.
Of course the full-frame bag has a larger face area, but the real story is in the bag’s depth:
Both bags start out about 2.5-3″ wide, but the full-frame bag fattens out to nearly 6″ at the head tube! Also note the wear strip on the down-tube-facing edge of the full-frame bag; a nice detail. Here’s the top view:
I estimated the volume of the full-frame bag to be about 8.5 liters by pretending it was a perfect triangle with a uniform 3″ depth. Obviously, this is an under-estimate, and it’s probably closer to 10 liters.
Here it is mounted up. Looks sharp, doesn’t it? Check out the combined Revelate/Surly logo.
Man, that’s a lot of Velcro! That stuff is really sticky, it took several minutes to peel all of it open before I could mount the bag.
Notice the single full-length zipper to access the main compartment. The main compartment has a vertical Velcro divider, and also a little pocket at the front for a cell phone or camera. As usual, the interior of the bag is yellow for better visibility of contents — another nice detail.
The one weakness of the bag, if it can be called that, is that the left side’s flat pocket is not rectangular and full-length as it is on the Tangle. Instead, it is triangular-shaped; it shares one seam with the internal vertical divider of the main pocket.
This might not seem like a big deal but I’m used to the full-length, rectangular accessory pocket of the Tangle. This pocket is very deep and comes to a point at the bottom, so it’s not really as usable for small items as the Tangle’s pocket. If I’d never used the Tangle I’d probably not have noticed this.
I took the bag for a spin and there were no bad surprises. It fits the bike like a glove and you don’t even know it’s there while you’re riding. I packed the following items into the bag for my test ride and had room to spare:
- Rain jacket
- Spare Toob and pump
- Tool bag
- Small tupperware of snacks
- Wind vest
- Wallet, phone, sunglasses (it wasn’t a very sunny day so I wasn’t wearing them), garage door opener
- Meiser dial-type pressure gauge
The one unpleasant surprise I had during my ride concerned my relocated water bottle. Since the bag fills the entire main triangle, you have to find somewhere else to put it! I could have put the bottle inside the bag but I wanted to try out the TwoFish Quick Cage bottle cage adapter on my fork blade:
In a word, FAIL. The strap cannot be pulled tight enough to prevent the cage from rotating around the tube to wherever it feels like pointing. I tried it on the back of my seatpost (yes, I actually have room for a full water bottle back there), and although it stayed put a little longer than on the fork blade, eventually it started wandering around there too. I can’t recommend the TwoFish Quick Cage at all. I know I could carry a camelback, but I really don’t want to. I don’t mind it for a short day-ride, but day after day on the GDMBR, it’s going to get old. I guess I’ll have to try a band-clamp style cage adapter.
So all in all, is the full-frame bag worth the extra money? ($135 vs. $75) The Tangle is a great bag, it will hold just about anything you need it to on a day ride, but for doing a long tour you want all the volume you can get. Now that the Pugsley full-frame bags are a non-custom item, the price differential is very reasonable. Keep in mind, however, that you will have to find someplace to relocate your water bottle(s).