British understatement: Test ride with the Brooks Scape Bikepacking bags

British Understatement: Testfahrt mit den Brooks Scape Bikepacking Taschen

Please note:

Brooks provided me with the bags for a test at my request. Therefore, this is also advertising.

Many of you know Brooks, of course, especially because of the saddles. They enjoy an almost legendary reputation, especially among touring cyclists. The B17 is probably one of the most used bicycle saddles in the world and has brought whole generations through the world.

Now Brooks also offers bags for bike travel and Bikepacking with the Scape series. Personally, I wasn’t aware of this and the Scape Bikepacking bags have only been on my radar since the Silk Road Mountain Race, where the winners of the 2021 Pair category rode with these bags.

But that’s not quite true, because:

Brooks has been making bike bags for as long as they’ve been making saddles. The current bikepacking bags are simply the continuation of an extensive series of bags from Brooks.

Brooks Scape Bikepacking & cycle touring bags

I had the following Scape bags for testing:

I’ll say it right away: I was impressed by the workmanship, the attention to detail and the obviously great experience in Bikepacking and the resulting smart solutions. I had no opinion of these bags before and now classify them in the premium class.

They are certainly not the lightest on the market and not the cheapest either. On the other hand, they are visually very tidy and appealing, and their waterproofness makes them a stylish alternative to the well-known top dog brands.

So if you value a successful mix of style and function for the toughest conditions, you should take a look at the Brooks Scape bags.

The Scape bags are all made in Asia:

(There) we have found the best partner with excellent expertise and experience in manufacturing in the field of welding technology.


The Brooks Scape Bikepacking bags in detail

Scape Handlebar Roll

Brooks Scape Handlebar Roll

With the Scape Handlebar Roll, Brooks goes straight for the harness and thus, in my opinion, for the more practical solution for Bikepacking. A harness system consists of a shell that is attached to the handlebar and a packsack that is fixed to the shell.

Designed for hardcore bike adventures, the Scape Handlebar Roll is a Bikepacking bag that tightly encloses its own adjustable, premium waterproof dry bag with two compartments.

The shell or holster is fitted with high quality aluminium buckles. It is fixed to the handlebar with two straps. Two pre-formed plastic pieces (EVA foam) with a recess for the strap ensure the correct distance to the handlebar. As usual with harnesses, the shell is then additionally fixed to the head tube. The appropriate height of this fixation can then be selected according to the bicycle specifications, as the Harness shell has several buckles for the fixation strap.

Fitting the harness is very easy and quick. If it is necessary to retighten the harness, this can be done easily via the straps on the handlebars, even while riding. Once attached, the shell remains on the bike and only the pannier bag is removed. The advantage of this solution is that it makes it easier to pack and compress the luggage. And depending on what is being carried at the front, the packsack can then be taken into the tent without having to remove a complete handlebar pulley.

The holster was specially developed for long-distance tours and Bikepacking races and can be attached to both drop (road and gravel) and straight (MTB) handlebars.

The waterproof pack is, in my view, a wonderful example of competent and bikepacking-savvy development. At first view, it is an 11l pack sack that is open on both sides and can be packed accordingly. But then you discover inner packsack after packsack. And that’s pretty clever, because this inner packsack is slightly smaller than the outer shell (9L) and is waterproof.

This means you can pack your sleeping bag, for example, in this inner packsack and what needs to stay dry. Then you close the side. On the other side you can put a wet rain jacket, gaiters or a bivouac sack, which should not come into direct contact with your sleeping gear. Really cleverly thought out and constructed. The material of the pack sack is fully welded 420D nylon, which is waterproof according to IPX4. This means “protection against splashing water from all directions (splashing water on all sides)”.

My only suggestion for improvement would be a valve on the packsack, which would help with compression.

Harness systems are usually a bit heavier than normal handlebar rolls. But their advantages clearly outweigh them from my point of view.

The shell measures 160x160mm (HxW). With the pack bag, it has a width of 350-400mm. You should take this into account with your handlebar width. The pannier has a capacity of 9-11L and measures 740mm long and 280mm wide when unrolled.

According to the manufacturer, the total weight of the Handlebar Roll is 670g. When reweighed, the harness shell weighs 350g and the pack sack 300g.

The price for the Scape Handlebar Roll is 135 euros. The maximum load capacity is 5kg.


Scape Seat Bag

Scape Seat Bag

Brooks also uses harnesses on the saddle and has built a very robust bag solution with the Scape Seat Bag. This is similar to the usual harness systems on the saddle and consists of a harness shell/holster that is fixed to the seat tube with two straps and to the saddle rail with two straps. It is attached once, remains on the bike and only needs to be retightened from time to time. The bottom side is made of reinforced plastic and is thus quite resistant.

Designed for Gravel & Bikepacking and Adventure Cycling, the Scape Seatpost Bag is a saddle bag that attaches to the saddle and seatpost in a holster and includes its own waterproof dry bag.

The holster is fixed to the saddle post by means of plastic buckles with cam-lock closure. This allows the strap to be tightened and fixed. This is elementary, as it is used to clamp the pack sack. The cam-lock is made of plastic. It closes well and firmly, but I had the impression that it sometimes lost tension.

A metal solution might be better here, also because it would fix the bag even more firmly to the saddle and it would move even less. I am very sensitive to this and noticed a slight swaying of the saddle bag when riding. But after I tightened it, it was almost gone. Please note: I am talking about swaying when riding off-road, not on asphalt.

Note: The Scape Seat Bag Harness is quite low, which means that with smaller bikes there may not be enough space between the saddle and the rear wheel. I would assume a minimum distance of 22-25cm. The dimensions of the Harness Holster are given as 180mm high and 140mm deep. The length is about 400mm.

A conical shaped pack sack goes into the holster, which is secured by a wide strap with aluminium hooks in a corresponding tab on top of the harness. These straps can also be used for additional fixation of other items.

The waterproof pack sack is made of 420D nylon. This means:

Nylon fabrics are known for their strength, tensile strength and water resistance. They owe their properties to synthetic polyamide fibres from which they were created. The thickness 420D is a type of fabric: 210 fibres vertically and 210 fibres horizontally per 1 in 2. Polyamide fabric is recommended for the manufacture of products in many industries. It is used in the manufacture of travel and medical bags.

The capacity of the pack is 8-10L. And it has an air pressure valve, which is very good in compression. Its dimensions are 620mm length and 320mm width.

The total weight of the harness and pack is 500g, according to the manufacturer. When weighed, the harness has a weight of 450g and the pack sack weighs 200g.

The maximum load capacity is 3kg. In my opinion, however, this can be increased to approx. 5kg in practice. Presumably this figure is 3kg because the cam-lock fasteners may not be able to hold more weight properly when in motion (but I don’t think so).
The price is 140 euros.


Scape Frame Bag Large

Scape Frame Bag Large

This is a frame bag that not only looks good, but also fitted perfectly on my size L frame. The Scape Frame Bag has pockets on both sides: on the right side a main compartment with 3.5L capacity and an additional inner pocket for small items. In addition, the main compartment also has two cable outlets: one at the front in the top of the bag, where cables can easily be passed through. And one inside the main compartment that goes into the left compartment.

On the left side is a small pocket for a multitool or a bar. The main compartment has a YKK zip, the small pocket on the left has a KCC zip. This is a plastic zip that you may also know from storage bags and freezer bags.

The Scape frame bag fits most standard frames and is a 100% waterproof half-frame bike bag suitable for Bikepacking, Gravel and other all-day cycling adventures.

A fully welded construction ensures that the bag is completely waterproof and retains its streamlined shape while attached to the bike.

What I really like about the frame bag are the Hypalon Velcro straps. These are slightly pre-shaped, have a clear division between Velcro and fabric and are built to a high standard of quality. These straps make attaching the bag to the frame very easy and secure. I am happy to accept a little more weight for this (a few grams), because they are really easy to use and are a sign of the high quality of Brooks bags. It is these details that clearly show the class in which the Scape bags are placed.

The form-stable frame bag is also waterproof. The main zip has a cover and is thus protected against splashing water. However, it cannot withstand direct water. So be careful here. In rainy everyday life, however, this is not a problem, only if water hits the fastener directly with a little pressure. And I can’t say how long the zips will last after such a short time.

The length of the bag is 500mm, the height 120mm and the width 60mm. According to the manufacturer, the weight is 215g, weighed in at 250g.

The maximum carrying capacity is 3kg. The price is 100 euros, which is quite high for a “half” frame bag. In this case, quality costs money.

For 20 euros more, you can get the Scape Full Frame Bag with a capacity of 5 litres.


Scape Top Tube Bag

Scape Top Tube Bag

The Scape Top Tube Bag is also a beauty: it has a very slim design, is waterproof and has a classic shape. It is 210mm long, 110mm high (sloping) and 40mm wide.

It has an opening at the front for cables. It is fastened by the Hypalon Velcro straps on the top tube and a strap for fixing to the head tube. And with this alone, it sits very firmly and does not slip, even while riding and with a load. The sides and bottom are lightly padded to protect the contents and also contribute to noise reduction. This top tube bag is also available as a bolt-on version.

Like the Frame Bag, the Top Tube Bag is dimensionally stable. It is closed with a KCC zip, which is waterproof. I have ridden the Top Tube Bag a lot in the rain and can confirm that no water gets in. There is only one compartment inside, so no side compartments or anything like that.

Don’t be surprised: my eyelets are still under the bag. That’s why it looks like this.

The Scape Top Tube Bag is nice, small, slim and inconspicuous and can stay on your bike for all the little things you need.

Frame Bag and Top Tube in use

The volume is stated with 0.9L. The maximum load capacity is 1kg. The weight of the bag is 100g according to the manufacturer, 134g when weighed.

The price is 55 Euro.


Scape Feed Pouch

Scape Feed Pouch

When I am on the road for a longer time, I use so-called food pouches or feed pouches on the handlebars. These are small, usually round pouches in which you can carry an extra bottle and, above all, food.

With the Scape Feed Pouch, Brooks offers what I consider to be a very good bag that is in no way inferior to the Revelate Designs Mountain Feedback in terms of function and quality. It is made of waterproof material, but it is open at the top and cannot be closed 100% waterproof.

The Scape Feed Pouch is very large and holds 1L. However, the volume is secondary if you don’t have good access to it. But Brooks has solved this well and made the opening so large that you can easily reach in with your hand. Of course, there is a small hole at the bottom through which water or dirt can get out. At the top, access is controlled by two straps that can only be operated with one hand and while riding. One strap opens the bag, the other closes it again. This works very simply and reliably.

I usually have a bag of wine gums, bars, gels and more bars on the sides in the mesh pockets.

The Scape Feed Pouch is the practical storage space on the bike. Whether it’s for packing food for a long gravel race, safely transporting a camera lens on scenic bike rides or simply expanding your space for a week-long bikepacking trip, the Feed Pouch attaches to any handlebar and can be filled with everything an adventurous cyclist needs.

The Feed Pouch is attached to the handlebar and stem with two velcro straps. It is also secured to the frame by a strap.

The Feed Pouch measures 160mm in height and 100mm in width/depth. According to the manufacturer, it weighs 100g, weighed 105g. It has a maximum carrying capacity of 1kg and costs 50 Euros.


Conclusion Brooks Scape Bikepacking bags

As already written above: the Brooks Scape Bikepacking bags combine function and absolute Bikepacking suitability even in the toughest conditions with design and British style. I find them very beautiful. They don’t just look good at the ice cream shop on a gravel ride, but you can also rely on them on a 4,000m pass in the Kyrgyz Tien-Shan.

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