Issue #017 Review

Brooks Scape bikepacking bags in review

Storage space for the daily escape or a big bike adventure – that’s what Brooks want to offer with the Scape Travel Bike Bags. We wanted to know whether they’re smart storage wonders or bulky ballast. We tested various models from the collection in real-world conditions for you. Let’s go bikepacking!

Brooks Scape Travel Bags | 1,530 g (set) | € 450 (set) | Manufacturer’s website

The stalwart English brand Brooks originally made a name for themselves amongst city-cowboys and bike adventurers with their premium leather products. With grips, bar tape, stylish rucksacks and bags having been added to their original offering of saddles a while ago, now it’s time for the British brand’s first bike bag set: the Brooks Scape collection. To understand more about the bags we talk about here, why not check out our all-encompassing encyclopedia on bikepacking bags.

The Brooks Scape Travel Bike Bags

The Scape collection sees Brooks offer a range of bikepacking bags in various sizes. They all share the sleek, refined look in black and the less appealing sounding mud colours, robust welded material that will withstand the wildest adventures and the IPX4 waterproof rating. We tested the five bags in the table below.

Here are the key specs:

Dimensions (L x W x H) Volume Carrying capacity Weight Price
Top Tube Bag 210 x 40 x 110 mm 0.9 l 1 kg 129 g € 55
Saddle Pocket Bag 150 x 55 x 80 mm 0.7 l 66 g € 45
Frame Bag 460 x 60 x 120 mm 3 l 3 kg 225 g € 95
Handlebar Roll 350–400 x 160 x 160 mm 12 l 5 kg 560 g € 125
Seat Bag 400–600 x 180 x 140 mm 8 l 3 kg 550 g € 130

In addition to the models we tested, there are also two different sizes of pannier, a one-piece roll bag for the saddle and a one-piece bar bag in two sizes. With the exception of the Handlebar Roll, mounting the bags is easy even without instructions. However, it’s important to note that the Scape collection was developed for bikes with more relaxed geometry. The straps for the frame bag are too short for fat aero tubesets and the voluminous Handlebar Roll isn’t left with enough space to squeeze in between the bar and front wheel for short, aggressive head tubes. Additionally, the weight of the set is above average for the packing volume on offer.

Little helpers – Scape Saddle Pocket Bag and Scape Top Tube Bag

The two smallest bags in the Scape series offer practical storage space for your essentials. The Top Tube Bag will happily swallow up a day’s rations of bars and gels, ready to give you the power needed to get to the next cafe. A cable opening makes this the perfect place to store a power bank for your bike computer, where it will also be well-protected thanks to the padded walls. With one strap around the top tube and another around the spacers, the mini pantry stays in place securely. However, if you don’t have any spacers underneath your stem, you’ll have some problems fitting the bag and might have to get inventive. An annoying flaw in the Top Tube Bag is the waterproof zip, which is comparatively notchy in use. More about that later.

Brooks Scape Top Tube Bag | 0.9 l | 129 g | € 55
Mini pantry
The Scape Top Tube Bag easily holds a day’s worth of bars and gels – always within reach. So you never run out of fuel!
Notchy matter
Due to the positioning of the pull, the slider dives in with the front when closing the zipper. Especially an empty bag cannot be closed with one hand – annoying!

The Saddle Pocket Bag provides enough space for two spare tubes, CO2 cartridges and the necessary tools. The small saddlebag has three positions for the strap, letting its position be adjusted optimally to fit your saddle. Despite its name, the strap lets the bag be easily affixed to another point on the bike or to other Scape bags if space under the saddle is already taken up by the big Seat Bag.

Brooks Scape Saddle Pocket Bag | 0.7 l | 66 g | € 45
For all tubes to have
The Scape Saddle Pocket Bag feels comfortable not only on the saddle. With its strap it can be attached to all tubes of the bike and to the daisy chains of other Scape bags.

In the frame – Scape Frame Bag

The one-size Frame Bag has a compact and slim build. That leaves enough space not to have your legs rub on it while pedalling and it also fits smaller frame sizes well. It can be attached securely in different positions with its numerous straps. On the left side of the bag, there’s a flat pocket for items like credit cards, money and a face mask. On the right, you get access to the main compartment with a cable port on the front and an additional internally zipped pocket. Brooks call this the internal organiser. The Scape Frame Bag provides space for longer objects and small items of clothing like underwear, sleep gear, or just two cans of beer. For bulkier luggage, you should reach for the Handlebar Roll or the Seat Bag. There’s nothing new on the zipper front here: neither side runs particularly smoothly, marring the impression of the bag. The cause of the problem isn’t the good-quality zips themselves, but the pulls, which leave room for improvement. They don’t move freely on the slider, meaning it dives in at the front while closing the bag, getting caught on the teeth. This problem is only exacerbated with an almost empty bag which deforms as you close it, just as much as it is with a stuffed, bulging bag. Help might be offered by changing the zipper pulls to ones that can move more freely.

Brooks Scape Frame Bag | 3 l | 225 g | € 95
Pocket inside the bag
Brooks calls it Internal Organizer – we call it zipper compartment. Because that’s exactly what it is: a practical internal compartment with zipper. No more and no less.
Space for essentials
The Scape Frame Bag can hold many useful items that are rather flat and/or long – or simply two cans of beer for after work.
Practical passage
In the front part of the frame bag there is a cable passage. This allows, for example, a cell phone in the flat compartment on the left to be connected to a power bank in the large compartment on the right.
Notchy matter part 2
The pleasure of using the Scape Frame Bag is also marred by the zipper. Due to the positioning of the pull, the front of the slider sinks in when closing, getting caught on the teeth.

Roll it – Scape Handlebar Roll

The Handlebar Roll is a two-part handlebar bag consisting of a harness attached to the bars and a removable dry bag with two compartments. Mounting the harness can be a little tricky, particularly for cockpits with multiple cables, due to its construction. That makes the two-part design all the more practical: you can just leave the harness on the bars after fiddling around mounting it, while you can remove the dry bag in two simple steps and take it into your tent. Once the Handlebar Roll is in place, you should make sure to secure both parts with the clips and velcro straps intended for that purpose to make sure they don’t loosen. That done, the bag sits securely without swinging around. Your steering isn’t affected noticeably by the attached harness. The dry bag provides room for clothes which can be handily divided into dirty and clean between the two compartments. In contrast to the Seat Bag, the Handlebar Roll dry bag doesn’t have a valve, meaning air can easily get trapped inside when closing it. You should also be aware that a fully loaded roll gets quite voluminous. Particularly for narrow drop handlebars and short head tubes, fitting it could become a tight squeeze. That’s why you should always check before setting off whether your gear and brake levers have enough room and that nothing is rubbing on the front wheel. You’ll also have to change the position of your bike computer – if in doubt it can just be flipped 180°. The two rows of daisy chain webbing along the harness are practical for attaching additional things like the Saddle Pocket Bag or the Handlebar Pouch.

Brooks Scape Handlebar Bag | 12 l | 560 g | € 125
Eats any dry bag
The harness of the two-part body remains on the handlebar even when the dry bag is removed. Wide open like the mouth of a shark, it expects the dry bag back – or anything else that fits between the drops of the handlebar.
Becoming wide
Fully loaded, the dry bag of the Scape Handlebar Bag becomes rather wide. You should always check before departure whether the shift and brake levers have enough space.
Cable clutter
Especially in cockpits with many cables you need some patience and skill to position the harness between the cables so that the steering of the bike is not affected and the carrier sits securely.
Going low
On bikes with a short head tube, the space between the handlebar bag and the front wheel becomes very tight. Especially when fully loaded, there is a risk that the bag drags on the front wheel. You should always pay attention to enough space here and make sure that the carrier is securely fixed with the enclosed clamps.

Strapped in – Scape Seat Bag

The Seat Bag is also a two-part system consisting of a harness and dry bag. The harness is quickly and easily mounted with two velcro straps to the seatpost and two straps that tighten around the saddle rails. On the upper inside of the carrier, a small velcroed pocket is a great secret stash for flat items like money. The dry bag is fixed to the harness with a nylon strap using an aluminium hook attached to the carrier’s integrated daisy chain. The dry bag vent is very practical, allowing air to escape when closing it and letting things be compressed effectively. As the dry bag isn’t symmetrical, filling it perfectly requires some practice to not waste space and so that it fits optimally into the carrier. You should be aware that with little luggage and correspondingly compact volume, the dry bag’s fit in the harness isn’t as good. In contrast to the stable roll at the front, as a result of its construction, the saddlebag swings from side to side a little – hard sprints with a heavy load are possible but can feel strange. The up and down movements of the seat bag stay within reason and overall, the Scape Seat Bag can definitely show its face amongst the competition from Revelate, ORTLIEB and others!

Brooks Scape Seat Bag | 8 l | 550 g | € 130
Split in two
The two-piece design of the Scape Seat Bag allows the dry bag to be conveniently removed while the carrier remains on the bike.
Secret compartment
On the top inside of the carrier is a small compartment with velcro closure, which is perfect as a secret compartment for flat items such as cash.
Visibility for safety
A taillight, which because of the bag no longer finds a place on the seatpost, can be practically attached to the integrated daisy chain of the closing strap.

With the Scape collection bags, Brooks deliver cool and well-thought-through storage space for your bike, regardless of whether it’s for a day trip, a big bikepacking adventure or the daily commute to work. We particularly like the coherent overall concept with its smart details, good finishing quality and stylish look. However, the notchy zips and, on balance, high weight of the bags for the volume offered marred the overall impression. Nonetheless, all in all, we can still say: Brooks Scape, ready to escape!


  • robust material is very well finished
  • completely waterproof
  • comprehensive range: the right bag for every purpose
  • thought-through overall concept


  • notchy zips, particularly on the frame bag
  • high weight for the packing volume
  • no air valve on the Handlebar Roll dry bag

Tester: Tobias
Test duration: 1 month

More information about the Brooks Scape series at

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Words: Photos: Phillip Schwab