Lightweight and slim, Miss Grape designed their Road series bags to be barely noticeable as you take on road bike adventures far off the main routes. We wanted to find out if they’ve achieved what they set out to do, putting different models of the handmade Italian bags to the test.
Italian brand Miss Grape was born from the desire of stowing the luggage required for epic around-the-world trips on the bike as optimally as possible. To this end, Miss Grape have developed bags that promise to be durable, reliable and light. Since cycling is an outdoor sport and should therefore be in tune with nature, the company takes a sustainable approach: all bags are hand-sewn in Italy in such a way that damaged bags can be repaired rather than replaced. Moreover, Miss Grape have so much faith in their craftsmanship that all bags come with a lifetime guarantee: they’re made to last. To put the Road series in context, we recommend reading our comprehensive encyclopaedia on bikepacking bags.
The bikepacking bags of the Miss Grape Road series
Miss Grape’s Road series bikepacking bags are offered in various sizes and designed to meet the demands of road cyclists. They all share the same discreet black look with green and white accents, sewn of tough nylon and polyester fabric. Unlike welded seams, sewing allows parts of the bags to be replaced if damaged. We tested the three bags shown in the table below.
Here are the key specs:
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||Volume||Weight||Price|
|Node Road||200 x 48 x 80 mm||–||102 g||€ 65|
|Internode 2||310 x 70 x 150 mm||2 l||129 g||€ 99|
|Cluster 7||440 x 160 x 140 mm||7 l||254 g||€ 145|
In addition to the models on test, the Miss Grape Road series also includes a second, slightly larger frame bag, another top tube bag that can be bolted on and a handlebar bag. The models we tested are easy to attach and the respective straps are long enough to accommodate unusually shaped aero shapes as well. The bags also prove to be very light for the storage space they offer.
Miss Grape Node Road top tube bag
The smallest bag in the Miss Grape Road series offers a practical storage solution for your essentials. Despite the slim design, ensuring maximum freedom of movement for your legs, it can hold either a day’s worth of bars and gels, spare tubes and CO2 cartridges or a mobile phone and wallet. Thanks to the rubberised bottom and the sewn strap that goes around the top tube, the bag can be attached easily and securely. There is a second strap that goes around the steerer tube, though you won’t be able to use it if you don’t have any spacers under the stem, in which case you’ll have to get creative. However, this second strap can be positioned at two different heights on the bag.
The very robust and generously dimensioned zipper is easy to open and close with one hand even while riding, at least until you get to the zipper garage. It gets a little fiddly after that. We also have to mention that the Node Road bag doesn’t have a cable port. However, you can remedy this by leaving the zipper slightly open, allowing you to feed through cables from your powerbank and the like. Thanks to the zipper garage, the bag’s contents remain protected from rain even with the zipper slightly open. Speaking of rain, in contrast to the other bags in the Road series, the Node Road isn’t coated and therefore not waterproof, though water-repellent. So, if you’re packing things that must stay dry, we recommend wrapping them in a separate waterproof bag.
Miss Grape Internode 2 frame bag
The Miss Grape Internode 2 is a very compact frame bag that can be securely strapped to the front part of the main triangle, relying on two straps each for the top- and downtube. Thanks to its compact size, it doesn’t prevent you from using both bottle cages, no matter how small your frame. The bag itself has a large compartment with a volume of 2 litres, offering enough storage space for a day trip or a weekender with an overnight stay indoors. You can easily fit a T-shirt, underpants and toothbrush. The storage space isn’t divided and only accessible from the right side, which is sufficient for a bag of this size. The extremely robust zipper is smooth enough to be able to use with one hand while riding. However, it has the same problem as with the Node Road top tube bag: it gets stuck on the zipper garage covering the last 2 cm of the zipper. However, this also stops rain from entering the bag if you don’t close the zipper all the way, though you’ll have to fumble the zipper into the garage in very adverse conditions.
Unlike the Node Road top tube bag, the Internode 2 is coated on the inside and claimed to be 100% waterproof, so it makes sense to close the zipper all the way. The waterproof coating doesn’t look great, but that’s okay since it’s on the inside of the bag and it does its job perfectly. The interior of the bag always remained dry during our tests. Thanks to its compact design, the Internode 2 fits into classic diamond frame shapes of all sizes. The same applies to the slightly larger Internode 3 frame bag. Compared to the other two Miss Grape bags on test, it is by far the most inconspicuous on the bike. Unless you fill it with rocks, you’ll hardly notice it while riding.
Miss Grape Cluster 7 saddle bag
The Miss Grape Cluster 7 is a one-piece roll-top saddlebag. It’s quick and easy to attach to the seat post thanks to a rubberised Velcro fastener and two straps for the saddle rails. The latter are sewn to the outside of the bag and offer a lot of support even when fully loaded. The one-piece construction provides a significant weight advantage compared to systems that consist of a harness and a drybag. However, you always have to remove the entire thing if you want to take it to the room with you. For a 7-litre bag, we consider the one-piece construction to be the best choice for use on a road bike. The straps work well and the movement of the bag while riding stays within perfectly acceptable limits. The bag is reinforced at the top where it meets the saddle which should prevent it from getting damaged when it rubs against the saddle, even if it does so for extended periods. A long-term test is yet to confirm whether the reinforcement keeps its promise. You’ll also find several few tabs on the top of the bag to which you can attach small items. That said, we would have liked additional tabs on the rear strap of the bag for a taillight.
The closure of the bag features the classic roll-top mechanism: you simply roll it up as far as possible and then clip the two ends together. It takes a little practice to avoid trapping unnecessary air. Miss Grape could have solved this issue by installing a valve, though they chose not to do so to save weight. You must compress the bag as much as possible to prevent it from swaying excessively while riding. If you’re just starting out and haven’t yet mastered the technique, we recommend removing the bag to pack it. Like the Internode 2 frame bag, the Cluster 7 is coated on the inside and easily passed our rain tests. It’s waterproof! If you’re a minimalist, then the 7-litre packing volume is sufficient for trips lasting several days.
The bags of the Miss Grape Road series offer robust storage solutions combined with a cool design and low weight. We also love the Italian brand’s sustainable approach, offering a lifetime guarantee and preferring to repair the bags in the event of damage rather than replace them. Despite the oversized zipper garages and only water-repellent material of the top tube bag, the range offers a well-rounded solution for short everyday escapes on the bike.
- lifetime guarantee
- sustainable brand philosophy
- oversized zipper garage
- the top tube bag is only water-repellent
For more information, visit missgrape.net
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Words & Photos: Tobias Hörsch