On the back of nearly every cycling jersey you will find three pockets and they are usually sufficient to carry a few carbohydrate gels and your cell phone. However, on longer rides you are going need more room to store extra gels, bars and drink mixes (unless you are one of those folks who stops at every convenience store they pass). My favorite way to add a little carrying space on my bike is with a top tube bag. Most of these bags attach to the bike with a couple of Velcro straps—one strap goes around the top tube and the other around the stem tube. I own several different styles of top tube bags and recently the folks at Serfas sent me a Serfas Speed Stem Bag to review and it quickly became one of my favorites!
The Serfas Speed Stem Bag is made of 100% polyester and only weighs 4.2 ounces (119 grams). The medium-sized bag (the one in the photo above) measures 8.75″X3.5″X2″ and has 61 cubic inches of storage space—enough space to hold a dozen packages of carbohydrate gels. If you don’t need this bag to carry your carbohydrate gels or bars, you could always use it to keep cell phone close at hand. The inside of this bag is lined with a soft Microfiber fabric and the top of the bag (the lid) is made of mesh so you can see inside the bag as you are riding. However, if you are going to be riding on a rainy day I would strongly suggest you keep your phone in a Ziplok bag to keep it dry.
The most unique feature of this bag is the way it closes. This bag has a magnetic strip along the top and when you flip the lid to the closed position it automatically catches and seals itself shut—you could do it blindfolded! I’ve not had any trouble with this bag accidentally opening, but I would not recommend it to those of you who enjoy jumping your bike off of the roof of your house—I don’t imagine the magnetic strip could handle a jolt like that.
On the sides and back of this bag is a strip of 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material. When the headlights from a car hit this reflective material it bounces the light back and makes you extremely visible. I ride a lot in low-light situations and wish that all of my gear had a piece of reflective material like this!
The medium-sized Serfas Speed Stem Bag retails for $33 and is available from the Serfas Website, as well as most bike shops and Amazon.com. They also have a smaller bag (6.25″X3.5″X2″) with 42 cubic inches of space at it retails for $30. Both sizes of this bag are available in three different colors (Red, Black, or Grey). The only drawback of top tube bags is that it is possible they could get in the way when you stop if you have an extremely short-frame bike (I had no trouble at all).
The folks at Serfas gave this bag to me for review and I told them I would be having a contest to give it away when the review was finished. I now truly regret telling them that because I really like this bag. So, I am keeping the one they sent me, but I purchased (at full retail price) another one so I give it away to one of my readers.
If you would like a chance to win a brand-new medium-sized Serfas Speed Stem Bag then leave a comment below telling me why you need this bag. The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Friday, April 5, 2013. After the contest closes I will read through the comments and choose a winner based solely on my incredibly subjective mood at the time—however, humor in your entry is highly encouraged (just keep it clean). The last time I ran a contest like this several readers “donated” their entry to other contestants (something I had not planned on). So, if you don’t need this bag yourself you are free to comment on other entries. So I can remain impartial until the contest is over I will not be responding the comments. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. I will send this product to the winner via U.S. Mail at my expense. Good luck!