76 Projects A.S.S. Top Tube Bag is ideal if you are looking for a stable bag with a clever/unique mounting system that requires no Velcro straps to fix it to your bike and therefore produces no paint rub. It has a useful light/charger port and both internal and external organisation, all in a compact shape.
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The 76 Projects A.S.S. Top Tube bag (A.S.S. stands for Anti Strap System before you ask) is made from a tough weatherproof 600D fabric with a T.P.U backing that delivers a waterproof bag with about 1-litre of storage. In reality, my 6.5” phone just fits in, as does my front light battery, food, and credit card wallet, leaving some space for tyre levers and a multi-tool.
The 600D material creates a pretty rigid side walled bag which means no side-to-side wobble from the contents inside, regardless of how much you fling the bike around (within reason). It has a light/charging cable port so you can keep that zip done up and your contents dry when you are using a light or charging your phone or GPS unit.
It features a pink zip pull and a small loop to help you close the bag. The YKK Aquaguard zip is claimed to be weatherproof, and, in my experience, it's very good as long as you don't stretch it by overstuffing the bag.
Inside, the material is bright pink to help you find things, and there is a mesh side pocket on one side with a strap to hold your phone on the other. It's a bit of a fight to get the 6"+ phone in, and you certainly won't be whipping it out in a hurry to catch that special moment, but it is at least secure. I tended not to use the strap if I knew I would be out taking pictures. Smaller phones will be much easier to install/remove.
On both sides of the outside of the bag are stash pockets best used for old food wrappers and any stuff that you don't want to drop. I put food bar/gel sachets on one side and then wrappers on the other. Although I'm not sure how safe a food bar would be on rough ground, the gel sachet was okay, though.
The Top Tube Bag mounts using 76 Projects A.S.S. Slider and A.S.S. Clip, which have both been reviewed on this site and very much liked. They work very well and have meant I've used a top tube bag more often than I would have done previously due to the simplicity of installation and aesthetics.
The Slider is a two-piece mount that you can stick or bolt the male part to your frame, making it a universal fit as long as you don't mind sticking something to your frame. The Clip replaces the strap that most front bags have to connect to the steerer tube below the stem via a grooved spacer—all very neat and functional.
The 76 Projects Top Tube Bag has no front strap or even a place to add one. It is designed to use only with a modified bolt-on A.S.S. Clip removing the last of the straps from the old-style system and fully living up to the Anti Strap System name.
The Clip mounting area of the bag is slightly curved away from the stem. Whilst this looks good and provides plenty of stem clamp bolt clearance when steering, it does mean that the Clip mounted to the front of the bag sits at an angle the higher you raise it and is not perfectly in line with the Steerer Spacer. So, you might want to consider popping a spacer washer behind the top of the clip to realign it.
The correct position is easy enough to find by jiggling the mount up and down, then securing it in place by hand-tightening the nylon nuts before further tightening with hex key GENTLY - it is a nylon nut, right.
Unlike the strap-on original clip, which can be mounted upside down to run above the stem to help reduce wobble for taller, floppier bags, I found that there was not enough range in the new mount to fit this way with 76 Project's own bag.
UPDATE from 76 projects - they have made a running change to the clip to remove the bridge between top and bottom bolts. This now provides a greater range of adjustment and mounting height options including the option of running it upside down if required. We have one on the way to play with, but even with the version I have there is absolutely no wobble from the bag anyway so the design change keeps the mount small and neat while providing no less support.
Surprisingly there is no protective padding inside the bag to cover the bolt heads of Slider mounted underneath, which is a shame as they could foul your phone or camera if left uncovered. It's an easy enough fix and one I did immediately with some old foam but one I think should come with the kit. Yep, it might rob you of a few mm of depth, but your phone and frame will thank you for it.
The Top Tube Bag construction makes for a very stiff bag that holds its shape well, which helps prevent movement on the bike. It features flat welded sides that drop slightly lower than the base of the bag and help to hide the mechanics of the mounting system from a side view. This is a purely visual gimmick and offers no function other than to look very neat.
The £59.50 76 Projects A.S.S. Top Tube Bag is a good size (approx 1l), really well-made, waterproof, good-looking, and it includes all the required fitting hardware. It's a little more than the Apidura Racing Bolt-on Top Tube Pack at £52, which Shaun liked a lot on road.cc, and it's £5 more than the Straight Cut Bag Top Tube Bag which Matt loved last year, but it offers a unique fixing system with no paint rub whilst delivering a very stable wobble-free bag.
Yes, there are cheaper ones out there with straps like LifeLine's Adventure Top Tube bag for £15, but on the whole, I think 76 Projects has got this spot on. Especially when you consider that the Slider and Clip are £37.50 on their own. If you want to use the same bag on different bikes, you'll need part of the Slider set and Slotted Spacer, which will set you back £15 together.
As the final part of the 76 Projects A.S.S. system, it's well-executed and well-priced. The ability to do entirely away with paint-damaging straps and get a more stable bag that can be easily removed is a winner. The fact that they have made it look and function this well is a bonus. The lack of an internal foam pad is a shame, but on the whole, it's a really good top tube bag.