‘Race’, from a marketing perspective it’s often pure magic sprinkled with gold dust – many people don’t want to go racing but they like the imagery and enjoy the association. Obviously, then there’s the rest of us, the ones for whom racing holds less than limited appeal and appears to be a pastime that gets in the way of eating biscuits and bimbling. If that’s you, please read on … this may be a review of the Backcountry Research Race Strap but it could just as easily be called the, ‘Quick ride after work’ or the ‘just nipping to the shop’ strap. Buying or using one will not automatically lead to a UCI licence dropping through your letterbox.
Some time ago, I armed Karl with a Race Strap and sent him off to see how it faired. In the pursuit of fairness and truth, he both bimbled and raced and here’s what he thought.
The Backcountry Research Race Strap is basically a holder for a tube, CO2 canister, multi-tool or whatever which then attaches to your saddle. It’s aimed squarely at the XC racer types (you know who you are) and might be the way forward for a quick blast on the bike with limited faff but could it withstand riding the rough stuff on a rigid MTB? To test it, I entered a couple of mid-week races, well it does have race in its name, and I also went for a ‘standard rough stuff’ ride in the peaks.
|Leaves you jersey pockets free for important stuff like biscuits.|
First impressions are good, the strap is nicely made and very robust, think heavy duty dog collar for the material. I’ll admit I did have to follow the online video to fit it first time but it was very easy enough to follow. For the peak ride, it carried a standard 29er tube (normal as in not fat, not semi fat, just standard 2.1” tube), a Topeak Hexus multi tool, scabs repair patches and a Leatherman PS4 Squirt multi tool. When I squeezed into my lycra and went racing, I substituted the scabs and the leatherman for a CO2 canister. Once mounted – which only takes a minute, it was very clear it was not going to let any of the items go, it was reassuring secure. I gave it my best shot though by riding my carbon rigid bike on a nice cobbly and rocky route but I couldn’t get it to shift.
|Karl trying hard to lose his stuff|
I am now fully confident in it and use it regularly for evening rides so I don’t need to mess about with a rucksack. Everything is easy to remove and put back on. There is the potential downside that it might be wet and muddy so if you want to keep your belongings clean, maybe put them in a bag first. My only concern when riding with the strap is that because I ride tubeless, I ideally need to carry 2 tubes but I can only fit one. Backcountry do produce a fat bike specific strap (for big fat tubes) called the Gristle strap and I think this might be the solution to carrying more than 1 normal sized tube … Right then, I’m off the buy the Gristle strap (it’s justified as I have a fat bike, right?) then I’ll let you know if my plan works.
|but to no avail … everything just where he put it.|
Overall the product is … Great Quality, great value and lightweight. What more do you want?… to win a race? Then ride faster!
Big thank you to Karl for testing.