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Topeak MTX Trunk Dry Bag
1100g £84.99

The Topeak MTX Trunk Dry Bag is a large and very refined waterproof rack bag designed specifically for use with Topeak’s Quick Track racks (or indeed, others using the brand's Omni Quick Track Adaptor). It's stood up to the wettest rides and feels nigh on bombproof. The thick, semi rigid EVA foam insert insulates against the familiar rattle and has passed my egg test with flying colours. That said, I wouldn’t be popping cameras and other sensitive electrical equipment there.

 

Pros: Genuinely waterproof, very solid construction, good layout.

 

Cons: Weight, system specific design may alienate some.

test review topeak dry bag

Materials/Specification

test review topeak rack bag cycling gear

The Topeak MTX Trunk Dry Bag made from Nylon- 420 and 840 denier with a roll top closure and sonically welded seams. Aside from the large main compartment discussed in my opening paragraph, there are two smaller zippered pockets either side-perfect for keys, wallet/cash and other valuables you’d want to keep segregated. 

bicycle cycling luggage gar rack bag test review

The main will swallow a surprising amount of kit. I’ve loaded a wedge pack full of tools, spare tubes, medium sized shackle lock, Madison Road Race Super Light Men’s Waterproof Softshell Jacket Madison Road Race Jacket | cycling-not-racing (sevendaycyclist.com), spare gloves, bananas, snacks and a box of fresh eggs.

I’m told there’s no maximum payload, rather you are limited to that of your rack. Topeak’s family of four-point carriers will manage 26 kilos, the beam types a lot less and some Cro-moly racks will manage a bit more-assuming you’ve gone for Topeak’s Omni Quick Track Adaptor. 

Time to talk about the quick track mount. Look at the base and you’ll see a large yellow track. This slides into the Quick Track “rails” and clicks soundly into place around the rack’s top loop. The aftermarket adaptor will entertain rack tubing between 10 and 12mm diameter. 

test review cycling bike luggage topeak rack bag

To remove, simply press the yellow ends and slide out, along the rack until it releases. Thoughtfully, Topeak have also included a generously padded carry strap so its pleasant to carry around off the bikes and makes it practical for commuting, touring and of course, day rides.

 

Detailing is sharp throughout and, in my experience, typical of Topeak. Retro-reflective panelling at the sides and rear contrasts sharply with the classic gloss black, offering some added safety without trading anything in the style stakes. Zippers are also waterproof and feature generous tags, meaning easy access, even wearing full-finger winter weight gloves. Solid build and refinement has a lot in its favour.

However, this has heft implications- the whole kit weights just north of 1100gs. Measuring 32 x 24 x 17 cm it also sits a little taller than some, which may be a consideration on smaller framesets, or if you’ve not much exposed seat post. As a guide, my fixed gear winter/trainer has 14.5cm exposed. Less of an issue on a compact geometry XC mountain bike frameset but some designs of suspension post may be another factor if clearance is borderline. Oh, and chances are you’ll need to find a new home for a post mounted light.

Test Bike/ Contexts

bike test review cycling luggage

I chose my fixed gear winter/trainer since it’s resumed a more road biased persona, had a compatible Topeak rack and I was also curious to see how the Topeak would compare with the bike’s default (and very longserving) Carradice Super C (Weatherproof Cotton Duck) Rack Top Bag. There was a big jump in terms of weight, the Carradice tipping the scales at 683g which may be a consideration if you’re carrying a lot of kit on tour and need to keep an eye on the grams.

Mounting/Release 4/5

test review cycling bike bicycle gear

As I suggested earlier, the system locks very securely and is very user friendly. However, it's worth doing a few dry fitting and release runs before heading out. I’d used the system before, although it was a decade back, so it took a few times for the muscle memory to kick back in. Provided you’ve got the base and rack track aligned it just glides effortlessly and locks securely with an equally reassuring “clack”. I tend to wrap electrical tape where luggage and panniers rest to prevent premature wear. This hasn’t impeded matters, while still preserving the rack’s powder coated finish.

Performance 4.25/5

Overall performance has been impressive. Porting everything over from my Carradice Super C, the Topeak MTX’s greater heft was obvious both carrying or lifting the bike- say hanging it up in the workshop. I was also conscious of it during the first couple of rides and did wonder, if its taller profile meant gusty cross winds had more impact compared with other models/designs. Switching back to the Carradice suggested this was a combination of my imagination and new kit syndrome (where everything feels slightly different and er, unfamiliar). 

100 miles later, all forgotten. Silence was the other thing that immediately struck me. The EVA foam does a brilliant job of isolating vibration. This includes the low-level stuff that induces an unnerving and occasionally irksome tool kit jingle. Oh, and I’d deliberately filled ours to the brim on a couple of day rides, leaving the odd multi tool and standalone spanner to bounce around.

 

Having rationalised things somewhat I’ve bought boxes of fresh eggs from farms and other roadside vendors, transporting them back without so much as hairline crack in the shells. However, unless desperate I’d stop short of parking my compact camera or similarly sensitive electricals there-these belong ideally in handlebar bags, or to a lesser extent a pannier. 

test review bike gear topeak rack bag pack

Not that they wouldn’t stay bone dry mind. January and February have seen enough rain that my neighbour’s cat has been nagging me to build an ark. The roll top closure, welded seams and waterproof zipper have resisted everything-I’ve not gone the immersion route, but torrential rain, nor have I felt inclined to line it with a dry sack, or the ubiquitous bin bag. My three-minute garden hose test made no impression either.  The only slight downside to the roll top closure is that it does claim some carrying capacity and can make accessing things a little trickier. 

Durability/Care 3.5/5

 The glossy fabric is a doddle to keep clean- a quick wipe-over with a clean, damp cloth is enough to keep it looking fresh, although a quick shot of bike wash tickled with a soft brush has dissolved any impacted sludgy witches brew thrown up along country roads. The odd grope from low hanging wiry branches haven’t made any impression either. Composites seem equally hardy and aside from some bedding in during the first 100miles there’s no sign of wear.

A friend has an earlier version still going strong 15 years later. Admittedly, it's not wedded to their daily driver but has its fair share of day rides and a few tours. Spare “fixer” (locking) plates are available which is reassuring. Zippers and tags, which can be weak spots seem equally dependable and have shrugged at the inevitable, unintentional day-to-day careless.  Again, what I’d expect from this end of the market but reassuring.  

Value 3.25/5

£80 is hardly small change and the MTX Trunk Bag is as refined as it is sturdy. There are dearer models. Ortlieb Trunk Bag RC comes in at £120. It’s a 12 litre roll top design meeting IPX64 for weatherproofing that also locks to the rack, has an integrated carry strap, and reckoned capable of hauling 22 kilos. 

There are cheaper, too. Lomo Bike Tail Bag is £36.00. Made from RF welded PVC it's even bigger at 15 litres, also features segregated compartments, shoulder strap and on paper at least, a good bit lighter. It’s a more universal fit too, which may be a better be for those not wanting to be committed to a specific system. 

However, at 42cm long, it might be a little on the large side. Then of course, there’s the Carradice Super C Rack Bag at £74.99. 

tst review rack pack cycling bike

Made in the UK from cotton duck, it features a waterproof lining and 13 litre carrying capacity. The Klick Fix and Velcro strap system ensures a universal, very rugged fit and can be repaired relatively easily. Though easily addressed by lining with some scrap EVA foam, as stock, contents can rattle around a bit. 

Summary

I’ve been suitably impressed by the Topeak MTX Trunk Dry Bag. Though relatively expensive and less universal than some, it has enviable refinement, waterproofing and seems very rugged. 

3.75/5 Refined, user friendly and extremely waterproof rack bag but weight and system specific design may not suit everyone. 

 

Michael Stenning 

 

Extra UK

 

PUBLISHED MARCH 2024

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