ZEFAL Z ADVENTURE C2 FRAME BAG
The Zefal Z Adventure C2 Frame Bag is the smallest of the C family. C denotes Centre, designed to fit within the frame’s main triangle. However, I think the C2 is best thought of as the old school mountain bike triangle pack given a steroid boost and brought bang up to date.
Intended as an “everyman” model, the C2 is intended to work with road, gravel and mountain bikes. Great for those pared to the essentials rides when you want to carry spare tubes, multi-tool, mini pump, buff/hat, micro jacket and a couple of energy bars/similar treats. Alternatively, it can play wingman to panniers on a weekend tour, keeping cameras, wallet, passport and similar valuables within easy reach. I’ve found ours particularly good with smaller, compact geometry framesets, since it doesn’t impair access to bottle cages.
Pros: Solid materials, stable under load user friendly zipper.
Cons: Water resistant, so requires a dry sack on longer, wetter rides.
Smallest in the family, the C2 has a maximum capacity of 2.2 litres and measures 28x13x6cm. The body is made from Polyester and a sturdy, 420denier TPU (Thermoplastic Urethane). TPU is often described as bridging the gap between plastics and rubbers. It has several properties (including abrasion, and oil resistance) that are particularly useful for cycling applications. Three long Velcro straps should fit most frames and tubing diameters, and could always be pruned, if you weren’t switching it between bikes of different sizes.
A nylon “buffer” strip between loop and frameset helps prevent abrasion damage, which can often happen with bikepacking luggage. Nonetheless, I’m of the prevention rather than cure school, so popped some Zefal Armor Tape around the frame to protect the paintwork from unnecessary and unsightly damage later along the line.
Staying with mounting a moment, it can be attached in a couple of ways, hence nigh on Universal. Arguably filling the space at the front triangle is the most aesthetically pleasing. However, this may not be viable on very small (14/15-inch framesets), so it can also be mounted in the main triangle, without forgoing the downtube strap and compromising stiffness.
Stitched construction and a lack of welded seams isn’t unusual for the price point but means heavy rain and similar wet stuff will eventually find a way inside, hence I’d line with a dry sack as a precaution. Staying with the zipper a moment, this features a water repelling valance and a prodigious zipper tag for easy access, even wearing full finger gloves and while riding along.
Inside we have a generous main compartment and a small second built into the wall, for cash/cards and similar items we’d want to keep safely segregated. Detailing elsewhere is low key but welcome-thicker panels where the bag rests against the frame and subtle retro-reflective logos either side.
Now, it’s worth saying this isn’t a bike packing bag, in the sense of something like Topeak’s Smallest Midloader Frame Bag , not least as the latter feature four-point mounting straps. Look elsewhere if you’re looking to haul butane cylinders/other camping stuff. I have managed a small shackle U lock (800g), two 26x.2.0 tubes, spare gloves, hat, arm warmers and a micro jacket.
No hint of indigestion and with the Velcro pulled very taught there’s been no annoying sway, or impact upon the bike’s handling. My Univega has been the obvious “acid test” since we spent much of our time hustling along single track roads, green lanes and trails.
With the heavier payloads, I’ve needed to keep a closer eye on the Velcro tension and have needed to snug them down weekly-every 125 miles. Occupying less space in the frame means shouldering and generally carrying bikes through more technical sections and indeed just manoeuvring through the house/workshop is a bit easier, compared with bigger frame fit luggage.
On smaller framesets, including my Univega, downtube bottle mounting could still be a little tricky. I’ve swerved this using Fidlock Bottle Twist system.
Water Resistance 3/5
Ours has resisted light to moderate showery rain for an hour, or so. Being sheltered by the top tube certainly helps. Beyond that, or through heavier downpours, water found its way inside, through the seams.
Therefore, unlike the Z Aventure R5 and R11, lining with a dry sack is a good precaution on long rides, especially in winter and I’d remove when washing bikes down. That said, weather resistance seems superior to the otherwise likeable Topeak Midloader, in comparably soggy contexts.
The C2 seems solid and with no obvious weak spots. The gloss/satin textures are easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. They don’t show oily grime either, which is a bonus when tackling a rear puncture, or taming an unruly mech. In these instances, a quick shot of Squirt Bike Cleaner Concentrate tickled with a moderate stiff brush removed any tacky oily residue. The zipper cruises back and forth handsomely and without hesitation and the Velcro straps bear no signs of bobbling or similar deterioration six weeks down the line.
£27.99 might seem a little pricey on paper for a bag of this specification and capacity, SKS Traveller Edge is a similar concept, is water resistant and comes in at £21.99 but, the Zefal C2 offers over twice the capacity. ETC Arid waterproof Frame Bag is cheaper still, made from 600D nylon, with welded seams and 1.6 litre capacity. At the other extreme, Restrap Race Frame Bag comes in at £74.99 and offers 4 litres.
Taking everything into account, the C2 is a competent and generally likeable frame fitting bag that switches nicely between bikes of different genres and sizes. Its particularly useful for small compact geometry road/cross and mountain bikes where you might want to make use of the main triangle, without filling it and/or limiting access to bottles.