There are certain time honored traditions that every triathlete should at one time go through whether they want to or not; traditions such as leaving T2 with their helmet still securely fastened or completely forgetting to pack some essential piece of gear the night before the race. But our personal favorite is the taping of the gels to the top tube. At some point or another, every triathlete will do it, and we do it because it is a simple solution to a simple problem. But sometimes we need to hold more than a few gels, and electrical tape won’t do the trick, and that is where the XLAB Stealth Pocket 100 comes in.
There are many top tube bags out there, but the Stealth Pocket stands out with its aerodynamic design. With most frame setups, the stem and spacers should hide the bag behind their aerodynamic shadow. Considering the amount of effort and work we go through to make our bikes as aero as possible, it is a crying shame to not use a bag that puts this concern front and center.
We were intrigued by the Stealth Pocket for two reasons; first is that Mike likes to carry large amounts of “stuff” on his rides, and secondly because we didn’t actually think it would work on our test frames. The second reason was the really intriguing one, since the Stealth Pocket has a Velcro strap at its front that would look to be impeded by the cabling on both our test frames that enters at the top tube. But when there is a will, there is a way (and a review).
We mounted the Stealth Pocket to our CD0.1 test frame without issue. The Velcro strap provided is more than long enough to wrap all the way around the front spacers of the bike (a totally slammed stem might present some challenges). Mike currently has been using it for the past month and has crammed 3 gels, 2 tire levers, and a CO2 inflator and still has some room left over. It works exactly as we would expect it to.
The only issue we have had was the model we received has the zipper open from bottom to top, which seems counter intuitive. You are positioned over the top of the bag and want to open it from the top. The good news is that we spoke to XLABs regarding this and they informed us that they also recognized this, and the current version of the bag in production now has the zipper opening from the top.
We know that a bento box \ top tube bag is never going to be the sexiest addition to your bike, but it is one of those components that does the job you need it to do. The Stealth Pocket 100 does the job while not causing an undo aerodynamic penalty, and being that we are the AeroGeeks, you know this is a product we can appreciate.