A well designed top tube mounted storage system with an aerodynamic profile.
A small integrated compartment/pill box at the front of the bag for electrolyte/pill storage. The front of the bag is pretty shallow due to the angled design and we think it would be a perfect spot to incorporate this idea. (Are you listening XLAB? Feel free to send us our check for this idea).
A clever take on an old standby. A high quality bag with well designed features throughout.
The XLAB Rocket Pocket (yes that's the name) combines a unique name with some unique features to produce an updated version of a front mounted storage system. The first thing you will notice about this bag is that it has a definite angle to its shape from front to back (72 degrees to be exact). This angled design is intended to give the bag a more aerodynamic profile. We think any aero benefit will be negligible, but the shape does allow for some other benefits in our opinion.
For one, we feel the angled design allows for a little more knee clearance when pedaling compared to other systems. The shape also lends itself to be more easily opened and closed. The zipper seems to follow the shape of the bag with very little effort. The main drawback to the design, is of course, the loss of usable storage space. The sloping profile of the bag causes the front portion to be very shallow and in some cases unusable.
The Rocket Pocket does allow you enough room to carry the essentials for long training rides and races. We feel that this design provides ample room for the average athlete to store more than enough nutrition to carry you through any distance triathlon. For you packrats who want to bring an entire pantry full of nutrition along for the ride, this is not your bag. You know who you are. We've seen you with your 19 gels taped to your top tube at a sprint triathlon. Don't be that guy!
At TriBomb we also like to use the Rocket Pocket as a "tool box" to carry our supplies for fixing flats in longer triathlons. We recently used this bag at Ironman Texas and we were able to cram a can of tubular sealant and a couple of C02 canisters into it. Granted, there wasn't much room for anything else but it made for a pretty clean setup.
The bag itself is insulated and the material XLAB used on the outside of the Rocket Pocket is very smooth and it doesn't scrape or scratch your skin if your knees happen to rub against it. The inside of the bag also includes a stretchy mesh compartment for small items.
The bag attaches using Velcro straps, one up front for the stem and two along the bottom for the top tube. We found the length of the straps to be very generous compared to other brands and we feel like this bag should fit virtually any bike with a traditional stem. We've even seen it attached at the back of the top tube in front of the seat post. The bag also has a non-slip material that helps keep it in place, and in our tests it worked. We had no issues with the bag moving around even over rough roads.
The Rocket Pocket is in line with similar offerings from other manufacturers.
TriBomb Bottom Line
The Rocket Pocket proves that bigger isn't always better. We feel confident recommending this bag to anyone so long as you don't have to carry everything but the kitchen sink.