I spied one of the prototypes for the Backcountry Stitch Works (BSW) Aww Snap (strapless) frame bags on Will Ross’ Hawt Pank Langxx last year just around the time of the Fat Nationals in Michigan. I quizzed Will about his fuchsia bike purse and he told me that the bag was pretty sweet. So I tried to get BSW to make me one but they were still working out some of the final details of their Aww Snap System. It was Summer before we got the green light to send them some dollahs to get the ball rolling. About a month later we received an all-black version with a Bike Black Ribbon Society patch sewn on the side as a nice surprise.
The Aww Snap System utilizes specially developed snaps to hold the frame bag in place along with one strap that’s located in-line with the compartment zippers. There are snaps sewn into the bag and their counterparts have a special silicone adhesive that sticks to the inside of the main triangle of the bike frame. Here’s what BSW shared about how to install the bag and self-adhesive snaps. Clean the bike inner triangle with rubbing alcohol. Attach the snaps to the bag and remove the brake/shift cable from the top tube. Work your way from the front adhesive snaps to the seat tube snap. Pro-tip for installing the adhesive snaps is to leave the stuffing that’s in the bag during installation.
I dry fit everything before I started to place the adhesive snaps onto the frame. The fit of the bag is very tight. It’s designed to bow outward and that creates additional tension to keep the bag in place. There are stiffeners built into the side panels that allow the cargo area to hold its shape. The zippered openings run along the top of the bag at the shoulder of the upper fold or seam, making them very easy to access. The drive side zipper opens a large single chamber and the other side opens a map pocket that is split vertically into two sections. The back section swallows my giant phone with ease and the front section is perfect for keys and a trail pass. This bag is unlike any other frame bag that I’ve ever tested. Both in the way that it attaches to the frame and the stiffeners in the side panels that give this bag dimensional stability.
The alignment of the zipper on this bag makes it very easy to open or close with one hand. The Aww Snap is a very good fit and the finish work is top notch! This is my second frame bag from BSW and this one is even better than the first one. The devil is in the details on custom frame bags and there are few refinements that make this frame bag easier to use than my earlier BSW frame bag. Things, like switching to sealed zippers and using para-cord on the zipper pulls instead of shock-cord.
I keep a frame bag on my bike most of the time. I carry my ‘Oh Shit’ kit – a tube – and a pump in there and that leaves me lots of extra room for beverages, camera, etc. (play the video above to see what this bag can swallow and how easily it zips and unzips) The true test of this bag may come this winter when the temperature drops and tests the holding power of the adhesive on those snaps. I haven’t tried to stuff the new bag up to the gills yet, but that’s an inevitable situation of my cycling future. So we’re going to put this new bike bag through the ringer and see how she goes. We’ll be taking notes and herding pixels till our review posts later this winter…till then…¡via con bicis gordas amigos!