With the drive to go pack-less and carry kit on your bike continuing to grow, solutions to make this possible are getting better and less expensive. However, if you don’t have one of the select frames with a built in glove box, you’re fairly limited in options. I love carry straps but they have a tendency to scratch frames and some slip when wet dumping your gear all over the trail or worse…
Step up Granite and their Portaledge and Portaledge XE.
The Portaledge, an alloy mount with a Velcro strap attached allows you to carry tools or tubes without relying on gripping the frame or making contact with your paint work.
Sitting around the same price (or less) as a name brand frame strap, the Portaledge is designed to mount on unused bottle bosses. The slightly bigger and marginally heavier XE gives the option to share bosses with a pump or bottle cage and hold your spares further down the tube.
Available in either black or orange, Granite products always give a good first impression and these are no different. The Portaledge is well thought out in terms of size and shape and look, and feels very well made.
If you can install a bottle cage, you can fit Granite’s Portaledge, it’s as simple as that – if your frame can accommodate them.
Unfortunately I couldn’t use either on my full sus (Bird Aeirs 160) as it doesn’t have spare bottle bosses, and the shape of the down tube cannot accommodate the XE version. Fortunately, my trail bike (Norco Fluid HT) was good to go with both.
To ensure you get the right fit, Granite provide differing bolt lengths: short for going straight to the frame; and long which allows you to stack your bottle cage and the Portaledge while still reaching the bottle bosses.
I fitted the standard Portaledge onto the seat tube and the XE under both my pump and bottle cage.On my first fitting the provided Velcro strap snapped where the hook and loop sections are heat bonded together. Thankfully Granite’s customer service is excellent, and I had a replacement within a few days. I’ve had no further issues in this area.
On the trail
My preference was for the Portaledge XE as this would keep everything neat and low down in the frame. However, before I even left for the trails I hit a snag. When loaded up, the XE sits right where you clamp the bike on a roof mounted rack meaning both can’t be used at the same time.
Running the Portaledge on the seat tube long term, there really isn’t much to say. The silicone lined strap does the job of holding your spares and does it really well!
Being really picky, Id like the strap to be a little wider so I could carry the tube flatter to the frame (less folds), but nothing has fallen out and it’s long enough to hold tube, levers, CO2 canister and a multi tool.
While the strap is long enough to hold plenty of gear, I feel it’s a little too long. If you’re travelling light with a tube, levers and a mini pump, there is extra strap that is left to flap about. Mine is also starting to fray quite badly after a few months of Scottish winter.
I like both the Portaledge and the Portaledge XE, but you need to consider if they play well with your frame and transport. The aluminium mounts are well made, light weight and well sized to keep gear off your paint. Sadly both are let down by the poor quality straps.
While I’ll be sticking with a frame strap on the full sus, the Portaledge will be staying as the storage solution on my hardtail. If Granite were able to spec a better quality strap that was a little shorter the Portaledge range would be a real winner.
Granite Design: www.granite-design.com