Revelate Joey Review
The all-new Revelate Joey provides down under storage capacity for bikes without mounts, and stays in place with a rather interesting contact panel design. A few rides in, read our early review here…
As you might have surmised from its name, the new Revelate Joey attaches “down under” the down tube on most any bicycle, just above the bottom bracket. Requiring only two velcro straps to attach, the Joey provides a viable solution for adding gear or water storage capacity to bikes without mounts at that position. Released alongside the Hopper Frame Bag today, the Joey features a spacious design and unique materials to keep heavy loads secure and stable. I’ve taken it out on a couple long, rugged trail rides to see if I could find any flaws. Here are details and impressions.
The Revelate Joey was purpose built to carry large, heavy items under the bike and maintain a low center of gravity. This isn’t the first bag designed for such a purpose; the Bedrock Honaker—listed in our “Adding Bottles” Gear Index—has been around for a while and shares a similar size and intent. Like the Honaker, the Joey’s generous two-liter cylindrical shape was designed to accommodate items such as a Nalgene bottle, a Jetboil, an 8oz fuel canister, or the Vargo BOT, which is what I tested it with, mostly. To give you an idea on space, I packed it with a 32oz Klean Kanteen, some merino gloves, a headlamp, and a SOL emergency bivy for the photograph below (and all the other “clean” photos prior to use). That particular load left a little wiggle room and allowed three full rolls of the roll-top, so I could have squeezed in a few more items as well.
What sets the Joey apart from its competitors is the foam panel along the bag’s spine, where it comes in contact with the downtube. Made from a compression molded dual density foam, this acts as a stiff layer to give the bag structure, while the softer outer layer offers a little bit of compression when the bag is attached to the downtube. The panel is covered with a grippy fabric and molded into a slight curve that hugs the frame.
The rubber fabric on the contact panel is quite sticky, and its contoured profile seems to pair well with tubing of all shapes and sizes. It also has a silicone coating on the interior of the two velcro straps, which Revelate claims make it “a bag that won’t budge on the roughest terrain.” To test this, I tried it on both a carbon Tallboy (as photographed), and a titanium hardtail, both during otherwise unloaded—and rather rowdy—trail rides in Pisgah. It worked flawlessly on both and showed no signs of slippage or migration whatsoever. I actually forgot it was there until I bottomed out my 130mm fork on a root drop and heard a slight buzz when it brushed the tire. A slightly lower placement would have helped avoid this. Another benefit of the contact panel is it keeps a nice padding between the content of the bag and the bike, eliminating rattles.
Aside from the foam panel, the Joey has a gray VX21 X-Pac bottom and a single-ply body made from Revelate’s exclusive, semi-shiny VX21 fabric, which they claim offers twice the abrasion resistance as standard X-Pac. A standard roll-top closure allows on-the-bike access and eliminates issues with gummed up zippers or bottles in muddy terrain, or even worse, dirt roads and trails littered with horse manure.
To be clear, this isn’t our typical long-term review, as I’ve only had this bag for a short period of time. That said, I did put it through its paces while riding some pretty tough trails. During these test rides I had the Joey stuffed with a full-sized Vargo BOT, stove, fuel canister, tools, and a few other bits, weighing in at a total of 790 grams (1.75 pounds), which I thought was a pretty good representation of a common pack weight for this bag. That’s what’s inside in all of the muddy photos shown here. With that pack list, there was a little room left over, but I wanted to keep it rather short to avoid interference with the front tire. The compression straps do a really good job of cinching down the load and keeping it secure and stable, too. I also packed it with a jacket and some gloves and cinched it down pretty tight. I was pleased that that’s an option and it still remains secure and stable. There are also two rubber O-rings on the compression straps for securing the leftover webbing when it’s cinched down.
- Volume 2 liters
- Actual Weight 4.6 oz (130 grams)
- Load limit 5 pounds (2.27kg)
- Place of Manufacture Oregon, USA
- Price $69
- Manufacturer’s Details RevelateDesigns.com
- Enables down under storage on bikes without downtube mounts
- Doesn’t slip due to well-engineered, molded foam contact area and silicone-coated straps
- Well sized for larger items; perfect for cook kit/Vargo BOT
- Only comes in black
- Fixed strap placements might be limiting on some bikes
- Velcro straps may wear out over time
Revelate Designs always seems to arrange the perfect materials in a carefully constructed manner to make bags perform at the top of their game. The Joey is no exception. The compression molded dual density foam used in the contact panel provides just the right amount of structure to this bag, and the rubberized outer material paired with the silicon-coated straps do an excellent job of keeping it in place. For bikes without bottle mounts under the downtube, the Joey offers a nicely designed solution for adding a little bit more storage, for either gear or water. While we haven’t put enough miles on it to truly test its long-term durability, I’m pretty impressed with it so far and I’ll be sure to update this down the road once we do.
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