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I don't like velcro straps on my bike. They are constantly shifting and rubbing against it. They catch dirt. They cover frame stickers ;) A few days ago I've seen a frame bag that appeared to be connected to the frame without any straps at all. Just like one in this answer:

enter image description here Photo Bikerumor

I wanted to ask how is that possible, but I believe the more useful question would be what are alternatives to velcro? Preferably without its flaws, that is:

  • Not sliding, rubbing and moving against the frame
  • With less potential to build up dirt deposit
  • Less visible

For the sake of completeness, please include ones that require specifically built frame. I don't have one, but future readers might.

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    Some bikes have internal storage areas in the down tube. Although they usually come with smaller bags, I don’t see why you couldn’t shove the down tube full of stuff (it will be a pain to remove it later though). – MaplePanda Sep 4 at 22:03
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    @Criggie I've got official permission from CD Project Red to "rebrand" my bike using logos of any corporation from Cyberpunk 2077 game. I intend to do it. – Mołot Sep 5 at 10:50
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    @Criggie now it is concept stage. We have obtained permissions and artpack, contacted sticker printing shop to know their capabilities, choose style from CDP guidelines, talked about it, now I have to prepare photos of my bike so that my friend can Photoshop on it. Quite long way. Still, want to keep frame as exposed as feasible. – Mołot Sep 5 at 12:52
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    To answer your original question "how is this possible": the bag is mounted with frame bolts that the frame manufacturer put in there (similar to the more usual bottle cage bolts). ninerbikes.com/products/… – user2705196 Sep 5 at 16:45
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    @juhist yes, but that's not what I am asking here. – Mołot Sep 6 at 23:36
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I do not know of any commercially available products alternative to velcro, but I'm a DIY-er, And have successfully mounted some accessories to the frame and handlebars using hose clamps.

Their advantage over velcro straps is that they can hold more weight and can better stabilize the load. A strap of old inner tube is enough to protect the paint. Since the clamp does not slide, it does not rub against the paint. The clamps are ugly, but allow for semi-temporary solutions.

Another option can be specially made plastic clamps (Similar to the ones used to mount reflectors and accessories). Maybe 3D printed. They would also be "visible" but could be designed to be more eye pleasing and to clamp on areas that do not obscure the logos.

Another option is to fabricate a bag that can be mounted to the water bottle cage eyelets. Some frames have two sets: on the upper side of the down tube and on the front of the seat tube. The bag would need an inner frame to be bolted to these eyelets. A simple aluminum flat bar should be enough. If only one pair of eyelets is available, only a smaller bag should be used as to not overload the bolting points.

For those who order a custom frame, this could be a serious option (ordering specially placed eyelets).

For those willing to modify a frame, eyelets can be installed appropriately. (Depending on frame design and material).

Edit / afterthought: Another way could be to build an inner structure for the bag that can be "press fit" into the bike frame or may have some bolts that make it "expand" so it tightens inside the front triangle.

The frame would need to have the inner shape of the front triangle and half-pipe (-ish) profile to avoid sliding out, at least on contact points. On the outside, the contact points should have rubber or similar material to avoid sliding.

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    Good point about custom ordering a frame and requesting extra water bottle bosses. For retrofitting eyelets, this involves drilling, and see my comment on @Criggie's answer (steel likely OK, never drill carbon, titanium may be possible may need specialized drill bits, no idea about aluminum) – Weiwen Ng Sep 5 at 13:14
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One possibility for what you saw is bag attachment bolts. Much like bottle bosses and rack attachment points, they are part of the frame.

One interesting non-velcro option was what appeared to be a slender extending bar, resembling a very thin frame pump. I only saw it in passing and never had a chance to examine it, but I think the top and down tube sides of the frame bag had one of the extending bars, but not the seat post. I could be wrong.

Another clever alternative is thin elastic banding (shock cord) about the width of paracord. It requires modification of most frame bags, but creates a very cool web appearance.

How about frame protection stickers? It seems like that would solve some of the concerns.

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    The Niner in the photo does indeed have bolts to secure the frame bag. The downside to this type of arrangement is that that big is proprietary to that Niner frame. There is no current established standard for bolts to mount frame bags. I agree that velcro appears to be a sufficient and more general solution to mounting bags, and that tape or stickers can protect against paint rub. – Weiwen Ng Sep 4 at 22:34
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Much thinner (so less obvious) and less prone to rubbing than velcro straps are cable ties (zip ties). You can get a range of colours but in black or white you can also buy releasable ones that allow you to take bags off and put them back on without being wasteful.

They can often be used as a direct replacement on your favourite bag.

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  • Interesting - I've found zip ties wear paint worse than velcro. – Criggie Sep 6 at 12:50
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    @Criggie I don't tend to use velcro long term, so perhaps it's not a fair comparison, but I haven't generally had trouble with cable ties and in fact use them to protect the frame from my lock rubbing. Anything that can move is an issue - if you can't get the cable ties tight they're likely to be a problem – Chris H Sep 6 at 13:03
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Can you sew? Its possible to make up a custom frame bag for your bike using relatively simple box-construction techniques. The ones I've made have been triangular and sit at the front of the main triangle, held up by two velco straps and held down by one.

However you could put a double-pocket along the top, feed in a length of stiff plastic, sew it in permanently, and then put in two or more small brass or plastic grommits, with one at each end and enough across the top to provide the necessary support.

Finally you would use the finished bag to mark out hole locations on your bike. Drill at each hole and install a suitably sized rivnut into the frame. Mount your bag using stainless steel bolts, and then fill your bag with stuff and ride on.

If your frame is made from Steel, I'd suggest installing rivnuts. More info on that How to fit rivnut / nutsert to frame? where there's a discussion of the pros and cons/risks of drilling into a frame. The red one pictured is Aluminium so I wouldn't drill that, nor would I drill a Carbon Fibre frame

Own work
Bike is rotated 90 degrees, hanging by its front wheel in this photo, so the tools are all slumped toward the rear giving it a sack-of-potato look. Its nicer than this, and the zip is on the other side, being right-handed is good for me. This frame is Aluminium, so bag is using velcro ties.

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    Creative solution! If I may be picky, I'd alert readers to never drill a carbon frame. You are likely to create a stress riser that leads to later failure. If you asked a carbon repair shop, I bet almost all would answer the same (although Calfee does offer internal electronic retrofitting, which does entail drilling holes, but I think this is their frames only). Older steel can likely be drilled, with some limited risk. Titanium is probably possible, but I vaguely recall hearing that its material properties make drilling hard/require specialized equipment. – Weiwen Ng Sep 5 at 13:12
  • @WeiwenNg fair point - updated. I suspect the pictured Niner bike has more thickness whereever that frame bag bolts to. – Criggie Sep 5 at 13:26
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    @WeiwenNg bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/71888 Asked as separate question. – Criggie Sep 5 at 13:45
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    You might not even need to sew. There's an entire ecosystem of molle compatible hooks, rings and other things that work with 1 inch nylon straps, and they're pretty cheap if you get them from less usual (that's to say not "tactical") places. These include bits that'll effectively clamp strapping together, or you can heat-fuse them – Journeyman Geek Sep 6 at 10:57

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