MAAP x Apidura: Exploring the Alt Road
When MAAP asked us to create a bikepacking bag range to complement their new Alt_Road collection, we took inspiration from their modular approach to gravel apparel and created a new range that combines the best features of a full bikepacking setup into the lightest, simplest and most convenient setup possible. Read on to find out more.
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The meteoric rise of gravel – and the bikes, clothing and equipment designed for taking a turn off the ordinary – has opened new worlds to adventurous cyclists everywhere. Riders have discovered new freedom to explore, to take alternative roads and mix terrains over a single ride and developed new expectations about what their rides look like and what they need to make the most of them.
This freedom has seen adventurous cyclists needing to be more prepared and having to carry more on their everyday rides, as well as their longer forays into the backcountry. Gravel trails rarely have as many resupply opportunities or bailout options if the weather turns, and cyclists need to be prepared for every eventuality – without being overburdened. Gravel bikes can often carry more water and have extra mounts for accessories, but riders also need to carry extra layers and extra food, even on a relatively short ride.
Forward-thinking cycling apparel brands like MAAP are catering to these adventure cyclists by adding storage to their cycling gear and finding new ways to layer clothes and prepare for all eventualities. MAAP’s new Alt_Road collection carefully balances the ability to carry more and dress for mixed conditions while not detracting from the enjoyment of shorter, less burdened rides. Clever design features like mesh pockets mean riders can carry more when they need to but don’t have extra material getting in the way, adding weight and complexity when they don’t.
When MAAP invited us to collaborate on creating a range of bikepacking bags for their new Alt_Road range, we knew that the resulting bags would need to be capable of supporting fully-fledged bikepacking trips but also streamlined and minimal enough to not get in the way on shorter rides.
Our solution to this challenge was to explore ways in which multiple packs could be combined to create the most minimal setup possible without losing features. This means riders who enjoy gravel but don’t go on regular long bikepacking expeditions can have a setup that works for everyday rides but still allows them to push their rides farther when they want.
The first pack in the MAAP x Apidura collaboration was the MAAP x Apidura Frame Pack, which combines elements of our Racing Frame Pack with elements of our Backcountry Food Pouch Plus. Frame packs are terrific all-rounders and are often the first pack a rider buys, so we were excited by the opportunity to explore how we could add functionality to this bikepacking staple and creating something for the alt road.
Frame packs are often where riders keep bulky items – electronics, layers and spares, but also frequently contain food and overlap with food pouches (another staple that plenty of riders keep on their bikes, no matter how long the ride they’re heading out on is). Redesigning such an iconic mainstay of bikepacking meant drawing on inspiration from MAAP’s apparel and finding ways to simplify the frame bag whilst adding extra features that don’t add complexity or bulk when not in use.
By sticking with a single-sided opening, we were able to maximise the internal space while creating external space for a mesh pocket, inspired by our Backcountry Food Pouch Plus, on the non-drive side. This new layout creates a large, waterproof space for everything from small everyday essentials through to bulky layers, whilst also providing a stash spot for wrappers and other small items that can easily be misplaced but don’t need to be carried for the duration of the ride. Like MAAP’s bib shorts with cargo pockets, the design allows for additional space when it’s needed without creating any wasted space when not in use.
With inspiration drawn from our Racing Series, the MAAP x Apidura Frame Pack is fully waterproof and has a cable port for charging on the go. The graphics are colour-matched to MAAP’s Alt_Road collection and retroreflective for enhanced visibility at night. It’s the perfect companion for riders who want to take a turn off the ordinary, whether they’re out for a quick rider before work or an overnighter with friends.
The frame bag is now joined by the MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack and MAAP x Apidura Saddle Pack, creating a setup that is lightweight and modular enough to cover everything from short rides with friends through to bikepacking excursions. Much like the frame pack, the handlebar and saddle packs blend the function of multiple packs into a smaller size to create a streamlined yet comprehensive solution for adventurous riders looking to go off-grid.
The MAAP x Apidura Saddle Pack combines the construction of our Racing Saddle Pack with the additional storage of the bungee tie down found on our Expedition Saddle Pack. The Racing Saddle Pack is a fantastic choice for fast rides with light loads and plenty of riders have carried contintent-crossing loads in them, but for more casual rides, the ability to strap extra items to the top means the difference between leaving a layer behind and being cold at night or getting a good night’s sleep. Outside of a race, that’s a compromise most riders are happy to make, so we’ve added a bungee to allow you to strap a layer or a mid-ride find to the bag and add a bit of space to your minimal setup without needing another bag.
With this collection, we’ve created a streamlined setup of three bags that provides the functionality of six. It’s a true ‘set and forget’ setup that won’t add weight or bulk to your bike on shorter rides but will give you the freedom to go long at a moment’s notice.