Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop: limpet-like storage.

As bikepackers, we’re often in search of extra cubby holes to store gear, particularly in ways that won’t impact a bike’s handling. Rogue Panda’s Oracle Rolltop Downtube Bag is one such option, making use of the downtube real estate on bikes without eyelets. It can also, with the right configuration, slot above a water bottle on those that have more room to spare.

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Bikepacking encourages paring down our possessions to the minimum. But sometimes we need just a little extra room. Perhaps the bike we’re riding has a suspension linkage, or the frame itself is petite, or there’s no provision for a water bottle or cargo cage below the downtube. In such instances, a discreet peripheral bag, attaching limpet-like below the downtube, offers a valuable pocket of additional storage space.

  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review
  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Downtube Bag Review
  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review

Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review

Rogue Panda’s Rolltop Oracle is a bigger, bolder evolution from the previous zippered model we featured in our accessory bag roundup. It’s a change we’re glad to see; after all, forgoing the convenience of zips in areas prone to muck and mud makes good sense.

Installation is a quick and easy process, with velcro straps initially holding the bag to the downtube. Given the wide opening of the rolltop, it’s easy to ferret around for what you’re after and pack everything just so, while the simple rolltop closure keeps everything snug and predominantly watertight. Once rolled up, two secondary straps, complete with locking buckles, reach around both the bag and downtube to hug everything together. Then, it’s just a case of cinching the straps and locking their buckles down, so there’s no risk of anything loosening off while riding.

  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review
  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review
  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review
  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review
  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review

Build quality is definitely on the stout side. The Oracle has clung to my bike on a 500-mile dirt road tour with no signs of escape. And it’s currently doing the same in Peru, along roads that have been incredibly rugged and washed out. It even acts as a mud guard of sorts; and with no zipper to worry about, I’m happy to let it do so. Backed with Hyperlon where the bag meets the downtube, there’s no indication of wear whatsoever.

In terms of sizing, I’d describe as similar to that of a generous south western burrito. Right now, it’s stowing my tool/spares pouch, a bottle of sealant, a couple of emergency bottom bracket cups, my rear blinkie, and the cleaning kit for my Sawyer filter – important odds and ends I don’t need to access all that often.

  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review
  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review

Most bikepackers will use a downtube bag in lieu of running a water bottle or an Anything/Manything Cage, and the Oracle certainly does a great job as a replacement. On longer trips, I actually like to run both water bottle and downtube bag, if possible. Given that the Oracle clings tighly enough to the downtube not to slip (especially when strategically placed between the velcro tabs of your framebag), it works out well when positioned above the 64oz Klean Kanteen that I favour for longer, more remote tours.

Whether this works for you will depend on frame size, wheel size, and geometry. Bikes that are suspension corrected tend to have plenty of space to spare; just make sure there’s no risk that the tire rubs the bag when the suspension compresses.

In a similar vein

Aslo check out Bedrock’s Honiker BOT and Nalgene bags, other downtube options we’ve tried and really liked.

Pros

  • Roll top offers easy access.
  • Super tough.
  • Locking buckles ensures it won’t lossen off when you cinch it up tight.

Cons

  • Adds a little bit of weight… but not much!
  • Weight 110g (3.9oz)
  • Capacity 1.5L
  • Place of manufacture Arizona, USA
  • Price $60
  • Contact Rogue Panda Designs

Wrap Up

Although I don’t currently own a bike without downtube water bottle mounts, I’ve still managed to put the Oracle to excellent use. Over my last couple of journeys, it’s proved the perfect cubby hole for stashing my tool pouch, spares, a bottle of sealant, a blinkie, and whatever emergency snacks I can jam in there too. The inclusion of straps that cinch tight and lock down works really well, particularly if you’re running the Oracle higher on the downtube and need to make sure there’s room between the bag and the tire. And I especially like the roll-top design and its ease of access. After hundreds of miles of use, its proved hardy enough too; despite the crusty patina of dirt and dust, the Oracle is still as good as new.

  • Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop Review
  • Thomas

    Do folks reckon this could be attached at some point along the seat stay, or does it need the full width of the main frame tubing to stay stable?

  • Good question. I would think not, but I used the original zip Oracle on a suspension fork before for a 1000mi trip and it worked like a charm.

  • Thomas, I think a seat stay would be too narrow for the bag to be stable.

  • Jon Schultz

    Any issue with side to side sway? My bedrock honaker bag requires velcro glued to the downtube to prevent swaying back and forth.

  • Jamie Lent

    For those with carbon forks without threaded inserts, these are a great option for expanding capacity in the front.

  • Nope, the zip one I have is rock solid.

  • Jon, the grippy non-slip fabric on the straps should prevent any movement between the bag and the downtube. Then there’s the compression straps to further stabilize the load.

    I’ve never had any issues over 3 years of testing the old zippered version. The new one doesn’t have quite as much testing time as the old, but it was designed to be even more stable, not less.

  • Cass Gilbert

    No sway at all. Kung Fu grip.

  • Kevin Sellers

    Dang, I like the concept and durability but that price point is for idiots with too much expendable cash who carry more things then they have use for. That’s a $11 bag, period.

  • Jason LaMontagne

    $60 is an absolute STEAL for a bag handmade in Flagstaff AZ with more than $20 in materials alone, XPac fabric, Hyperlon backing, ect…
    Nick makes great stuff at an awesome pricepoint for craftsmanship involved.

  • Kevin Sellers

    Rogue Panda is absolutely in a three way tie for first place in my favorite bag company list. Plus the materials are the best money can buy, I agree 100%, but I suppose I am just too thrifty to shell out that kind of money when I have plenty of time on my hands to reduce costs.

  • Pricing is always tough for me. It’s a challenge between keeping prices competitive and also compensating me and my employees for our hard work.

    I do hear you about having plenty of time on your hands, that’s how Rogue Panda got started! Not much money and lots of time.

  • Kevin Sellers

    I’m proud of your product craft, endeavors, and accomplishments and I promise to continue supporting RP! Thanks for chiming in. Cheers

  • Doug Nielsen

    $60 bucks ain’t bad. If you are buying something for $60 I wouldn’t say yer an idiot. Or maybe I am… I just bought a Lululemon tank for $90 and they’re probably laughing their heads off. I’d pay $60 for this easy.

  • Charles Kepler

    Thomas, I ran the original Oracle on my Deadwood seat post (27 mm) for a month and it never moved.

  • I have a small Troll, which means a small frame bag (Surly/Revelate 7). I just bought one of these to keep some stuff out of the frame bag. $60 isn’t bad for a well-made, niche product.

    Not everyone has the luxury of huge frames, lots of time and the means to make whatever they need. I’d love to have a giant roll of Dyneema or Dacron sail cloth and a sewing machine (and whatever does the “welding”). I would make the perfect frame bags for me, I’d make trousers that actually fit me, I’d make accessory bags like this, and something awesome to replace a basket (stiff bottom, attach easily to a Surly 8-Pack rack via Velcro and M5 bolts, maybe integrated Bluetooth speaker, lights … )

    Although I’d love something other than black, I’m still stoked to have just bought one of these and can’t wait to put it to use.

    Maybe I can even do a blog post about it … I’m overdue to post something.

  • Mine arrived the other day. I jammed a spare tube, tire levers, Park tire boot, tube patches, small “military” sewing kit, small bag of spare M5 bolts and probably some other shit. It’s solid, more stable than Margaret Thatcher.

    My only complaint–and it’s small–is how much of a pain it was to get the Velcro and straps in place with a frame bag and downtube-mounted pump (similar setup to the photos). I think I can rework it to remove redundant Velcro, like I do with the toptube bag/frame bag combination.

    The bag does not move, it cinches down tightly so the contents stay put.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Good to hear you’re happy with it. I think I trimmed down the surplus velcro I didn’t need, to neaten things up.

  • I generally trim Velcro. I also like to use the same straps to hold more than one thing down:
    I have two Revelate Feedbags what use the same Velcro around the stem; the Velcro around my Blackburn top tube bag (cammo!) also hold the Revelate/Surly frame bag; I use the Velcro and buckle straps on the Oracle to also hold the bottom of the frame bag.
    I have a Salsa Wanderlust aluminum rack that also doubles as a fender/mudguard of sorts with the artistic deployment of Tyvek on the top and seat stay rails.
    It’s part of the ethos of “everything has more than one use,” sort of.

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