KOM TUBE STRAP WITH ATOP DIAL REVIEW
Review by Drew Rohde
As mountain bikers continue to search for ways to ditch the pack on their rides, we’re seeing more and more options come to the market for on-frame tools and spare inner tube storage. It’s no secret that Velcro strap options can suffer in adverse weather conditions, as the hooks and loops seem to attract mud and debris towards them. To counteract this potential issue, options such as KOM’s Tube Strap are being equipped with a dial system to do the fastening, resisting the elements and adding a touch of refinement in the process. We set about strapping the essentials to our test MTB’s and eBikes to see how KOM’s offering performed.
KOM Cycling’s Tube Strap with ATOP dial is one of the frame storage solutions born in the road bike world, where sleek design is key and spare tubes are essential. KOM identified the cross over to the mountain bike world that their Tube Strap would have, and so ensured it had a large enough capacity to carry a 29er tube, tire levers, multi tool and even a CO2 inflator and canister in there with a squeeze.
Items are secured with an elasticated Velcro strap to be held in place. This keeps the bundle together nicely and ensuring it can be transferred easily from bike to bike. The ATOP dial is similar in design to a BOA unit, making use of a soft Nylon lace to loop around the area of the frame desired and hook the plastic latch onto a tab on the other side. Coming in at $29.99 and weighing in at 29g, KOM’s Tube Strap is light on both bike and wallet. Those savings are no doubt a tradeoff for using ATOP’s system rather than BOA, and while it does work, BOA snobs will certainly notice a difference. The extending lace ends at a plastic hook that attaches to the other side of the strap securely and allows riders to really cinch down that ATOP closure system.
The KOM Tube Strap looks like a high-quality bit of kit, and for the most part packs the performance to match. Thanks to the high amount of stretch in the velcro strap within, you can pack an impressive amount, but lower loads are still held securely. It’s always worthwhile to take an extra second with a frame strap to ensure the load is organized in a way that will sit neatly on the bike, and the stretch that the Velcro strap offers makes it a little easier to shuffle things around into the best position. The way this Velcro strap consolidates the load results in a sleek unit that certainly fits in with road bike appearances when it’s not packed too bulky.
Using the ATOP dial and attached Nylon lace, it’s easy to get things fitted and cranked up, if not quite as refined as a true BOA system. Once tightly in place, the Tube Strap stayed in place impressively well through the typical hammering on the trails, and it didn’t seem to matter what tube of the bike it was mounted to, though it won’t fit around particularly fat tubes like an eMTB downtube.
Releasing the tension in the dial with a counterclockwise turn, it doesn’t feel quite so inclined to release smoothly compared to popping a BOA system open. But given the apparent cost savings that accompany the alternative system it’s hard to blame KOM for their choice, and it still works acceptably well. Once the dial has released the tension in the lace, it can be tricky to remove the plastic latch as it locks itself in firmly. This was especially true for the cold, gloved hands that were present for most of our testing. Perhaps a slightly longer or slightly more curved tab would give better purchase for us to grab and pull on. Another minor issue we had in certain positions was bumping the ATOP knob with our knee pads as it could be sticking out to the side of the bike depending on the frame’s shock position. Overall, though, for reasonable money and with a high-quality finish, it seems KOM have done a stellar job with their ATOP equipped Tube Strap.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Though the ATOP dial system falls slightly short of the refinement of BOA, the KOM Tube Strap has still left us suitably impressed with its ability to securely fasten the essential spares to our bikes in a sleek manner. If you’re not regularly getting flats or swapping the unit from bike to bike, the occasional finger-wrestle to remove the tab won’t be a big enough issue to warrant spending twice as much to buy a BOA-equipped strap system. Some frames may show a bit of wear from the lace rubbing so a protective clear sticker may be a good idea on bikes with softer paint.
ATOP not quite as good as BOA
Plastic latch tricky to remove
Can bump knees on ATOP knob depending on placement
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