Scoutset Bag Brace: Quick Review – by Guitar Ted
The Scoutset Bag Brace was recently offered to me to review, and when I saw it, I was a bit confused. “Isn’t this just a decaleur?“. As it turns out, it is- yet it is not. Okay, so you may be saying to yourself at this point, “What is this language Guitar Ted speaks in and what is a Scoutset?” Well, hold on there for a bit, keep reading, and all will be made clear. I hope…..
What It Is: The Scoutset Bag Brace is a product offered by Velo Garage KC, a Kansas City, Missouri bicycle shop. The Scoutset Bag Brace was named after Velo Garage KC’s favorite spot to watch the Sun set, the Scout statue. So “Scoutset“, get it? Scoutset- Sunset? Ah……well, okay.
Now the other part- the thing about a decaleur. Well, that is a French term for a brace to stabilize a front handle bar bag. The blog for the Velo Orange company has a great explainer for decaleurs, so I will not go into great detail about them here. Hit that link if you want to dive down that rabbit hole. For our purposes here, all you need to understand is that a decaleur’s job is to stabilize a front bag and help attach a bag to a bicycle. The Scoutset Bag Brace does that, but it also can support up to a 18lb load, so it is a sort of hybrid between a front rack and a decaleur.
The Scoutset is made from titanium. It basically is a continuous titanium rod bent into a shape and its ends are inserted into a machined chunk of titanium which also serves as an attachment to your bicycle’s steer tube. The Scoutset essentially takes the place of a 10mm steer tube spacer, so it should be placed underneath a stem in place of a 10mm spacer on a threadless steer tube made from aluminum or steel. The Scoutset Bag Brace is not recommended for carbon steer tubes at this time. The approximate dimensions of this rack are as follows: The “drop” of the brace from where it attaches to the steer tube to the “base” of the rack is about 4.5″. The “base” or “platform” formed by the square-ish titanium loop is 6″ x 6″.
The Scoutset’s clamp is part of that ‘spacer’ and the bolt will tighten the clamp of the bag brace to the steer tube so it will not rotate on the steer tube when in use. This means you should make any head set adjustments with that clamp loosened. Once you get the head set adjusted, then you can clamp that bolt down to the recommended 5Nm of torque. Once the brace is installed, you can use it in several ways. The Scoutset Bag Brace is available online from Velo Garage KC here. Retail price is $129.00 USD. The Scoutset Bag Brace weighs in at 388 grams on my digital scale.
First Impressions: The brace is really stout feeling in the hand and the chunky, machined titanium clamp/attachment is impressive. While only rated for 18lbs, (which- honestly- is a LOT for a handle bar bag), I would be hard pressed to imagine this thing failing. It’s got a great. solid feel to it. Obviously, the metal construction is flawless and the fact that it is made from titanium means that the Scoutset Bag Brace will retain its handsome good looks for many years to come.
Installing the bag brace requires a bit of mechanical know-how, so I’d recommend your favorite bike shop if you aren’t well versed in how head sets and stems are adjusted and torqued on threadless systems. If you’ve got the proper knowledge and the tools, then you will find that the Scoutset fits snugly on the steer tube, which, for this design, is important. Any looseness here gets translated to unwanted movement with a load on. I was happy to see the precision with which the machined clamp was made.
You’ll also need to have about 90mm of steer tube underneath your stem to make this work, although I’ve been told that Velo Garage KC mechanics have made this work on steer tubes somewhat shorter than that. Check your bike carefully before ordering one, and be cognizant that things like cable hangars, suspension stems, and short steer tubes may preclude your using this product.
I used the Scoutset on my Raleigh Tamland Two with an aluminum steer tubed carbon fork. Once the bag brace was centered and clamped down, I grabbed an old handle bar bag I’ve had since the 1990’s and mounted it. Then it was time to stuff that bag with clothes, tools, my camera, and some food and go riding.
Ride Performance: While weight on the front of a bike may feel weird at first, I find that typically that feeling goes away after about the first ride or so. Then I was at ease with my load and set up. You may notice that the bag I used tips back to the rear of the bike a bit. That’s on purpose. The Scoutset was designed to have this ‘tip-back’ to help secure any load you may have on rougher terrain and roads.
The Scoutset thus supports the bag, and stabilizes it. The design’s simplicity allows for several ways to strap and stabilize bags to its tubing. I had no problems really tightening down straps to secure a dry bag to the Scoutset, as a for instance. This made riding with the Scoutset a pleasure as loads could be secured tightly without any jostling or movement of the load, and I could hit any road or obstacle with the same gusto as I would have unloaded. There was no hint of flex or movement of the Scoutset axially on my steer tube. That clamp is solid! I would have no reservations using this on even more rugged roads than I have access to here.
At The Finish: The Scoutset Bag Brace is a unique, titanium device which stabilizes and carries bags (or maybe even other light loads) well with a simple clamp which takes the place of a steer tube spacer on a threadless steer tube set up. It makes a bicycle with no front rack mount capabilities into a front load carrying bike, or it could be that perfect stabilization device for the bike packer using a large handle bar roll.
There are certain limitations to using a Scoutset Bag Brace. You shouldn’t consider one for a carbon steer tube. The steer tube should have plenty of extension above the head tube. If you have a suspension stem, this isn’t going to be compatible with the Scoutset. But for many bicycles with 1 1/8th threadless steer tubes, this could be a great way to get a stable, useful bag on the front end of your bike. The construction of the Scoutset is really stout, and being that it is made from titanium, it probably will outlast your bicycle. I highly recommend the Scoutset Bag Brace for bikepacking, errands, or touring as a very versatile solution for carrying bags, handle bar bags, and more.
More information and details on the the Scoutset Bag Brace can be found here : https://www.velogaragekc.com/store/p/scoutset-bag-brace
Note: Velo Garage KC sent over the Scoutset Bag Brace at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We were not bribed, nor paid, for this review and we will always strive to give you our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.