“Being tight Yorkshiremen, we’ll make it rather than buy it.”
Although it’s said with a degree of wry humour, that’s the philosophy that has guided Restrap since Nathan Hughes founded the brand in 2010. Back then, he was building bike pedal straps out of recycled car seatbelts in a back bedroom - seatbelts that he’d cut out of cars in scrapyards himself. Initially, the idea was just to build enough for him and his mates to charge their track bikes around the Yorkshire hills but the quality and aesthetic of what Hughes was making was obvious - stopping there wasn’t an option.
After a few years of tinkering away on his own, Hughes’ love for cycling had evolved into road and mountain biking, including larger, multi-day trips across the country and beyond to Europe. It sparked the idea of building more and more bike accessories, from frame bags and panniers to backpacks and saddle bags. Basically, if they needed it, they built it; invariably, the quality of what they produced was better than alternative products on the market.
As the products grew larger and Restrap gained more and more interest, Hughes needed more help to manufacture and more space to do it in. So he gathered a collective of cycling-obsessed designers and creatives and sourced a workshop in Leeds, taking pains to work with only the best tools and most meticulous craftsmen to ensure that the quality of Restrap’s products remained high. Everything the brand do is geared around creating the best products they can and that stems from two crucial elements: sourcing local materials and working with people who know their shit.
Clearly, materials don’t get much more local than being scavenged by hand from the local scrapyard and although Restrap have progressed from those humble beginnings, they remain committed to working with suppliers in the UK. 70% of their materials arrive from British businesses, including webbing from the oldest webbing manufacturer in the world. In Hughes’ words, not only do you get high-quality materials but it saves the hassle of dealing with an overseas supplier - if something needs discussing, you pop down the road for a cuppa rather than booking a flight to the Far East.
That second element - the people who actually build Restrap’s products - has likely been the most influential in their success. Since the workshop is full of bike nuts, most of their designs are born from experience in the saddle, which also means that the people operating the sewing machines know exactly how those frame bags and dry bags should perform in the outdoors. It’s a productive, creative environment that means when you hold a Restrap product, you know it’s been designed and built with real purpose in mind.
Not that Restrap are all about hardcore mountain biking and intense, record-breaking cycle tours. They’re all about cycling for the fun of it, whether that’s cruising down country lanes on the way home from work or head off for the weekend on a bikepacking microadventure. The gear and apparel they make can, of course, handle those more gruelling rides but it’s not where you’re likely to find the Restrap crew.
Bikepacking - i.e. heading out to remote and wild landscapes on your bike and camping - is what most of Restrap’s bike bags are geared towards but increasingly they’re building bags and accessories for everyday life too, whether you’re on two wheels or not. From their commuter-friendly backpacks and messenger bags to laptop sleeves and wallets, Restrap have got a solution: “if you want to carry stuff, then we’ll make something for you” is Hughes’ way of putting it.
With the quality and integrity that this Yorkshire brand are working with, we can’t imagine why you’d look anywhere else.
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