Ideal handlebar bags? Free?

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
I’ve been playing around with cheap handlebar bags for a while. All of them have some pretty significant downsides. So I was planning to buy a pukka one. I was tempted by this one – until I read the review and EBC’s response.

Maybe I’m just an “awkward sod” but to claim that one’s product is good value just because it’s cheaper than the competitor products tested really gets my goat. I’m damn sure there are several really humongous profit margins in that price.

I’m convinced it should be possible to design, and have made in reasonably saleable quantities, a really good quality, functional, small handlebar bag to sell at around £20.

I’m putting a bit of time & effort into researching possible manufacturers, but I’d be very interested in CycleChatters opinions of what works or would work for them.

Here is what I’ve decided upon so far:
Size: 3 to 4 litres
Just enough for tubes, PRK, multitool, rain jacket, arm & legwarmers or spare jersey, camera, phone, keys, wallet, sunglasses & food for a long day ride. There are plenty of larger handlebar bags around, but they all look so bulky that IMO, if you want 6 or 7 litres capacity a saddlebag like a Carradice Barley is a better bet.

Attachment: Rixen Kaul KlickFix
I have seen some utterly POS quick-release systems out there, so why re-invent the wheel? Just use the market-leading system, which already has adapters for standard & O/S bars.

Here are some other features which might be desirable:

Waterproof ? or separate rain cover (which could be hi-viz yellow) ?

Streamlined shape?
(Must also be shaped so as not to get in way of drop-bar STI gear cables.)

Map-holder.
Means the top of the bag must be flat(ish). If built-in to the top, it ends up being too small for a folded Landranger. Is a larger map-holder velcro’d/strapped to the top of the bag a better system?

Side Pockets.
Small mesh pockets for gels/packets of jelly-babies seem ideal to me?

Detachable Shoulder strap
All bar bags seem to come with these. Do people really use them?

Separate pockets / or internal dividers?

Any other features you would like to see ?
Any thoughts on the above?

Why would you help me design a product that is going to make me rich?
Well, I have a number of prototypes, based on a good quality bag (which was let down by a crappy Q/R system), to which I’ve bolted on a Rixen-Kaul mounting plate.

The most useful comments that input to improving the design – you can have one of the prototypes (pictured below) for free.


bag2.jpg
bag1.jpg



 

mark barker

New Member
Location
Swindon, Wilts
I don't use any kind of bag, but I'd go with water proof everytime. Never really seen the point of a bag that needs to be put in a bag to make it waterproof...
 

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
It sounds quite like the Altura Fusion, to me, from your spec (I got one for £20, but that's not the rrp).

An organiser pocket inside is a good idea - on the fusion, this is a pouch that attaches inside the bag using a velcro strip, so you can remove it if it contains valuables.

You could experiment with movable dividers like camera bags have, not sure if that's overkill in a fairly small luggage space though. I do use the detachable shoulder strap, fwiw, mostly when the bike was locked up (on the ferry, or at a cafe).
 
OP
PpPete

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
Keep 'em coming.....

In fact the bag I used as a prototype has a reflective strip on the front, and one of my other bags has a loop for a light like the one Kestevan suggests.

But if I can get the price right I have seen a clever little idea (that I'm keeping to myself for now) that will go a long way towards overcoming the issue of the bag getting in the way of the lights.

JTM... Altura Fusion is supposed to be 6 litres, I'm thinking something even a little smaller than their Arran model, so yes I agree mobile dividers seem overkill (although prototype has one). Thanks for the input on the shoulder strap.
 

Landslide

Rare Migrant
If you want something to be both cheap and effective, cut out as many bells and whistles as possible.

*A bag needn't have a million+1 compartments. A larger main compartment for the majority of stuff, a smaller (easily accessed) one for things you might really need when on the move and some form of map holder should suffice.
*Map holder - as suggested, a semi-separate holder would be good as the size/shape of rest of the bag wouldn't be dictated to by a Landranger. Whilst it would increase the number of options/complexity/cost, a Landranger-sized pocket and one for folded Audax route sheets (generally A6) would be nice. If the map holder wasn't fully integrated (e.g. attachment via velcro etc.) these could be swapped for each other as/when needed.
*More seams = more places for water ingress should the bag get wet (unless you put a lot of time/effort/money into sealed seams).
*Zips = water ingress (unless you spend a lot more money on waterproof ones). Minimise the number of zips + add a "storm guard" overlap.
*The example pictured above - seems to me (and YMMV...) that the carry strap is needlessly over-engineered. Adjustable length, bulky plastic clips etc. Carrying the bag over your shoulder is not its primary purpose. A fixed-length strap with minimal attachments should suffice.
*Waterproofness - ideally the material used should be waterproof, and given there's no need for breathability, this shouldn't be too difficult, but as noted above, seams and openings are the killer. It's really no great hassle to put vulnerable articles in a carrier bag or similar within the bar-bag.
*Reflectives - don't bother. They'll add more seams and make the construction more complicated (and hence more costly). On a drop-bar bag, the bends will obscure the sides, and if it's gloomy enough to need reflectives, you should have a front light visible anyway.
*Side pockets - again, add seams and complexity. Their purpose might be equally-well served by your jersey pockets.
 

phil_hg_uk

I am not a member, I am a free man !!!!!!
I currently use the topeak tourguide bar bag:

topeak-tt3021b-med.jpg


In the top compartment I put my spare glasses in their case and my wallet.

In the main compartment I put a jacket, sometimes my altura night vision windproof and somtimes a small waterproof. I also put a couple of apples in there as well.

In one side pocket I put my mobile phone and in the other I put a couple of gels and energy bars and sometimes an apple in the front pocket as well.

I like the topeak beacause it isnt one of these solid box type bags. I used to have a carradice one like this one:

carradice-superc-zoom.jpg


which was like a solid box but I found that food got damaged because it just bounced around inside it, but with the softer bags this doesnt happen.

I always have a problem mounting the lights because I use AYUP's and the bag is too tall for the lights to shine over it, so I have one of those bar extenders pointing down below the bag so the light shines under it and I only use the bar bag on longer rides which tend to be in summer when it is light quite late anyway.
 
OP
PpPete

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
Most comprehensive and useful response is from..... Landslide.
A free bar bag is on it's way to him today.

I'm quite prepared to offer another freebie if anyone else can come up with additional ideas that are really original, useful and practical.
 

Armegatron

Active Member
Handlebar bag is ideal for me as its easiliy removeable so ideal for popping to shops after a long ride to buy daft little items.

Size: 3 to 4 litres
Ideal size for my stuff. Ones that were too big put me off as they are too bulky to carry, and would encourag me to put too much weight on the handlebars and upset the steering.

Attachment: Rixen Kaul KlickFix
Not sure what these are :smile: - but some use what looks like a proprietary system, so if it snaped for any reason Id have to buy a new bag + bracket probably. Id prefer a bag that uses a common bracket - which would allow me to share the bag between bikes without the hassle of changing the brackets over.

Waterproof Personally Im not bothered about how waterproofing is acheived (ie cover or at zips etc) as long as everyhting inside like my camera is kept dry.

Streamlined shape?
(Must also be shaped so as not to get in way of drop-bar STI gear cables.)
After trying one an issue I found is that I had to angle my brake lever mechanism down a touch as the gear cable that exited on the left (straight bars) caught on the bag.

Map-holder.
Means the top of the bag must be flat(ish). If built-in to the top, it ends up being too small for a folded Landranger. Is a larger map-holder velcro’d/strapped to the top of the bag a better system?
I tried a map holder that was velcrod to the bag. Initially I had to trim an edge off the map (landranger) to get it to fit, and the map kind of protruded from the end of the holder anyway. Also on a fast-ish decent the map holder was detaching as air got caught under it, although I may not have ensured it was correctly velcrod at all points. A map holder would be the primary reason for me buying a handlebar bag.

Side Pockets.
Mesh pockets for definate, with some kind of elastic to keep mobile phones / compact cameras handy but secure.

Detachable Shoulder strap
Definatly, as I would be using this for trips to the shops where a bulky pannier bag would be overkill.

Separate pockets / or internal dividers?
I would probably use a front pocket for medication, and internal pockets for ID / money / credit cards / receipts etc. Internal dividers wouldnt be of use to me probably unless they were removable via velcro or something, but even then Id probably not use them.

Any other features you would like to see ?

  • Ability to lock with a small padlock the bag to the bracket somehow (enough to stop oppertunist).
  • Ability to lock zips to main compartment (enough to stop oppertunist).
  • Some way of allowing lights to be mounted to either the bottom or top of the bag, or allowing handlebar lights to still be effective over or under the bag.
  • Perhaps dual purpose - handlebar bag and rack bag that can slide onto Topeak racks?
  • Zipping from behind, so stood over handlebars its possible to access the main compartment of the bag without getting off and going to the front of the bike.
 

shrew

New Member
Location
St Neots , Cambs
I had a backpack once that had a zip pocket underneith it, all that was contained in this was the bags storm cover, so all i had to do was unzip it pull the storm cover out, which was attached at a seam all the way along the edge, rather then being seperate to the bag, and pull it over the backpack the cover was elesticated on the edges, i loved this feature was simple, very effective and kept the bag looking smart for the other 99% of the time i wasnt in storms )

if you really need a picture of what i mean i could take a snap of one,

shrew
 

abbie

New Member
I use a small handlebar bar, it's 2.5l which is just enough for a small waterproof, phone, purse, keys, tools, lipbalm, tissues and odd bits that I take to work.

My main criteria was that it wasn't too bulky, was waterproof and quick to attach. I would have liked an inside mesh pocket to keep my phone handy. It does have top elastics which I have never used.

Only gripe is mine is a fraction too narrow to hold my pump, although there's room it's about 1cm short (not a massive deal as could get a shorter pump but would have been perfect)

A clip on the front to attach a flashy light would be a great idea.
 

battered

Über Member
My take is that waterproofness is nice but not obligatory for the whole bag. A waterproof pocket for phone and wallet is useful, but my coat and butties I'm relaxed about.
I would like a map pocket with a window.
I'd like to be able to attach a bobby dodger light. This can be as simple as an elasticated strap, I currently use one to attach a soft toy to the hack bike and it comes in handy for a light.
I'm not bothered about a shoulder strap, it's for the bike and I can carry it. Maybe a detsachable one, then you can choose. Most important is that it's easy off so I can take it into the shop/cafe without worrying about any valuables outside.
I'd like a key clip on a small lead, inside one of the pockets. These are fitted to better rucksacks and are very reassuring. Rummaging through all the gubbins in a small pocket with cold hands thinking you've lost your keys is no fun.
 
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