Author Topic: Handlebar bag  (Read 2419 times)

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Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Handlebar bag
« on: February 07, 2011, 05:05:13 pm »
I'm 62. I've been slowly working up to touring. I'm riding a Trek 520. Last year I was able to ride 65 miles once / week. This year, I plan to do several multi-day rides with some level of support. I will use a tent, but I'll be using restaurants for meals. I have identified most of the items in my touring kit, but I'm struggling with the handle bar bag. I plan to put my wallet, phone, etc in the handle bar bag. I was looking for a waterproof bag that "clips on" for secure mounting and easy removal. So far, the only bags I found are Ortleib and Banjo Brothers.

http://www.amazon.com/Banjo-Brothers-Waterproof-Quick-Release-Handlebar/dp/B003D4EYI4/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I23W4V4XZ474HI&colid=1ML6NQ8HNFZNM

I'm not very happy with either solution. Sometimes I use a map for navigation; sometimes a GPS. (My GPS is a waterproof outdoor unit.) It doesn't seem there will be room to mount both GPS and bag to my handlebars. The Ortleib has both a map pocket and a GPS pocket available, but if purchased with both, it seems quite expensive for what it is. Banjo Brothers doesn't seem to have a way to let me mount the GPS to the bag.

I can't be the first person to want to do this. What am I missing? Any advice?

While I'm at it, are there any books that give great tips about life on the road?

Offline rvklassen

Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 07:16:28 pm »
You might consider the Arkel bag.  From looking at images on crazyguyonabike I conclude it's quite popular.  In my experience the mounting/unmounting is not particularly easy for the first while - perhaps some silicone grease would help.  After a dozen on/off cycles it gets easier, to the point where it's quite easily on/off.

The mount puts it forward of the bars by something like 4-5 cm.  It has a map holder, and you could mount the gps either on the bars or on the stem, if your gps mount is the kind that can go either orientation.

It's not perfectly waterproof, although the design is such that the contents stay pretty much dry while the outside may get wet.  And there's an available rain cover.  On a single bike I would recommend the small size, as the large (which we have on our tandem) is quite large.

More info at http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categories/handlebar-bag.html.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2011, 05:13:25 pm »
It's only expensive if it isn't worth it.  I balked at the price of Ortlieb bags and their accessories, too.  But once I had them, I kicked myself to ever hesitating.  I am not using the GPS bag since my GPS unit is mounted on my handlebars.  But the map case is a thing of beauty.  I was previously using a Vaude bag on all my bikes and thought it was good enough.  I struggled with the map case and just shrugged it off.  When I wore out that bag, I finally broke down and got an Ortlieb.  Amazing all around.  And absolutely waterproof.

Using Ortlieb's standard handlebar mount, there is just the right amount of room for my Garmin GPS using the Garmin handlebar mount.

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Offline bogiesan

Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 06:35:02 am »
I plan to put my wallet, phone, etc in the handle bar bag. I was looking for a waterproof bag that "clips on" for secure mounting and easy removal. So far, the only bags I found are Ortleib and Banjo Brothers.


There are dozens of handlebar bags on the market so keep looking. The Banjo is huge compared to the units I'd consider so you seem to be wanting to carry more up front than just your wallet and phone; the "etc" must be a long list.

Waterproof is often oversold as a feature. If you can get into the bag easily or conveniently, it's not waterproof. Look for a bag that includes a rain cover. The best rain bonnets are attached so they cannot blow away.

Detachable is another feature to consider carefully. All of the detachable mounting systems require some compromise. Smaller bags do not require elastic bands that attach to the front hub. Large bags that do not have stabilizer straps flop around. If the bag detaches easily, it can be removed by anyone.

When I ran a handlebar bag, I used it to store a small shoulder bag.

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Offline rvklassen

Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 08:15:17 am »
I plan to put my wallet, phone, etc in the handle bar bag. I was looking for a waterproof bag that "clips on" for secure mounting and easy removal. So far, the only bags I found are Ortleib and Banjo Brothers.

Large bags that do not have stabilizer straps flop around.
Not so with the Arkel large handlebar bag.  I wouldn't recommend the large for a single rider, just because of the amount of weight you can be tempted to put way too far above the centre of gravity.  But it absolutely does not flop around. 

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 09:43:49 am »
I plan to put my wallet, phone, etc in the handle bar bag. I was looking for a waterproof bag that "clips on" for secure mounting and easy removal. So far, the only bags I found are Ortleib and Banjo Brothers.


Waterproof is often oversold as a feature. If you can get into the bag easily or conveniently, it's not waterproof. Look for a bag that includes a rain cover. The best rain bonnets are attached so they cannot blow away.

Detachable is another feature to consider carefully. All of the detachable mounting systems require some compromise. Smaller bags do not require elastic bands that attach to the front hub. Large bags that do not have stabilizer straps flop around. If the bag detaches easily, it can be removed by anyone.

Ortliebs really are waterproof for normal cycling, and aside from occasionaly wrestling with the snaps, easy to get into.  Really waterproof against road spray and rain, that is.  I never tried kayaking with it.

The whole idea of detachable is that you'll remove it before anyone else does.  And going back to my experience with the Ortlieb handlebar bag, it's easy enough to get it off, and it was stable without any extra stabilization.  After a while, though, I wished they made one with the same mounting system that was about 1/3 smaller -- it was so big that things like sunglass case and sunscreen got buried.

Offline knolltop

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Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 10:30:28 am »
I've been enjoying some of websites folks have put up describing their touring experiences and tips/tricks.

One of those sites (can't remember which) suggested using couple plastic containers clipped together with metal clippies.  Makes organizing contents easier.  I'm going to give it a try this summer.

I added an idea ....... used "peelnstick" velcro on some of handlebar contents and sides of the plastic containers.  Keeps items exactly where you want them.  Will it be really useful?  Time will tell!   ;)
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Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2011, 01:52:42 pm »
Thanks for your comments. I didn't realize that there was room for the GPS with Ortliebs (and Arkles). There's much to think about. I'm inclined to agree with waynemyer.

Offline EnduroDoug

Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2011, 01:04:41 pm »
Another option regarding the GPS is to use the Topeak Bar-Xtender. I have trekking bars on my Fargo and the Arkel bag's brackets don't leave a lot of uncurved bar for gadgets/lights so I picked up a Topeak Bar X-Tender and it works great at any angle.

Also, regarding the Arkle -- my wife and I each have the large bag and, in hindsight, I think we'd both prefer the smaller. The bag's contents stay dry, it doesn't budge at all even over rougher roads and bumps, but we are constantly reminding ourselves to NOT pack it too full. It's size is great for wallet, Kindle, snacks... then we add a spare pair of gloves or our bunched up lightweight windbreaker to keep things from jostling. It's a great bag, but I'd be just as happy if it was about 1n inch smaller in all dimensions.

Offline dombrosk

Re: Handlebar bag
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2011, 02:25:53 pm »
I agree with EnduroDoug on the Arkel sizes...
the smaller Arkel carries everything I take off the bike...
wallet, camera, cellphone, gps, sunglasses, journal, etc.

I actually find that I can tuck the gps into the map case
on top of my map as long as I float it on a kerchief so
it  doesn't slide.

I pull the shoulder strap down and through the two
mounts... that way I can pop it off the bike and
have it over my shoulder in less time than it
takes to lock up my bike.

Water has never been an issue for me with the Arkel.
I keep the bright yellow rain cover tucked into the
front zipper pouch, but it has to be a real steady
heavy rain for me to feel a need to pull it out use it...
the clear plastic map case on top plus the
overall design handles most rain showers.

I bought an extra pair of mounts so I can move
the bag between my summer and winter bikes,
the metal on metal secure connection is solid.