Author Topic: Handlebar bag alternative  (Read 14651 times)

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Offline bengrier

Handlebar bag alternative
« on: March 29, 2014, 09:56:54 am »
Ok, i'm going to be honest (and excessively vain).  Handlebar bags are ugly.  And not as in "meh" but as in "i'm biking across the country and still find the idea repulsive."

The plan right now is to have Ortlieb-Roller-Plus panniers (front and back) and an Ortlieb Rack Pack medium across the back.  Based on this luggage can i justify not having the handlebar bag (Putting snacks and such in back jersey pockets for example)?  Is there a good alternative for a quick access pack?  I like the idea of having a front rack with a top on it to be able to put a small bag there for this purpose, but these do not seem common at all!  Do i need to just get over it?  I'm also worried about the Ortlieb mounting system scratching my nice Thomson stem.  What are your thoughts on this.

Thanks in advance, ~Ben

Offline staehpj1

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 12:38:45 pm »
Lots of options are available.  One is to mount a handlebar bag down lower on a rack platform, if that would look better to you.  Then there are lots of little bags that mount on the top tube or stem.  Jersey pockets are a fine alternative for snacks and such.  I have used a little waist pack before and that worked fine too.

Most advise against them bit a little 18 liter lightweight backpack is a handy way to carry stuff that you want to take with you at all times.  I used one for extra food and water on a long dry stretch and liked it enough that I started using it on a regular basis.  I try to limit it to just 2-3 pounds and 4 at most only is special situations.

Offline DaveB

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 01:25:47 pm »
As mentioned by staehpj1, a small to medium fanny pack is a good place to carry things you want easy access to and things you don't want to get separated from like your wallet and phone.   I use one on my rack-less road bike to carry a jacket and other bad weather bail-out items.

Offline OldDogBC

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Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 02:13:31 pm »
Hi Ben,

Funny thing is that I have had the same heartburn over the bar bag. After looking at all the options I ended up getting one with my Ortleib package (almost identical to the set up you have). The reasons I ended up swallowing my vanity / pride on the bar bag was that I couldn't come up with a decent (read: elegant) alternative to a quick access camera storage solution and the ability to keep a paper map visible and dry or at least conveniently accessible. The other deciding factor was that the pannier / bar bag was on sale as a package deal. Looking at the group together I'm thinking I can live with it just from the convenience factors. Haven't used the bags yet as I'm putting the finishing touches on the bike build but I should have everything mounted up and ready to shake down in the next 30 days or so. I guess that will be the determining factor: If I get off my bike at the end of that first couple of hundred miles and I need to drink because of how that bar bag looks, well, then back to the drawing board...

Offline bengrier

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 02:29:12 pm »
DaveB and staephpj1, thanks for the responses.  I'm afraid the fanny pack falls in the same category for me.  I will look into more rack platform and see if there is a good option.  I'm trying to stick to Ortlieb as i get a solid deal on them through my race team.

OldDogBC, i'm glad to hear i'm not the only one in this category.  I may find comfort rocking the handlebar bag knowing that someone else is suffering the same stomach churning ulcers. Maybe work on a good quick release system so you can take it off for every picture that's taken? : )

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2014, 02:30:37 pm »


How can one call this ugly? Maybe it is a little bug-eyed, but ugly?  ;) It provides a waterproof location for first aid supplies, cell phone, wallet, keys, and other important items. This medium-size bag even has room for the cable and lock (which I think looks ugly mounted anywhere on the frame). If rain is imminent or temperatures are marginal, I can even roll up a jacket and put it in that very cool rounded top for instant access.  The snaps on the outside hold a waterproof pouch for a map or a cue sheet. It's easily removed to take with me when I leave the bike. For me, it's a solution that can't be beat.

Besides, one's eyes should be on the road, not the handlebar.

Offline bengrier

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2014, 02:44:08 pm »
Old Guy New Hobby,  I do appreciate your post and the defense of your bike! You have to defend your steed that's been with you through thick and thin. I'm going to stick to my guns on the looks though.  I DO agree that they seem super-duper convenient though which is why i'm torn.  Your front on picture brings up another important point for me which is that when i'm on my road bike i frequently put my elbows on the handlebars for another change in position (a ghetto tt bike sort of thing) and this would prevent me from doing that. 

Doesn't something like the attached look cleaner?  I presume one could still reach down to get stuff easily enough. 


Offline staehpj1

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2014, 02:56:06 pm »
Doesn't something like the attached look cleaner?  I presume one could still reach down to get stuff easily enough.
Actually that looks butt ugly to me.  I am not that concerned with how things look though.  Function should come first IMO.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2014, 03:58:11 pm »
Bengrier, that is an intriguing look. It's almost like having front and rear torpedos. Perhaps reminiscent of a James Bond bike? Keep your hands away from that red button! I like the way it emphasizes a bike's narrow, 2-wheeled essence; while emphasizing the trajectory of the ride. It's a nice style. Let us know what your finished bike looks like.

Edit -- I just noticed your water bottle holders. I have long wanted another water bottle. Yours is a good idea.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 04:02:43 pm by Old Guy New Hobby »

Offline bogiesan

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2014, 07:25:13 pm »
Velo Orange is a good shop to check for the unhip and unusual packs and racks.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline bengrier

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2014, 11:54:55 pm »
Well having read staehpj's less encumbered touring article, i'm pretty convinced to go no handbag.  Once I get the ortlieb roller bags, i'll test how cumbersome i think it is to get in and out of.  (And yes i also agree that function should come first, but maybe i've been looking at a few too many NAHBS pics)

Old Guy New Hobby - I can't take credit for that.  That pic is off salsa's webpage. 

indyfabz

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Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2014, 01:10:20 pm »
I have never used a handlebar bag. Camera goes in a jersey pocket. If snacks can't fit back there they go in the panniers. I have Ortlieb Packers so I have a small outside pockets in the rear, which means I don't need to open the main compartment to get things like my wallet or sun screen. If I have a larger lunch with me, I am going to stop to eat it anyway, so the bar bag wouldn't really much if any convenience.

And I am another one in the front platform rack camp. Never toured with anything else. I put my sleeping bag up there. When I had Beckman racks and a smaller tent, it went up there. If I need to, I can secure a map under the compression straps or bungees for easy access.

Here is one iteration:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/8693744863/in/set-72157633368316419

Offline bengrier

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2014, 02:49:46 pm »
Here is one iteration:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/8693744863/in/set-72157633368316419

indyfabz - i like that set up.  What front rack are you using in that pic?  (It looks like beckman racks aren't made any more?)

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2014, 05:46:27 pm »
No accounting for taste, so I won't argue over how anybody else perceives a bar bag.

But may I ask, how else do you plan on keeping a map available? and preferably visible?

Variations on a gallon baggie held on with alligator clips look feeble-to-tacky to me.  So does stopping at every intersection and pulling out a map.

Offline bengrier

Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2014, 06:01:46 pm »
I plan on using the ACA maps which are water proof and i plan to just keep in a jersey pocket.  I haven't looked at the route in super detail yet, but if it looks like there are a ton of turns coming up i own a map holder which looks sort of like (though this might be the gallon baggie solution you speak of): http://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Handlebar-Mount-Map-Case/dp/B000WY78O0