What’s your favorite bar bag? My intended use is for long, single day rides where I need more room to carry extra snacks, supplies, and clothing layers. Would love to know what works well for you and particularly, what features you prioritize. Thanks!
It’s a tricky balance. My favorite so far is one from a local company, but even it has things i would change. Things I’ve learned…
Bar rub - you either need something that secures in a way that will not scratch the bars and tubes, use tape to protect those areas, or accept scratches.
Stabilizer - just attaching to the tops is not enough. You want some way to hold the bottom of the bag in place so that it doesn’t bounce around.
Zippers jiggle - look for zippers that either secure or have something to keep them from dancing aound.
Zipper access - think about whether you want to be able to access the contents while moving, or if you’re ok with only going in when stopped.
Color inside - having some color on the inside (not dark) helps you find things quickly.
Structure - I like the bag to have a little structure so it doesn’t wrinkle up when it’s not fully loaded…but…too much structure adds weight. I returned one that I read about in a review and it was more like a clamshell lunch pail than a bag and it weighed a TON on the front end of the bike.
Waterproof or water resistant? Which works for you?
1000x this. Nothing more annoying than a zipper that jingles as you ride. (Ask me how I know after riding 200km of gravel in The Rift. )
I purchased a RoadRunner Burrito bag based on Iain Treloar’s recommendation:
As he recommended, I purchased a small sheet of evo foam (cost $1) at a craft store (ie Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc. here in the USA) in a contrasting color. This allows you to see things better since the inside of the bag is black.
There is a loop on the back of the bag to add a strap (to loop the handlebar stem) for stability. I use a Volie Nano 9" strap.
It’s a nice sized, well-built bag. I have had no issues with the zipper rattling (the pull is plastic). It is not water proof, but you could easily line it with a plastic bag. I’m happy with it. The 2 velcro straps are simple but work ok. You could probably use different straps, maybe with a cinch mechanism, but I’m good with the velcro. No parts to break or rattle on the bars.
I also looked at the Speedsleev Diego . I think either one is a good option.
EDIT: Maybe I misunderstood – by bar bag I assumed handlebar bag. Were you asking about that of a top tube bag? I don’t have one of those so no clue on my end.
Most of the bard bags I’ve used I’ve used are a pain in the backside to get into. Mainly becuase I have my Garmin/Light on an outfront mount that gets in the way, but also the long tube ones, that have the zip running along them are a pain to access your gear.
My pref is for a top tube bag instead, BikeBagDude in Australia makes these great ones that I use on bigger rides, as a well as bikepacking trips. My current one is still going strong after 5 years. (And he’ll do them in any custom colour combo you like)
If you want something a little more svelt, the Apidura 1L racing TT bag is also great. much lighter, and flip top opening makes it easy to grab your snax from.
Here is my set up for the long ride. The front black bag is fairly hard plastic, and holds my raincoat–I put a piece of bar tape on the front where it makes contact with the stem–no sound issues, has three velcro straps–secure, water proof, soundless (Wild Man). The orange bag (Yanho) on the rear of top tube holds my lunch, also has three velcro attachments, no movement. The rear seat bag (Topeak–expandable) holds the tools, extra tube, cell phone, and of course, no environmentally unfriendly CO2 cartridges–instead, I have a great Tattico Mini pump on the seat tube. If I need to carry anything more, I wear a back pack.
I got in on the Route Werks Kickstarter last year and find it pretty nice. James Huang also has a review on Cycling Tips.
I like that it has a computer mount on the top, access is easy with the hinged lid, and it has extra mount points on the side. With the rigid frame, it’s nice to lightly grip the sides when I’m varying my grip especially when climbing.
People liken the lid to a car trunk when I’m slamming it shut. James found that it rattled, but I added a rubber band spacer near the latch and I run a charging cable out the side under the lid, so that doesn’t rattle. Stuff inside the bag does bounce around since I usually don’t have it too jam packed. The lid will amplify the sound of anything hitting it- there’s a pocket shock corded to the underside of the lid that I needed to rearrange the placement of the cord stops and zippers.
The problem with it is I have an occasional high speed wobble at a little above 30mph, so it puts a damper on some fun, twisty descents. I presume this is mostly due to the weight on the front- not necessarily because of things rattling around in the bag- so that would probably be an issue with my bike and any handlebar bag. LIkewise, riding no hands is difficult with a wobble at just 5mph, though much of that goes away at higher speeds.
This is the one I mentioned that I bought and returned. It honestly weighed a TON. Maybe 2lbs?
I also have a Roadrunner Burrito bag. Maybe they’ve changed things more recently but mine came with a pretty decent velcro strap to go around the headtube that has seemed to work quite well with a pretty full bag. Is the voile strap really that much better?
I’m also a big believer in bag modularity based on ride length, so I’ll sometimes use a handlebar bag, sometimes use a wedge frame bag (Pro Discover), and sometimes use both depending on how much I need to carry.
I have multiple size bar bags for the same reason. I have a tiny Roadrunner that just holds keys, a few snacks, etc, and a much larger one that holds a jacket and more too. The tiny one is unstructured, and the larger has some support. Both came with the Velcro mentioned above. I don’t like top tube bags because my knees hit them when OOS, but that’s another spot that many use as well.
I have a few bags but my favorites are from Rickshaw Bags (they make the OrNot bag that was reviewed on the site a couple years back) & Topo Designs.
I use to Rickshaw bag more because I like its looks better (yay free custom!) but functionally, the Topo is my favorite. The triangular shape means things are easier to find when rummaging whilst riding. The Rickshaw bag’s cylindrical shape means everything inevitably moves to the middle so it can be a little fiddly going through a stuffed bag while riding when my phone or whatever has dropped to the bottom. Both bags have great structure & have kept my contents dry during rainstorms as well as excellent chunky zippers with paracord ties for keeping things quiet. (The rickshaw has a light loop that I sometimes tuck the zipper into to keep it from flopping.)
The Rickshaw bag has two side pockets that I love & wish all bar bags had. (Other than the aforementioned looks, they’re the main reason I shade this bag over the Topo.) I usually put my headphone case in one &, since the beginning of the pandemic, I stash my mask in the other. Since it’s exposed, it allows the mask to breathe a bit for when I inevitably stick my sweaty face into it then stuff it back into the pocket. Yuck.
Anyway, YMMV, but that’s my feedback! Happy riding.
I love handlebar bags. I use them on all my bikes, and wife likes it also. Sizing can be tricky on drop bars as the bags usually fit close to the bar meaning a wide bag gets in the way when hands are on the tops. See pics below for different variations. As you can see, there is generally always interference with cables, but I’ve yet to notice an issue from that. I have both “homemade” bar bags and “real” ones. Both work awesome. This one is made from an old camera bag which is nice because it has a solid structure. It holds 29er tube, tire levers, small tool, packable wind jacket, Clif bar and iphone 8.
This one holds two 700x35 tubes, phone, clif bars, tool, levers, packable rain coat, neck gaitor, thin wool gloves. This one is too wide for drop bars IMO but I get mini pump, levers, tool, 29er tubes, clif bar, phone, packable jacket, neck gaitor inside. It has a more firm shape.
This one is from Etsy, and I get everything in here except the packable coat. This one is great, but too small for all day rides where you might encounter weather or need more food. These bags are my full carrying capacity as I don’t wear jerseys/bibs with pockets, and I don’t use under seat bags. I haven’t noticed any rattly zippers. I plastic wrap items that need water proofing. I don’t need to access while moving so no issues accessing otherwise. they all velcro/buckle to the bars and probably wear on metal - nothing bad or even noticeable in the past 4 years, but my bikes aren’t so nice that I’m concerned about that. Like some of the people above, you might have to try a couple before you find the best one for you.