Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Senior Member PartyPack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Brisbane Australia
    My Bikes
    Surly Steamroller, Custom Reynolds Road Bike, Vivente World Randonneur
    Posts
    72
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    What makes a handlebar bag friendly bike?

    I've read people on this forum many times state that a particular bike or geometry is not suited to using a handle bar bag due to unwanted effects on the bikes handling. So what is good geometry for using a front bag? I'm after some real numbers as well as descriptions, angles, measurements etc. How can you tell from looking at the geometry listed on a bike or frame makers website?

  2. #2
    Senior Member johnknappcc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    My Bikes
    A beautiful columbus steel frame, 1986 Schwinn Voyageur touring bike, Currently Undergoing Overhaul
    Posts
    910
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I recently got a Topeak TourGuide (the middle sized one) and it is a fairly large bag. Couple things I've noticed

    1) could give you trouble with shifter cables coming out of brifters (if the cables are short).
    2) your bars should be relatively wide (40cm plus) since it eliminates most of the space in-between the drops.
    3) careful with the no-hands

    Other than that, I think the only bikes it would give you trouble on would be bikes with a short wheelbase, due to the more sensitive cornering. However, the only way to tell is to try it.

    I assume (since you posted this in the LD page) that you are looking for a touring/more relaxed road bike anyway, and all of those shouldn't pose an issue with a handlebar bag. I'm really enjoying mine, although it's overkill for under 50 miles. However, mine has a quick release, so that isn't an issue. On the long rides, it makes a suitable phone/wind-breaker/lunch/snack/camera/sunscreen/etc/etc/etc carrier, and it's right in front, for easy access.

    On group rides I see plenty of the slightly smaller ones on road bikes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Central Coast, California
    My Bikes
    Colnago C-50, Calfee Dragonfly Tandem, Specialized Allez Pro, Peugeot Competition Light
    Posts
    3,370
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    John, If your bike wasn't designed for a handlebar bag I suggest you be careful the first time you are out in a good wind. Especially if you have a load in that bag. You very well might find yourself on your head if you are not paying attention.

    Partypack, are you building your own frame? I'd check some manufacturers web sites and see what geometry they are using in their bikes. You want to be looking for relaxed rake and trail measurements. Longer chainstays might be helpful as well.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  4. #4
    Senior Member PartyPack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Brisbane Australia
    My Bikes
    Surly Steamroller, Custom Reynolds Road Bike, Vivente World Randonneur
    Posts
    72
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Partypack, are you building your own frame? I'd check some manufacturers web sites and see what geometry they are using in their bikes. You want to be looking for relaxed rake and trail measurements. Longer chainstays might be helpful as well.
    I wish , probably looking off the rack in the longer term. My current rig is a heavy tourer which seems to handle my deuter handlebar bag with only a minor change to the steering. While the touring bike is strong, stable and has a good range of gears, it is heavier than I would like (15 1/2 kgs with no gear - 34 pounds) for most of the riding I currently do and want to do in the future. I'm fairly light (60 kgs - 132 pounds) and I really notice bike weight, especially climbing. So I'm planning to move to something faster/lighter that I'm comfortable on, and can still take light luggage. Maybe I'll have to stop using the front bag .

  5. #5
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Central Coast, California
    My Bikes
    Colnago C-50, Calfee Dragonfly Tandem, Specialized Allez Pro, Peugeot Competition Light
    Posts
    3,370
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If the bike is designed for it there isn't a problem with them. Some people put them on anything and it's kind of hit and miss whether you have problems or not. A lot of it depends on how much weight you put in it. A frame with lax geometry will give you the most success. There are some fairly light bikes with the geometry that you are looking for out there. You should be able to find something that will drop 10 lbs off of your current set-up pretty easily and still have a frame that will handle a handlebar bag with no ill-handling.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  6. #6
    Senior Member johnknappcc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    My Bikes
    A beautiful columbus steel frame, 1986 Schwinn Voyageur touring bike, Currently Undergoing Overhaul
    Posts
    910
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    John, If your bike wasn't designed for a handlebar bag I suggest you be careful the first time you are out in a good wind. Especially if you have a load in that bag. You very well might find yourself on your head if you are not paying attention.

    Partypack, are you building your own frame? I'd check some manufacturers web sites and see what geometry they are using in their bikes. You want to be looking for relaxed rake and trail measurements. Longer chainstays might be helpful as well.
    It's a Schwinn Voyageur (long stays, relaxed geometry, long wheelbase), it's designed for bags all over, additionally, fully loaded (the bag that is) I'm not sure it would top over 6 lbs.

    Also, I've had it in 20mph+ headwinds the last metric, half century, and double metric I rode. I haven't been to lucky with the wind lately.

    What problems would it cause on other bikes? Went to a group ride, and I'd say 65% of the people had at least a small HB bag, everything from old road bikes, to Jamis', Trek's, C'Dales. They didn't seem to have any issues.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    40
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Instead of a handlebar bag, consider a trunk bag - one that fits on top of the rear rack? Heavy weight in a handlebar bag can create difficult steering; front, low-rider panniers tend to stabilize the steering. Go figure.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Central Coast, California
    My Bikes
    Colnago C-50, Calfee Dragonfly Tandem, Specialized Allez Pro, Peugeot Competition Light
    Posts
    3,370
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by johnknappcc View Post
    It's a Schwinn Voyageur (long stays, relaxed geometry, long wheelbase), it's designed for bags all over, additionally, fully loaded (the bag that is) I'm not sure it would top over 6 lbs.

    Also, I've had it in 20mph+ headwinds the last metric, half century, and double metric I rode. I haven't been to lucky with the wind lately.

    What problems would it cause on other bikes? Went to a group ride, and I'd say 65% of the people had at least a small HB bag, everything from old road bikes, to Jamis', Trek's, C'Dales. They didn't seem to have any issues.
    It's not a head wind you'd need to worry about, it's a side wind. It sounds like you'll be ok on the Schwinn. The longer wheelbase/ relaxed geometry effectively slows the steering down and makes more steering input for the bike to change direction. It wants to make the bike go straight. If you put a small bag with very little weight you can get away with it on a bike like a Trek or C'Dales. People certainly do it but they are risking having serious handling problems if they start putting a lot of weight in there.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    My Bikes
    ANT Club Racer, 2004 Trek 520
    Posts
    1,116
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    your question is more or less answered in this previous thread. The randon thread linked by mattm and the summary provided by randochap are what you're looking for.

    But, basically, the issue with handlebar bags is not an aero penalty in headwinds as many recent threads speculate, but in lateral handling. With a bag that is just secured by straps or posts attached to the handlebar, you are cantilevering a certain amount of weight right on your steering column, which creates shimmy and exaggerates all of your steering inputs. This will be an issue regardless of your frame geometry so long as you use a bag that is mounted to your handlebars.

    The preferred approach for a front bag is to have a small rack that mounts low over your wheel and have this support the bag, which is then attached to a decaleur. This lowers the center of gravity for your load and improves stability. Having a fork with a long rake also helps, but at a possible cost of cornering and high speed manueverability.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    My Bikes
    ANT Club Racer, 2004 Trek 520
    Posts
    1,116
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Front Half View Post
    Instead of a handlebar bag, consider a trunk bag - one that fits on top of the rear rack? Heavy weight in a handlebar bag can create difficult steering; front, low-rider panniers tend to stabilize the steering. Go figure.
    if the intention is just to carry baggage from one point to the other, then a trunk bag will give you cargo capacity with less handling problems than a handlebar bag. It does decrease aerodynamics on a cross wind, though, and can make the bike a little more difficult to handle when climbing out of the saddle.

    if the intention is to hold items that a rider might need to have while riding (ie. food, map, electrolyte tablets, medication, camera, lip balm, etc.) then a trunk bag is not a worthwhile substitute and should not be considered.

  11. #11
    Member GAtkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Springdale, Arkansas
    Posts
    31
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have never had a problem either on comfort bikes or race geometry road bikes. Don't over analyze it, just pay attention.

    Glenn
    2010 Specialized Allez Comp (Black, 61cm)
    Age: 46
    Height: 6' 4"
    Weight On 5/10/2009: 294
    Weight On 11/7/2009: 247
    Tyson Racing & Fayetteville Wheelmen Member

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    My Bikes
    ANT Club Racer, 2004 Trek 520
    Posts
    1,116
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
    I have never had a problem either on comfort bikes or race geometry road bikes. Don't over analyze it, just pay attention.
    if you've been able to take your hands off your handlebars to unzip a rain jacket, peel it off, then fold it up and place it in your handlebar bag, all while riding down a stretch of road with moderate wind on either your comfort or racing bikes, then my hats off to you for your handling skills; and do agree that you certainly don't have a problem with a bar bag on your bikes.

    I would hazard a guess, though, and say that such skills are not common, and the rest of us do have to 'over-analyze' our gear decisions because bar bags do affect handling, and do make it tricky to ride no-hands for a significant period of time, which then complicates such mundane tasks as, say, opening a Clif Bar packet.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    My Bikes
    SOMA Grand Randonneur, Gunnar Sport converted to 650B, Rivendell Rambouillet, '82 Trek 728, '84 Trek 610, '85 Trek 500, C'Dale F600, Burley Duet, Lotus Legend
    Posts
    825
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by PartyPack View Post
    I've read people on this forum many times state that a particular bike or geometry is not suited to using a handle bar bag due to unwanted effects on the bikes handling. So what is good geometry for using a front bag? I'm after some real numbers as well as descriptions, angles, measurements etc. How can you tell from looking at the geometry listed on a bike or frame makers website?
    Bikes can be more or less well suited to carrying a handlebar bag, depending on geometry. Bicycle Quarterly has had a bunch of articles about this. Among the many examples of bikes that are designed for a front load are the Kogswell P/R (www.kogswell.com), Rene Herse Randonneur (http://www.renehersebicycles.com/ReneHerseHome.htm), Curt Goodrich Randonneuse (http://www.curtgoodrich.com/bikes/randonneuse/) and many others.

    None of my bikes are particularly optimized for a front load, but nonetheless I typically ride with a handlebar-mounted handlebar bag (Lone Peak Altra 100 with up to ten pounds of stuff), on distances up to a 1200K, and have never had "issues". Most bikes I ride have head angles around 72 to 73 degrees and a rake of 45mm to 50mm, sort of typical "sports touring" geometry (e.g. '84 Trek 400, Gunnar Sport, and Rivendell Rambouillet). I find that wider handlebars help with out-of-saddle climbing with a handlebar bag. My riding style probably does not push handling limits.

    A handlebar bag is incomparably more useful than a saddlebag or trunk bag. It makes it much easier to maximize on-bike time, e.g. by grabbing food at a control, getting back on the bike right away, and then gradually eating it. Everything you need is right there at your hands.

    Find someone who has a 100 percent return policy and buy a bag from them and try it out. The Lone Peak that I use can be bought from The Touring Store (http://www.thetouringstore.com/LONE%...ACK%20PAGE.htm). I like the mesh pockets on the side, which make it easy to keep a stash of food handy, and a place to put trash without it messing up your bag. The front pocket is big enough to put things that I need rarely but want close to hand, like wallet, phone, brevet card, inner tubes, repair kit and tools. There is a front "slash" pocket inside the main compartment that is a handy place to put the first-aid kit, lantiseptic, endurolytes, and camera. And the main compartment is plenty big enough to hold 400K worth of food plus miscellaneous clothing items (e.g. the cool weather stuff you take off as the day warms up, plus some light-duty raingear like helmet and shoe covers).

    Nick

  14. #14
    Senior Member lonesomesteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    486
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Read Bicycle Quarterly's review of the Kogswell P/R referenced above. They tested it with three different forks with different rakes and front loads. That article gives a lot of insight into how fork design impacts handling with a load on the front.

    That said, I ride a bike not designed for a front load (Surly Cross Check) with a HB bag and it does fine. My VO Campagne bag can hold enough gear and food for a 600k. The steering gets heavier, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Riding no handed takes a little more attention too, but it can be done.

    I also regulary haul 30 lb loads from the grocery store on this:

    Definitely no hands free riding when this baby is loaded up...

  15. #15
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    In Ebritated
    Posts
    6,557
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by lonesomesteve View Post

    Definitely no hands free riding when this baby is loaded up...
    Oh hell, I use to ride a loaded paperboy bike no handed. Huge front basket, loaded side baskets. We just become pussified as we got older.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    My Bikes
    Terraferma 650b, Mondonico SL and ELOS, Masi Gran Criterium, Trek 610, Breezer Liberty, Georgena Terry Classic
    Posts
    10,767
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    John, If your bike wasn't designed for a handlebar bag I suggest you be careful the first time you are out in a good wind. Especially if you have a load in that bag. You very well might find yourself on your head if you are not paying attention.

    Partypack, are you building your own frame? I'd check some manufacturers web sites and see what geometry they are using in their bikes. You want to be looking for relaxed rake and trail measurements. Longer chainstays might be helpful as well.
    So just to clarify, this means less trail than a racing bike, and more rake than a racing bike?

    Road Fan

  17. #17
    Senior Member johnknappcc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    My Bikes
    A beautiful columbus steel frame, 1986 Schwinn Voyageur touring bike, Currently Undergoing Overhaul
    Posts
    910
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    It's not a head wind you'd need to worry about, it's a side wind.
    It's never only a headwind. Point is, I'll never be comfortable going hands-free for too long with the bag attached, but I still think the performance/handling impact is somewhat negligible based on the tendency to adapt quickly to the bikes change in handling.

    I would say it took me about 6-10 miles before getting the confidence to maneuver the same as without the bag.

    As GAtkins said
    Quote Originally Posted by GAtkins
    Don't over analyze it, just pay attention.

  18. #18
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    3,308
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)


    you get used to the quirks of your bike.
    i added a heavy acorn boxy rando bag to my IF club racer on a mark's rack (with an edelux hanging off the stay) - was able to ride no-handed on some twisty descents above 30 mph no problem... and was able to cruise along @ 12 mph no handed as well. maneuvering @ 10 and below no handed was not an option... unless climbing a mild grade so that i could pedal with some force to keep the bike in balance.

    the bike wasn't necessarily designed for a front bag - but its geometry is somewhere between race and touring. @ $400 for a new IF fork with different rake and trail... i opted to keep things where they were. survived the 200k, numerous long rides, and the fleche.

    never noticed a crosswind or headwind issue - and we had them both for most of our fleche.
    might be that with the weight on the rack it helps... but i was still putting that weight up front.

    and - i rode my lemond zurich with an ortlieb bar bag plenty of miles. lightly packed with some food, camera, and a spare layer if worked fine.

    hit and miss is a good description. i think it comes down to what you are used to - and how you adapt to small changes in feel.

  19. #19
    Senior Member PartyPack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Brisbane Australia
    My Bikes
    Surly Steamroller, Custom Reynolds Road Bike, Vivente World Randonneur
    Posts
    72
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by johnknappcc View Post
    Other than that, I think the only bikes it would give you trouble on would be bikes with a short wheelbase, due to the more sensitive cornering. However, the only way to tell is to try it.
    A quick update. I decided to try moving my handlebar bag from my heavy touring bike to my old race bike for an upcoming 200k Brevet that has a couple of serious climbs. My old race bike was made for me about 20 years ago from Reynolds 531. It has < 400mm chain stays and the fastest steering on any bike I've ever ridden. Fast bike though, 8.5kg's with two cages, computer, pump, pedals and tool bag. Well what a scary experience. With no gear the bike was terrible, with a few kg's on board I was actually scared to even stand on the pedals. I doubt I could do 200km on it now days anyhow as the bar to seat drop is pretty extreme even with the stem all the way up.

    *sigh* I need a bike in between the 15.5 kg touring bike and the full-on crit bike. I like the look of the Salsa Casseroll and the Giant Defy. The rule is n+1 bikes isn't it

  20. #20
    Banned.
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    My Bikes
    84 Trek 660 Suntour Superbe; 87 Giant Rincon Shimano XT; 07 Mercian Vincitore Campy Veloce
    Posts
    4,766
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have a Trek 660 racing bike with an extremily short wheelbase, so short I have to deflate the tire in the rear before I can remove the rim then smash the tire against the seat tube to get it off. I use to do credit card touring as well as day trips and use a front bag with no effects whatsoever except for a little taken off of the aerodynamics.

  21. #21
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Silverthorne, Colorado
    My Bikes
    Rawlings Drakkar, Specialized Roubaix, Pivot, Challenge Trike, Tandem
    Posts
    636
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Used a Top Peak Compact handlebar bag on my Specialized Roubaix. It increased the stability or the steering and reduced the vibrations.

    It is a size 52. I recall the head tube angle being 71.
    Pivot 5.7
    Rawland Drakkar 650B love it with 38mm Soma tires
    2009 Specialized Roubaix Ultegra
    Santana Fusion Tandem
    2010 Specialized TriCross
    Challenge Concept Trike
    One knee scoped so far.

    Homophobia is so gay.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •