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Old 02-02-06, 04:01 PM   #1
Nomad
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Handlebar Bags and that sinking feeling...

Hi.,

My wife and I are off to do 2 weeks of touring on the very south of the south island of New Zealand. We've toured plenty of times before but this time due to the number of dirt roads involved we decided to use our mountain bikes. Instead of getting front racks to suit the suspension forks we decided to travel a bit lighter and just get handlebar bags to go with our rear panniers. We bought the Topeak Tour Guide DX. I fitted the bracket and tested the bag out on my commute and found the bag kept slipping down on every bump I went over. Thinking I was doing the whole thing wrong I tool it into my LBS and they fitted it for me and did an even worse job! To top it of the wrapped the cable the wrong way around the stem! Despite this, my experience is that cable seems to be next to useless. In my attempt I ended up stripping a few strands off the cable and breaking the internal thread for the bolt in my feeble attempt to get enough grip to hold the cable! Am I wasting my time here? Has anyone found these bags satisfactory? Any help would be appreciated

cheers

Alan
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Old 02-02-06, 05:43 PM   #2
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I have a different brand (Vaude), but I think the mount is somewhat similar.

Mine doesn't slip, but I'm pretty sure the reason is because the cable is cinched tight. The actual clamp on the handlebars wouldn't be enough to hold it against the leverage of weight on bumpy rides.

The trick for me was to mount it slightly above level (maybe 20 degrees), cinch the cable tight, then push it down level while tightening the handlbar clamps. This leaves absolutely no slack in the cable, and ensures it's doing its job. This method might be contrary to what the instructions say, but the mount itself physically can't slip now. It's the cable that holds the weight and keeps things from rotating.

Also make sure that you're using spacers on the handlebar if you need to. Most of the time I try to use rubber spacers, or at least a wrap or two of electrical tape, because plastic or metal clamps tend to slip.

The cable is pretty tough, but once you set it, it takes a crimp (at the bolt-on-cable point). So it's hard to adjust after the first time you tighten it up. A couple of broken strands shouldn't matter..... But that's not a good way to start out.

Maybe give Topeak a call/email to get a replacement cable and threads? Depending on how your LBS messed it up, they should make it right -- assuming they got your $$$.

The DX looks like a pretty big bag, try not to load it up with solid weight or nothin' will keep it rigid on your handlebars. That's one bag I try to keep small.

You gotta know there's a lot of people dreaming of the south island right now.... Have a great trip!

-- Mark

Last edited by EmmCeeBee; 02-02-06 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 02-02-06, 07:08 PM   #3
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For the record, Arkel has a great handlebar mounting clamp that works really well.

See: http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/acc...asp?fl=0&site=
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Old 02-02-06, 09:22 PM   #4
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I'm with EmmCeeBee, set it tight and pointing upwards a decent amount... the natural sag should bring it down to where it should finally be. Never tried the Arkel ones myself, but they're next on my list for handlebar bags.
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Old 02-03-06, 05:31 AM   #5
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Rixen and Kaul are one of the std types of bar bag fitting. They are used by many manufacturers including Carradice.
The instructions for fitting the cable are included at
http://www.klickfix.de/images/bedlenk.pdf
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Old 02-03-06, 06:05 PM   #6
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I hate my giant Topeak Handlebar Bag, (an older version of this behemoth) and really recall with fondness a little tiny strap on bag a friend lent me for the first tour I ever did. This one is too big and it of course sags, no matter what I've tried. I guess that's the nature of the beast, when you got your camera, a banana, a journal, a bird book, binacoulars etc in that bag. I really can't say enough against a handlebar bag this big.

Hmmmm... I need to go small, but I can't get over the lust I have for a Gilles Berthoud bag, which is not that much smaller than what I've got now. They look like a better mounting system though and one that might not interfere with my lights (impossible with the Topeak).

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Old 02-03-06, 07:07 PM   #7
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I had a different brand of handlebar bag, but with largely the same problem. You can negate the problem to a point by only using it to store light things. I don't think I'm even going to bother bringing it to NZ this time around.

Incidentally, when are you going? I'm jetting off in seven days for five weeks on the South Island.
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Old 02-03-06, 08:40 PM   #8
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i have used the topeak dx also (2004), with the same problem. i have the tour guide model (topeak) as well. it is smaller and the sinking problem does not happen but you get about 1/2 storage space. i found that using gripping matterial (cut inner-tube) on handle-bar prior to mounting staps has slowed slipping. someone above mentioned decrease volume/weight of contents. i use front rack/panniers (not lowride) and sleeping bag under hb bag for support.
also use jandds hb pack, the mount system is more secure. hope this helps!
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Old 02-05-06, 04:53 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses. Sounds like we made a tactical blunder. We did see front racks for suspension forks and decided against them as we thought we'd use the handlebar bags more often for things like commuting. What a mistake. Chris, we are flying into Dunedin on friday, spending a couple of days there, then heading to Queenstown via the rail trail, across the lake to Te Anau to Milford, then down to Invercargill (and hopefully Stewart Island) then back along the Caitlins to Dunedin. We've already done the upper part of the south island. Should be fun. Which way are you going?
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Old 02-05-06, 09:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad
Chris, we are flying into Dunedin on friday, spending a couple of days there, then heading to Queenstown via the rail trail, across the lake to Te Anau to Milford, then down to Invercargill (and hopefully Stewart Island) then back along the Caitlins to Dunedin. We've already done the upper part of the south island. Should be fun. Which way are you going?
I'm heading for Christchurch on Saturday -- at this stage the plan is to ride a loop through the alps before heading south through Tekapo and Cromwell, before heading across to Dunedin and then riding the Caitlins Coast to Invercargill, Te Anau, Milford, Queenstown and then up the west coast.

Did I mention that I have FIVE WEEKS!
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Old 02-05-06, 10:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
I'm heading for Christchurch on Saturday -- at this stage the plan is to ride a loop through the alps before heading south through Tekapo and Cromwell, before heading across to Dunedin and then riding the Caitlins Coast to Invercargill, Te Anau, Milford, Queenstown and then up the west coast.

Did I mention that I have FIVE WEEKS!
Yeah OK, Rub it in why don't you! If you're going over Lewis Pass, you should plan to stay over at Maruia Springs. Much better than Hanmer Springs! Have a good ride
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