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  1. #1
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Handlebar Bag Mounting

    I am trying to decide on a handlebar bag for my touring bike. It has randonneur style bars so hand space on the straight portion of the bar is limited. The bare part of the bar next to the stem isn't wide at all and I really don't want to give up any of the taped part of the bar. This makes me wonder about how best to mount a handlebar bag.

    I want a smallish bag and the Topeak Compact Handlebar Bag looks like it fits the bill except I am unsure what the mounting system looks like.

    Does anyone have pictures and/or dimensions of the Topeak mounting system? I seem to remember that it has two clamps that clamp to the bar. It seems like I barely have room for the cyclocomputer on the bare portion of the bar, so I am concerned about the bag mounting system.

  2. #2
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    I've commented on this problem before. I recommend buying a front rack as Rivendell sells and then mounting a "trunk bad" on it. This also allows a headlight to work and if you're touring you really ought to have lights since you never know when you may end up out in the middle of nowhere when it gets dark.

    http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/baggage_racks/20127.html - this is the idea.

    However, I don't see any of these racks that look correct to me. I think that there should be a front rack with the top rack like the one here but with full support down the sides and low rider pannier mounts as well. It's silly to put a handlebar bag on a bike these days since you always end up putting too much weight in it and it screws up the steering.

  3. #3
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I had toyed with the idea of a front trunk bag, but...
    Maybe it is just because I am used to handlebar bags, but to me, front trunk bags are ugly when the bike isn't loaded for touring. Since I will probably ride the bike more on local rides than on tours that is a factor. Also, it looks like the stuff in them is less easy to get to while riding, compared to a handlebar bag.

    I agree that it is easy to put too much weight in a handlebar bag but that doesn't mean you have to. I have never put all that much weight in mine (when I had one). Staying with a small bag helps in that regard, but even with a large 1970's Rhode Gear bag, the most I ever carried was a light windbreaker, a wallet, keys, a small camera, and some lunch. More than that would maybe be too much, but with that load it handled fine, or at least didn't bother me.

    I miss the convenience of being to able easily reach stuff beyond what's in my jersey pockets and I still think that for me a handlebar bag is the best answer; IF I can figure out a mounting system that works for me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Is a front trunk bag typically used in lieu of front panniers or in conjunction? I'm guessing it depends on how much you want to carry for the specific tour that you're on but I was curious to find out what people are doing in practice. My wife and I are planning a tour but we're not expedition touring, it's going to be more credit card touring, which means we'll be leaving the sleeping bags and tent at home. I'm thinking I can get away with a lighter load up front on this tour, but then again, I don't want to have to buy a different front rack setup for an expedition tour down the road.

    Also, does having weight up that high mess with your load up front? On a new bike I'm building up, I'm going to have disc brakes and I'm concerned that most front racks that I'm considering (Bruce Gordon lowrider, Tubus Tara or Nova, and Nitto Campee) won't work with the discs (on a Vicious fork). This leaves me having to consider a mini rack and trunk bag up front or no front rack at all and perhaps a handlebar bag.

    Is it even possible or recommended to have a small handlebar bag and a front trunk bag or is that simply too much weight up high on the front of the bike?

  5. #5
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    The Klickfix bar bag mounting (and its cousin, the Ortleib mount) is usable on every type of bar and is very secure. My carradice has one and when clicked in, it can be used on rough trails.
    I havent seen a better mounting system.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    One possible solution: I have a front rack that is similar to the traditional rear racks (meaning it doesn't just have loops but a top flat bit) that I strap my tent on. I then have a Cannondale brand front bag that is very easy to remove and access from the top. I have less issues overloading this handlebar bag as it rests on top of the tent on the front rack; it's not going anywhere.

    Admittedly the front rack is a Bor Yeuh cheap rack from Ebay (I think Nashbar sells them for $10) but for my touring and load, it's more than adequate. I also have disc brakes and fashioned some custom metal brackets using a hacksaw, drill, file and Dremel that allow for the rack to not interfere with the disc brakes and the mudguards I have mounted.

    Since I don't have front panniers proper, this setup allows me to distribute weight more evenly and my bike feels very solid and stable, even though I only have rear panniers. I've done almost 50mph on this fully loaded with no wobbles or feeling unsafe (of course much has to do with the bike geometry, etc but to say I'm pleased with the touring setup I now have is an understatement).

  7. #7
    hell's angels h/q e3st ny brunop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    The Klickfix bar bag mounting (and its cousin, the Ortleib mount) is usable on every type of bar and is very secure. My carradice has one and when clicked in, it can be used on rough trails.
    I havent seen a better mounting system.
    +1. i rock this but i'm not sure it'd work that well with shimano cockpits. works great with campy though.
    ". . .a striped jersey under his jacket; bared calves (outside the bicycle track); cap pushed back; feet in a false position on the pedals; a barking horn, a disorderly appearance, an always-dry tongue, and a definite fondness for wine merchants. . ."

  8. #8
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nigeyy
    One possible solution: I have a front rack that is similar to the traditional rear racks (meaning it doesn't just have loops but a top flat bit) that I strap my tent on. I then have a Cannondale brand front bag that is very easy to remove and access from the top. I have less issues overloading this handlebar bag as it rests on top of the tent on the front rack; it's not going anywhere.

    Admittedly the front rack is a Bor Yeuh cheap rack from Ebay (I think Nashbar sells them for $10) but for my touring and load, it's more than adequate. I also have disc brakes and fashioned some custom metal brackets using a hacksaw, drill, file and Dremel that allow for the rack to not interfere with the disc brakes and the mudguards I have mounted.

    Since I don't have front panniers proper, this setup allows me to distribute weight more evenly and my bike feels very solid and stable, even though I only have rear panniers. I've done almost 50mph on this fully loaded with no wobbles or feeling unsafe (of course much has to do with the bike geometry, etc but to say I'm pleased with the touring setup I now have is an understatement).
    How big is that Cannondale bag? Do you feel like you could pack it with as much as you'd need for an unsupported tour, where you're lugging around all of your camping gear, food and water? Not being very experienced, I'm just not sure if I'll have enough space with a trunk bag, and two rear panniers.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Take a look at Topeak bags. They mount on just about any bar, quick release, stick out for hand clearance, well constructed, rain cover included and reasonably priced. Three sizes offered.

  10. #10
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    My Topeak bag has a detachable mount for cyclecomputers or lights. It can be mounted to either the handlebar mount so it's is above the handlebars or on the bottom of the bag for lights. This helps compensate for the loss of handlebar space. You can also get something like a Minoura Swing Grip (I think Topeak has something similar) that give you some extra mounting space.

    And some bike computers can be mounted on the stem so they require no bar space.

  11. #11
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    I use the Ortlieb Handlebar bag, with the click-in mount....because of my dual brakes, bought the Ortlieb Mount Extender kit that puts the bag about 2.5 inches further out....then mounted the Minoura Swing Grip to the Ortlieb Extender kit....put light and GPS on the Minoura Swing Grip....computer mounted on stem...

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