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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    Handlebar Bag advice needed please?

    I need to get a new handlebar bag for an upcoming trip but I need some help choicing a good quality one at a good price. I am on a budget and am looking at some under $50. Does anyone have experiences good or bad with say the Topeak, Cannondale or Nashbar bags? I want a bigger sized one that runs about 470-480 cubic inch. It would be nice if it was waterproof but unless I go to a higher end bag that probably won't be possible. I also want one that has a quick release mechanism and a map window. I'd prefer not to have a velcro strapped one. Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Mark

  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    The Nashbar Elite Handlebar Bag worked pretty well for me. At the end of the Trans America it was sagging a good bit, but it was easy enough to beef up the stiffeners. The Q/R is just a bit iffy in rough rides, and I would suggest a safety tie just in case. It came loose once when I rode into a huge pothole. After that I always tied it with a piece of cord just in case, but it never came loose again. To be fair the bag was overloaded AND I was lucky the wheel survived, it was a huge hole.

    My companions used the Topeak Handlebar Bag & Fanny Pack and liked it. It is smallish and lacks a map pocket though.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    I have the Nasbar bag and i couldn't disagree more strongly with Staehpj1. In my opinion it is a total piece of crud. The zippers are incredibly flimsy and hard to use. One of the zippers broke the first time I used it. The other zipper broke the second time. Luckily I only paid $20 for it or I would have sent it back. I still regret that I didn't. This wasn't a manufacturing defect. It is a matter of really low quality materials.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I have the Nasbar bag and i couldn't disagree more strongly with Staehpj1. In my opinion it is a total piece of crud. The zippers are incredibly flimsy and hard to use. One of the zippers broke the first time I used it. The other zipper broke the second time. Luckily I only paid $20 for it or I would have sent it back. I still regret that I didn't. This wasn't a manufacturing defect. It is a matter of really low quality materials.
    Was that the same bag? Nashbar sells quite a few different models.


    The zippers were very stiff when new due to the fact they were waterproof, but they stood up well to day in and day out use and eventually loosened up a bit. The stiffness made opening them a two handed operation until they were broken in. These zippers were very sturdy. I could nit pick about a few things, but not the zippers (other than their initial stiffness).

  6. #6
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Whatever bag you get, test it for fit on your bike. My Nashbar bag straps run into my brake levers, so it does not fit very well. I guess I could move the levers out some, but I would have been better off getting a bag that fit.

    I got mine on one of those frequent Nashbar sales.

    One advantage of Nashbar is that they have an excellent return policy, so if the zippers broke, just return it. Mine still works well, just doesn't fit that great.


  7. #7
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    Whatever bag you get, test it for fit on your bike. My Nashbar bag straps run into my brake levers, so it does not fit very well. I guess I could move the levers out some, but I would have been better off getting a bag that fit.

    I got mine on one of those frequent Nashbar sales.

    One advantage of Nashbar is that they have an excellent return policy, so if the zippers broke, just return it. Mine still works well, just doesn't fit that great.

    I have one like that that I use for short day trips. You're right, it doesn't fit well. I may have to up my budget a little bit on the bag. I saw a Lone Peak one that I like that looks good.

  8. #8
    Senior Member NeezyDeezy's Avatar
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    without question, this is the best:

    http://www.thetouringstore.com/LONE%...ACK%20PAGE.htm

    let me assure the $20 extra is more than worth it - these bags are the lightest and very well made

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    Yeah those are the ones I was looking at and it may behoove me to pay the extra. Now the big question....which color?

    Thanks

  10. #10
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Was that the same bag? Nashbar sells quite a few different models.


    The zippers were very stiff when new due to the fact they were waterproof, but they stood up well to day in and day out use and eventually loosened up a bit. The stiffness made opening them a two handed operation until they were broken in. These zippers were very sturdy. I could nit pick about a few things, but not the zippers (other than their initial stiffness).
    That is the same bag, the Nashbar Elite. I can only guess that they have changed sources since you bought yours. The problem is not that the zipper is stiff. The problem is the zipper looks like it came off Barbie doll clothes. If you put any pressure on it, like holding an edge of the bag while you unzip it, it opens from the wrong side.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Fueled by Boh's Avatar
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    i have the axiom cyclone. I think its a bit oversized and cumbersome. Its also pretty floppy.
    Not going to bother with Antarctica

  12. #12
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    That is the same bag, the Nashbar Elite. I can only guess that they have changed sources since you bought yours. The problem is not that the zipper is stiff. The problem is the zipper looks like it came off Barbie doll clothes. If you put any pressure on it, like holding an edge of the bag while you unzip it, it opens from the wrong side.
    They could change suppliers at any time and might, I guess, even use something different for one batch depending on cost or availability at any given time. That said, I have two. One was purchased near the end of 2006 and one near the end of 2007. Both seem to have good sturdy zippers. Never had a moments issue with either other than the annoying stiffness when new.

    Maybe I am just more careful in handling it? I kind of doubt it unless you were pretty clumsy or brutal since I definitely didn't baby it. I was somewhat careful to pull directly in the direction the zipper is supposed to be pulled, but didn't show it any special respect. My first one has 73 consecutive days of constant use while living on the road and a lot of lighter use around town and on day rides.

    When was your's purchased? I'd really like to think they haven't changed to an inferior zipper.

  13. #13
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I got this from REI

    George

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fueled by Boh View Post
    i have the axiom cyclone. I think its a bit oversized and cumbersome. Its also pretty floppy.
    Yes and the snaps are irritating, but it's also got a great map pocket.

    edit to add: and it's really light.
    ...

  15. #15
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I got this from REI

    I've decided to take CardiacKid's advice and up my budget and go for one with more volume. This one from REI may be too small but they do have a nice Cannondale Crossroads 2 that looks good. Anyone have on of these?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bentley6 View Post
    I've decided to take CardiacKid's advice and up my budget and go for one with more volume. This one from REI may be too small but they do have a nice Cannondale Crossroads 2 that looks good. Anyone have on of these?
    I looked at the c'dale in REI, the closure is magnetic, meaning, the lid really just sits there. A big bump could easily pop it open. Plus, it's a weird asymmetrical shape. I wanted one of these before I saw it in person, then didn't want it anymore. I think the Lone Peak (large) from thetouringstore.com would be my top choice, I ended up with the axiom when the bag I had died (of old age and abuse) in canada, and I had to buy something from a real-live store in Jasper. I'm reasonably satisfied with the Axiom, but it is a little too floppy.
    ...

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice Valygrl. I personally like the looks of the Lone Peak one.

  18. #18
    Greenhorn combatdecoy's Avatar
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    I have a banjo brothers which is everything you describe and I paid 45 bucks for it.
    It works great, only downfall is only one big compartment for storage. There is no additional
    pockets..
    Mark

  19. #19
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    They could change suppliers at any time and might, I guess, even use something different for one batch depending on cost or availability at any given time. That said, I have two. One was purchased near the end of 2006 and one near the end of 2007. Both seem to have good sturdy zippers. Never had a moments issue with either other than the annoying stiffness when new.
    I
    Maybe I am just more careful in handling it? I kind of doubt it unless you were pretty clumsy or brutal since I definitely didn't baby it. I was somewhat careful to pull directly in the direction the zipper is supposed to be pulled, but didn't show it any special respect. My first one has 73 consecutive days of constant use while living on the road and a lot of lighter use around town and on day rides.

    When was your's purchased? I'd really like to think they haven't changed to an inferior zipper.
    I bought mine about six months ago. I am sorry, but this isn't a matter of one of us being right and one of us being wrong. It is just that we have had different experiences. No hard feelings?

  20. #20
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    i use either jandd tour-II or topeak tour-guide (their DX H/bar bag is too big).
    have used bnash h/b bags (3) thought the first in 1980 was great, but styles and mounting have changed along with bn quality.
    personally, i am partial to topeak h/b bag!

  21. #21
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    Do you have any comments about the Jandd bag? I have been using the saddlebags and like them alot.

  22. #22
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    I have a Jandd. It works good, and I like the mounting system. The only complaint I have is when it gets damp, the inside of the map pocket collects humidity. You have to unzip it to let it dry out. Since it's my only "touring" handlebar bag, I don't know if they all do that.

    I have my eye on a Arkel bag. I bumped into a couple of tourists while I was riding the Natchez Trace and they both had them. Looks like the map case is a self-contained pocket. And the red would match my red Ortlieb panniers nicely!

    I don't like the Ortlieb, only because I think they should include the map case for free. I'm not buying a bag like that to toodle around on a club ride or commute with.

  23. #23
    Sloth Box
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    Ortlieb Ultimate Handlebar Bag

    Hi,

    Just the requisite "Ortlieb" recommendation. I've got the Ultimate 5 Plus (sz. Large) handlebar bag, it's been a delight:

    1) Rock-solid mounting bracket (solid connection to handlebars, also to back of bag, no floppiness)
    2) Relatively lightweight (1.5 lbs)
    3) Internal zippered pocket, 2 external mesh pockets
    4) Comes with X-shaped divider (4 compartments)
    5) Quick-release bracket, D-clips, comes with shoulder strap
    6) Easy to snap closed
    7) Needless to say, completely waterproof

    Worked like a champ throughout a very rainy 2-week bike tour in Japan last April.

    http://www.thetouringstore.com/ORTLI...205%20PAGE.htm

    Sam

  24. #24
    Senior Member rockpilex's Avatar
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    I had staephj1s Nashbar Bag and I hate. Terrible zippers and dodgy mounting bracket. Bought the Lone Peak bag, love it.

  25. #25
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    One thing I've noticed is that handlebar bags can interfere with my headlight- don't know if y'all have that trouble or not.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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