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  1. #1
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    Handlebar Bag Issue

    I recently purchased an Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Plus handlebar bag from a popular online touring supplies distributor. About a month after I installed the bag one of the enclosure snaps broke as detailed in these pictures.

    IMG_2053[1].jpg

    IMG_2054[1].jpg

    I contacted the distributor and he replaced the bag at no cost to me. Unfortunately the new bag also broke quickly. Has anybody had this problem with this type of bag? Were you able to resolve the issue? I probably can get another replacement bag but I figure the same thing will happen again.

    Anybody have any ideas or been able to fix the snaps on their bag so this doesn't happen again? I thought maybe sanding the edge of the snap down might reduce the pressure required to release the snap and prevent the snap from pulling loose.

    While we are at it, can anybody recommend a good handlebar bag that I could purchase that will be more durable than this one. I have Ortlieb panniers and would like the handlebar bag to match but I am starting to think about having have to go with something else.

    Thanks and happy riding!

  2. #2
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    You should call Ortlieb USA. I think they'd want to know if they had a QC problem on materials used in the handlebar bag, or an training issue (the guy who pops these snaps in).

    You can buy snap fastener kits to repair this bag yourself from hardware and marine stores. Maybe a heavier, larger snap would hold up better. Also, some shoe repair shops will replace snaps.

    Thanks for sharing this info. I've been considering buying a U5+ to match the bags for a while now, so maybe I should consider alternatives. The only other nice handlebar bag I know is Arkel, but it's heavier and costs twice as much:

    http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categ...lebar-bag.html

    There are quite a few mediocre handlebar bags available, most look (and likely perform) inferior to the two brands already mentioned. However, I would consider JandD or Lone peak as alternatives.

    http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FTOR2

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

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It is a common snap, you should be able to find a bag of new snaps and the setting tools to
    bang the rivet closed for $25.

    maybe add a piece of Velcro as a primary closure ,
    so You dont have to use the snap all the time to keep the lid closed.

    I have the Klick Fix bar bag mount, and their wire bag support frame ..
    and adapted other bags to use the support , like a 25 year old Eclipse.

    and one of Ortlieb's camera protect bags. it uses a roll and side release buckle-snap
    for the closure.

    Carradice super C HB bags also use Klick fix hardware. a plate type fitting on the bag.

    KF mounts also let me use my ortlieb bag.. an older ultimate 3 RC ,
    another roll and snap closure.
    so for extra mounts they are more versatile than O's own.

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I use the Ortlieb panniers and a Lone Peak handlebar bag. I have an old Performance bag that doesn't match anything but it is still going strong after 15 years.

    Aaron
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  5. #5
    Senior Member wbuttry's Avatar
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    velcro does sound like your best bet to use it is cheap and you can glue it on or sew it on plus it will hold your lid closed so good you might have problems getting it open....

  6. #6
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wbuttry View Post
    velcro does sound like your best bet to use it is cheap and you can glue it on or sew it on plus it will hold your lid closed so good you might have problems getting it open....
    Looking at the design of the bag, Velcro will not be easy. I doubt the bag will close well if you just stuck Velcro under the lip of the cover. Of course I could be wrong. And you are still going to have the problem of fastening it to the bag. I suppose it could be glued.


    I really don;t know why Ortlieb does not use Velcro in the first place. Those snaps can be hard to snap at times.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  7. #7
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    I recently purchased a Barit handlebar bag, which is from Ortlieb's "economy" company Racktime. This uses the Ortlieb mounting system and the bag is very similar in construction to their more expensive waterproof bags but is not waterproof. Anyhow, my handlebar bag snaps looked exactly like your pictures when I received it. I separated the snap, and pushed the snap part that had pulled out back into the hole where it came from. That's the best I can describe it. I have not had any problems since then but I have to say that most of the time my top is not snapped closed because it fits snuggly enough that even when off road riding it has yet to come open on it's own. I don't know whether any of this makes sense but hopefully it will help.

    On a side note-
    1) I would have preferred a velcro closure too and may put one on there myself at some point.
    2) The way the snaps attach to the bag is just a friction fit through the hole in the plastic. If you continue having problems I would put a little super glue or epoxy into the hole before sticking the snap

  8. #8
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    Arkel makes 2 absolutely bombproof handlebar bags. A smaller one and a larger one. I have the smaller one and I love it. Arkel bags are indestructable.
    I looked at the Ortlieb handlebag bag before I bought the Arkel. The Arkel handlebar bag was the 1st Arkel bag I bought. I now own 4 panniers and the handlebar bag from them. I just couldn't get past the mount for the Ortlieb bag plastic no sorry. Sorry to hear about your problems with the Ortlieb bag.
    I know they make great products as everyone swears by them. I would return the bag to the distrubutor and take a look at the Arkel bag. Arkel has a pretty good website. You can also buy the mount separatly for use on different bikes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 12bar's Avatar
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    I guess we have been lucky my wife and I both have the Ortlieb U5 and have not had any problems in the 3 years they have been on the bikes.
    "It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for someone you love". Blazeman, Warrior Poet

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  10. #10
    djb
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    I strongly suspect that given that this has happened to two of them, it is how you are pulling at it. I find that if I pull upwards, its hard as hell to open, but if I pull perpendicularly forwards, towards me, it unpops easily.
    I noticed this early on when it was frustrating to open at times, until I twigged to the "pulling it towards me" with no upward angle involved.
    I just retried this with my bag while writing this, and it is definitely much, much easier to pop them and after a short time owning it, this changed my initial view of the bag (that it was harder to open)
    I had had a zipper bar bag before, which I initially missed because it was easier to open with one hand to grab a camera while riding. Now I see how to open the Ortliebs this way, Im okay with it.

    overall , I have always been impressed by the longevity of Ortlieb bags, and they have been making this bag for ages, same snaps, so unless some odd batch has come along, I really do wonder that you have been forcing it hard the way described.

  11. #11
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    I have three Ortlieb Ultimate handlebar bags, and have used them for close to ten years now. I'm surprised by the recurring issue you are having. Maybe it's just a bad batch? I agree with "djb" that depending how you pull the snaps, they can be hard to open. I'm sure I adjust for this unconsciously when I'm riding.

  12. #12
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    Thanks everybody for the replies. Very interesting and the Arkel bag looks like a viable replacement if I decide to go that route. One question for the Arkel bag owners. Do you need to depress the snaps on both mounts to remove the bag? Looks like that might be a little awkward.

    So I started today by calling Ortlieb. They seem to be aware of the problem and claim it is rare. They told me that when the snap fails it is usually the because the hole in the plastic frame is a little larger than ideal and that sometimes it is because the male rivet on the snap is too small. They asked me to return the bag and that they will inspect the bag and that if it is the hole in frame that is the problem they will replace the bag and that if it is the rivet they will repair it. Seems reasonable so I am going to return the bag and let them fix it and see what happens.

    One very intersting thing I learned is that beginning in January 2013 they are offering a redesigned Ultimate 5 Plus bag that will use magnets instead of snaps and will have a small handle on the front of the lid so that the lid may be opened and closed in one step with one hand. So anyone thinking about buying one of these bags may want to wait until early next year.

  13. #13
    djb
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    JJ, I tried looking up info about the redesigned model, to no avail. Do you have any links to it, as I'd be curious to see it. I only got mine last year so its kind of a moot point, won't be buying a new one, but am curious.
    thanks

    the Arkel bags seem very well made, top notch construction. They are quite a bit heavier than the Ortlieb Pluses, which was steered me away from getting one.
    In any case, either of these things will last for decades, especially if you dont use them every day and you use common sense with being careful with them.

    check out Russ whatshisnames video "review" of the Arkel barbag. He put it up on here recently. Pathlesspedaled I think their website.

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    Jerseyjim- Hopefully Ortlieb can help you out. Their explanation seems spot on and like it would be an easy fix.

    djb- To clarify, I have never had this happen to me, because of me. I received the bag from it's previous owner with the one snap pulled out. Once I separated the snap and stuck it back in the hole it came from I have not had any more problems. But this is a non issue for me because I rarely fully snap close the top.

    The updated design for 2013 seems like a good thing. I hadn't even thought of magnets, but they would work well for one handed opening.

    I cannot stress enough how much I love my handlebar bag and could kick myself for not buying a decent quality quick release one earlier. If any one is reading this and wondering about a handlebar bag do not let these small problems stop you from trying one.

  15. #15
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    Yes, the releases on the Arkel bag must be depressed simultaneously. Not a hard move with practice, but it may discourage theives, that is if the bag is ever left unobserved.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    JJ, I tried looking up info about the redesigned model, to no avail. Do you have any links to it, as I'd be curious to see it. I only got mine last year so its kind of a moot point, won't be buying a new one, but am curious.
    thanks

    the Arkel bags seem very well made, top notch construction. They are quite a bit heavier than the Ortlieb Pluses, which was steered me away from getting one.
    In any case, either of these things will last for decades, especially if you dont use them every day and you use common sense with being careful with them.

    check out Russ whatshisnames video "review" of the Arkel barbag. He put it up on here recently. Pathlesspedaled I think their website.
    No link. The information on the redesigned bag was verbal from the Ortlieb customer service rep. I'll check out the review thanks!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamecock View Post
    Yes, the releases on the Arkel bag must be depressed simultaneously. Not a hard move with practice, but it may discourage theives, that is if the bag is ever left unobserved.
    OK Thanks. One nice feature of the Ortlieb bag is that the mounting bracket has a built in lock so that you can leave the bag on your bike unattended as long as you take your valuables out.

  18. #18
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyJim View Post
    OK Thanks. One nice feature of the Ortlieb bag is that the mounting bracket has a built in lock so that you can leave the bag on your bike unattended as long as you take your valuables out.
    which I cant honestly ever seeing myself doing. Ive always taken my barbag with me, as my "this, that and whatever" valuables are stuck here and there and so wouldnt ever take the time to take it all out, plus I wouldnt have anywhere to put the stuff anyway.
    I would not like leaving it there empty anyway, in case someone interested in thievery would probably try to get it off anyway, and most likely damage it. Plus I figure I would lose the darn key too, so it stays at home, never been used in fact.

    a barbags advantage is having wallet, passport, camera etc all in one easy place to take into stores, leaving dirty underwear and such in the panniers, usually not a target for someone if in a store for a short time. I have used the "leave dirty looking clothes" bungied to the rear bags or whatever for the "ewww" factor of deterrence.
    Last edited by djb; 10-01-12 at 01:29 PM.

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    I have had no issue with mine as well. It is most likely the way you are pulling on it as suggested earlier. You may wish to lube the female portion of the snap with a bar of soap or candle wax. That should make it a little easier to snap and unsnap.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    My wife and I both have Orlieb handlebar bags, and have not had any problems with either of them for the 5 years we have used them. They have seen a lot of use and the snaps get used a lot. I carry my camera in mine and on a trip last summer took about 4500 photos. On three trips this year I took about the same number of pictures. That is a lot of unsnapping and snapping. I make it a habit to snap my bag when I remove the camera which increases the number of times the snaps get opened and closed. With the amount of use my bag has received, the snaps are really easy to open and close.

    I was actually unpacking my panniers and bar bag as I browsed the forum. We just got back from a month-long tour today. After reading some of the posts I tried my snaps. What I found when I actually thought about it is that I don't use those little tabs to open the snaps. I slide my hand between the lid and the bag with fingers on each side of the snap to pop open the snaps. I suspect this results in a motions much like djb described in his post above.

    Originally posted by djb
    I strongly suspect that given that this has happened to two of them, it is how you are pulling at it. I find that if I pull upwards, its hard as hell to open, but if I pull perpendicularly forwards, towards me, it unpops easily.
    I noticed this early on when it was frustrating to open at times, until I twigged to the "pulling it towards me" with no upward angle involved.
    Last edited by Doug64; 10-05-12 at 10:33 PM.

  21. #21
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    about 4500 photos...
    Surely you mean unsnapping, snapping snapping snapping snapping snapping, and then snapping.

    and yes, I shall try the fingers behind technique (just did, it works, thanks)

  22. #22
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Originally posted by djb
    Surely you mean unsnapping, snapping snapping snapping snapping snapping, and then snapping.
    Yes, darn digital cameras anyway!

  23. #23
    djb
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    oooof 4500 shots, thats a lot of editing time and as well touches on the whole topic of shooting too much and how digital often has people shooting a gazillion shots of whatever and probably not printing more than a handful. I still find that I dont shoot that much, I guess its still a holdover from film days, I mean I can shoot a lot for jobs, usually more with theatre stuff where lighting is very sketchy and or movement of people on stage is tricky, but then from years of doing it, I am a pretty ruthless editor and so cut down stuff fairly quickly.
    Its funny, but on personal trips, ive gotten to the point now that I often shoot less now, as I find I want to experience the trip less "thinking" of how to shoot. When I was in Costa Rica in may, the trip really meant a lot to me going back and seeing people I hadnt seen in decades, as well as being in the country again, so I really didnt shoot that much, but just enjoyed it.
    In general I have always been less of a machine gunner so to speak, and look more for a peak action, and/or moment that will distill a feeling or experience, and so even with digital I hold back still. At times I regret this, as stills and vids really do open the doors to memories but I figure its always finding a balance of not overdoing it.

    The nice thing nowadays is how easy it is to make ones owns photo books, which are a great way (imo) to recount a trip and with the page layout options, to make it a lot of fun using ones photos, not to mention having a lot more photos on a page than we normally would print out 4x6s or whatever.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    My wife and I both have Orlieb handlebar bags, and have not had any problems with either of them for the 5 years we have used them. They have seen a lot of use and the snaps get used a lot. I carry my camera in mine and on a trip last summer took about 4500 photos. On three trips this year I took about the same number of pictures. That is a lot of unsnapping and snapping. I make it a habit to snap my bag when I remove the camera which increases the number of times the snaps get opened and closed. With the amount of use my bag has received, the snaps are really easy to open and close.

    I was actually unpacking my panniers and bar bag as I browsed the forum. We just got back from a month-long tour today. After reading some of the posts I tried my snaps. What I found when I actually thought about it is that I don't use those little tabs to open the snaps. I slide my hand between the lid and the bag with fingers on each side of the snap to pop open the snaps. I suspect this results in a motions much like djb described in his post above.
    This is the method I was using to open the bag the second time the snap pulled out. I think it's pretty ridiculous anyway that you would have to use some special method to open the bag to avoid damage. There is a tab there. Pull the tab... bag opens. End of story.

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    Vaude has what I think is a superior product to the Ortlieb for the handlebar bags. You can get a locking klickfix independent of Ortlieb. The Vaude aqua box is stiffer. Not sure if you'd have similar snap problems, Ortlieb does have a longer warranty than Vaude but as mentioned above snaps are cheaper to user service than return shipping.

    http://www.vaude.com/epages/Vaude-de...ucts/109155460

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