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Arkel Handlebar Bag

Old 01-17-16, 08:48 PM
  #1  
mobile_simon
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Arkel Handlebar Bag

I really, really, really don't like the design of this thing! It isn't waterproof like it says on the front of it. I even had the rain cover on it, still the front pouch filled with water. It has a liner on the inside that's supposed to be waterproof but I don't trust it either, all it does is add bulk to an already heavy bag. I keep my camera and other valuables in it so I'd like them to be protected. I have to use grocery bags over it to keep it dry.

I have been looking at the Ortlieb Ultimate 6 M plus. It seems to have a better design but I don't 100% trust it will stand up to a heavy rainfall. It is also pricey.

Why doesn't anyone make a simple, lightweight handlebar bag? And use a vinyl material like they use on drybags. I have never been a fan of raincovers.

I think the Carradice CarraDry is closest to the perfect design. I have never seen the brand sold locally though.

Any thoughts or experiences?
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Old 01-17-16, 08:56 PM
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I use plastic bags for my stuff and so I've never been concerned about whether my bags are waterproof.
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Old 01-17-16, 10:10 PM
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Yeah, there just doesn't seem to be an "ideal" handlebar bag...if anyone could even agree to the definition of "ideal". I agree with bikemig... I choose bags for desired features (size, pockets, etc) and assume that even "waterproof" bags/covers won't be entirely waterproof. I never leave home without plastic bags.
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Old 01-17-16, 10:38 PM
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The Ortlieb bar bags are waterproof. I use the Classic, and my wife uses the Ultimate 5. We have a lot of wet miles on these bags without any problems. We carry our cameras, phones, wallets, etc, and important papers in them. No special protection other than the bag. The same with their panniers.

We had 35 days of rain on this tour.


My small Sony a6000 fits in the orange case in the middle. The case is just for padding.

Last edited by Doug64; 01-18-16 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 01-17-16, 11:32 PM
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I have and really like my Arkel big handlebar bag. I use it every day touring, commuting, shopping, out and about in the PNW. The front pouch isn't waterproof yes, that's why I don't put water sensitive stuff in there, I put my extra straps, saddle cover etc there. The main compartment is very much rainstorm proof. I have very much abused this bag and it is still solid.

I like the metal mount and the shoulder straps are much better than the Ortlieb. I also have owned the Ortlieb Ultimate front bag, but ended up selling it. I didn't like the mounting mechanism, and found it a bit flimsy, I also was looking for something slightly bigger.

Now there are brands other than Arkel or Ortlieb and they may be better and I just don't know, but I am quite happy with the Arkel bag.
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Old 01-17-16, 11:51 PM
  #6  
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Even in a waterproof bag I would still wrap valuables in plastic bags like newspaper bags. If not that use dry bags or waterproof pouches as well.

Arkel makes some great panniers but I cannot speak to their handlebar bags as I have no interest in one currently (my panniers top zipper compartments keep the few items I need close by, close by) I do know Ortlieb also makes high quality stuff and their stuff is certainly waterproof if they say it is. There are a lot of folks here and elsewhere in the touring community who have Ortlieb stuff and it has seen them through plenty of wet weather and touring.

Nothing is perfect however and things can happen. That is why I wrote that first bit about using plastic bags anyway or take less stuff that isn't repairable or useable if wet.
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Old 01-18-16, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Even in a waterproof bag I would still wrap valuables in plastic bags like newspaper bags. If not that use dry bags or waterproof pouches as well.

Arkel makes some great panniers but I cannot speak to their handlebar bags as I have no interest in one currently (my panniers top zipper compartments keep the few items I need close by, close by) I do know Ortlieb also makes high quality stuff and their stuff is certainly waterproof if they say it is. There are a lot of folks here and elsewhere in the touring community who have Ortlieb stuff and it has seen them through plenty of wet weather and touring.

Nothing is perfect however and things can happen. That is why I wrote that first bit about using plastic bags anyway or take less stuff that isn't repairable or useable if wet.
You know what picture I'm just chomping at the bit to post
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Old 01-18-16, 12:08 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
You know what picture I'm just chomping at the bit to post
HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...I know the one!

Say it don't spray it...YUCK YUCK ; )
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Old 01-18-16, 12:20 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...I know the one!

Say it don't spray it...YUCK YUCK ; )
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Old 01-18-16, 09:21 AM
  #10  
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as someone else said, no bag is perfect, so you have to chose what deficiencies bother you less, and what advantages you appreciate more.
For me, having used a regular cordura bar bag for years, and using a homemade plastic water cover for it, I went looking at bar bags about few years ago.
The Arkel stuff is well made, like all Arkel stuff, but boy it is heavy. Most bags now come with built in, attached waterproof covers, that Im sure work well, but in the end, the Ortlieb won me over because it is so much lighter than others, plus I knew its design is a no brainer for worrying about rain.

yes, of course it has 2 downsides--the version I have, the one with the poppers to open close, is a pain to open with one hand (so not easy to unzip while riding and grab a camera) and the cable mounting system is much more limiting than the easyoneasyoff Arkel and other brands. The cable system works, but once it is on, you dont take it off because the cable has tended to get sqwershed when you tighten it on, so it doesnt feed back through things as well next time.

like with all stuff in life, its deciding what things matter to you more, and for me the much lighter weight of the Ortlieb was the biggee. I bought the Plus one, with the lighter material.

As Im sure you know, they changed the closing system to magnets, so its easier to open now. From someone who carried camera bags around a lot, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with walking around with such an easy lid to open, either by prying hands or if the lid gets caught on something as you walk by and your camera topples out onto cement.....

buyer beware, six of one half a dozen of another.....it all comes down to looking at many options and then picking your poison.
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Old 01-18-16, 09:39 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by mobile_simon View Post
I really, really, really don't like the design of this thing! It isn't waterproof like it says on the front of it. I even had the rain cover on it, still the front pouch filled with water. It has a liner on the inside that's supposed to be waterproof but I don't trust it either, all it does is add bulk to an already heavy bag. I keep my camera and other valuables in it so I'd like them to be protected. I have to use grocery bags over it to keep it dry.

I have been looking at the Ortlieb Ultimate 6 M plus. It seems to have a better design but I don't 100% trust it will stand up to a heavy rainfall. It is also pricey.

Why doesn't anyone make a simple, lightweight handlebar bag? And use a vinyl material like they use on drybags. I have never been a fan of raincovers.

I think the Carradice CarraDry is closest to the perfect design. I have never seen the brand sold locally though.

Any thoughts or experiences?

I use the Arkel Handlebag lg I love it!!!! never got wet yet!!!....
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Old 01-18-16, 09:50 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by mobile_simon View Post
I really, really, really don't like the design of this thing! It isn't waterproof like it says on the front of it. I even had the rain cover on it, still the front pouch filled with water. It has a liner on the inside that's supposed to be waterproof but I don't trust it either, all it does is add bulk to an already heavy bag. I keep my camera and other valuables in it so I'd like them to be protected. I have to use grocery bags over it to keep it dry.

I have been looking at the Ortlieb Ultimate 6 M plus. It seems to have a better design but I don't 100% trust it will stand up to a heavy rainfall. It is also pricey.

Why doesn't anyone make a simple, lightweight handlebar bag? And use a vinyl material like they use on drybags. I have never been a fan of raincovers.

I think the Carradice CarraDry is closest to the perfect design. I have never seen the brand sold locally though.

Any thoughts or experiences?
Did you use there Rain Cover for Arkel Handebar bag???
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Old 01-18-16, 09:56 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by LlamaBikes View Post
I have and really like my Arkel big handlebar bag. I use it every day touring, commuting, shopping, out and about in the PNW. The front pouch isn't waterproof yes, that's why I don't put water sensitive stuff in there, I put my extra straps, saddle cover etc there. The main compartment is very much rainstorm proof. I have very much abused this bag and it is still solid.


Now there are brands other than Arkel or Ortlieb and they may be better and I just don't know, but I am quite happy with the Arkel bag.
Use cold (Freezer) ziplock bags
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Old 01-18-16, 10:37 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by mobile_simon View Post
I really, really, really don't like the design of this thing! It isn't waterproof like it says on the front of it. I even had the rain cover on it, still the front pouch filled with water. It has a liner on the inside that's supposed to be waterproof but I don't trust it either, all it does is add bulk to an already heavy bag. I keep my camera and other valuables in it so I'd like them to be protected. I have to use grocery bags over it to keep it dry.

I have been looking at the Ortlieb Ultimate 6 M plus. It seems to have a better design but I don't 100% trust it will stand up to a heavy rainfall. It is also pricey.

Why doesn't anyone make a simple, lightweight handlebar bag? And use a vinyl material like they use on drybags. I have never been a fan of raincovers.

I think the Carradice CarraDry is closest to the perfect design. I have never seen the brand sold locally though.

Any thoughts or experiences?

Arkel is Sewn together and Un avoidably, sewing makes Holes ..

there was the Ortlieb Roll closed bag in the past. 3 or 4 "ultimates" Ago

but still isnt immersion waterproof, because of how bag & frame for the bag are Joined.

I have used a Klick Fix Bag support frame and anpther Ortlieb Product , a camera Bag to assemble something More water proof.

Though.. As Rain, t tends to come down from the clouds, the lid of Ortliebs Bar Bags is quite adequate..


The Ortlieb "Classic" Material Is the PVC tarp material Used in Dry bags , Ortlieb makes Dry Bags Too

the Plus is a Cordura with a Heavy coating the welding process makes that Coating Melt enough to bond all the parts together .

The Densely woven Canvas Carradice gets is quite water resistant by the way wet cotton swells
Plus you have the Option of applying a Waxy Proofing the cotton will absorb ..

The canvas stuff is Popular enough to have wholesale Imports from England ..

the Carra Dry You would probably have to get from an English retail seller

Online.. the company Now sells retail and ships internationally too ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-18-16 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 01-18-16, 10:46 AM
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I hate my Arkel handlebar bag.
It's a giant bucket without any compartments - to speak of.
Given how many backpacks and soft briefcases have all the pencil, change, hidden pockets -
I don't see why Arkel couldn't have done that with the handlebar bag.

What's worse, the GT-54s have far too many pouches in the back - where you don't need them.
I regret my purchase of the 5-piece set - the front panniers are actually pretty darn good.
But they are heavy, clunky, and the handlebar bag is the worst.
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Old 01-18-16, 11:00 AM
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Sewing a divided Insert for your HB bag will be a nice winter DIY project..
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Old 01-18-16, 11:05 AM
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I have only seen the Large Arkel in stores and in my hands. At 10l its bigger than the 7l Ortlieb Med bag, almost double the weight (which explains my shock at picking it up and thinking that empty it felt almost as heavy as my Ortlieb with stuff in it)

Arkel large 10 litres 1340g
Orlieb med Plus model 7 litres, 740g
Arkel small 7.5litres, 950g (but appears that weight includes the map case, which is attached to bag)

the Ortlieb map case has the reputation of being the best out there for being very waterproof, mine has proven this pretty much after a very long ride in the rain, maybe 6+ hours. I do like how it is a good size map case also. I do realize perhaps a map case is less of a priority for folks nowadays, but I still really like having a paper map in front of me.

Simon, it sounds like you should just sell it and get something else if you really dont like the design. Arkel really does have a good rep for quality construction so I imagine it wouild be easy to sell at a good price. You really dont sound happy with it.

ps, just saw that the optional rain cover for it ($25 Can.) would take care of wet issues of the front and side pockets, and as the map cover is included, with the ortliebs you have to buy the map cover seperately, so perhaps it evens out price wise between the two brands.

In the end though for me, I like not having to ever think about waterproofness, and accept the things I aint crazy about.

Last edited by djb; 01-18-16 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 01-18-16, 08:08 PM
  #18  
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No Problems with Large Arkel Handlebar Bag

I have been using the large Arkel bag for five months or so. The main compartment has stayed consistently dry without a rain cover while riding through hours of driving rain. As noted previously, the small front compartment and side mesh compartments are not supposed to be waterproof. I have not tried fording streams with it yet, however. I am pleased with the design and quality of the bag. It is a tad expensive, however.
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Old 01-18-16, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Sewing a divided Insert for your HB bag will be a nice winter DIY project..
I value my fingers too much.
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Old 01-19-16, 09:52 AM
  #20  
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I looked at the Arkel bag and as soon as I picked it up I knew is wasn't for me; it was just so heavy and over engineered like their classic panniers (however their new drylite panniers look very interesting). After using a couple of boutique cotton duck handlebar bags which were a pain to mount, I ended up with an Ortlieb Classic. It's a nice size, waterproof and the KickFix mount is quick to get on and off. The way it attaches to the bars with two cables is a bit strange so I bought the Rixen and Kaul handlebar clamp mounting system which only uses a single cable to stop the mount from sagging.

Amazon.com : KLICKfix Rixen & Kaul Handlebar Adapter (multi clamps) Ř22-26 mm & Ř31.8mm : Biking Quick Releases : Sports & Outdoors.

Closing the lid of the Ortlieb takes a bit of finesse and clipping the shoulder strap on is annoying, but I can live with those as the bag carries stuff really well on and off the bike and I like it's single large rigid compartment. I didn't buy the map case. I just clip my maps onto the bottom of the lid with a couple of binder clips and it puts it at a nice angle. I put the map in a zip lock bag if it rains. I also carry all my food in the handlebar bag in a large zip lock bag so that I can easily put it in a bear locker or hang it from a tree.

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Old 01-19-16, 10:35 AM
  #21  
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I have been in an absolute deluge with the Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Plus (cordura) and everything that was in the main compartment stayed dry.

You mentioned lightweight. Revelate will be coming out with a lightweight handlebar bag that will be a standalone version of their "pocket" that is currently used to attach to a harness. The current pocket weighs 4 oz so I am guessing the standalone pocket will be close to that.

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Old 01-19-16, 05:17 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I value my fingers too much.
Use a thimble or 2 and no finger damage. I can't hand sew without one. Kinda like cycling barefoot??
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Old 06-08-16, 12:23 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by mobile_simon View Post
Why doesn't anyone make a simple, lightweight handlebar bag? And use a vinyl material like they use on drybags. I have never been a fan of raincovers.
...
Any thoughts or experiences?
Topeak makes a handlebar bag that is similar to a dry bag. It zips closed then the top is folded over a couple of times and buckled onto the side of the bag. I have had one for a few years. I do not love it or hate it. So far it keeps everything inside dry, but I do not ride in the rain all that much.

Topeak® Cycling Accessories ? Products - Handlebar DryBag

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Old 06-08-16, 01:08 PM
  #24  
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I've always avoided Arkel handlebar bags because they are heavy and over engineered. That was true of their panniers too unt they brought out te Drylites which look interesting.

Anyway back to handlebar bags. I've had a few and eventually settled on the Ortliebs Classic. It isn't perfect as te lid snaps are a bit of a pain, as us attatching the shoulder strap and the Ortlieb mount is best replaced with the clamp on Klick Fix mount. But the Ortlieb us simple, relatively light, waterproof and easy to take off the bike when you lock it up and leave it somewhere. I like the single large compartment as I can fit my valuables wash kit, electronics and most of my food in it.
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Old 06-08-16, 01:20 PM
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One advantage is for Bike Friday split bar User , because the mount is 2 separate pieces, so remain on the Bar halves when they are separated ..

Of the other 2 I find Klick Fix, (which carradice uses ), and Ortlieb bags can also Use , is easier to remove and re install on the handlebars ,

than Ortlieb's figure 8 cable wrapping scheme ,

But Of course that is simplified by stacking 2 threadless stems on the steerer and when boxing the bike It can come off un disturbed as a Whole.
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