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Recommendations for on-bike storage

Old 03-01-21, 11:54 PM
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Recommendations for on-bike storage

Hello folks,

I'm rather new to longer distance bike tours. I did a lot of riding this past summer and fall, but nothing more than about thirty miles. In doing so, I realized that a simple saddle pouch isn't quite enough for what I think I'd want to carry on a longer trip. Normally, I bring a couple water bottles, a frame pump, some energy bars, a bit of electrical tape, tire irons, zip ties, and a tube. So far, this modest set of gear has been enough to keep me out of any serious trouble while I'm out riding, but I also haven't been too worried, since I'm never particularly far from home. If I want to go out for trips closer to 50-60 miles, I'd like a bit more flexibility in what I carry. More room for snacks is always good, but I'm also thinking I should start carrying a multitool and maybe also have room to stuff a jacket if I want to delayer or be able to carry one in case the forecast says the weather will get cold or wet. Could anyone point me in the direction of what I might want? I've seen some pictures of people using handlebar bags. Do those need any sort of special frame or rack though? I've thought about a frame bag, but I think that might be overkill, and I'm not sure how easy those are to access. It would be spectacular if I could get a bag that I could get to while riding. What do you folks generally pack your stuff in for longer rides? Does any of the stuff I've mentioned seem superfluous? Am I missing anything that I really should be bringing? Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-02-21, 04:36 AM
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https://www.dillpicklegear.com/pickl...tegory&path=74

I have a Dill Pickle handlebar bag. Just the right size for my needs and I can access it while riding. No special mounting hardware.
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Old 03-02-21, 07:40 AM
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Options include:
- Handlebar bag.
- Saddle bag. Saddle bags can be the bikepacking style or the older type that have a large flap on top facing aft.
- Rear rack and a rack top bag.
- Rear rack and a stuff sack or dry bag strapped on with an elastic strap or net.
- Rear rack and one pannier.
- Rack that clamps onto your seatpost (should not be used if a carbon seatpost) and a racktop bag on that.

Or a combination of the above.

For your purposes, I think a frame bag might not be the best, as you might want to use water bottle cages on your frame.

Photo, my road bike with a Carradice Pendle saddle bag (the mount for it is homemade) and a handlebar bag. This is what I meant by the old style of saddle bag.

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Old 03-02-21, 08:13 AM
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given that from the sounds of it you are really only needing stuff for a day out and don't want to use panniers on a rear rack, the easiest solution would be a seatpost bag. There are oodles and oodles of options out there, some waterproof, some not, some expensive, some not. They go on quickly and basically are oversized seatbags that we've all used for years to carry a small amount of tools, spare tube etc.

you do realize that you're getting into the whole rabbit hole of cargo carrying options, but the nice thing is that there are tons of options out there now, so have fun looking at various things and thinking of just how much volume you'd like.
Most of use just slap a small pannier on our bikes if we need to carry more stuff, but as we do touring, we already have this stuff.
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Old 03-02-21, 08:13 AM
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I ride a lot of long days, 60 to 100 miles, sometimes pretty remote and in harsh weather (Rocky Mts). My saddle bag is just large enough for tube, patch kit, and multitool.

I've always needed a rear rack for most of the cycling I do--commuting, shopping, touring. So I just use one lightweight pannier (Arkel Drylite) on day rides. I often ride in group of up to four, so I happily carry sandwiches and extra jackets. One person in the group uses a hydration backpack with extra room for lunch and jacket.

A good friend got tired of wearing his small backpack and he went the route of seatpost rack and rack top bag.
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Old 03-02-21, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL
I have a Dill Pickle handlebar bag. Just the right size for my needs and I can access it while riding. No special mounting hardware.
Something like that seems like exactly what I need, not excessively large, but just enough for a longer ride away from home. I think I'll get one like that for the near future with the intention of adding a rack and panniers sometime after that. A large saddle bag is an interesting idea that I didn't know about, but seeing as I've already got a small one, I think it'd make more sense to add another storage system rather than replace that.
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Old 03-02-21, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rainbow83
Something like that seems like exactly what I need, not excessively large, but just enough for a longer ride away from home. I think I'll get one like that for the near future with the intention of adding a rack and panniers sometime after that. A large saddle bag is an interesting idea that I didn't know about, but seeing as I've already got a small one, I think it'd make more sense to add another storage system rather than replace that.
actual handlebar bags have lots of advantages--you can easily grab stuff while riding, they can hold phones or maps, you can easily take them off in seconds to go with you in a store....
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Old 03-02-21, 09:11 PM
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I love my Swift Industries Randonneur bag. It is now called the Peregrine which is awesome (one of my neighbors always calls me that because I had a shirt from Peregrine the metal band. I love the bag and wish I could adapt it to more of my bikes (but front rando racks on some of my bikes wouldn't work without a lot of changing forks which I don't want to do for some of this stuff.

It can fit quite a bit of stuff in it and it has some organizational space. Plus the Nifty Swifties as I call them were nice enough to sew on some patches I had and they did a great job and way better than I could have ever done. It is not a tiny bag but honestly the time I want it smaller are few. For touring it would be excellent especially if you carry fancy cameras not attached to cellular telephones. I do wish to figure out a better way to carry my Boombotix speaker though. I can never get it clipped well on that bag and sometimes don't want it on my stem where I normally mount it.
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Old 03-02-21, 10:33 PM
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That Swift bag looks quite nice. I'm realizing now that I should refine my initial question though. Does anyone have suggestions for handlebar bags that aren't quite that pricy? I understand that cycling is a hobby that can quickly get expensive, but I'm a college student with not a whole ton of disposable income. I paid $125 for my bike, which was admittedly, a spectacular deal, but I'd prefer not to double my investment just buying one bag.
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Old 03-02-21, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Rainbow83
That Swift bag looks quite nice. I'm realizing now that I should refine my initial question though. Does anyone have suggestions for handlebar bags that aren't quite that pricy? I understand that cycling is a hobby that can quickly get expensive, but I'm a college student with not a whole ton of disposable income. I paid $125 for my bike, which was admittedly, a spectacular deal, but I'd prefer not to double my investment just buying one bag.
- handlebar bags are about the most trendy(trendiest?) Bike accessory over the last year and a half. As a result, it seems like there is some sort of silent contest for people to find the most boutique(boutiquiest?) and unique bags. The small batch bag market is goofy expensive since it's so popular.
There are a ton of cheaper handlebar bags.

https://banjobrothers.com/collection...bar-bag-medium
https://banjobrothers.com/collection...cts/barrel-bag
https://www.amazon.com/bike-handleba...node=194530011
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Old 03-03-21, 04:59 AM
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Several years ago I considered a Toppeak handlebar bag. I do not recall why I chose to buy something else. But their price is closer to what you want. If you see any in local stores, give them a look.

A good handlebar bag has a quick release system that allows you to detach it in seconds and take into a store or restaurant with you, when touring that is where my valuables are. But much weight in them can impair bike handling a bit, that is something I got used to quickly.

I bought a Louis Garneau bag several years ago, they no longer make them. The box stiffeners were quite weak and it badly sagged. I eventually had to reinforce it with two aluminum bars that I cut and drilled for the purpose, if they were still making them I would not recommend that one. My point is that a cheaper one is less likely to have adequate structure.

I have a waterproof cover for mine. You should think about what you will do if you are caught in a downpour.
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Old 03-03-21, 06:44 AM
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It also comes down to how many hours you'll be out. I used to do 80-100 mile loops in 4 to 6 hours which doesn't require a lot of gear stowage. Now, ten years later, I might plan 8-12 hours to do that kind of distance, and I'd take more comforts with me.

When I was doing mostly spandex riding on a fast bike, I'd carry two large bike bottles in cages, a mini pump on a clip next to a bottle cage; a tube, tire leavers and multi tool in a seat bag, and then stuff my jersey pockets with bars, gels, ID/cash. I'd plan one stop at a store to refill/refuel.

One way to deal with layers is to get items that are packable. I have a wind jacket that packs down into a pouch the size of a cigarette pack and provides a surprising amount of wind protection. It can be stuffed into a jersey pocket. Similar with the set of lightweight arm warmers I have.

Nowadays when I head out on long rides, I use my touring bike and I enjoy taking my sweet time. I barely cover 10 miles in an hour and I like to carry all the food and water I think I'll need. Often I'll use my handlebar bag which functions much like a center console in a car in that it can carry a lot of crap and I can access it while moving. Other times, I'll put things in a soft back pack and bungee it to my rear rack.

If I wanted to split the difference, I'd look at an under-seat bag or one that goes on top of the top tube that I can access while riding. Both types come in a wide range of sizes, although the under seat bag is able to be made larger because there's no concern for knee clearance as there is with anything that's mounted anywhere between your legs.

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Old 03-03-21, 07:00 AM
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Old 03-03-21, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Rainbow83
That Swift bag looks quite nice. I'm realizing now that I should refine my initial question though. Does anyone have suggestions for handlebar bags that aren't quite that pricy? I understand that cycling is a hobby that can quickly get expensive, but I'm a college student with not a whole ton of disposable income. I paid $125 for my bike, which was admittedly, a spectacular deal, but I'd prefer not to double my investment just buying one bag.
I reckon the most realistic recommendation is yard sales and Craig's list type stuff. Keep an eye out. Good luck
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Old 03-03-21, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Options include:
- Handlebar bag.
- Saddle bag. Saddle bags can be the bikepacking style or the older type that have a large flap on top facing aft.
- Rear rack and a rack top bag.
- Rear rack and a stuff sack or dry bag strapped on with an elastic strap or net.
- Rear rack and one pannier.
- Rack that clamps onto your seatpost (should not be used if a carbon seatpost) and a racktop bag on that.

Or a combination of the above.

For your purposes, I think a frame bag might not be the best, as you might want to use water bottle cages on your frame.

Photo, my road bike with a Carradice Pendle saddle bag (the mount for it is homemade) and a handlebar bag. This is what I meant by the old style of saddle bag.


And the modern version of that
plus the expanded version



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Old 03-04-21, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for all the helpful responses everyone. I think I have a much better idea of what I'm looking for and where I should look. I'll definitely check out Topeak because I know my LBS carries them. Maybe I'll also have a look on Craigslist and check out some of the other cheaper options people posted here as well.
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Old 03-04-21, 12:34 PM
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One option for keeping the price down might be posting to the Classifieds a wanting to buy ad. The variety of bags available probably means that a lot of people have bags they tried and did not like, and would be willing to sell.
good luck.
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Old 03-04-21, 06:43 PM
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You haven't really mentioned if you plan to stay overnight anywhere, which is a lot different than taking day trips.

I didn't think I'd need anything more than a saddle bag until I did my first overnight bike trip. It wasn't even a lot of mileage - maybe 40 miles or so - but I ended up in a different state, in a place that had a lot of touristy stuff going on. Staying overnight got me so hooked that, the day I got home, I went out and bought a fishing tackle bag to replace my backpack and have just kept adding storage capacity to my rear rack since then.

Now I use a Topeak MTX rack trunk/pannier combo set with the matching quick-release rack and I can carry every tool, every spare part, and every item of clothing I might need when I do an overnight trip. It makes the ride that much more relaxing, because, until you've torn a sidewall, broken a spoke, or snapped your chain out on the road, you don't know what a pain that can be if you don't have the resources to fix it!
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Old 03-05-21, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom
..., until you've torn a sidewall, broken a spoke, or snapped your chain out on the road, you don't know what a pain that can be if you don't have the resources to fix it!
Fortunately I was only 10 miles from home yesterday on an exercise ride when I snapped a rear derailleur cable. Have a triple crank on that bike so I rode home on a three speed.
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Old 03-05-21, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom
You haven't really mentioned if you plan to stay overnight anywhere, which is a lot different than taking day trips.
Just day trips for now, but I'm hoping to start doing overnights later. I've done a lot backpacking by foot, ski, and canoe, so I've already got a lot of that gear dialed in, I just need to figure out the bike stuff. I'll probably build up to a full pannier setup when I get to the point of doing multiday things, but for now I'm just trying to build my mileage for single days.
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Old 03-05-21, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Fortunately I was only 10 miles from home yesterday on an exercise ride when I snapped a rear derailleur cable. Have a triple crank on that bike so I rode home on a three speed.
Ha, yeah, that's happened to me too, back before I figured out what I was doing working on bikes. Now I check cables and bearings for wear pretty regularly before riding.
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Old 03-05-21, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Rainbow83
Just day trips for now, but I'm hoping to start doing overnights later. I've done a lot backpacking by foot, ski, and canoe, so I've already got a lot of that gear dialed in, I just need to figure out the bike stuff. I'll probably build up to a full pannier setup when I get to the point of doing multiday things, but for now I'm just trying to build my mileage for single days.
"Later" will come sooner than you expect, and you'll probably need the same amount of "stuff" for a multi-day ride as you would need for one overnighter. My point is, don't waste your money on interim gear. Buy yourself more than you will need for the time being, because I can assure you, you're gonna get hooked!
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Old 03-05-21, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Rainbow83
Ha, yeah, that's happened to me too, back before I figured out what I was doing working on bikes. Now I check cables and bearings for wear pretty regularly before riding.
I built up most of my bikes from parts, so I know them pretty well. In this case the cable was four years old. I have not snapped a derailleur cable for decades, until yesterday. But it looked pretty corroded. I was sure I had bought stainless cables but yesterday I discovered that I had a few galvanized ones that snuck into my inventory. And the cable that broke was not stainless. Now there is a stainless cable on the bike.

Bar end shifters, being near sweaty hands are probably a place you want a stainless cable.

I do not carry spares like that on exercise rides near home, but on a multi-day tour, I bring spare cables, spare spokes, cassette tool, spoke wrench, etc. But I worked in a bike shop years ago, so I know how to use that stuff.
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Old 03-14-21, 06:18 PM
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Depending on where you live, craigslist is a wonderful resource for inexpensive gear. I'd suggest going for a rear rack because it will give you the most options down the road.

If you are a do it yourself sort of person, you could even make some kitty litter bucket panniers! Instructions can be found online. You can rock your uniqueness!

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