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Handlebar bags- the case against

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Handlebar bags- the case against

Old 01-20-06, 11:05 AM
  #1  
Ira in Chi
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Handlebar bags- the case against

I've noticed that a lot of people on this forum like them. I've done some rides with and without, but have never really liked having the weight high up on my bike. Not only that, but I rarely find myself taking stuff out of my bags while moving. The only feature I use is the map case. However, in a couple of months I'm setting out on the longest trip of my life(potentaily over 7 months) and I'd like to be prepared. Does anyone here NOT use handlebar bags while touring unsupported? Convince me I am making the right choice.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:16 AM
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Stick a bag on your bike today, and ride with it awhile. I'm guessing you will come to like have one. I have bags on most of my handlebars, ranging from a tiny bag, just large enough for a phone and wallet, up to a medium/large Jandd that can hold a book, a snack, a lock, a jacket...

My only problem with handlebar bags is that I like to use lights that clip to the bars. With a larger bag, it is difficult to find a place to mount the lights. My smaller bags work better with lights, so those are the bags I use at night.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:55 AM
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There is no touring police, you don't have to have a handlebar bag. I have toured a few times without one to no ill effect. But it is a helluva lot more convinent to have one. I don't like things stuffed in my pockets when I tour so The handle bag contains the camera ,the phone, maps, my wallet, dog repellant, reading glasses, sun glasses etc.

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Old 01-20-06, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by velonomad
There is no touring police
couldnt have said it better. really, its your tour, your trip, yours...not mine, not anyones but yours. do what you want. but my opinion on the matter is i like em cause you can keep the things that you need often in there so you dont have to go searching through your panniers.

Steve
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Old 01-20-06, 12:41 PM
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You sure don't need to use one if you don't like how it affects handling. I've always had one, it's easy to get used to -- but more important, I've developed packing habits that I can't break now.

For a long trip, I couldn't do without a handlebar bag. I never get into it while riding, but it's my primary "go-to" bag for stuff I need immediately: camera, bug spray, sun lotion, bandaids, flashlight, rope, patch kit, candy bars, rubber bands, etc. Not to mention maps. When I pick up a couple apples or bananas at a store, they go into the handlebar bag till they get eaten in 1/2 hour.... I snap it off and on my bike to bring it into the tent at night, I can find anything I need in the dark. After I unload my bike in a campground, I still carry the handlebar bag when riding into town.

I think for a 7-month tour, you'll find you need a similar "go-to" pack. But whether you do this with a front pannier, a belt pack, or a rack pack, just pick one you feel comfortable with.

-- Mark
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Old 01-20-06, 01:04 PM
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As other have said: the most important thing is to do what you feel is right for you. Here's what I understand from the other responses as well as my own experience.

Cons:

1. Handlebar bags do affect handling, especially when they are heavy.

2. Most of them are heavy and add bulk.

3. They can take up a lot of space on the handlebar (think hand positions, aero bar, lights...)

Pros:

1. They provide more packing options (Like EmmCeeBee, I use mine for groceries)

2. They can be extremely convenient because you can reach their content while riding your bike. (think snack, cellphone, tissues, dogspray...)

3. You also don't have to get off your bike to take a picture or change your map.

4. They can also double as a hand bag so that you can keep your valuables and useful items with you at all time. (camera, wallet, book...)

I'll let other people complete the list but my personnal choice is to take a handlebar bag with me because I like to stop along the way and because I'm not a very fast and agressive cyclist.
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Old 01-20-06, 02:08 PM
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I don't use a handlebar bag. I have aero bars. I want the postural variety that aero bars allow more than extra storage. My map case velrcoes to the aero bars. All the stuff that I need quick and easy access to (wallet, papers, pocket knife, camera, sunglasses, reading glasses, etc.) fits in a small fanny pack.
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Old 01-20-06, 02:51 PM
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In my touring days my right rear pannier had a great feature. The top outside pocket was removable and turned into a fanny pack. Any time I walked away from the bike, I unzipped the pocket with my valuables inside, and took it with me -- same as a handlebar bag.

Of course it was useless for eating while riding.
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Old 01-20-06, 02:57 PM
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The problem is, I really want to like them. The bag I use is made by Jandd, but it's one that I borrowed and I need to decide if I will be buying my own. The worst thing is that my bike handles funny when I have any amount of weight on the bars, and that is enough to rule out a bag. I once borrowed a box-shaped Berthoud bag that sat on a little front rack and that was perfect. So expensive though. Does anyone have recommedations for smaller bags? Any experience with the small version made by Ortlieb?
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Old 01-20-06, 03:03 PM
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Hi: You can get handlebar bags as large or as small as you want. Recently I purchased a Map Case from Arkel. Not only did it have space for the maps but even a zippered pocket where you can keep some small items (cell phone, banana etc). It basically drapes over the handlebars and is attached by velcro. Check it out. Take care
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Old 01-20-06, 03:14 PM
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I've been looking at the Arkel mapcase, too, but I was also thinking about a Bento Box for snacks and chap stick so it won't get in the way of my new aero bars. May not be a great option for rain and I wouldn't leave anything valuable in it (although it would be just about the right size for a little camera).
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Old 01-20-06, 03:15 PM
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Ira in Chi
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Originally Posted by frankieN
Hi: You can get handlebar bags as large or as small as you want. Recently I purchased a Map Case from Arkel. Not only did it have space for the maps but even a zippered pocket where you can keep some small items (cell phone, banana etc). It basically drapes over the handlebars and is attached by velcro. Check it out. Take care
Hey thanks for pointing out the map case. I assume you have one of these, when there is stuff in it does the case move around a lot or is it pretty secure on the bars?
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Old 01-20-06, 03:35 PM
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Hi Ira in Chi: The map case from Arkel is great. It doesn't move at all because it basically drapes over the handlebars and then gets velcroed. (Is this a new verb in our lexicon?). It isn't expensive. Check them out at Arkel-od.com. I think there $21 + $5 for shipping. If you order over a certain amount from Arkel then shipping is free. Let me know if you get it and how you like it. Take care
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Old 01-20-06, 04:00 PM
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Have a look at Michel Gagnon's idea for lowering a h'bar bag.




The details: http://mgagnon.net/velo/potence-double.en.shtml
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Old 01-20-06, 04:27 PM
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you could always get a frame bag, and put a map case on your handlebars instead. the frame bag that jandd has is ok, but it might get in the way of water bottles and such, so keep that in mind. but that way you would have the extra storage and it is easily detachable, and its not on your handlebars effecting your handling. ill find a link to it and post it in a minute.

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Old 01-20-06, 04:30 PM
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http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FFP
thats the frame bag ive got, its ok if you dont have a lot of water bottles on your frame, and is pretty easy to access, but i wouldnt do it while riding, as things would probably fall out.

Steve
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Old 01-20-06, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveFox
http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FFP
thats the frame bag ive got, its ok if you dont have a lot of water bottles on your frame, and is pretty easy to access, but i wouldnt do it while riding, as things would probably fall out.

Steve
That is nice too. I wonder how it would work with my huge headtube?
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Old 01-20-06, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
My only problem with handlebar bags is that I like to use lights that clip to the bars. With a larger bag, it is difficult to find a place to mount the lights. My smaller bags work better with lights, so those are the bags I use at night.
Easy problem to address:

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
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Old 01-20-06, 05:15 PM
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Like everyone else has said, there's no rule that says you have to use handlebar bags ... so if you are happy and comfortable without one, don't bother!

However, I prefer to use one.

To address some of the "cons" presented (by Magictofu, and others)

Cons:

1. Handlebar bags do affect handling, especially when they are heavy. --- I have never noticed my handling to be adversely affected by mine. But then I ride with most of the weight of my panniers in the front anyway, and I do notice that there is a handling difference for the first while with the loaded panniers. After a few days I get used to it, though, and it starts to feel normal.

2. Most of them are heavy and add bulk. --- Mine weighs 2 lbs. I try to keep the weight of the stuff in mine down, and it is rarely full. The only time it might be full is if I've been grocery shopping and I am cycling back to camp. I can (and have) put a half-carton of eggs in my handlebar bag, on top of everything else I've got in there, with room to spare.

3. They can take up a lot of space on the handlebar (think hand positions, aero bar, lights...) --- With some clever arranging you can get around that too. My handlebar bag sticks out from the handlebar which allows me to hold onto the handlebar in any position, just like I would if it weren't there. I have also rigged up a "holder" system which allows me to use my lights and computer. I don't use aerobars anymore, but when I did, I had a different handlebar bag which hung from the aerobars.


Pros: (Again, thanks to Magictofu )

1. They provide more packing options (Like EmmCeeBee, I use mine for groceries) --- agreed, as mentioned above!

2. They can be extremely convenient because you can reach their content while riding your bike. (think snack, cellphone, tissues, dogspray...) --- very true! And I definitely use my handlebar bag for those purposes. I think of it sort of as my glove compartment.

3. You also don't have to get off your bike to take a picture or change your map. --- I have gotten quite good at taking photos while riding! (Not in heavy traffic or dangerous situations though!!) and I find it invaluable to have my map right in front of me.

4. They can also double as a hand bag so that you can keep your valuables and useful items with you at all time. (camera, wallet, book...) --- I have even added a shoulder strap to mine so that I can unclip it and carry it around easily.

5. I keep a few tools (a couple allen keys) and a taillight in mine in addition to some of the other things mentioned. My reason for that is if I suddenly need to tighten my waterbottles or make a slight adjustment to my setup or something, I don't have to go digging through my other bags to find a tool. Also, if I ride into a situation where additional lighting is prudent (i.e. fog, heavily overcast conditions, twilight), I've got a little taillight ready to go. (Note: I rarely leave my lights mounted on the bicycle while I ride, unless I am 99% guaranteed that it won't rain. I have had so many lights fail because they've been soaked. It's just so much less expensive to take them off and pack them somewhere dry until I need them.)

I also use a Bento bag which is great for easily accessible snacks.

The first couple photos show my handlebar bag setup ... the last couple photos show my attachment for lighting, computer, etc.

.
Attached Images
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setup2.jpg (23.9 KB, 111 views)
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setup3.jpg (34.8 KB, 93 views)
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setup4.jpg (50.0 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg
setup5.JPG (13.8 KB, 126 views)

Last edited by Machka; 01-20-06 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 01-20-06, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Ira in Chi
The problem is, I really want to like them. The bag I use is made by Jandd, but it's one that I borrowed and I need to decide if I will be buying my own. The worst thing is that my bike handles funny when I have any amount of weight on the bars, and that is enough to rule out a bag. I once borrowed a box-shaped Berthoud bag that sat on a little front rack and that was perfect. So expensive though. Does anyone have recommedations for smaller bags? Any experience with the small version made by Ortlieb?
I like the Topeak Tour Guide (regular size, not DX). It's large enough for what I want to put in it, has a QR mount, carry strap, map case and rain cover, and doesn't affect the handling of my bikes that I have ever noticed. It also has a good reflective stripe and a strap for clipping a blinky. It has a mount for lights too, but I don't use that, I prefer a swing grip. The bag costs less than $60.
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Old 01-20-06, 05:52 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Ira in Chi
That is nice too. I wonder how it would work with my huge headtube?
It works well on my iguana which has a pretty big head tube, so it shouldnt be a problem.

steve
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Old 01-20-06, 08:46 PM
  #22  
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you can always use a little wedge pack intended for behind-the-seat use. it won't mount your map case well, but you can put the essential stuff in it, and have some of the benefits with fewer of the drawbacks.

i rode with a riv. little joe bag on my handlebars. it wasn't terrible, but i think that next time i'm going with a banana bag up front.
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Old 01-20-06, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveFox
It works well on my iguana which has a pretty big head tube, so it shouldnt be a problem.

steve
Let me clarify: by 'huge' I mean 'tall' as in 63cm frame.
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Old 01-20-06, 09:34 PM
  #24  
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I have used a Cannondale bar bag for over 10 years on all my bikes - touring and otherwise. It is always the place where I store extra clothes, extra food, camera, wallet, keys, etc. It has two side mesh pockets where I can easily store my glasses (which are often removed when climbing a steep hill and the sweat is fogging me up!!) or for a hankerchief or cliff bar. My bar bag is big and often is quite heavy but I have never noticed this affecting the control of the bike. The ONLY problem that I have had with the bar bag is where to mount lights but there are ways around that as well. Suffice it to say, I won't be giving up the old bar bag even though it is dirty and ripped and has zippers that don't work...
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Old 01-20-06, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by clayface
Have a look at Michel Gagnon's idea for lowering a h'bar bag.




The details: http://mgagnon.net/velo/potence-double.en.shtml

I had been thinking of something similar to this. Actually I was wondering why manufacturers don't offer an option to mount the bag on the stem.
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