Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Handlebar Bags - Your Favorite?

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Handlebar Bags - Your Favorite?

Old 03-18-08, 04:59 PM
  #1  
Fueled by Boh
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Fueled by Boh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 232

Bikes: Cyclocross tourer, Redline Monofixie, Lemond Buenos Aires, surly KM, haro x3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Handlebar Bags - Your Favorite?

I'm looking for some feedback on handlebar bags in general, and the axiom cyclone in particular. i searched the forums and only came up with ortlieb-related threads and people addressing the STI compatibility issue.
i have axiom waterproof panniers (they very much resemble ortliebs) and i'm pretty happy with them. a taxi cut me off in downtown dc and clipped one of them. it stayed on with only a minor scuff. after my recent tour i'm pretty much convinced i can't do without a handlebar bag to keep my camera/ maps/ food handy.

edit: somehow i missed this one http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=398685
Fueled by Boh is offline  
Old 03-18-08, 07:14 PM
  #2  
thebulls
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,004

Bikes: SOMA Grand Randonneur, Gunnar Sport converted to 650B, Rivendell Rambouillet, '82 Trek 728, '84 Trek 610, '85 Trek 500, C'Dale F600, Burley Duet, Lotus Legend

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Lone Peak Alta H-100 is a fabulous bar bag (I got mine at www.thetouringstore.com). Of course, it depends what you want in a bar bag. Typical use for me: Fill it with things I want close to hand like wallet, cell phone, camera, sandwiches/energy bars/Hammergel bottles. As the day goes by, particularly early spring days that start cold and warm up, I'll shed clothes as I'm riding and just stuff them in the bar bag. On the last ride, it ended up with a pair of gloves, jacket, scarf, hat, helmet cover, jacket, arm warmers, and leg warmers. Even when the H-100 is completely full and weighs about 8 pounds, it has only a minimally noticeable effect on handling at typical touring/randonneuring speeds. The H-100 is really sturdy, and despite not being "advertised" as waterproof it has never had any noticeable amount of water get in. I've used it for thousands of miles. The bag is very easy to pop off and on the mount, and has never come off by accident.

I tried a Novara Deluxe bar bag, which is really quite a nice bag, but at 5.7 liters (350 cubic inches) it just wasn't big enough. I'm still using it on my commute bike, though.

One of the things I like about the Alta H-100 is that it holds a lot but weighs only a little. It weighs 708 grams (25 ounces) and holds 10.8 liters (659 cubic inches). This puts it at 66 grams per liter, just about the lowest grams per liter of any bar bag available. By contrast, the Arkel big handlebar bag holds about the same amount but weighs nearly double. The Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Plus Large is 78 grams per liter, but the mesh pockets on the sides are so small they're useless, and a friend quit using his because the clamp is too fiddly to put on his handlebars. The JandD Touring II is only 60 grams per liter, but it's bigger than I really need and weighs nearly a kilogram, and the clamp looks really clunky. But other JandD stuff that I've bought has been high quality.

I don't know anything at all about the Axiom, but find it hard to believe that a $17 bag is going to be very good quality. You do not want your bar bag falling off and getting caught in/under the wheel, or have it develop a hole in the seam and lose stuff out of the bag. Also, strap mount means that its right there against your handlebars taking up valuable real-estate. I'd rather pay the money to get a really good bag.

I've tried to attach a little zipped spreadsheet that has some stats on handlebar bag weight and capacity.

Good luck.
Attached Files
File Type: zip
bar_bags.zip (4.2 KB, 70 views)
thebulls is offline  
Old 03-18-08, 07:52 PM
  #3  
fantom1 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Middle of the desert
Posts: 544
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Arkel small bar bag. It seems the best thought out and constructed of what I looked at.
fantom1 is offline  
Old 03-18-08, 08:37 PM
  #4  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,449

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3315 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 23 Posts
I have the Orlieb bag. A great bag except I kind of have a love hate relationship with the mounting bracket. It uses a cable system to mount the bracket to the bar. It is a very solid mount and never comes loose. The other advantage is an extension bracket can be purchased that gets the bag away from the bar, and gives space should you have b-levers. It also gets the bag out of the way of your sti cables without the need for noodles.

I don't like the mount because it is a pain to take the mount on and off. I have an adjustable stem and should I want to adjust the stem a bit, you have to loosen the bracket to level the bag. The cable system does not make this an easy process.

The other thing I do not like is they placed a thick plastic sheet in the lid to prevent pooling of water on the lid. Well the sheet always pops out of place and it not very functional. Maybe the new design has ribs sewn into the lid??


But all in all it is a very nice bag. Your gear will stay dry in the worst of weather.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 03-18-08, 08:59 PM
  #5  
Bacciagalupe
Professional Fuss-Budget
 
Bacciagalupe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 6,472
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Another Ortlieb user. I have the large bag, and will pick up the map holder sooner or later. Worked very well for me on my last tour. The only thing is I didn't find it quite stiff enough, but that was easily fixed by putting in a bit of cardboard in the rear. It is a little expensive but I suspect the damned thing will outlive me.

I actually like the mounting mechanism (iirc it's KickFlix or something like that, a little more common in Europe iirc). I agree it's a pain to adjust, so I'm getting my bike completely set prior to attaching it.

That said, if you like Axiom and you know they make good stuff, why not go for it?
Bacciagalupe is offline  
Old 03-18-08, 09:00 PM
  #6  
HauntedMyst
Spandex free since 1963!
 
HauntedMyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 404

Bikes: Cannondale Road Warrior 900, Surly Big Dummy, Electra Townie

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've only tried one, the Topeak Tourguide DX and its a turd. Actually, the bag isn't so much a turd as the mount is. I've used the bike for a couple hundred miles and the mount has stripped out twice and doesn't want to stay in place. Stay far away.
HauntedMyst is offline  
Old 03-18-08, 09:10 PM
  #7  
scumglob
Senior Member
 
scumglob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Lincoln NE
Posts: 51

Bikes: Surly LHT

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I met some people on my last tour that raved about Nashbar's bags. I am on a budget so I got their Elite Mega Handlebar bag. Haven't toured with it yet. Seems fine - waterproof & massive. Plastic mount is a downside. And the zipper covers are very stiff...
scumglob is offline  
Old 03-18-08, 10:35 PM
  #8  
Fueled by Boh
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Fueled by Boh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 232

Bikes: Cyclocross tourer, Redline Monofixie, Lemond Buenos Aires, surly KM, haro x3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts


this is the bag i was asking about. it looks like retail is in the $75 neighborhood, according to my lbs website.
Fueled by Boh is offline  
Old 03-19-08, 10:44 AM
  #9  
pasopia
Senior Member
 
pasopia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 617

Bikes: soma double cross DC, giant reign

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have the ortlieb compact bar bag, and I am pretty happy with it. I don't really like to put a lot in my handlebar bag, compact camera, wallet, passport, energy bars, thats about it. Its a perfect size for this application.

I do sometimes wonder if a map holder would be nice though. Usually I just wedge my maps under the top pannier strap on my ortlieb panniers. Do people find a map case very useful? I would consider changing handlebar bags...
pasopia is offline  
Old 03-19-08, 10:46 AM
  #10  
Fueled by Boh
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Fueled by Boh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 232

Bikes: Cyclocross tourer, Redline Monofixie, Lemond Buenos Aires, surly KM, haro x3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the axiom is attractive cause its waterproof, and i'd likely have atleast a camera and maybe a phone in it. on the other hand, it looks to be completely devoid of any external pockets which might end up nullifying some of its convenience.
Fueled by Boh is offline  
Old 03-19-08, 05:12 PM
  #11  
thebulls
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,004

Bikes: SOMA Grand Randonneur, Gunnar Sport converted to 650B, Rivendell Rambouillet, '82 Trek 728, '84 Trek 610, '85 Trek 500, C'Dale F600, Burley Duet, Lotus Legend

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Fueled by Boh View Post
the axiom is attractive cause its waterproof, and i'd likely have atleast a camera and maybe a phone in it. on the other hand, it looks to be completely devoid of any external pockets which might end up nullifying some of its convenience.
OK, that Axiom looks a lot nicer than the cheapies.

I'd recommend that you always carry electronic stuff in its own plastic bags anyway -- if you open your lid in the rain to get out an energy bar, you don't want to fry your camera.

I really like the big side pockets on my Alta H-100. I put a 5oz bottle of Hammergel and an energy bar in the right-hand side and eat them as I go along. Then as I create trash, it all goes into the left-hand side.

The Alta has a big, main compartment with a slash pocket in the front where I stick miscellaneous small things that I want to be able to grab quickly, like the camera. It has a medium-sized zipper pocket in the front where I stick stuff like wallet and phone that I'll only need if I'm not riding. It's really hand to have some pockets.
thebulls is offline  
Old 03-19-08, 06:00 PM
  #12  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,449

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3315 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 23 Posts
Originally Posted by pasopia View Post
I have the ortlieb compact bar bag, and I am pretty happy with it. I don't really like to put a lot in my handlebar bag, compact camera, wallet, passport, energy bars, thats about it. Its a perfect size for this application.

I do sometimes wonder if a map holder would be nice though. Usually I just wedge my maps under the top pannier strap on my ortlieb panniers. Do people find a map case very useful? I would consider changing handlebar bags...
I have the Ortlieb map holder and found it to be very useful for a couple of reasons. Obviously to hold the maps, they are aways at the ready and you don't need to go digging for your maps. I also keep a notepad and pen at the ready. In, a non English speaking country it is a lot easier to ask someone to draw a map rather than try to follow their spoken directions.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 03-20-08, 12:44 PM
  #13  
bwgride
Slow Rider
 
bwgride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 1,043
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd try that Axiom bag next time I buy a handlebar bag (I current have a Nashbar version that is poor in design -- mounting bracket is weak, bag has lots of movement/play, and folds under weight). I could not find a picture of the mounting bracket for the Axiom bag, which is my only hesitation about trying it. Have you seen any pictures of the mounting bracket?

P.S. It can be found online for less than $75. I just saw it for $49 at aebike.com.
bwgride is offline  
Old 03-20-08, 01:52 PM
  #14  
DukeArcher 
Senior Member
 
DukeArcher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 603

Bikes: Thorn Nomad S+S, Trek 520 - 2007 (out on loan), and a crap Repco MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Basket.

__________________
Sparsely updated blog
DukeArcher is offline  
Old 03-20-08, 02:55 PM
  #15  
JT52
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Highlands Ranch, Colordao
Posts: 137

Bikes: '84 Peugeot PSV-10, '00 Schwinn Moab 2, '01 Airborne Valkyrie, '04 Surly Cross-Check

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Arkel. Solid mount, roomy...very nice bag.
JT52 is offline  
Old 03-20-08, 04:57 PM
  #16  
thecrunge
member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 140
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Agreed. The large Arkel handlebar bag has a full plastic frame, a hidden pocket inside the top, huge map display, a zip-out water-proof liner and neat reflective zipper pulls. I love it so much...I made one just like it. ;-)
thecrunge is offline  
Old 03-20-08, 06:13 PM
  #17  
Rowan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 16,759
Mentioned: 120 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1427 Post(s)
Liked 21 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by HauntedMyst View Post
I've only tried one, the Topeak Tourguide DX and its a turd. Actually, the bag isn't so much a turd as the mount is. I've used the bike for a couple hundred miles and the mount has stripped out twice and doesn't want to stay in place. Stay far away.
What do you mean the mount has stripped out twice and doesn't want to stay in place? You *have* wrapped the cable under the stem and back into the clamp at the front of the mount, haven't you?

I've done around 40,000km of various types of riding with that mount and haven't had problems like you describe.

I've just started using a Tioga waterproof bag. No problems so far, and I like the mounting set-up. Time will tell as to durability.
Rowan is offline  
Old 03-20-08, 09:55 PM
  #18  
Muttsta
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 177
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
Arkel small bar bag. It seems the best thought out and constructed of what I looked at.
I'm going to have to disagree, I used it for 4 months and it's a piece of crap
The mounting system on it is OK, but it broke on me several times, specifically the screws snapped
The bag is not waterproof, and neither is the rain cover for it
The main compartment will stay dry, but the front pocket will get soaked
Definitely not worth the price tag
Muttsta is offline  
Old 03-21-08, 05:46 AM
  #19  
gregw
Senior Member
 
gregw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 988
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I have the Orlieb bag. A great bag except I kind of have a love hate relationship with the mounting bracket. It uses a cable system to mount the bracket to the bar. It is a very solid mount and never comes loose. The other advantage is an extension bracket can be purchased that gets the bag away from the bar, and gives space should you have b-levers. It also gets the bag out of the way of your sti cables without the need for noodles.

I don't like the mount because it is a pain to take the mount on and off. I have an adjustable stem and should I want to adjust the stem a bit, you have to loosen the bracket to level the bag. The cable system does not make this an easy process.

The other thing I do not like is they placed a thick plastic sheet in the lid to prevent pooling of water on the lid. Well the sheet always pops out of place and it not very functional. Maybe the new design has ribs sewn into the lid??


But all in all it is a very nice bag. Your gear will stay dry in the worst of weather.
Great review of the Orlieb bag and Che Guevara, both spot-on, thanks.
gregw is offline  
Old 03-21-08, 05:52 AM
  #20  
Gordon P
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
I've only tried one, the Topeak Tourguide DX and its a turd.
Same experience! turd is good word for it. It took TOPEAK OVER SIX MONTHS TO REPLACE IT. HEAPS OF PHONE CALLS and RUN AROUNDS TOO! Sorry, still a little peeved.
 
Old 03-21-08, 06:27 AM
  #21  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,234
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 153 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by scumglob View Post
I met some people on my last tour that raved about Nashbar's bags. I am on a budget so I got their Elite Mega Handlebar bag. Haven't toured with it yet. Seems fine - waterproof & massive. Plastic mount is a downside. And the zipper covers are very stiff...
Nashbar Elite Handlebar Bag is on sale for $19.99.
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...ndlebar%20Bags

I used on for the TransAmerica last Summer and it worked out OK. It is fairly waterproof, but I still slipped a plastic bag over it if it rained hard. The waterproof zippers were stiff but loosened up after a while.

The internal stiffeners were not up to the task and I drilled out the rivets for the mounts and put in a piece of aluminum. That may be because i overloaded it. Once modified I like the bag real well. The shoulder strap is handy.

May companions used the Topeak Handlebar Bag & Fanny Pack. It is a real nice setup if you want something smallish. The abilty to use it as a fanny pack was useful.

FWIW: On the STI issue I never found any problem using even really large bags with STI. The cables just push out of the way nicely. I don't see why folks make a big fuss about how it supposedly doesn't work.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 03-21-08, 06:33 AM
  #22  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,234
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 153 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Forgot to mention that the plastic mount held up fine, but if really heavily loaded it isn't quite as secure as I would like. It released and the bag came off once when I dropped the front wheel into a pot hole. After that I just tied it to the stem with a little tether, just to be sure.

To be fair I had way too much weight in the bag and dropped the wheel into the pothole with a bone jarring crunch.

Overall I still like the bag pretty well after a 4244 mile tour and a couple thousand miles near home.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 03-21-08, 11:07 AM
  #23  
EZ-SportAX Curt
Senior Member
 
EZ-SportAX Curt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 127

Bikes: Cycle Genius RDX Raven, EZ-Sport AX, EZ-3 AX, Gary Fisher 293 29ER, Gary Fisher Marlin 26ER Action Bent Tadpole

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use the tour guide handlebar bag from Topeak. The bag works great with my center pull brakes and it doesn't get in the way of my sti levers. It comes with a rain cover and a little slide on and off computer mount for my cateye cycle computer. The only thing I don't like about the Topeak handlebar bag is the map holder isn't very big, but I can live with that.
EZ-SportAX Curt is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
valygrl
Mountain - Plains
2
08-22-07 08:44 PM
maltess
General Cycling Discussion
5
08-02-07 05:18 PM
maltess
Commuting
13
08-02-07 01:52 AM
velocipedio
Northeast
0
09-01-06 07:28 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.