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Modern handlebar bags, which can be adjusted to sit lower?

Old 06-07-12, 01:44 PM
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Modern handlebar bags, which can be adjusted to sit lower?

I'm talking about modern Topeake/Ortlieb/Arkel style bags as opposed to front rack supported styles? I rode a friend's bike with one that wasn't adjustable and I didn't like how high it sat on the bars and had an effect on the handling even pretty much empty.
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Old 06-07-12, 02:43 PM
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I fit a stacked second short stem under the one with the handlebars in it.
the lower stem carries the mount for the handlebar bag,
I use Klick Fix Bar Bag mounts, they hang Ortliebs off them too.

Followers of the French Brevet style have a whole different way
of setting up the front of their bikes ..

Velo Orange tries to bring some of those pieces
down to the price range of the Masses
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Old 06-07-12, 03:06 PM
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One answer is to use a little front rack like the little nashbar one.
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Old 06-07-12, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dylansbob
I'm talking about modern Topeake/Ortlieb/Arkel style bags as opposed to front rack supported styles? I rode a friend's bike with one that wasn't adjustable and I didn't like how high it sat on the bars and had an effect on the handling even pretty much empty.
I hear you! I've experienced the same thing mounting a handlebar bag to a MTB. Handling of the bike feels awkward in the beginning. The good news is that you do get used to it fairly quickly. Pretty much all bags that attach to the handlebar will sit that high given the necessary mounting hardware. I've seen some bags that just "hang" from the handlebar with belts and such (pretty much for casual or urban use) but they're prone to swinging quite a bit which might make the effect on handling worse once you load the bag.

You seem not too interested in front rack supported bags, but like the other responders have mentioned, that might be the best solution. Nitto M12, V.O. Pass Hunter, even the Nashbar little front rack combined with a "randonneur" bag will work great.


Last edited by Chris Pringle; 06-07-12 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 06-07-12, 04:06 PM
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I asked the same question a few months ago. Unless you are willing to go with a second stem, I think you are stuck rack mounting a bag.
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Old 06-07-12, 06:09 PM
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Yeah, I think you need something like a decaleur rack. IIRC Velo Orange and maybe Berthoud make 'em.
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Old 06-07-12, 07:01 PM
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Acorn makes several very nice handlebar bags that sit lower, but good luck buying one. Zimbale makes a very nice bag designed to fit a Nitto-style front rack.

https://www.acornbags.com/

https://www.zimbalenorthamerica.com/
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Old 06-07-12, 07:51 PM
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I've done this several times with Topeak and other bags and am about to do so with a new waterproof, non-Ortleib bag.

I remove the mount on the bag, drill four new holes an appropriate distance further up the bag, put gaffer/duct tape spots over the old holes, and reattach the mount. It might move the bag down half and inch or more depending on the internal hardware.

It does work getting the bag to sit lower, but the internal stiffeners usually are lightweight and tend to bow in hot weather, in which case I've also made up some aluminium flatbar stiffeners.

The bag I am about to "improve" is a larger waterproof bag that has an excellent handlebar mount that doesn't require fiddling with cables or shoe laces. But it does tend to cant the bag up and high. The obstacle actually is the internal stiffener which is only about half an inch above the current location of the bag mount. We'll see how it all goes.
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Old 06-07-12, 09:37 PM
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Big handle bar bags just don't make sense to me, there's no way you need to access all the items within the bag while riding and the items you need to get to while riding can fit in much smaller bags or frame bags.
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Old 06-07-12, 10:08 PM
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in fairness, a barbag that isnt overly loaded doesnt affect handling that much (in my experience, although I have overloaded them in the past).
I've recently ridden a fair amount with a barbag, and I should actually weigh it with my usual stuff in it, to see how much it actually weighs. I have a point and shoot in it, sunscreen, valuables, some snacks, toilet paper, some kleenexes etc etc and map on top, so not that heavy. Im pretty picky about handling, and this stuff that I like to have handy, I had no problems with handling and I recently was on some very windy, downhill roads where good handling was a nice bonus, and I always thoroughly enjoyed myself in the twisties.
Im not sure if our household bathroom scale will be accurate enough, but now Im curious to see the weight, and will get my stuff together again and try to figure out what it is as a base level for others to refer too.
(I guess a given bike can be more stable than another in this equation too.., headset adjustment etc)
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Old 06-08-12, 12:27 AM
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I, too, don't mind a larger handlebar bag, and for the trip we are planning with a fair amount of air travel, the larger waterproof Tioga bag is what I want. With some airlines getting strict with carry-on bag weight and dimensions, having a largish handlebar bag and a good lightweight 40-litre duffle bag with clothing and computer inside is really handy. The combination worked well on our trip back to Canada last year.

However, I do like the bag to be lower, hence the intended modification to lower it that I mentioned in a previous post. I suppose the height of the bag does depend on the rise in the stem, but I am also vain enough to want to reduce the "dork factor" of an overly high bar bag.

And the positive tradeoff is that the weight is slightly lower than if I was running front panniers and rack. I doubt that this bar bag would have any more than three kilograms (6-1/2lbs) of weight in it

I also think that fork design has a bearing on how a bike handles. I think Jan Heine and his crew up in Seattle have done some analysis on this.

For short tours without air travel, a smaller handlebar bag suffices nicely for me.

Last edited by Rowan; 06-08-12 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 06-08-12, 12:42 AM
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Klick Fix makes a connector that is fixed lower on the bike. It is mounted on the vertical part of the stem.
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Old 06-08-12, 03:44 AM
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I have gone with the Acorn bag, on a Nitto M12 rack. I use a couple of shoelaces with sliders to support the bag with the bars. It keeps the bag low and out of the way and doesn’t adversely affect handling. I ride on the straight tops all the time and have in-line brakes. I don’t want any interference from a front bag.
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Old 06-08-12, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG
Big handle bar bags just don't make sense to me, there's no way you need to access all the items within the bag while riding and the items you need to get to while riding can fit in much smaller bags or frame bags.
I actually find that a large bag has some advantages and I prefer to use one. My reasons:
  1. It is big enough to hold all of the stuff that I want to keep with me when I am off the bike
  2. It keeps my camera, phone, sunccreen, snacks, and other items right at hand
  3. It has a large enough top surface for a decent sized map pocket.
  4. It is easily remove to take into a store or into a tent at night.
  5. I do not find it to affect handling too much.

Of course there are many different ways to do this stuff.
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Old 06-08-12, 06:18 AM
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What I like about the Acorn bags is that they have pockets that face toward the back. So you could easily access items like a camera, gels, phone that are stowed in those pockets. The problem with Acorn is that it's a home business and supplies are limited, so you have to place your order at 12:01 am on the first day of the month to even have a shot at buying one.

I own two Acorn bags and they are extremely high quality, best I have seen. I would own more of their bags if not for the aforementioned ordering difficulties.
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Old 06-08-12, 06:29 AM
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One thing to keep in mind with front bags: the weight and location of the bag can affect handling of the bike. I find a lower trail design of the front end helps with weight of handlebar bags or panniers. I have had a few forks bent to increase rake/decrease trail to get them the way I wanted.
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Old 06-08-12, 06:44 AM
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as mentioned, the empty weight of handlebar bags varies greatly with brands and models. When I looked to get a new one recently, I looked at various brands (at least what I could available in stores here in Montreal) and some of them are pretty darn heavy (one of the Arkel models comes to mind) compared to others. I dont remember the numbers, but I was surprised by how much the diff was between the lighter ones and the heavier ones.

Dylan-any bar bag with stuff is going to affect the steering of a bike, so its just a matter of adjusting to the change, further than that all one can do is look at the empty weight of diff bags and then limiting what goes into them. That and your specific bike/bag/amount of stuff will determine how it really feels when riding.
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Old 06-08-12, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
It does work getting the bag to sit lower, but the internal stiffeners usually are lightweight and tend to bow in hot weather, in which case I've also made up some aluminium flatbar stiffeners.
you can use a lightweight steel bookend to replace the internal plastic stiffener......

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Old 06-09-12, 03:27 PM
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I've been searching for a handlebar bag to meet my requirements. First, it needs to be the right size - neither too big nor too small. Then it should be as simple as possible with no features that add useless weight. On weight, almost all the bags I've seen have mounting hardware that is about half the total weight. I've been on several club rides with Jim Muller and his wife Sharon (from the Boston area) riding a tandem with panniers in preparation for touring this summer. The bag on the tandem is the simplest and lightest one I've seen and the price is reasonable. https://www.toughtraveler.com/lug/sports.asp The photo on the website does not show the mounting scheme. There are two velcro straps that attach to the bars near center and two auxiliary velcro straps that attach to the brake hoods to prevent droop. I say brake hoods because Jim and Sharon are hard core with down tube shifters on their tandem.
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Old 06-10-12, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
you can use a lightweight steel bookend to replace the internal plastic stiffener......

Nice. I like that idea.
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Old 06-10-12, 12:10 PM
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If you're using MTB-style handlebars, check out Revelate Designs.
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Old 06-10-12, 12:12 PM
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I picked up a Bell handlebar bag at Target for less than $10 and it works surprisingly well. It doesn't hold a ton of gear, but has room for a camera, some food, lock, wallet, glasses, etc. I used it on a recent short tour, and it stayed in place without rattling and didn't affect handling at all.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003NKS2A4/...hvptwo=&hvqmt=
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Old 02-21-19, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel
I picked up a Bell handlebar bag at Target for less than $10 and it works surprisingly well. It doesn't hold a ton of gear, but has room for a camera, some food, lock, wallet, glasses, etc. I used it on a recent short tour, and it stayed in place without rattling and didn't affect handling at all.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003NKS2A4/...hvptwo=&hvqmt=
Thanks for this link and referral. I've been looking for something to hold a camera better than my phone and still be handy.
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Old 02-21-19, 07:35 PM
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I use a handlebar extender, mounted so that it sits under the bar. I mount the bag to the extender. It works well and the extender is cheap.

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