One of the most inspiring challenges one can take on with a bike is planning a long, multi-day trip that will take you over mountains and valleys you had only heard about in books. Riding your bike for over great distances is tiring, but provides a feeling of freedom that is seldom found otherwise. Once you’ve set the destination and the route, it’s time to think about the gear, and the best handlebar bag you can find cannot be missing from your kit. 

From maps to cups to camping gear, the best bike handlebar bag will become your invaluable ally during long days on the bike, carrying your most precious belonging for you over miles of bumpy road. On journeys such as these, the last thing you want to do is start worrying about the integrity of your personal belongings, and a top rated bike handlebar bag is what you need to avoid doing so. Keep on reading to find out what are the best options available on the market today.

How To Choose A Handlebar Bag – Buying Guide

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Size

Bike handlebar bags come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no doubt that you’ll be able to find something that meets your needs. It is, however, crucial that you check the dimensions of the bag before you choose to buy it since it needs to fit neatly on your handlebars while leaving enough room for you to access your grips. Therefore, be sure to measure the available width of your handlebars before you make any purchase.

Storage Capacity

Depending on the planned duration of your trip, you will require more or less storage space. Some of the best handlebar bags even stretch to allow more gear to be stuffed inside. Riders that are also carrying camping equipment, such as tents or sleeping bags, will want to choose a bag with a volume of at least 10 liters. Weekend cyclists with less demanding needs will be fine with a smaller model, not having to contend with all the added weight and heft.

Access

While we don’t recommend trying to unzip your front bag while you are riding, thus taking your eyes off the road, we do recommend choosing one that opens towards the rider, not towards the front. This makes for overall greater ease of use and, in case you absolutely need something while you ride, much easier access. Some handlebar bags only have side access, with both ends opening to let you slide the gear inside. It’s up to you to decide which combination would suit you best, but do take the time to think about it before you buy anything.

Design

The bags you attach on your bike are not often the most beautiful looking part of the setup, but then they do place considerably greater importance on function rather than looks. On the more innovative models, however, some attention to style has been paid and you’ll still be able to find nice-looking bags that won’t ruin an outfit. The ones with a roll-top closure, for example, blend in nicely with a contemporary feel.

Type

Handlebar bags for bikepacking come in several different shapes, which can suit the rider more or less well depending on their intended use. The bags with most volume tend to be cylindrical, with one big opening on the top or two on the sides, alongside with various other pockets and straps designed to hold extra gear or attach your bike jacket if you don’t need it. Most of the smaller bags, to be used on shorter rides, either resemble the cylindrical shape or are more squared, like a box you can attach to the front of your bike.

Mounting

There are two main systems used to fixing bags to handlebars, Velcro straps or quick-release plates. The former are more straightforward to use and can be very sturdy, especially if a sufficient number of straps is provided. They are also easier to fix if broken but require more time to be set up. Quick-release plates make it much easier to clip your bag on and off of your bike, but do require you to install the clipping system on the bars beforehand. They are also harder to fix should something come undone. 

Fit

Your handlebar bike bag has to fit snugly and tightly next to the frame, otherwise, it risks swinging back and forth as you ride or even hang at weird angles during a turn. This is potentially dangerous as it might throw off your balance as you ride, increasing the chance of a fall. To avoid this, make a few practice runs with your bag and tighten the straps if necessary. Also, try not to overcharge it with gear as this will make it even less manageable.

Waterproof

Just like your bike shorts or your jacket, waterproof capabilities are much appreciated in a handlebar bike bag, since you want to avoid your gear from getting wet, especially if you’re bringing camping equipment with you. Most bags do come with some kind of protection, although the cheapest tend to wear it off quite quickly and might need to be treated again not long after you get them. Check the material the bag is made of to have an idea of how much water-resistance you can expect to obtain.

Material

The best bike handlebar bags are built to last, with sometime military-grade nylon or polyester. We strongly recommend you don’t settle for the cheapest model and consider your bike bags just as you would a hiking backpack. You need something strong and durable, that can handle a rough time and still remain in one piece to take care of your gear.

FAQs

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Q: Why Do I Need A Handlebar Bag?

A: 

Having a handlebar bag touring will let you carry gear in a much more comfortable way that just having a backpack on your shoulders. It will also let you keep your eye on it at all times, since it sits just under your nose, to prevent anything from happening to it.

Q: What Should I Put In A Handlebar Bag?

A: 

If you're only going out for a weekend stroll you can use the bag to store your phone and valuables, or maybe a small snack or a bottle of water. For longer trips, you should use it to pack some camping gear, dry clothes or even an extra pair of bike shoes.

Q: How To Size And Fit A Handlebar Bag?

A: 

Aside from volume considerations, the most important number in sizing a handlebar bag is the width of your bars, between the shifters of the grips. This will tell you how wide of a bag you can afford to bring without interfering with your handling.

Globo Surf Overview

We hope our handlebar bag reviews have helped you clear up your mind regarding the options that are at your disposal if you’re planning a long bike trip. Bags like these tend to become special travel companions after a while, and we are confident that among the ones we have listed here is one that will be that kind of friend for you.

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!