Many people first think of the luggage rack when it comes to stowing something on the bike. But the luggage rack has a disadvantage: You don't see it. You only notice that you have lost something when it is too late. Taking a quick look at your mobile phone requires acrobatic contortions. It would be really handy to be able to see your seven things at all times, wouldn't it? If you install a handlebar bag on your bike, that's not a problem at all!
Closures, attachment and wetness protection- the details of a handlebar bag
There are different ways to fix your handlebar bag to the bike. Smaller handlebar bags in particular have Velcro straps that you can just stick around the handlebars. There are clamps, screw clamps or lashing straps, as well as adapters that help you to bypass the stem, e-bike technology or bike lights when attaching them.
The installation of your handlebar bag is particularly convenient if you first attach a click system to your bike, into which you can snap different bike bags. The most well-known manufacturers of such click systems are KLICKfix and MIK by Basil. Two points to note here, though: the systems aren't compatible with each other, and as quickly as you can take your bag down, anyone else can make off with it, so you should secure the bag with a lock
Equally practical are the closures that make sure everything doesn't fly away from you on the go. Elastic straps or elastic netting secure items to the outside of the bag, and the interior closes with either a zipper, Velcro, or snap closure.
Closures and fastening methods vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Producers like Topeak, Evoc, Restrap or Vaude use different systems depending on whether they want their bags to be particularly light, waterproof, or easy to open
There are also two different ways to make a bike bag waterproof . Usually the fabric of the bag is waterproof or water repellent. The closures are also hidden under a protective flap or are waterproof themselves. If this is not the case, a rain cover is often included or can be purchased separately. It then keeps the contents of the bag dry in bad weather.
What handlebar bags are there?
Large handlebar bags
Handlebar bags are usually the size of an average handbag. They often have a strap that allows you to sling the bag over your shoulder when you park your bike. This way you always have your valuables with you. Four things to consider when buying a handlebar bag:
- Do you need to take the bag off and on frequently? Then it's worth investing in a handlebar bag with click system
- If you also want to use the bag as a handbag, it should have a carrying strap
- A lot of storage space is nice, but a big bag on the handlebars tends to tempt you to pack it neatly too. However, a bag that is too heavy on the handlebars becomes dangerous if it affects the steering characteristics of the bike.
- If you're riding in all weathers, your handlebar bag should definitely be waterproof
Especially when bikepacking every corner of the bike is exploited to store luggage. Because handlebar wheels or handlebar packs maximize the width of the handlebar instead of growing in height or forward, they provide plenty of storage space without interfering with the bike's steering. Handlebar packs are usually waterproof and also protect the contents from dust.
It's not strictly speaking a bag, but since a handlebar basket is also attached to the bike's handlebars, it's mentioned here for the sake of completeness. In addition, there are baskets that can be closed with a drawstring, so they are almost bags. In the collection that KLICKfix has developed together with Reisenthel, such bicycle baskets can be found in many colorful variations.
The minis - stem bag, smart bag or tech bag
- The stem bag or Stem Bag is attached between the stem and the handlebars. There's enough room in these elongated pockets for a water bottle or your coffee to-go. Alternatively, your keys and a mobile phone fit inside.
- Mobile phone bags can be found under the names Smart Bag, Phone Bag or Tech Bag. The Smart Bag thrusts prominently on your handlebars, it has a clear view pocket that you can see your phone through.
Which handlebar bag is suitable for which bike?
- Bar bag on a mountain bike: For freeride, a bag would just be in the way, no matter where you clip it on your mountain bike. For XC or marathon rides, however, a smaller handlebar bag is really handy, so you have energy bars, mobile phone and sunglasses within reach.
- Handlebar bag on touring bike: Especially for touring bikers who want to stop off again and again on the road, large handlebar bags with click system and carrying strap are very much in demand. With one flick of the wrist, the bike bag turns into a shoulder bag and you have everything you need with you on sightseeing tours or in the beer garden. A large, waterproof viewing compartment on the flap stows the road map and keeps it dry, so you'll always find the right way.
- Handlebar bags on road and gravel bikes: A road bike and large bags are rather mutually exclusive. On gravel bikes, however, luggage is a common sight, as bikepacking on the gravel is becoming increasingly popular. Handlebar wheels or handlebar packs are ideal for stowing your sleeping bag or similar.
- Handlebar bag on e-bike: In general, any handlebar bag is also suitable for your e-bike, but you must make sure that it does not get in the way of the e-bike's technology, i.e. the on-board computer and the cables.
- Handlebar bags on children's bikes: What can't you find on the road! A colorful children's bag on the handlebars stows sticks, stones or even the teddy.
- Handlebar bag on the city bike: In the city, the hybrid of handlebar basket and handlebar bag is best suited for smaller purchases.
Handlebar bags with special equipment
Besides the aforementioned clear pocket for your phone, there are handlebar bags with all sorts of extras. You can buy a handlebar bag that has your bike lights attached to it. They also come with side pockets for water bottles. The clear compartment on the lid comes in different sizes, many are big enough for a map or tablet. There are handlebar bags with straps, with handles, with eyelets for straps, or without any at all.
Find the right bag for your luggage in our online shop
Smaller items are best kept in a handlebar bag, for larger luggage, panniers are suitable. Here you have the choice between luggage bags that are mounted on the front of the fork and bags that fit on the back of the rack . If you don't like riding with a bag in front of you, you can add a saddle bag or a frame bag to your bike as an alternative to the handlebar bag. You can also pack your bike yourself, in a transport bagit will travel safely on trains and planes.
As you can see, you can put your luggage in all sorts of places on your bike. When choosing your carry bag however, don't overdo it. You have to consider the maximum load of your bike and you should distribute the weight evenly, especially a one-sided load will quickly cause the bike to lurch uncontrollably.