Bar bags are having a moment in cycling. Once associated solely with gravel riders, bike packers and other not-strictly-road cycling formats, in 2021 the convenient and accessible storage methods are being sported by some of the most most traditionalist road cyclists out there. Even the pros are getting in on it—Wout van Aert recently posted a story of his bar bag.
For road cyclists, bar bags are great for riding in uncertain weather (pack an extra layer), going on long one-day adventures (pack a wealth of snacks and an extra bottle) or even just to empty out your overflowing pockets. Every rider has specific needs and requirements, but there are a few things you should look for when buying any type of bar bag—big or small.
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Movement, or lack thereof
Whether you’re riding 100+km or taking on a bumpy gravel road, the last thing you want is a bag that will flop and lurch around with your every movement. The straps or attachment method that keep the bag on your bars needs to be strong and durable—low quality Velcro won’t cut it. Some, like Rapha’s Bar bag, have fixture points on the handlebars and the headset.
Ease of access
Do you plan on getting anything out of the bag while you’re riding? If you’re not using the bag as auxiliary storage, you’ll want to look for one with easy-to-open closures. A zipper located on the top, instead of the front, of the bag will make reaching in and grabbing a snack much easier. Some bags, like the popular Ornot bag, have side pockets for items you want to grab super quickly.
Most bags are designed to fit a variety of setups, but, particularly if you’re ordering online, it’s important to ensure the bar bag will work for your bike. Measure to make sure there won’t be any issues with front wheel clearance or bar width. If you have a bike computer mount, consider how it will interact with the bag.
In tandem with strong attachment straps, a bar bag with structure—one that hold its shape even when empty—will be less likely to flop forward or downwards. If you’re planning on riding in any sort of adverse weather, or even on wet roads that will spray the bottom of the bag, a water-resistant material is important. Farsik’s handlebar bag has hard plastic liner and resistant coating on the back side.
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