Last year at this time we offered up “3 Gear Trends to Try ” but let’s make 2022 easier to get into with just one. Here’s the trend we’ve seen just about everywhere and tried ourselves; we gotta say, we like handlebar bags!
Whoa, whoa, whoa, we see you shaking your head and we get it. Many of us consider ourselves true road riders, not touring cyclists, and have said an emphatic “No!” to this in the past. Remember last year’s trend to give “regular clothing” a try now and then? A handlebar bag allows you to leave the three pocket jersey at home and still take all the stuff you need but in a light, efficient and fast manner. Even better, it’s SO MUCH EASIER TO GET TO! Want to take an extra jacket or layer but then struggle with stuffing it into a pocket once it warms up? Or how about extra snacks? We’ve come to our senses, handlebar bags are not just useful, they’ve become kinda cool as of late.
This isn’t just about practicality or chasing a fad, though. Just like every other aspect of cycling gear, bags and packs have benefitted from better materials and smarter design. They look great and attach smartly. The best bags out there are spacious, stable, secure, and easy-to-access even when riding. There’s a bag out there for every need and the funny thing is, get one bag and suddenly you’ll have seven. Like jerseys or jackets, there are so many conditions that call for specific functions and buying a new bag now and then is a fun way to get new bike gear without breaking the bank.
Here’s a few we like:
The North Street Pioneer 9 is made in Portland, Oregon and is a slim 2.65L bag for those who want to keep the front end tidy. Internal and external zipper pockets keep the things you need right where you want them and the bag has great wet weather protection. Even better, this bag can convert from your handlebars to a hip pack. Lots of color and fabric options, too.
Roadrunner makes their cylindrical Burrito Bag in Los Angeles and it boasts 5-star reviews across the board. They’ve offered this bag for over ten years in an array of colors and fabrics. Three sizes, 1.3L, 2.6L, and 3.3L, provide options for lightweight road rides to longer adventures off the beaten path.
Ornot calls their handlebar bag the Handlebar Bag and what it lacks in name appeal it makes up for in capability. Another cylindrical style with a super secure design and handy side mesh pockets for phones, snacks, or glasses. An interior plastic insert keeps the bag’s shape intact and Ornot offers a simple line-up of exterior styles that work with any bike out there.
In a radical departure from most bag styles, Topo Designs offers the Bike Bag and Mini Bike Bag. The triangular design is made from waterproof materials and in a range of contemporary color mixes. We like the Mini but go big if you plan on going big, right?
For those wanting to keep it simple and small we’ve got a bar bag we are very excited about, the Fridge x TDBT Superlight Handlebar Bag. This minimalist ripstop bag is sold by the coolest SoCal bike-shop-that’s-not-a-bike-shop but get this, the bag is made in Oregon! Small, lightweight, inexpensive, stashable, and 9 colors!
Not ready for the full commitment across your bars but still want to have a few things close at hand, try a stem bag for an extra bottle or a phone/camera or snacks:
The Snackhole is Oregon-made by Makeshifter Canvas Works; folks who live and love adventure by bike. Every stitch is made with the experience learned from countless miles across Oregon and there’s no doubt you’ll wonder how you ever rode without one of these on your bike. Single-handed access to essentials and stunning looks that are offered seasonally. Grab one online or at Golden Pliers in Portland.
A budget option for a stem bag is Blackburn’s Outpost Carryall Bag. Easy to install, lightweight, and with side pockets to slip some $$$ or a multi-tool into.
Unload those pockets! Give a bar bag a try in ‘22 and let us know what you think. Any other good bags out there? Tell us about them in the comments below.