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Best Bike Handlebar Bag – For Road, MTB and Gravel

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A handlebar bag is not the most aerodynamic of accessories, but if you’re more concerned about distance than speed, it offers an easy way to access food, drink, clothing and much more!

In this article we review a whole host of said bags to help you arrive at a buying decision. Our best handlebar bag overall is the Swift Industries Zeitgeist Pack for its feature-laden design and versatility, but there are many other options to consider.

Dig into this in-depth study and root out your ideal bar bag!

Table of Contents

Top 21 Best Handlebar Bags Reviewed

Below, you’ll discover some of the best handlebar bags on the market.

1. Swift Industries Zeitgeist Pack (Best Overall)

Swift Industries Zeitgeist PackPin

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: Recycled Polyester, 70D Nylon, 400 D Packcloth
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 12 Liters
  • Weight: 1 lb. 6.4 oz (635 g)

At the top of our list is the Swift Industries Zeitgeist Pack, which we love for its versatility, generous capacity, high-quality manufacturing, and use of eco-friendly materials.

The Zeitgeist is often used as a handlebar bag but also functions as a good saddle bag.

Although this bag is water resistant rather than fully waterproof, it takes a lot of rain before the bag can be permeated. The TPU-Coated 70D Nylon lid is shaped to repel water.

Other features include a one-handed interior drawcord closure system with a compression strap, collapsible side pockets, and reflective detailing.

Downsides? Maybe the price.

What We Like

  • Design – a plethora of useful features.
  • Manufacturing – top quality.
  • Versatile – adapted for bar use but also functions as a saddle bag.

What We Don’t Like

  • Price – many other bags are cheaper.

2. Ortlieb Handlebar Pack (Best Waterproof)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: PS21R Fabric
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 9 Liters
  • Weight: 13.2 oz (375 g)

If you envisage riding in heavy rain, the Ortlieb Handlebar Pack is a go-to choice. It uses the company’s signature roll closure at both ends to keep its contents bone-dry.

The Ortlieb Handlebar Pack bar pack delivers uncompromising performance. Its mounting straps have easy-to-use Velcro closures with foam spacers to retain full access to the handlebar.

This 9-liter bag is ideal for narrower handlebars like drop bars, amongst others, but there’s also a 15-liter model that works well with straight hybrid-style handlebars.

You may not like this bag for its price or minimalistic design (a plus point to some).

What We Like

  • Waterproof – truly a bag for all-weather riding.
  • Construction – exemplary quality.
  • Camping – ideal for carrying clothes, a sleeping bag or a mattress.

What We Don’t Like

  • Price – Ortlieb bags are never cheap.

3. Topeak Tourguide DX Bicycle Handlebar Bag (Best For Camera Gear)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: 1800/840 Denier Nylon
  • Waterproof: Yes (With Rain Cover)
  • Capacity: 8.1 Liters
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz (976 g)

A great handlebar bag for the serious bicycle touring photographer is the Topeak Tourguide DX Bicycle Handlebar Bag. It has a divided and padded interior that holds a camera and a second lens, while the side, front, and interior lid pockets are ideal for photos accessories and sundry items.

On top of the bag is a clear map pocket, which you can use for a paper map, a tablet, or a smartphone. A quick release mounting system and an included strap let you promptly escape for photos.

Downsides? It’s a bit heavy.

What We Like

  • Photo Opportunities – ideal for photographers.
  • Storage – many pockets for photo accessories.
  • Mapping – clear map sleeve.

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy – not the lightest bag, but you probably want the padding.

4. Chrome Helix Handlebar Bag (Best For Commuting)

Chrome Helix Handlebar BagPin

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: Nylon/Tarpaulin
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 3 Liters
  • Weight: 9.6 oz (272 g)

A robust bag with a weather-resistant tarp exterior is the Chrome Helix Handlebar Bag. With its 3-liter capacity, this handlebar bag is ideal for carrying keys, a wallet, a phone, and maybe sandwiches to work. Two internal mesh pockets help with organization.

The Helix also acts as a waist bag or shoulder bag when you’re off the bike. A PU-coated zipper helps keep out rain at the bag’s most vulnerable point.

There aren’t many downsides, but a lack of exterior pockets might be one.

What We Like

  • Resistant – highly water resistant (sufficient for most commutes)
  • Portable – functions as a sling bag or waist bag with included strap.
  • Pockets – mesh pockets for interior organization.

What We Don’t Like

  • Outside pocket – there isn’t one.

5. Apidura Expedition Handlebar Pack (Best For Bikepacking And Touring)

Apidura Expedition Handlebar PackPin

CHECK PRICE AT APIDURA

  • Material: 3-Layer Laminate Fabric
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 9 Liters (14 L also available)
  • Weight: 8.8 oz (250 g)

Consider the lightweight and watertight Expedition Handlebar Pack for your bikepacking trips. This pack is made from a 3-layer laminate specially made for Apidura and the seams are welded to ensure complete waterproofing.

A reason for this bag’s quality is Apidura’s meticulous choice of materials. A rubberized nylon called “Hypalon” reinforces the attachment points, and extra reliability comes from strong Woojin strap buckles.

The close fit of this bag might force you to think about protecting the bike’s paint at the head tube, so that’s a potential downside.

What We Like

  • Watertight – keeps contents dry under all conditions.
  • Lightweight – very light given its capacity.
  • Materials – uncompromising choice of materials.

What We Don’t Like

  • Tight – tight fit might necessitate paint protection.

6. Brooks Scape Handlebar Pouch (Best For Road Bike)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: Nylon
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 3 Liters
  • Weight: 4.9 oz (140 g)

Lightweight and compact, the Brooks Scape Handlebar Pouch is an excellent choice for a road bike or gravel bike and comes from a revered British bike saddle maker.

This pouch is completely waterproof with welded seams, and, typically of Brooks, it has classic, timeless appeal. It mounts via two handlebar straps with aluminum buckles and a head tube strap.

Front and lateral daisy chains allow extra gear to be attached, like a light.

A flaw in this handlebar bag is the lack of closure on the front flap, which may cause it to rise as you gain speed or hit headwinds.

What We Like

  • Waterproof – waterproof materials and details.
  • Construction – typical Brooks manufacturing quality.
  • Classic – timeless appeal.

What We Don’t Like

  • Flap – you may want to stop the flap from flapping.

7. Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag (Best For MTB)

Revelate Designs Mountain FeedbagPin

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: Recycled Polyester
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 1 Liter
  • Weight: 3.7 oz (63.7 g)

Though its not made only for MTBs, the Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag is ideal for use on mountain bikes without impeding handling. It attaches to the handlebar stem rather than hugging the front of the bar.

This bag provides easy access to snacks, so it’s a useful tool in fueling your ride. Riders use them for other purposes, too, like carrying camera lenses or water bottles.

Three externals pockets let you carry small items like gels or candy bars.

Perhaps the Feedbag is a tad expensive for a small bag.

What We Like

  • Access – very easy access to food and snacks.
  • Unobtrusive – little or no effect on bike handling.
  • Pockets – lots of storage for a small bag.

What We Don’t Like

  • Cost – you can buy much larger for half the price.

7. Rapha Explore Bar Bag (Best For Gravel Bikes)

Rapha Explore Bar BagPin

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: Recycled Nylon
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 2.4 Liter
  • Weight: 9 oz (255 g)

A perfect choice for gravel or road bike cyclists, the Rapha Explore Bar Bag comes in loads of different colors (not necessarily at REI), is well made, water resistant, and comes with a cross-body strap for easy portability off the bike.

This is one of those bike handlebar bags that is very nearly waterproof, thanks to taped seams and a PU coating. To prevent abrasion with your bike’s head tube and cables, it has a protective Hypalon panel.

It’s a bit expensive, but it’s Rapha and stylish.

What We Like

  • Resistant – high water resistance against moderate rain.
  • Compact – unobtrusive on drop bars.
  • Strap – integrated cross-body strap in case you dismount.

What We Don’t Like

  • Cost – Rapha pricing but high quality.

8. Route Werks Handlebar Bag (Best For Drop Bars)

Route Werks Handlebar BagPin

CHECK PRICE AT ROUTE WERKS

  • Material: 500D PU-Coated Cordura, 220D Gridstop Nylon
  • Waterproof: Water Repellent
  • Capacity: 3.2 Liter
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs. (684 g)

Check out the Route Werks Handlebar Bag if you fancy an integrated computer or phone mount on your drop-handlebar bag. It includes a polymer lid that houses an electronic device on top.

This Route Werks handlebar bag also allows one-handed access to storage when you’re on the move.

An on/off lever lets you easily remove or attach this bag, and an integrated shoulder strap lets you easily wander away from the bike.

Downsides? It will eventually let rain in at the seams.

What We Like

  • Mount – install a phone or GPS computer on the lid.
  • Access – one handed access.
  • Carry – has an integrated strap.

What We Don’t Like

  • Water – not ideal for foul-weather riding.

9. Ortlieb Handlebar Pack QR (Best For Flat Bars)

Ortlieb Handlebar Pack QRPin

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: PS21R, PS33
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 11 Liter
  • Weight: 1 lb. 2 oz (530 g)

The size and shape of the Ortlieb Handlebar Pack QR lends itself well to the flat bars found on many fitness bikes and hybrids.

You’d buy this Ortlieb handlebar bag for riding in all weathers. It makes a great bike commuting bag as well as being a formidable bikepacking option.

A “Bar-Lock” fastening system keeps the pack secure even over rougher terrain. Outer pockets provide easy access to accessories or snacks on the move.

A potential downside is the need to buy a separate inner pocket if you want interior organization.

What We Like

  • Waterproof – durable and won’t let rain in.
  • Access – exterior pockets for fast access.
  • Bar-Lock – attachment system provides quick release and stability.

What We Don’t Like

  • Inner pocket – extra cost if you want an interior pocket.

10. Restrap Canister Handlebar Bag (Best Small Bag)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: Waterproof Nylon
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 1.5 Liter
  • Weight: 4 oz (116 g)

One of Restrap’s most popular products is the Canister Bag, which is double lined, holds its shape well, has a front light attachment, and includes an elastic stabilising strap. Elasticated side pockets provide fast access to essentials like gels and snacks.

This bag is made from 100% waterproof materials. However, Restrap bags are classed honestly as “water resistant” because the stitching is not sealed.

What We Like

  • Shape – holds its shape well on the bike.
  • Stable – elastic shock strap helps keep the bag stable.
  • Low-key – unobtrusive size and shape.

What We Don’t Like

  • Water – not quite waterproof, but almost.

11. Restrap Bar Holster & Food Pouch (Best Large Bag)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: Waterproof Nylon
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 17 Liters (14+3 L)
  • Weight: 1 lb 3.6 oz (558 g)

Restrap appear again in our large bag category with the excellent Bar Holster & Food Pouch combo, which provides 17 liters of storage in all.

Handmade in Yorkshire, England, this bag mounts quickly and easily to any bike via a cam lock attachment system. The holster is a double-ended dry bag, with the pouch securely attached to the holster using magnetic toggles.

As with many handlebar bags, you may want to protect your bike from abrasion using tape.

What We Like

  • Water – highly water resistant (not quite waterproof)
  • Versatile – use one or both of the bags.
  • Access – get to food or tools quickly via the front pouch.

What We Don’t Like

  • Abrasion – use tape to protect the bike’s finish.

12. Racelite Mini Handlebar Bag (Best Ultralight)

Racelite Mini Handlebar BagPin

CHECK PRICE AT LEAD OUT

  • Material: Dyneeema & X-Pac VX21
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 1.3 Liters
  • Weight: 2.92 oz (82 g)

We’re pushing the envelope in our ultralight category with the Racelite Mini Handlebar Bag, which weighs in at under 3 ounces.

The Racelite bag’s exterior features Dyneema composite fabric, claimed 15x stronger than steel and highly tear-resistant. Its X-Pac VX21 interior is durable, abrasion-resistant, water-resistant, and lightweight.

Additional features: a protected Hypalon electronic port and reflective stripe for added visibility.

The downside? Shedding ounces is costly.

What We Like

  • Lightweight – special materials make this bag ultra-light.
  • Durable – the light weight doesn’t diminish durability.
  • Port – electronic ports lets you charge devices on the go.

What We Don’t Like

  • Cost – lightweight bike gear isn’t cheap.

13. WOTOW Waterproof Handlebar Bag (Best Budget)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: 420D Nylon
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 3 Liters
  • Weight: 4.8 oz (136 g)

If you want a multi-featured handlebar bag for not much money, consider the WOTOW Waterproof Handlebar Bag.

This bag punches above its price point with a waterproof construction, transparent phone or map holder, two sides pockets, interior pocket, and reflective detailing.

The phone window atop the bag retains your phone’s touchscreen capability. Be aware, though, that the window is not sealed. As long as you’re not riding on bumpy surfaces, it may not be an issue.

What We Like

  • Price – a lot of features for the price.
  • Durable – made with hard-wearing 420D nylon.
  • Pockets – multiple pockets to keep items organized.

What We Don’t Like

  • Window – handy, but worryingly has no zipper or seal.

14. ROCKBROS Large Handlebar Bag

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: 600D Nylon + TPU waterproof coating
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 7 to 14 Liters (Adjustable Length)
  • Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz. (538 g)

If you want a good handlebar bag for bikepacking that is kind on your bank balance, consider the ROCKBROS Large Handlebar Bag. This bag boasts a capacity of 14 liters at its full length.

This ROCKBROS Handlebar Bag is made of tear-resistant 600D nylon for durability. Roll-down closure in this bag helps it achieve 100% waterproofing, which isn’t guaranteed in far more expensive bike bags.

Downsides? It can be hard to mount on drop bars with protruding cables.

What We Like

  • Value – great product for the money.
  • Waterproof – 100% waterproof.
  • Durable – made with long-lasting materials.

What We Don’t Like

  • Cables – can be hard to mount on bikes with protruding cables

15. Apidura Racing Aerobar Pack

Apidura Racing Aerobar PackPin

CHECK PRICE AT APIDURA

  • Material: Hexalon
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 2.5 Liters
  • Weight: 5.29 oz. (150 g)

For long-distance endurance racing on aero bars or Audax rides on the same, there’s the Apidura Racing Aerobar Pack. While this is a niche product, it comes with the manufacturer’s usual build quality and attention to detail.

This aero bar bag is kept lightweight and waterproof by its use of Hexalon fabric and welded seams. Hypalon is used to create reinforced straps, and the integrated polymer structure comprises 42% recycled materials. The bag also features a bungee cord for extra exterior storage.

There aren’t any identifiable downsides aside from the expected price of a product with few rivals (Restrap has a competing model).

What We Like

  • Streamlined – small frontal area minimizes speed losses.
  • Lightweight – minimal weight.
  • Waterproof – genuine waterproofing.

What We Don’t Like

  • None – little to moan about aside from the expected price.

17. Rhinowalk Multifunctional Handlebar Bag

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: Polyester
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 3.5 Liters

If you’re after a handlebar bag that can also be carried elsewhere on the bike, consider the budget-priced Rhinowalk Multifunctional Handlebar Bag. This bag can also be used as a frame bag as well as functioning as a decent messenger bag, chest bag, handbag or waist bag with the removable shoulder strap.

There’s plenty of space inside this bag for bike tools, spare tubes, and snacks. There’s a front pocket, two side pockets, and an inside zipper pocket.

The only real downside here is the lack of full waterproofing. Water resistance is less effective than many handlebar bags.

What We Like

  • Versatile – usable as a handlebar bag or a frame bag.
  • Storage – lots of space & several pockets.
  • Portability – easy to carry off the bike with supplied strap.

What We Don’t Like

  • Waterproofing – lacks 100% waterproofing and works better as a fair-weather bag.

18. sixthreezero Bike Handlebar Roll Bag

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: Polyester & Plastic
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 2 Liters
  • Weight: 10 oz. (283 g)

If you’re looking for a laid-back, colorful look, cast your eyes over the sixthreezero Bike Handlebar Roll Bag. This stylish bag has an ample two liters of storage for your personal items.

Note that Amazon titles this bag as waterproof, but no such claims are made on the manufacturer’s website. It’s perfect for relaxing rides in the sun and not mad rides in torrential rain.

What We Like

  • Colorful – bike rides should be cheerful sometimes.
  • Shape – easy to access roll shape.
  • Construction – sturdy and durably made.

What We Don’t Like

  • Waterproof – not waterproof, but suitable protection for intended purpose.

19. Revelate Designs Egress Pocket Handlebar Bag

Revelate Designs Egress Pocket Handlebar BagPin

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: 210D Ripstop Nylon
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 2.9 Liters
  • Weight: 10 oz. (283 g)

Though it’s some way down our list, the Revelate Designs Egress Pocket Handlebar Bag ticks all the boxes if you’re looking for a top-notch, small handlebar bag.

A big plus with this one is that it’s resoundingly waterproof with a seam-welded construction and roll-top closure. Its padded liner protects electronic items from knocks, too. The only disappointment is the lack of any interior divider.

With the included shoulder strap, the Egress converts easily into a shoulder bag. You can also wear it as a fanny pack using its webbing slots.

What We Like

  • Durable – made of hard-wearing nylon.
  • Waterproof – uncompromising rain protection.
  • Portable – converts to a shoulder or waist bag.

What We Don’t Like

  • Undivided – a divider would complement the padded main compartment.

20. Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag 2

Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag 2Pin

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: Polyester With PU Coating
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 2.5 Liters
  • Weight: 12 oz. (340 g)

Available in several bright colorways or a sombre black, the Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag 2 offers a great way to add personality to your bike. It’s also a well-made bag with a durable PU-coated polyester construction and water-protected zippers.

This bag is awash with pockets: six in all, and it doubles as a stylish cross-body bag off the bike.

One or two reports of rain penetration cast a doubt over the bag’s waterproofing, so that’s a possible downside needing further investigation.

What We Like

  • Bright – some eye-catching colorways.
  • Durable – made of PU-coated polyester (theoretically waterproof).
  • Convert – usable as a cross-body bag at your destination.

What We Don’t Like

  • Water – jury still out on waterproof claims.

21. Lezyne Hard Bar Caddy

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: EVA foam
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Capacity: 2.2 Liters
  • Weight: 5.3 oz. (152 g)

If you’re after a straightforward, compact handlebar bag that allows easy access, add the Lezyne Hard Bar Caddy to your shortlist. It’s a modern semi-rigid bag with a wide top opening that allows you to easily grab at snacks without falling off the bike.

This water-resistant handlebar bag has a simple Velcro strap mounting system. There’s an interior pocket to help with organization, plus reflective details.

A potential downside is the drum-like effect of having items rattling around inside the caddy.

What We Like

  • Access – fulfils the vital remit of providing easy access.
  • Durable – confidence-inspiring EVA foam construction.
  • Mount – easy to mount.

What We Don’t Like

  • Noise – loose items may have a percussive effect unless you pack something soft, too.

Do I Need A Handlebar Bag?

An overarching reason to invest in a handlebar bag is for its easy access.

Unlike backpacks, saddle bags, or good panniers, which require you to dismount if you need to reach anything, a handlebar bag keeps all the essentials within arm’s reach. Only a top tube bag rivals a handlebar bag for access, albeit often with less capacity.

Handlebar bags also provide versatility beyond cycling. Many models come with a detachable shoulder strap, allowing you to easily convert them into regular bags when you reach your destination.

Handlebar bags are often designed to be weather-resistant or even waterproof, ensuring your belongings stay dry and protected in unpredictable weather conditions. This feature is valuable for bikepackers who frequently cycle in adverse conditions.

In conclusion, a handlebar bag offers accessibility, comfort, and versatility for cyclists.

Video: Handlebar Bag vs Top Tube Bag For Carrying Food

Features Of Handlebar Bags To Look Out For

Capacity and Size

The capacity and size of the handlebar bag should match your storage needs.

Consider the volume of items you plan to carry regularly, ensuring that the bag is neither too small to accommodate essential gear nor large enough to interfere with bike handling.

Mounting System

Look for a secure and stable mounting system that attaches firmly to your bike’s handlebars.

A reliable mounting system prevents the bag from shifting during rides and minimizes the risk of potential accidents.

Weather Resistance

Opt for a handlebar bag made from weather-resistant materials or one that comes with a rain cover.

Note that “waterproof” should always mean that the bag is 100% impervious to rain. Conversely, “water resistant” is a vaguer term that can describe varying degrees of rain resistance.

Easy Access

Quick and easy access to your belongings while riding is crucial.

Choose a handlebar bag with multiple compartments and zipper closures, allowing you to reach items without stopping or dismounting.

Weight Distribution

Consider the bag’s weight distribution to ensure it does not affect the bike’s handling.

Evenly distributed weight helps maintain stability and prevents any imbalance that could create a hazard.

Durability & Denier

Look for durable materials such as polyester, nylon, and other specialized fabrics.

The denier number (preceding “D”) directly relates to durability, but a higher denier figure also makes the product heavier.

(See Polyester vs Nylon for more info.)

Versatility

Some handlebar bags come with detachable shoulder straps, allowing you to use them as regular bags off the bike.

Opt for a versatile design that transitions seamlessly from cycling accessory to everyday carry.

Padding and Protection

Adequate padding inside the bag provides protection for fragile items, such as electronics or camera equipment.

Ensure the bag has sufficient padding to safeguard your valuables during bumpy rides.

Reflective Elements

For increased visibility and safety, look for a handlebar bag with reflective elements.

Reflective strips or accents enhance your visibility to motorists and other cyclists, particularly during low-light conditions.

Attachment Points & Daisy Chains

Some handlebar bags come with additional attachment points or loops, providing the option to secure extra gear or accessories externally, such as a front light or a small pouch.

Weight

Keep an eye on the bag’s weight, as a heavy handlebar bag can add considerable load to the front of your bike. Aim for a lightweight option that won’t overburden your bike and its handling.

What Items Are Typically Carried In Handlebar Bags?

Items usually stored in a handlebar bag include the following:

  • Snacks and energy bars
  • Drinks
  • Map or GPS device
  • Multi-tool and repair kit
  • Spare tube
  • Tire lever
  • Mini pump or CO2 inflator
  • Bike lights or headlamp
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Rain jacket or windbreaker
  • Spare clothing
  • Small first aid kit
  • Wallet and identification
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Camera or action camera
  • Sunglasses
  • Bike lock
  • Personal items
  • Hat or cap
  • Gloves

Does Handlebar Bag Size Matter?

Larger handlebar bags obviously provide more storage capacity, allowing you to carry additional gear and essentials for longer rides or bikepacking adventures.

However, a larger bag may also add more weight to the front of your bike, affecting its handling and balance (see below). It might be trickier to attach, too, as cables and parts can get in the way.

Smaller handlebar bags are lighter, less cumbersome, and ideal for shorter rides when carrying essential items only.

The size of the bike handlebar bag should be chosen based on the type of cycling you plan to do.

Does The Use Of A Handlebar Bag Influence Bike Handling?

A handlebar bag can influence bike handling to some extent.

The more weight you carry in the handlebar bag, the greater the potential impact on the bike’s handling.

A heavily loaded handlebar bag may cause the bike to feel less stable, particularly if the weight is not evenly distributed within the bag.

Conversely, extra weight at the front of the bike also causes it to feel more planted when cornering or ascending steep hills. Descending is another matter; you might want to shift backwards to even up the weight distribution.

Consider bike geometry when thinking about handlebar bags. A bike with a lot of “trail” (see What is trail in bike geometry?) is typically better suited to carrying weight at the front. A road bike has low trail and very responsive steering, which suggests a smaller handlebar bag would be the better choice.

Can My Bike Be Damaged By A Handlebar Bag?

A handlebar bag can potentially damage your bike if not used carefully. The abrasion caused by straps rubbing against the bike’s frame can lead to scratches or wear on the bike’s finish.

To prevent this damage, you can use helicopter tape, also known as frame protection tape, to cover areas where the straps come into contact with the bike.

Use of protective tape helps to ensure that your bike remains in good condition even with regular use of a handlebar bag.

Careless installation of a bike handlebar bag (especially large) can also cause problems with brake lines and gear shift housings. If in doubt, don’t install and seek advice first.

Video: Tips On Applying Helicopter Tape To Bike Frames

FAQs On Handlebar Bags

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Handlebar Bag Over A Backpack?

Handlebar bags provide easier access to items while cycling and distribute weight more evenly, reducing strain on the back and shoulders.

How Much Weight Can A Handlebar Bag Typically Hold?

The weight capacity of handlebar bags varies, but they can typically hold around 5 to 15 pounds (2 to 7 kilograms) depending on the model and construction.

Are There Any Notable Brands Known For Their Quality Handlebar Bags?

Yes, there are several notable brands known for producing quality handlebar bags, including

  • Ortlieb
  • Topeak
  • Revelate Designs

…among others.

What Should I Look For In A Handlebar Bag If I Plan To Use It For Long-Distance Cycling?

Look for a handlebar bag with a larger capacity, durable and water-resistant materials, secure mounting systems, and features like compartments and additional pockets for better organization.

How Can I Secure A Handlebar Bag To My Bicycle?

Handlebar bags can be securely mounted to a bicycle using straps, buckles, or attachment systems specifically designed for handlebars, providing a stable and secure connection.

What Is The Proper Method To Clean My Handlebar Bag?

To clean a handlebar bag, use a mild soap, water, and a soft cloth or sponge to gently wipe down the exterior.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could harm the fabric or waterproofing.

Is It Essential For A Quality Handlebar Bag To Be Waterproof?

While not essential, having a waterproof handlebar bag does allow you to ride in confidence under heavy rain, whereas water-resistant bags will only hold off rain to varying degrees.

Does A Handlebar Bag Reduce Cycling Speed?

A properly loaded and balanced handlebar bag is unlikely to significantly reduce cycling speed, though aerodynamically it is less efficient than a sleek frame bag or a saddle bag.


Concluding Our Round-up On The Best Handlebar Bags

It’s time to reflect on our reviews.

Topping our list of best handlebar bags is the Swift Industries Zeitgeist Pack: a near iconic product that offers great manufacturing, versatility, and ease of use.

The minimalistic Ortlieb Handlebar Pack is a fantastic option if you need rain-proof reliability in a superbly constructed bag. Many cyclists understandably never look beyond this brand.

Keen photographers should find satisfaction in the Topeak Tourguide DX Bicycle Handlebar Bag, which has a divided padded interior that’s ideal for a camera and supplementary lens.

In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the best handlebar bags around, but the main aim was to guide you toward your ideal product, even if you find it elsewhere. Researching handlebar bags should help.

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Glenn Harper
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When Glenn isn't writing for BikePush, he can often be found cycling on his local rural roads. If he can help you benefit from bicycling in some small way, He’ll consider it a win.

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