The Best Bike Handlebar Bags for Bikepacking and Commuting
Cycling has grown in popularity in recent years as a primary mode of transportation and as a hobby. More and more people are opting out of cars and trains for their daily commute and are exploring the wonders of the great outdoors on bikes and electric scooters. While finding the right bike for your needs is already a tough job in itself, choosing the best bike handlebar bag can be just as tedious.
A handlebar bag is one of those cycling gear that isn’t a must-have but is a total game changer when it comes to the riding experience. Imagine not having to fumble for your phone or wallet in your pocket. No more worrying about whether your stuff is safe in your pannier bag or trying to stop your messenger bag from wobbling around every corner.
When it comes to bike bags for handlebars, you need to consider the product that best suits your lifestyle and needs. I’ve rounded up the most popular handlebar bags on the market and tested each one for the top 3 most important qualities you should check out: size, versatility and .
- Size and Capacity: Depending on where you’re going, you need a handlebar bag that easily fits all your necessities without throwing off your balance. Something small and compact might be better suited to urban settings while something with more space is great for off–road trips.
- Ease of Use: In general, handlebar bags for bikes have to be easy to use when you’re in motion. You can’t keep stopping in the middle of traffic or on the trail just so you can reach for your water bottle. Similarly, something that keeps dropping or requires constant adjustments just isn’t worth the money in the long run.
- Durability: Whether you’re bikepacking or going around the city multiple times a day, you want a small handlebar bag that will accompany you for a long time. It needs to be able to withstand that impact of motion, changing weather, and frequency of use.
What to Look for When Buying Handlebar Bags
When looking for the best bike handlebar bag, you have to consider a few things:
Is your bike compatible with the bag you’re interested in? Depending on the handlebar, some bags may be more suitable than others. For example, a drop bar bike doesn’t match well with bags that have wide straps because they tend to fall off.
It’s best to test out a few bags with a bike similar to yours before purchasing.
Size and Capacity
Not all bike owners need to have a 5L bag. Some don’t even want to carry anything apart from their phone, keys, and wallet. Then, there are those who want to be prepared for any eventuality. The size and capacity of your bag should depend on your packing style and what you want to bring.
Functionality and features
What kind of features do you prefer in your bag? Do you want a touch screen pocket? How about a multiway strap? Maybe you want an insulated interior? Check out the different options and find the best combination of features to make the biking experience the best for you.
Can your handlebar bag be used outdoors? Is it waterproof? How about snow and dust? Does the leather scratch? Do the straps and zippers feel sturdy? Check every inch of the bag before you purchase. You don’t want something falling apart while you’re in the middle of a trail.
What Should I Pack in My Handlebar Bag
Here is a little guide for what most bikepackers recommend. You can add or remove items from the list depending on your destination and preferences.
- Bike repair kit
- Water bottle
- Snacks/protein bars
- Portable battery
- First aid kit
- Light jacket/shirt
How to Choose the Best Handlebar Width
Choosing the right handlebar width depends on your shoulders. Ideally your hands and shoulders should be in a straight line for the best balance and stability. Measure the distance of your acromioclavicular (AC) joints on the shoulder. Your bike handlebar should be around the same width.
How to Install a Bike Handlebar Bag
Most bikepacking handlebar bags come with velcro straps or fastener straps.
If it’s a two-strap bag, align the bag with the center of the handlebar and attach the straps where they meet the bar. Try not to change the alignment to keep your bag steady.
For three-strap bags, there’s usually a center strap you can attach to the stem of the handlebar so the bag doesn’t move while in motion.
if you found a suitable bike handlebar bag. You can also explore other essential bags for your bike, such as saddle bags and bikepacking bags.
Choosing the best bike handlebar bag can be exhausting because of the similarities in choices and the very subtle (but significant) differences. Check what you would want in a handlebar bag, how often you would use it, and where you want to use it. You don’t necessarily need to get the most expensive or the top-rated one. The best one is the one that works for you.
Take your time in choosing one that suits your lifestyle and has the features you will frequently use. Do some research, test a few out, and enjoy the process of finding the best bag for you.
Bicycle rear rack
Bike touring is one of the most fulfilling activities for cyclists as you can hop on a bicycle and pedal for days. You can explore every countryside and small town with all the things you need mounted on your bike frame. It is the most self-sufficient exploration but it requires a solid bike rack capable of carrying heavy loads.
Getting a firm and stable pannier rack is a must for bike touring. It allows you to install other components to your bicycle and place a heavy pack off your back frame. Hence, the pannier rack determines the success of your bike tour too.
It is vital to select a pannier rack that offers toughness or durability, right fitting, and enough carrying capacity. Pannier racks should be made of premium materials, so they can last longer and withstand tough environments. You can choose aluminum alloy, durable steel, and iron for a superior quality bike rack.
Then, the rack size should be compatible with the measurement of your bike frame. You should measure your bike frame before making your rack purchase. It is essential that you buy a pannier rack that can be installed easily on your bike frame. Also, check whether the bike rack has a mounting eyelet for proper installation.
The carrying capacity is another important consideration. Since you intend to use the bike for touring, choose a product that can carry the heaviest load while on tour. The rack should have the ability to carry more load, so you can bring all your essentials.
Before making your purchase, you need to check your bike’s type and the bike wheel diameter. It is essential to get the right measurement or fitting for your bike rack to not waste money.
There are bike racks like the disc brake pannier rack that can only fit a specific bike frame or wheel type. The standard bike rack you see in the market are those that easily fit 26” to 29” bike wheels. Most of the racks we have listed here have this kind of fitting.
You have to consider whether your bicycle has non-disc brakes or suspension brakes. Some bike racks will not be compatible with specific brake types. Also, you should check if the rack requires a mounting eyelet for installation.
You are looking for a bike rack for a particular reason, you need a better storage area for your valuables when on the road. Thus, you should always check the carrying capacity of the product before purchasing.
If you are a heavy packer, you need a bike rack that can carry as high as 110 lbs. On the other hand, if you travel light, 55lbs weight capacity is enough. Depending on the type of biker, the loading capacity also varies.
Another feature you should consider for a bike rack is its mounting system. Most bikers look for easy to install bike racks because they require less effort and time. There are bike racks with a quick-release mounting system, which can give you a hassle-free installation process.
You should also look for an instruction manual, so you are certain that you are attaching the bike rack properly. In this way, the attachment is stable without the potential of falling off.
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