Why use a handlebar bag?
There are lots of reasons why handlebar bags are so popular. Ease of use, easy access to maps, snacks or even a camera for that quick shot are just a few of the reasons that come to mind. They don’t require the use of a pannier rack and they will fit on most bikes. The only exceptions would be bikes equipped with carbon fibre handlebars or some funky shaped moustache handlebars. Aside from those few examples, a handlebar bag will likely fit your bike. Our handlebar bags are easy to remove to keep your valuables close at hand when stopping for coffee or a bite to eat. Just unclip the bag from the bike and use either the integrated carry handle or a shoulder strap to carry the bag with you. Simple and super comfortable, all our handlebar bags are sold with a shoulder strap.
Are Arkel handlebar bags waterproof?
Yes they are! Our handlebar bags are designed with a watertight zippered closure system. The waterproof hood overlaps the waterproof main compartment creating a completely watertight closure. This system allows you to leave the bag unzipped for fast access to your gel, maps or camera and still keep you gear dry. This is a great feature for taking pictures along the route.
Is it safe to carry a camera?
Handlebar bags are also a great way to carry camera equipment. A DSLR will easily fit inside the main compartment. Although these bags are not specifically designed with padded compartments for cameras and lens it is very easy to add foam protection inside and customize the interior to safely store and protect your camera. You can use a blue foam closed cell commonly used in sleeping pad to do this. For more details on this you can read this article: How to transform an Arkel Handlebar bag into a deluxe camera bag.
The importance of a solid mounting system.
The mounting system is critical. Our aluminum mounting brackets provides the utmost in rigidity. There are no plastic parts to fail or cause the bag to rotate around the handlebar. They look pretty cool too!
The Arkel handlebar bags all come with a clear plastic waterproof map case. The map cases are welded so water cannot seep through any of the seams. A cell phone can slide inside the mapcase for navigation and you will still be able to use the touch screen.
We use 1000 denier Cordura® on all our bags. This is the most durable fabric available and impossible to tear. In fact we supply a small piece of Cordura with all our bags with a note stating “Rip Me! Are you strong enough to rip this fabric?”, to confirm this. As a result if ever you wear a hole through the fabric, it will not fray and expand with time.
Why use a rain cover?
The main compartment and map cases of our handlebar bags are completely waterproof but the front zippered pocket and side mesh pockets are not. If you need to keep the items stored in these pockets dry, then the rain cover is a must. The rain cover has a clear plastic window at the top so you will still be able to clearly read your map. The rain covers also protect the bag against road grime which helps to keep the handlebar bag clean.
The Arkel MapCase;
Another smaller and lighter solution in this category is our Map Case. The Arkel Map case is held on the handlebar with Velcro straps and provides a large clear waterproof map pouch. It also provides a small zippered pocket to store your loose change, credit cards, keys, etc…. No mounting brackets are needed here, just attach the map case to the handlebar with the Velcro straps and on you go.
In the end, handlebar bags are probably the most convenient bike bags you can use. You don’t need to buy a pannier rack, it’s always in front of you, so you can’t beat it for easy access. You can use these bags for touring or as your do-it-all bag. No other bag will provide this much versatility.