In case you hadn’t heard yet, handlebar bags are finally cool. It wasn’t long ago that this accessory was something you may not even consider as part of your setup. Fortunately the days of “rules” in cycling are finally behind us, now that function and utility have its rightful place as a priority. There are loads of handlebar bags available today, each offering unique styles and functionality. We got our hands on this one from Topo Designs, called the Bike Bag.
Enter Topo Designs
A Fort Collins, CO based company, Topo Designs has been in the bag business since 2008. With a mission to create simple, classic, well-designed bags for the outdoors, Topo’s dedication to well crafted products has served them well. However, they are not a company dedicated to bags for cyclists. With cycling specific bag companies like Outer Shell and Road Runner making comparable handlebar bags, we were curious to see how the Topo Designs Bike Bag would compare.
Available in a few color options, we opted for the durable and clean looking X-PAC Black. The bag makes a great first impression with its water resistant zipper and truck tarp inner liner. Somewhat unique is the Bike Bag’s shape. While most handlebar bags tend to be cylindrical or rectangular, this one features a triangular structure. The front of the bag contains some useful daisy chain webbings as well, good for a bike light or race place. It also includes a removable shoulder strap for off-the-bike use.
Super easy to install, the bag attaches to your bike with 3 well-placed Velcro straps. The top two straps attach the bag to your handlebar, while the third can secure the bag to any cables in front of the head tube. We found the bag to be very secure, with no issues bumping or swinging around.
How it Performs
While admittedly somewhat skeptical of the need for handlebar bags, and the shape of this particular one, the Bike Bag from Topo Designs exceeded our expectations. Initially it was used as a replacement for my Camelbak that was storing some food and clothing. Ditching the backpack and opting for the Bike Bag made a huge difference in terms of overall ride comfort and utility. Snacks were easily accessible with a quick slide of the zipper, and the 3-Liter capacity was more than enough space for a mirrorless camera, flannel shirt, snacks and a few other essentials.
As for the shape, the triangular structure work really well. The form actually makes sense when you ride with it, allowing for an efficient use of space under the stem while not appearing bulky from the riding position. We also had no issues opening and closing the bag while riding.
We can definitely recommend the Bike Bag if you are new to handlebar bags or if you’re looking for something a bit different up front. The Topo Designs Bike Bag is a durable, well-designed bag that offers great storage utility for a variety of cyclists. We found that it worked well on two gravel bikes and have used it on adventure rides, commutes and even a gravel race.
Another great product from Topo that we love is their Camera Strap. A nice upgrade from a standard strap that may have come with your camera. Topo used heavy-duty climbing rope and durable stitching to give it an authentic Colorado feel. At 26.5" long with adjustable sliplocks this is our go-to camera strap.