5 Best Bike Handlebar Bags in 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

Cyclists have carried their belongings and gear in panniers since time immemorial. Pannier is a type of bag that is slung over the back of a cycle and has compartments that stick out on both sides of the bike. 

However, such a bag isn’t efficient, accessible, and lightweight enough for those who prefer traveling light and fast.

In an attempt to fulfill the requirements of such cycling enthusiasts, manufacturers have started mass producing bags that are more structured. They’ve laid emphasis on creating bag designs that are more accessible for the modern man.

The likes of bike saddle bags, top tube bags, and handlebar bags are a part of the modern designs that have made cycling far more plain sailing.

Today, we’ll specifically shed light on handlebar bags.

Handlebar bags, as you may have guessed already, have a handlebar mounting system. They usually have easy-to-access pockets for safekeeping your cash, passport, and other essentials.

These bags are available for purchase in numerous size variants, ranging from a capacity of three liters to a whopping 20 liters!

Without beating around the bush, let’s take a look at some of the best bike handlebar bags money can buy.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Bike Handlebar Bags

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the bike handlebar bags for touring that most people buy).

  • TOPEAK Front Loader Top Pick
  • Chrome Helix Runner-up
  • ORTLIEB Handlebar Pack 9L Runner-up

Top 5 Best Bike Handlebar Bags 2020 – Our Reviews:

1. TOPEAK Front Loader

If you cycle frequently, you must be well accustomed to the unpredictable weather as a drizzle or downpour is always on the cards.

Now, if you want to keep your possessions dry and clean in case of inclement weather, it is in your best interest to splurge on the TOPEAK Front Loader. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well this bar bag does at keeping water out.

Lightweight and durable beyond belief, the TOPEAK Front Loader also benefits from its in-built air-release button. This feature sucks the air out of the bag, keeping it compact, efficient, and portable.

The bag also has an external strap that allows you to attach essential items should you lack storage space. 

With quick-release buckles on both ends ensuring you don’t have to rummage through your possessions and hook and loop handlebar attachments that expedite the loading and unloading processes, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to mention that the TOPEAK Front loader has all the features you’d want in a premium bike handlebar bag.

Therefore, you can go for this handlebar bag without batting an eyelid. 

Pros

  • Huge 8L capacity
  • Quick-release straps ensure fast access to your valuables
  • Made of durable materials
  • External strap allows you to hold the extra gear that needn’t be shielded from the harsh weather
  • Best handlebar bag for rainy touring events

Cons

  • Some may find it bulky

2. Chrome Helix

Boasting a capacity of 3 liters, the Chrome Helix has been designed to help you tremendously on your long bike touring trips. Featuring an easy-to-mount handlebar hook with loop attachment and waist strap, the Chrome Helix can also double up as a shoulder bag should you intend to use it while away from your bike.

At a glance, it may seem that the bar bag isn’t capable of carrying all your essentials. However, the Chrome Helix is more than meets the eye and is perfectly capable of accommodating a small jacket, snacks, and numerous essentials you may need on a day trip.

However, be advised that the handlebar bag isn’t large enough to house all the gear necessary for a multi-day trek.

When you look inside, you’ll find a couple of easily accessible mesh pockets that are ideal for storing your keys, wallet, phone, and cash. Also, let’s not forget—the designers of the Chrome Helix have smartly integrated an internal waterproof lining to keep your valuables well-shielded from the harsh external elements.

I also like the fact that the zipper has been nylon coated to offer extra protection.

All in all, the Chrome Helix is a safe investment for your cycling escapades.

Pros

  • Small, compact, and lightweight
  • Internal waterproof lining offers extra protection to your possessions
  • Can be unmounted for use off the bike
  • Can be used as a shoulder bag

Cons

  • Because of its low capacity, it isn´t the best handlebar bag for long-distance multi-day treks

3. ORTLIEB Handlebar Pack 9L

ORTLIEB products are all the rage in the European market. They’re heavily favored by the masses on account of their outstanding quality and waterproof abilities. Also, when it comes to handlebar bags, the ORTLIEB Handlebar Pack 9L is, arguably, the German company’s best offering.

Ideal for use on cycles with narrow handlebars, the ORTLIEB Handlebar Bag 9L has an enviable capacity of 9 liters. Despite having such massive capacity, this handlebar bag is quite compact, making it a brilliant choice for long cycling sessions.

What makes this bag so efficient and easy-to-use are its adjustable Velcro straps that are easy to connect to the handlebars. To top it off, they are also reflective, which means that the oncoming traffic will be able to detect you even in dark, underlit areas.

So, if safety is a concern, consider acquiring the ORTLIEB Handlebar Pack 9L.

To ensure the bag stays secure, the makers have even integrated a reinforced section. Plus, like all high-quality handlebar bags, the ORTLIEB Handlebar Pack is also waterproof.

Pros

  • The bag’s compact design makes it an excellent choice for narrow handlebars
  • One of the best waterproof bike handlebar bags for bike touring
  • Presence of reflectors helps make you noticeable in dark areas, thereby, increasing your safety
  • Easy access to valuables gear during bike touring

Cons

  • Not available for purchase all the time

4. Salsa EXP Series Anything

Don’t let the Salsa EXP Series Anything’s high price point put you off. If anything, this bag is truly worth the investment.

When you purchase this package, you are provided with a dry bag that boasts a capacity of 15 liters, giving you enough storage space to house all your essentials on a multi-day trek. Of course, the dry bag, as its name suggests, is water-resistant as well.

Featuring a hook and loop attachment, the Salsa EXP Series Anything also comes equipped with straps to keep things neat, tidy, and compact. You can use the straps furthermore to attach extra items.

Now, let’s get to the best feature of the bag.

It comes with a cradle, a special mount of sorts, that helps secure your bag and prevents it from wobbling around. This mounting system also completely eliminates the chances of your bag sagging onto your front wheel because of heavy load.

When it comes to convenience, no other handlebar bag performs as well as the Salsa EXP Series Anything.

Pros

  • The package comes with useful straps, a cradle mount, and a waterproof bag
  • Easy-to-use hook and loop attachment
  • Extra straps for more storage options
  • One of the best handlebar bags for longer touring

Cons

  • Steeply priced

5. Ibera Bicycle Handlebar Camera Bag

If you are looking for a handlebar bag that can safely accommodate your expensive camera, look no further than the Ibera Bicycle Handlebar Camera Bag.

Not only is this bike camera bag waterproof, but it also comes with a rain cover for extra protection. Also, since it is priced rather affordably, the Ibera Bicycle Handlebar Camera Bag can be a perfect introduction for fair-weather cyclists acclimatizing to the realms of handlebar camera bags.

However, be advised that the Ibera Bicycle Handlebar Camera Bag should only be used for short journeys. I can’t guarantee the safe upkeep of your camera in this bag for longer tours.

When it comes to space, this bag can accommodate more than just your camera. You should be able to store a few of your tools, snacks, and binoculars as well.

The outer shell looks durable enough to withstand the trials of time and the highly visible reflective strips should make you stick out like a sore thumb in under-lit areas.

You shouldn’t face problems mounting this handlebar bag onto your handlebar either as the bag has a responsive clip-on-and-off system. 

Pros

  • Reflective strips 
  • Useful map panel on the lid
  • Functional and responsive clip on and off system makes mounting easy
  • Easy access to belongings and gear

Cons

  • Since the bottom panel is quite hard, you may need to add extra padding to provide soft cushioning for your camera
  • This handlebar bag has been made to sit a little high

What to Consider When Buying a Handlebar Bag?

Entry Point

Bike handle bags have different access points. Therefore, you must consider the entry point of a handlebar bike bag and ensure it matches your cycling style.

Some have top access, which means that they open from the top while others have side access, which opens from the sides. Handlebar bags that have top access are easier to access during rides.

There are some that come in a roll-top design as well; these types are usually used to store a sleeping bag and clothes.

Capacity

Handlebar bags with lower capacity have been designed for use in short commutes. They usually only have enough space to accommodate your phone, cash, and other small essentials.

Meanwhile, bags with larger capacities are better for longer bike touring, trekking, and camping. So, choose your bike handlebar bag capacity as per your requirements.

Material

A good bike handlebar bag is made of the synthetic waterproof material, nylon. Apart from its waterproof qualities, this material is also renowned for its light weight.

So, only go for a bike touring handlebar bag made from nylon as it would be water-resistant and lightweight. 

Conclusion

Searching for the best bike handlebar bag from numerous options can be a painstaking task.

To make an informed purchase, go for a waterproof handlebar bag that has a sturdy design. Also, ensure that the handlebar bag is easy to attach and detach from the handlebars.

Know what you need your handlebar bag for and choose a capacity that fulfills your requirements and is best-suited for your travels.

The handlebar bag that does the job for me is the Chrome Helix.

It is lightweight and has enough storage to accommodate my gear on a 1-day touring session. It also has an internal waterproof lining to protect my valuables from rain and is easy to attach or detach.