I like the idea of handlebar bags and have tried various setups, many of which have felt bulky or awkward. I prefer having my handlebar area relatively open — I like a clean and light front end and I tend to alternate hand positions regularly on long rides — but there are still many scenarios where I want (and need) some handlebar storage.
After some experimenting and hunting for a capable but small handlebar bag, I landed on the Signature BB Waterproof Handlebar Bag from Arkel.
The reason this bag has become one of my favourites is its simplicity in design. It’s small, light, and straps to the front of your bars with two velcro straps (which are adjustable to various widths on either side).
It’s only got a 4L capacity, but you can jam-pack this thing with a surprising amount of stuff. The roll top closure is great; easy to pack and unload, allows for some flexibility in carrying capacity, and features a super handy magnetic clasp on the cinch strap that is easy to use with gloves or one handed.
With a small load you can cinch this bag right up and hardly notice it’s there. I mostly use it for a variety of useful essentials on longer rides like an extra layer or rain jacket, mini-pump, snacks, cell phone, etc. It also fits my camera with lens, which is a mirrorless camera, so smaller than a DSLR but bigger than a point and shoot.
At first, I was somewhat skeptical about how effective the simple velcro straps that attach this bag to the handlebars would be. After using this bag for several months, and definitely pushing its capacity, I’ve had no issues with the attachment durability. I’ve ridden on some rocky, steep, bumpy terrain with no give from the velcro at all. When the bag is on the heavier side in these scenarios it definitely will jump around a bit, but it has never loosened off.
The straps also make it easy to take on and off, which is handy because it comes with a shoulder strap that clips to attachments on the bag. I have used this feature a few times and find it’s useful if you’re going somewhere and locking your bike up and walking around.
I’ve tossed this bag around a bunch, and it construction seems durable. I’ve tested its waterproof abilities and when rolled up well, contents stay fully dry after riding through consistent rain fall. Arkel says its constructed with Cordura nylon and lined with a waterproof TPU laminated fabric with fully taped seams.
The bag also conveniently interfaces with my stem bag (made by Swift Industries), and combined this makes for an ideal handlebar set up for me on long rides.
Arkel is a Canadian company and these bags are made in Quebec. This bag is part of their signature series and is actually signed by the person who made it.
If you’re looking for a small but effective handlebar bag, consider giving this one a shot, it’s been highly useful for me.