24 April, 2013

Mounting a Handlebar Bag, in Pictures

Since we've been talking about bar bags recently a few folks have asked questions about attaching them to the bike.
Traditionally handlebar bags were, in fact, attached to handlebars. Hardly anyone does this today. The bag is supported by a small rack. On some old rando bikes I've seen the bag sitting directly on the front fender, but the fender needs an extra stay in front if its to support the bag.
The elastic on the top flap was often drawn over the stem, making it easier to open the bag. It's still the way I often close my bag.
Rather than attaching the bag to the bars, it's far more convenient to attach it via a quick release mechanism called a decaleur. This way the bag is easy to lift off and take with you when you've parked the bike. Notice how the leather patch on the back of the bag slips over the rack's backstop; that's what really holds the bag in place. A set-up like this is fine for most road riding, but bumpy roads may require a strap underneath to further stabilize the bag.
Note that the decaleur bar may be mounted high on smaller bags or lower as on the Grand Cru bag above.

You add a separate decaleur that mounts to the fork. We make these in sizes to fit 1' and 1-1/8" forks. The tangs can be bent for precise fit, but they may not work on very large and very small frames.
I prefer to use a rack with an integrated decaleur. This allows the bag to work on any size frame. We make a version of both the Pass Hunter and Rando rack with a decaleur, and the front Campeur rack includes an integrated decaleur.

By the way, we have extra decaleur bars so you can use more that one bag on your bike. I have a big bag, a small bag, and a basket that work with the decaleurs on all my bikes.
If using a rack with a backstop, but no decaleur, slip the back patch over the back stop and...
...secure the bag to the rack with a strap.
If you want to use your bag on a rack without a narrow backstop, use two straps underneath. You might also try Igor's trick of securing it to the handlebar drops to keep the bag extra-stable on extra rough roads.

That's it. Do you have any bag mounting tips to share in the comments?


Anonymous said...

Thank you! I was one of the agitators for pictures, and I certainly appreciate the outcome. It genuinely does help; now I know what solution I need to effect for my existing bag/rack setup.

somervillain said...

A lot of people prefer to avoid a decaleur and just mount the bag to the rack. I had a bag made for me that uses velcro straps underneath for fastening to the rack. They're not entirely secure by themselves, so for an added layer of security, I designed the shock cord closure for the main flap to wrap around the rack's "tombstone". This keeps the bag locked onto the rack when the flap is closed. The downside is that it makes opening and closing the flap cumbersome when I'm riding.


Anonymous said...

With STI shifters you need a set up as shown on the orange Ebisu with the Ostrich bag. This gives clearance for all the cables. My Ostrich bag has a leather loop not shown on the Ebisu,to go over the "back stop" which helps hold everything securely to my mini Nitto rack.

W Stick said...

I feel it really matters about bicycle size. Handlebar center to top of tire/fender/rack. What works great on one, will not work on a another. When upgrading to a handlebar bag try and keep the bag low and secure, do not freak out about if it doesn't look like the picture of a bike you saw. This is yours, it is a little different. Oh, yeah and ride more..

Ondrej said...

I currently use a long surly strap through the shoulder strap loops and around the brake hoods. With the right sort of brake hoods, this does not interfere with braking, and basically works the same as a decaleur, but leaves room for the very important cross levers.

Underneath a mini rack.

Dana the tall said...

My bike is an old 2030 Raleigh GP with a 25.5 inch frame, and the bag is an Osterich. My rack (from VO) does not have the decaleur, and the other VO decaleurs will not work with a frame this large. I'd consider a rack with the integral decaleur, but that's money and the fork is already modified to fit the present rack.
My current fix is much the same as Ondrej's - I use a cord between each shoulder strap hook-up and the handlebar, in a loop, with a spring-loaded plastic cinch (like you'd find with the cords on a tent, available at Wal-Mart) to adjust position and tension. It's not ideal: they don't allow use of the rain cover, and I have to adjust tension a few times every day. Otherwise, this solution is cheap and it works.
I modified the Osterich bag to better secure it to the rack. I removed the leather patches on the lower back and bottom, and replaced them with tighter-fitting velcro straps (bottom) and nylon webbing-strap (rear) which are glued and sewn into place. I also removed the rear pockets, to facilitate adding the rear strap. They interfered with my centre-pulls, which was another reason to get rid of them.
For reference: the photo of the orange bike in the blog post shows an Osterich bag.

Anonymous said...

I've become a big decaleur fan for my two bags.

One is a VO Campagne, which I stiffened with a coropolast "U" running front-to-back, and the other is a modified bag intended for handlebar bracket-mounting(see: http://lawschoolissoover.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/building-a-near-perfect-beast-hacking-the-real-world/).

Each has a decaleur bar, and each works well for certain things. When I want to switch, I just pop one off the bike and pop the other off. No velcro, no buckles, it's just plug-and-play. The decaleur is half the story, and the tombstone is the rest.

It would be nice to have the stem-mount decaleurs back; I think they're more flexible in terms of application. But for now, the headset model does the job.

John Ellsworth said...

With a decaleur, I strongly second the notion of strapping the bag down.

I (now) use a toe clip strap sandwiched between my bag and the decaleur, and loop it down around the front racklet (bike 1) or a front reflector bracket (bike 2). This, after a large bump tossed my decaleur-mounted-but-unsecured bag directly into the path of my front wheel, causing a pretty big crash.

Anonymous said...

Based on picture with your new bag and integrated decalleur, is it correct to assume your new bag fits your rack decalluer because you designed the bags leather band wide enough???

John Hawrylak
Woodstown NJ

VeloOrange said...

John, Yes, it does fit.