The Route Werks Handlebar Bag has made it its business to keep your most important ride essentials close to hand and to keep your cockpit tidy. After its triumphant success on Kickstarter, it’s now time for the results of our long-term test. Is this the best handlebar bag for your bike?
True to the motto “Handlebars are for your hands.” US company Route Works wants to keep your bike tidy with the Handlebar Bag. A handlebar bag is of course nothing new, but in this case, the fresh approach offers innovative solutions and clever details. Read our long-term review to find out what these are and how the handlebar bag performs in the real-world.
Show us what you’ve got! The Handlebar Bag in detail
The Route Werks Handlebar Bag is a two-part system that consists of a bracket that is firmly screwed to the handlebar and the bag that is attached to it with a quick-release mechanism. It is made of water-resistant Cordura and a hard top, which has an interchangeable mount for all popular bike computers, GPS devices, GoPros or smartphones. While the Cordura material isn’t 100% waterproof, in practice the hardtop lid keeps the contents of the bag dry during short showers. Wetness is more of an issue to consider on the underside of the bag and when riding without mudguards. The lid flips open to the front for easy viewing and access, even while riding. The interchangeable mount on the top of the lid is clever and well positioned. Thanks to the various Quad Lock or BarFly interfaces, there are plenty of mounting options for the device of your choice. That’s an indispensable feature, given that the design of the handlebar bag prevents the use of conventional, out-front mounts.
Inside the bag are numerous pockets that make organising the contents that much easier. Two additional closable external pockets on each side add even more space. There are also two additional mounting options for accessories such as a light or bell on each side which are attached by Stubs ($ 10 each) which screw in place but have to be bought separately. In addition, the Route Werks Handlebar Bag has various elastic straps for attaching accessories.
The bag measures 145 x 235 x 153 mm, offering a volume of 3.2 L. Thanks to the compact dimensions, the shifters on our 420 mm wide bars don’t come into contact with the bag. Route Werks specify a maximum load of 4 kg. Together with the milled aluminium handlebar mount, the bag weighs 677 g and costs $ 179 for the basic model. Given its range of functions, the weight and price are justifiable, but it also becomes clear that the volume-to-weight ratio isn’t competitive for ultra-light bike packers. You should also make sure to check any additional costs due to shipping and customs before ordering the bag. Alongside the green version we tested, the Route Werks bag is also available in black.
Route Werks Handlebar Bag on test
The handlebar mount clears the stem by 50.5 mm and is mounted within seconds. It is compatible with a handlebar diameter of 31.8 mm by default but can also be adapted to handlebars with a diameter of 26 mm and 25.4 mm with shims. Once the handlebar mount is installed, the bag can be mounted with a flick of the wrist. All you have to do is move the orange aluminium lever on the bottom from left to right. This is quick and easy, and the only thing that will slow you up is how much cable clutter you have to contend with on your bike. The bag sits securely even when loaded up with the maximum of 4 kg and doesn’t wobble or move around on the trail. Brilliant! Overall, its appearance is very high quality and robust, and it should withstand many hard years of use and abuse.
The lid is one of our highlights! It can be opened to the front and thus allows easy access to the bag’s contents in any situation. Thanks to the metal fastening, it closes securely, meaning you don’t have to worry about the device mounted on it rattling away. Inside the bag, there is room for all the essentials, be it a snack for the road, rain jacket, tools or compact camera. You definitely don’t need more storage space for a day’s riding, while minimalists and purists out for a weekend tour can probably make do for a weekend if they embrace credit card camping i.e. hotels. The shoulder strap isn’t removable but proves to be really practical for carrying the bag off the bike. However, it’s not very comfortable for long hikes and you’ll have to remember to stow it before closing the bag as otherwise, it can hang down into the front wheel.
Route Werks Handlebar Bag conclusion
Easy assembly, high-quality materials, secure mounting and a sophisticated design – the Route Werks Handlebar Bag is a real asset for all those who want to have their most important items at hand and their jersey pockets empty. As such, we wholeheartedly recommend this bag to you. However, in order to enjoy its full range of functions, you’ll have to buy some of the separate add-ons.
- clever, well thought-out and practical design
- exchangeable mounts for GPS computer or smartphone
- intuitive mount made of machined aluminium parts
- good organisation thanks to inside pockets
- full functionality only achieved by purchasing add-ons
- always sold out quickly
Test duration: 5 months
Size: 145 x 235 x 153 mm with 3,2 L volume
Price: $ 179
Weight: 677 g (600 g for the bag and 77 g for the mount)
Area of use: road, all-road, gravel
For more information on the Route Werks Handlebar Bag, visit routewerks.us
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Words: Benjamin Topf & Philipp Schwab Photos: Philipp Schwab