Here’s why the Banjo Brothers Handlebar bag might be the answer to your saddlebag and hydration pack-related struggles. 

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Gear bags are a tricky subject with a lot of cyclists. While millions upon millions of cyclists choose saddlebags for their go-to method of gear-toting, sometimes you need to carry more stuff, and sometimes saddlebags are just not the best option. I personally strongly despise the modern saddlebag in all its incarnations simply because most of them are very poorly designed.

Also, one of the problems with saddlebags is that they aren’t expandable. How many times have you needed to put your jacket, warmers or baselayer somewhere after it gets hot, only to find it doesn’t fit in your pockets or bag?

Saddlebag Pros:

  • Frees up space in jersey pockets or Camelbaks and gets the weight off your back
  • Protects tools, tubes, etc. from the elements
  • Easy to remember where all your stuff is (because it’s in a bag, attached to your bike)

Saddlebag Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Unnecessary weight
  • Prone to Rattling
  • They look terrible (mostly)
  • They create a high center of gravity
  • Extra weight at end of saddle makes out of saddle efforts feel more sluggish
  • Prone to Sudden Saddlebag Ejection
  • Prone to sludge and dirt attraction
  • Not so great with dropper seatposts
  • Makes it hard to mount blinky lights
  • Can rub on your legs (doesn’t work with every saddle)

So obviously, just looking at the list of Pros and Cons, we come out with generally more drawbacks than benefits.

Where do you put your extra stuff for long rides when you don’t want to run a saddlebag? Well, enter the handlebar bag:

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The Banjo Brothers Handlebar bag is the answer to your saddlebag quandaries. Basically, it is a cylindrical nylon bag about the size of a big burrito (some brands actually call these “burrito bags”). It has a single zipper closure, and the interior is reinforced with a cylindrical plastic insert. It is attached to the bike via two simple straps.

The Banjo Brothers bag is awesome for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is inexpensive. Secondly, it is completely devoid of velcro. The lack of velcro is actually a benefit, since velcro can wear out over time (and creates the aforementioned Sudden Saddlebag Ejection problem). Also, it is highly durable and more or less water resistant. But above all, you can fit even more stuff in it!

Handlebar Bag Pros:

  • Easy access
  • Durable yet lightweight
  • Lower center of gravity
  • Can rattle less (Depends on how it’s packed)
  • Higher Capacity than saddlebag (but still compact)
  • More secure than saddlebags (also, easier to watch)
  • Can be used in conjunction with a saddlebag or tool roll for when you need to carry a really, really large amount of stuff
  • Can grab stuff out of it while riding (great for nutritionals)
  • Easier to keep an eye on

Handlebar Bag Cons:

  • Can still rattle
  • Not as great for mountain bikes
  • Loadable gear can be limited by size of zipper opening
  • Sometimes not big enough
  • Can be a little awkward to fit on certain bikes (cables can get in the way of attaching bag depending on setup)
  • No quick detach function

This humble handlebar bag has really saved my skin so many times. It is invaluable in the wintertime on long road training rides that sometimes take me into the mountains, far from civilization, since I can take much more food and clothing with me. My setup for really long road rides is the handlebar bag up front with food in it and a tiny tool roll cinched onto the saddle rails using a shortened surly junk strap [link],and the rest of the stuff I need in my pockets. This more or less keeps weight distributed evenly over the bike and as low as possible, while still allowing me to carry all the stuff I need.

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For the mountain bike, the handlebar bag provides room for more essentials without the need to wear a hydration pack. I also despise hydration packs, simply because they put all that weight on my back and shoulders. Hydration packs also create a high center of gravity, and don’t allow my back to breathe. Only downside is on rough terrain, the plastic insert can cause the bag to rattle a bit more than it does on the road bike. This can easily be solved by removing the plastic reinforcing insert.

 

Basically, you need a handlebar bag!  Pick up a Banjo Brothers Handlebar Bag today, and realize gear-toting enlightenment, without the problems that come with saddlebags. Thanks for reading.

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