Light and well made, the Apidura handlebar bag is great for carrying all the items you really want to have at hand on a long ride. Just be careful not to overload it with heavy items as it can bounce and rattle a lot over rougher roads as well as making it difficult to close the lid properly.
Simple yet copious storage
Rapid fitting and removal
Lid can be a faff to make weather tight with one hand
Heavy objects can get bounced around
Need to add extra clothing/material to prevent rattling
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If you're into bikepacking or cycling luggage in general you will no doubt have heard of Apidura. Its packs have been developed and tested all over the world - if you look at the competitors of many of the big races such as the Transcontinental and the Atlas Mountain Race you will see the iconic Apidura insect logo littered over a vast number of bikes.
Recently the brand has started to develop a range of luggage more at home on the tarmac than out in the wilderness. This 'Racing' series has been developed for long distance tarmac travellers and Audax enthusiasts, as well as being perfect for the rider just wanting to carry a little more kit without having to strap on vast bags. The Racing Handlebar Mini Pack sits snugly in the range as one of the neatest ways to carry extra luggage and still have it all to hand even when riding.
This piece of kit follows Apidura's design principles of making things robust, idiot proof (so you can still use them properly when sleep deprived) and as weather proof as possible. In this case it uses bespoke Hexalon laminate for the main construction - this is waterproof, abrasion and tear resistant, as well as being pretty lightweight. I'm yet to really put the abrasion resistance to the test but based on the abuse some of my friends put their Apidura kit through and for it to come out looking pretty sparkly, I would say that it will last a damn long time. The main structure is reinforced with HDPE (the same stuff that makes plastic milk containers) to help it retain its box-like structure.
The opening is a simple box lid style flap with a section of velcro to hold it down and a loop allowing it to be opened or closed with one hand. During testing I constantly found it difficult to close the lid effectively with one hand in a single attempt. It often took additional fiddling to make sure its storm flap encapsulated the bag to prevent water ingress.
Fitting is simple and takes less than a minute thanks to twin velcro straps to attach it to the handlebars. A stabilising strap then loops the head tube to prevent the bag from bouncing too much. Additional foam pads are included to space the bag out from the bar to prevent it fouling cables or on-board accessories.
Storage itself is pretty cavernous. It might only hold 2.5 litres but it was pretty happy being able to store a large sized pump, multi-tool, tubes, jacket, energy bars, phone and a few other little bits - allowing you to clear your jersey pockets and ride free. Storage organisation is rudimentary with just a small mesh pocket large enough for a phone being the only divider.
After a lot of experimentation I have found it to be quite easy to overload the pack causing a lot of annoying rattling and excess bouncing over rougher road surfaces. It helps to carry a windproof jacket to keep everything in place and rattle free - but if the pack is pushed out of shape it is difficult to close effectively. I have found it works best when limiting contents to just energy food, phone and jacket; light, non-noisy and all kit important to have at hand. Stick to that and the Apidura Racing Handlebar Mini Pack works great.
It also has laser-cut accessory loops to mount lights or other things and the yellow and silver print is designed to be reflective and highly visible.
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