Chrome Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 review
With an excellent closure system, straightforward mounting and easy to carry off the bike – this is a highly versatile handlebar bag.
The Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 is an excellent handlebar bag. The roll top closure is robust and makes it much easier to access your things than other designs, such as zips. It’s waterproof, padded on the inside and the material feels like it will really last. With a capacity of 3-5L, it’s not too large for everyday use, but can still carry a lot if you need to. It’s quick and easy to mount to the bike while shoulder strap makes it easy to carry around off the bike too. This is really one of the best designs currently out there and very well worth the price over handlebar bags that come in a little cheaper.
Easy to mount
Excellent roll top design
Included shoulder strap
The securing strap is fiddly to use when riding
Bar straps are fixed in one location
Chrome industries has been making high end products designed for the rigours of city use since 1995. More recently, this has branched out into a growing range of bikepacking bags, with the Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 one of the latest releases.
Although made with city use in mind, there’s nothing stopping you from pedalling out into the countryside with this bar bag. In fact, its quality construction and well thought-out design makes this one of the best handlebar bags out there, for riding in any location.
The construction: Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0
Made from a 600-denier polyester with a waterproof PU coating on the surface – and a 70-denier nylon liner – the result is a bag that feels very hard wearing on the outside while also having a bit of padding on the inside to protect the contents. Welded seams complete its waterproof credentials.
The closure system is a roll top, which is really an absolute must for a handlebar bag. It opens super wide, so you can access all your items quickly and easily. This one has magnets in the hem, so it’s particularly easy to snap closed and roll up.
To keep the roll top rolled up, there’s an elastic cord with a nylon tag that loops over and hooks onto a loop at the front. It’s such a simple design, meaning it should be super robust and also easy to replace – unlike zips on both accounts. The tag also features some reflective detailing too.
The Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 attaches to the bar with simple Velcro straps, which are easy to use and the length is just about long enough to cope with some deep section aero bars – but without being so long as to be annoying when attached to standard sized round bars.
An elastic drawcord is used to secure the bag to the head tube, which is a great design element over Velcro, which can easily end up scratching paint, clothes and other bags.
This bag also features an easily attachable shoulder strap, allowing you to take the bag off the bike and carry it around with you.
The Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 was a pleasure to use. A roll top closure is so useful for easily accessing items and fitting in larger ones, I think it’s an absolute must over zip top designs or ones that use side roll entries.
I found it particularly useful for bringing along both a Sony A6400 camera and a waterproof when out on my rides. The bag itself does have some extra padding to help protect your items, which is always a nice touch. But when it came to the camera, I found my mind much more at ease when padded with something else in addition.
The material feels so robust, I’m sure this will last a very long time, and the waterproof construction has so far proved to live up to its billing, although I would always use a dry bag for important items when it’s raining. It doesn’t hurt to be safe.
For keeping your valuable close at hand when bikepacking, the shoulder strap is a great addition. The Velcro straps make it really quick to whip the bag off and carry it into shops or cafés. A very useful touch.
There are some aspects where the Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 could be improved, but these are relatively minor points, and it is still one of the best you could go for.
A bright inside liner would make it a lot easier to find small items inside the bag and with the Velcro straps being fixed in place, on some handlebars it can be a little difficult to get them to play nicely with the cables and any bike mounts and lights. Although that said, with the straps being reasonably long, there is little bit of wiggle room to stretch them to reach a bit further left or right.
Although the fastening system, with the elasticated chord and nylon tag is great in its simplicity and robustness, it is a little difficult to operate with one hand, making it a little harder to fish things out of the bike while riding.
The Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 is quite expensive, but it’s not excessive compared to other bar bags. And for the functionality it offers, it is money well spent.
The Apidura Racing Handlebar Mini Pack is £72 but its closure system does mean that items inside do have a bit more of a tendency to bounce around and its capacity is a lot lower at 2.5L compared to the 3-5L of the Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0. The Apidura bag also doesn’t come with a shoulder strap.
The Wizard Works Lil Presto! Barrel Bag is also a little smaller at 2.15L and the zip closure does make it more difficult to get your things out of the bag than with a rolltop. However, this bag does also have a shoulder strap option, with that version coming to £72.50.
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