Brilliant high quality handlebar bag for bikepacking that's totally waterproof to keep your sleeping kit dry. Secure attachment and straps for carrying external luggage make this a really well-thought through piece of equipment, but we only wish it was a bit bigger.
Neat closure system
Removable foam blocks separate from bars
Extra removable straps for excess luggage
Secure quick-release mounting straps
Wider diameter would make loading and unloading easier
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Italian bikepacking bag specialist Miss Grape offer a whole range of bags for road cycling, off-road adventures and commuting. We've been putting its off-road kit to the test, the choice of many endurance racers including GBDURO's first finisher, Josh Ibbett.
The Tendril handlebar bag features a direct attachment to the bike, unlike alternative holster and dry bag models. The bag attaches primarily to the handlebars via two green webbing quick-release straps, while a removable buckled webbing strap secures the bag to the head tube.
These green straps on the handlebars pass over foam blocks which separate the bag from the bars, serving not only to protect them from rubbing but importantly to make sure you can still hold the bars without the bag getting in the way. If you'd rather not use these foam blocks, you can easily remove them thanks to some velcro straps here.
You can secure the bag to the bars by pulling on the end of the green webbing, which tightens the hold, and the end of the strap neatly tucks away as shown, so it doesn't tickle your knees while pedalling!
The bag is essentially a long tube, measuring 18cm in diameter. It's constructed from nylon coated with phthalate-free PVC, and reinforced with a nylon/polyester blend that's dotted with water-repellent resin. To close the bag, the openings at either end are rolled down and then buckles at either end clip in to corresponding buckles at the front and rear of the bag. These can then be pulled tight to secure.
Externally, there are two black webbing straps that run around the circumference of the bag. These can be removed easily by simply unbuckling if you'd rather just run the bag as it is, or can provide additional support or storage.
Miss Grape suggest that you use this bag for your overnight sleeping equipment, so I took it on a very wet bikepacking trip to the Black Mountain in Wales (west of the Brecon Beacons) to put that, and the waterproof claims, to the test. This handlebar bag carried my down winter sleeping bag, as well as my packed down jacket and fitted comfortably between 40cm flared drop bars. On a different overnighter, the bag also fitted really neatly on my MTB flat bars.
Putting the external straps to good use, I used these to hold my tarp on top. These were surprisingly secure and really easy to tighten, which meant that I had a couple of Voile straps to spare!
My only gripe with the bag is the circumference of the opening - which is the same as the whole tube. It was a pleasure to have so much clearance above my front tyre for a relatively short rider, but I'd love to have more space in the bag for storing more kit, and to make loading it easier too.
If you know Sarn Helen, thought to be an ancient roman road through Wales, you'll know the kind of terrain that this was tested on, and that goes well beyond the norms of gravel riding. Even over this really tough terrain, the bag remained secure and steadfast.
Then, in typical Welsh fashion, there was a rainstorm overnight. There wasn't enough space under my tarp for my hammock, my friend's bivvy bag and the bike, so I closed the bags and let nature conduct her waterproofing test. After a night-long deluge, I was pretty impressed in the morning to find both the inside of this handlebar bag and the Cluster seatpost bag were bone dry.
When you take into consideration that Miss Grape offers a lifetime guarantee on its products (excluding zips), I think that £110 for a totally waterproof handlebar bag is actually great value. It's certainly not the cheapest bikepacking bar bag on the market, but it's obviously extremely well made and really well thought through. Plus, you know that if you have any accidents or issues, Miss Grape will either repair or replace it for you.
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