Update February 22, 2010: After Chris, from Velo Orange posted a link to this article, readership jumped dramatically and several people commented on my review. Several asked for photographs of what the handlebar bag looked like on my bike. So, I will post those photographs at the end of this article. Just a note that my frameset is a 60cm ctt so that you have a sense of the scale of the bag.
For longer rides, I had been considering a handle bar bag for this summer. There had been one with the bike when I bought it that had a stem mounted Mariposa custom designed decaleur but the bag itself left much to be desired. It was unsupported on the bottom and the load had a tendencey to bounce and shift while the bike was moving. The Mariposa decaleur did its job but the bag design itself was not adequate for the application. Additionally, the weight of items in the bag negatively affected the steering, stability and responsiveness of the bike.
The actual bag was packed flat and a quick touch up with a steam iron literally ironed out the wrinkles. The bag is labelled “Made in Pakistan” and sewing and assembly quality is quite good. The bag comes with a shoulder strap made from lesser quality fabric and I disposed of mine since I had no use for it. Leather quality seems good and is uniformly sewn. There are 3, 8 inch ( 20 cm) straps with plated buckles for attaching the bag to the handlebars and the front rack.
The bag is supplied with 3 black plastic side and bottom stiffeners which work fine as supplied but which I fussed with to make a perfect fit.
Actual attachment is done with a small velcro strap which is much easier to open and close in tight spaces compared to the leather strap originally
supplied. Filled full of stuff for a 4 hour ride, the bag remained stable and neatly contained all that I needed. The outside pockets were good for a small camera, tool kit and such like. The map pocket with its velcro closure held everything securely despite a very windy day. Hand space on the bars is affected slightly but is not a problem. Clearance when riding on the hoods is adequate but you are aware of the bag’s presence. The added weight on the bike’s front end had no apparent effect on handling and the bag is a vast improvement over the original configuration. Well done, Velo Orange!
Photographs of Jim’s Bertin with the V.O. handlebar bag