What’s in your handlebar bag? Bike Handlebar Bags really are one of those useful things that you don’t realise you need until you have one, so when Craft Cadence asked us to review their 3.5ltr fully waterproof version we were excited to try it out on some very wet, wintry commutes into central London.
So without further ado, here is my full Craft Cadence 3.5ltr Waterproof Handlebar bag – Enjoy!
What’s in your handlebar bag? Craft Cadence Handlebar Bag Review
Table of Contents
Bag Features –
- Seam welded clam shell design enables IPX5 waterproofing with easy one handed access to essentials
- 3 – 3.5 liter capacity perfect for phones, DSLR camera and set of lens, external battery pack, keys and other essentials
- Three point mount with non-slip belt system on handlebar
- Detachable strap that turns bag into casual shoulder bag when taken off the bike
- Tough wearing tarpaulin material will take abuse for years and years
- Internal mesh pocket for easy organization of phones, battery packs, wallets, etc.
Out of the Box – First Impressions
Packaging was nothing to speak of as product arrived in just a plastic bag, upon first touch, you could tell straight away that this bag was designed to be fully waterproof – This bag actually looks like it was made from a tarpaulin and looks very hard wearing.
Very striking, we had the Yellow/ Black which is fine, but it’s not necessarily going to co-ordinate with you or your bike, but nonetheless you could say it’s a safety feature makes the rider more visible which is always a good thing.
It also has reflective stripes on the sides of the back which is good attention to detail.
Inside the bag is a strap which can be attached which turns this bag into what I would describe as a ‘Man Bag’ – it’s a handy way to carry it around when detached from the bike.
contents also include 2 x rubber buckle straps and a Velcro fastener to secure to the stem.
Design & Innovation
The Craft Cadence Handlebar bag itself is very simple in design, and the ‘lid’ just folds down, fastened with a clip and I like the simplicity of the bag overall – designed for keeping things dry and an additional 3.5 ltrs of space which is very handy on your ride.
Craft Cadence have been thoughtful in the design of this bag so you can attach a light just below the fastener/ enclosure which is a nice touch.
In terms of the enclosure, this looks adjustable, but is not. – Craft Cadence explored the possibility of making the straps adjustable However, they did not like the way adjustable straps flapped around and it would also have also interfered with the light attachment (based on the current design).
The Craft Cadence Team claim to have tested the fit of the bag with and without adjustment straps ( on the fastener) and concluded that for a waterproof fit, adjustable straps did not significantly increase capacity. Hence, in this version they stuck with the simple buckle design and I agree with this.
Storage and Compartments
This bag is ‘Zipless’ and Craft Cadence have just gone for maximum storage – simple but effective.
There are no pockets on the exterior but it does have a mesh pocket inside which is quite useful for smaller items you want to keep separate.
I was storing my phone, power bank, gloves, snacks and headphones in here and there was a surprising amount of space left over which was very handy when grabbing items from shops on the daily commute.
Is it Waterproof?
Now this is where this bag comes into it’s own, and it has to be one of the most waterproof bags I have ever reviewed.
Over the last month or so this bag has been subjected to some pretty horrific British weather ( including Storn Eunice) and all the contents remained completely dry without fail.
This is down to the tarpaulin type material they have used here and I must say the quality is really good and feels like it will stand the test of time which for £30 is very good value.
Setup and Ease of use
To be honest I struggled a bit here. There are 2 x black rubber belt straps ( a bit like you get on a watch) and there were no instructions that came with the bag which would have been helpful so I wasn’t sure which way they should be fastened, but eventually managed it successfully.
John Hsu ( Founder of Craft Cadence) explained they use a belt system made specifically for this bag which works similar to skiing straps and in their view strike the right balance between stability, weight and ease of use.
He also stated that Velcro straps in his view although were more adaptable and easier to use, were less stable and at times could be flimsy.
Personally, I would have preferred a reinforced Velcro strap for ease of use and I don’t think it would have compromised the stability too much. I can see this being the case if you are carrying heavy items which would be unusual for this size bag in my view.
What’s It Like On The Bike?
For most Electric bikes that have a centrally mounted display this bag does not work as it is unable to sit properly on the front of the handlebars, however I have tried this on a few other models like a Brompton and another Giant without a display unit and it fitted well as it would on any ‘Acoustic’ bike.
I wouldn’t say access to the bag while riding is particularly easy as stated by Craft Cadence who claim it’s a ‘one handed operation’ as the flap is not facing the rider, but this is not it’s core purpose either.
Depending on how tight you fasten the straps, the bag will sit higher or lower on the handlebar. It is possible to loosen the straps by a couple of holes so the bag sits level or slightly below the handlebar bag, if you use a front mounted cycle computer.
Overall though, I did not experience the bag coming loose once fastened properly and it felt pretty secure and did not move around while riding on several terrains.
Pros & Cons –
- 100% Waterproof
- Perfect for small items
- Hard Wearing and Excellent Quality
- Value for Money
- Attachment of straps
- Only 2 Colour Options ( Yellow & Black)
Conclusion – What’s in your handlebar bag?
The Craft Cadence Waterproof 3.5ltr Handlebar bag out-performs any other bag out there in terms of it’s waterproof qualities, value for money and usefulness.
For £30 – £40 this should be an easy choice providing any commuter with a handy bit of extra storage to stash snacks, keys and other necessary items that won’t always fit in your main pannier or back pack and most of all – Will be dry as a bone when you get to your destination.
What’s in your handlebar bag? and how does it compare to the above? I would love to know so drop me a line below