Avenir Waterproof Bar Bag  £49.99

6/10

Small, neat and simple bar bag at a fair price, ideal for commuters, tourists or audax riders, although with a couple of odd features.

Weight 831g   Contact  www.raleigh.co.uk

by David Else   June 18, 2012  

This is the smallest of Avenir's range of waterproof handlebar bags. Trimmed down to the basics, it's ideal for audax rides, club-runs, commuting or other occasions when the stuff you need to carry is too much for jersey pockets, but not enough to warrant full saddlebag. We found it lives up to its waterproof claims and is actually slightly bigger than its nominal capacity, but it's marked down by a couple of quirks.

The bag is a simple box-like shape, measuring about 22cm by 13cm by 16cm. Its advertised capacity is 3 litres, but in reality it's more like 3.5 (more of that later). The outer layers are made from stiff plastic, welded together to make the bag waterproof. The inside of the bag is lined with slightly fleecy fabric.

The lid is also made from stiff plastic, and held shut by two elasticated loops hooking onto studs in the back of the bag. The lid's hinge is made from a strip of flexible plastic running across the front of the bag. This is good: you can open the bag and get something out while you're moving. However the hinge springs the lid open when the loops are unclipped, which is not what you want at all when riding along.

The bag has no internal pockets, but it comes with two dividers with Velcro edges, so you can adjust them to make compartments of different sizes, or remove them altogether.

The Klickfix-compatible mount clamps round the handlebar on either side of the stem, and comes with spacers for thinner bars. These are made from hard plastic, so to provide the necessary grip (and prevent the bag from cantilevering forward under its own weight when loaded) they are serrated on the inside and outside. The serrations on the outside of the spacers are fine - they grip the inside of the mount itself - but you might not want the serrations on the inside of the spacers coming into contact with your handlebars, as scratching is inevitable.

I got round this issue by taping some strips of old inner tube to the bar, then fitting the spacers, then the mount. Quite a faff, but once it was on and all bolted up, everything was very sturdy and secure.

Although the bag is held securely in place onto the mount when you're riding, it unclips very easily when you need to remove it. It also comes with a carrying strap that slots on to studs each side of the bag.

As mentioned, this bag has no external pockets. The only other feature is a clear plastic map case that fits to the top of the bag with a couple of press-studs. These proved to be insufficient to hold the map case in place when riding fast or in a wind. It needs at least another two press-studs (ie, one in each corner) to hold it in place.

To test the bag's waterproof qualities, I took it into the road.cc aquatic research centre (which doubles as the road.cc staff shower cubicle). After it had been exposed to falling water for 15 minutes, there was no sign of ingress. Next, to finally check for any leaks, I filled up the bag with water, which is how I know it takes 3.5 litres. After an hour, there was a slight damp patch underneath the bag, but I would be pretty confident in saying this bag will be waterproof enough for anything the weather may throw at it during a bike ride.

The bag is available in only one colour scheme, black and grey, with some small silver shapes on each side of the bag. These are reflective, so a handy touch for all you through-the-night tourists and audax riders out there.

The recommended price is a penny under 50 quid, which seems a lot of money for a bar bag, but it's on a par with waterproof bar-bags from other brands. You can find it for £40 or less at various on-line retailers which makes it fair value.

Verdict

Small, neat and simple bar bag at a fair price, ideal for commuters, tourists or audax riders, although with a couple of odd features.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Avenir Waterproof Bar Bag

Size tested: Black/grey

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The bag is aimed at commuters, tourists or audax riders, or anyone who wants to carry a bit more stuff than you can fit in a back pocket. You could also use it for longer touring, teamed up with panniers and other bags.

This particular model doesn't seem to be listed on the distributor's website, but here's how one of the retailers describes it:

Full welded seams, 3 litre capacity, 13cm x 20cm x 18.5 cm, klickfix plate compatable quik release system, internal organiser pocket, includes waterproof map holder."

Not very much to go on (and there isn't an internal organiser pocket) but that's yer lot.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Waterproofing is excellent.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

Performance is very good, but the lid springing open when unclipped is a pain, as is the the lack of enough press-studs for the map case, so that knocks a couple of points off.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Too early to say, but the construction seems good, and the bag will likely last a long time.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
6/10

Because it's made from stiff plastic, this is not a lightweight option.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Compared to similar products from other brands, value is fair.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Simple, neat, easy to remove from bike.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Lid opening on its own when un-clipped.

Un-usable map case.

Faff to fit mount.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, but only just

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only if it was exactly what they were looking for.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Potentially this is a very good bit of kit, but it's let down by some odd features. If you don't need a map case, and the lid flipping open doesn't bother you, then it's worth considering.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 51  Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm  Weight: 11 stone / 70kg

I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic  My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

 

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