Topeak Compact handlebar bag  £36.99

7/10

Good little bar bag for those that want a few essentials to hand on a tour or commute

Weight 610g   Contact  www.extrauk.co.uk

by Dave Atkinson   May 21, 2013  

Topeak Compact bar bag

A bar bag is a useful bit of kit for touring, audaxing, commuting and the like and this Topeak Compact handlebar bag is an excellent example, assuming you don't want to chuck the kitchen sink up front.

Measuring just 22 x 13 x 18 cm and with a capacity of two litres, it's at the small end of the bar bag scale. Nominal load capacity is 5kg, although unless you're carrying gold bullion around you'd struggle to fit 5kg worth of kit in it. I mostly carried my wallet, phone, keys, a backup battery and sundry other stuff in it, and that was more or less a full load.

The internals are lined with flock and it's subdivided with Velcro walls, so you can keep stuff that scratches away from stuff that gets scratched. I found the Velcro caught on the net compartment in the lid of the bag a bit, and that coins and small stuff slipped under the dividers, but generally the dividers did a good job.

On the bike the bag opens at the rear with a double zipper so the lid hinges away from you; that means you can dive in and find stuff easily enough. It comes with a waterproof cover for really foul weather, although nothing I rode through during testing necessitated its use, and I saw some pretty heavy rain.

There are two small side compartments too, that wrap around and do up with a buckle at the front. You can undo this buckle, should you so choose, lengthen the straps and use the bag as a bum bag. If that's your thing. It's not my thing. But it might be useful on tour. The side bits are big enough for credit cards, change, blister packs of ibuprofen and the like.

One issue with bar bags is that you lose a lot of bar space, and one of the best things about the Topeak Compact is that the mount comes with a bar extender. It slots into the top of the mount and gives you somewhere to put your Garmin or your light. It's not the world's most sturdy mount, but it never fell off or anything, and I used it all the time. The bag itself attaches with a locking plate and is held very well, with the small size of the bag meaning it doesn't bounce around much.

Verdict

Good little bar bag for those that want a few essentials to hand on a tour or commute.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak Compact handlebar bag

Size tested: n/a

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?

A clever handlebar bag that converts to a fanny pack [sic]. Great for cameras, cell phones and other essentials you want close at hand.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Attachments Fits ø25.4, ø28.6 & ø31.8 mm Handlebars (shims included)

Capacity 2 L / 120 ci

Compartments Divided Main Compartment

Two Side Zip Pockets

Material 1800 Denier

Max. Load 5 kgs / 11 lbs

Protection Fully Padded

Added Features Waist Belt

Rain Cover

Clip for Handy Phone Pack

Clip for Cycle Computer

Bag Attachment QuickClick™ (Fixer 8)

Size (L x W x H) 22 x 13 x 18 cm

8.7" x 5.1" x 7.1"

Weight 470 g / 1.03 lbs

Art.no. TT3020B

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It did a good job.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Easy to fit and use.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Velcro walls snag the net compartment inside.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 102kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

4 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I was looking at one of these online recently, for the Audaxer in me. I HATE bar bags but this one looked ok - very small, would clear my fork mounted dynolight with luck. And good for munching and snapping photos on the road I hope. So I went and bought one today for use next weekend on a 300. Will report back...

I always remind myself the less I look like a racer the more surprised people will be when I overtake them - and the less pressure I put on myself to go fast. So maybe this is a good 'slow cycling' investment?!

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [286 posts]
21st May 2013 - 15:23

46 Likes

Wise words, alotronic. Bar bags are great. Mind you, I can't help wonering if I could get this down to 400g if I cut off the handle and straps. 200g less bag allows 200g more patisserie on tour!

posted by vbvb [279 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 17:20

48 Likes

I bought one of these in 2006 when I did a long tour, I found it excellent in every respect and used it mainly to house my DSLR for fast access on the road. In fact it made a great camera case on its own. After the tour I found I couldn't live without it. Recently I bought another bike and so I bought another bar bag. Being delighted with the original bag I purchased the same model again - in spite of the 2013 bag being visually identical, the bag attachment had changed (for the better), although the old version worked perfectly the new design is more robust and easier to use. This meant I couldn't swap bags between bikes which was a disappointment.

However, the biggest disappointment came from the bag itself - as mentioned it looks the same as the original but I found the following;

It is slightly smaller (maybe 10 - 15%) in every dimension, my DSLR (eos 550d, standard size lens) no longer fits inside without the bag looking like a stuffed turkey - not a problem in itself as I use the bag for other things (puncture kit/ mini pump/ snacks/ lightweight jacket) but it was sad to find out I couldn't take my camera if I wanted to.

The material is much thinner, ok the bag might weigh a few grams less but then again I'm sure a Tesco carrier bag weighs next to nothing. Seriously, it is flimsy compared to the original.

In general the quality of construction materials has DECLINED BEYOND BELIEF - the original bag holds its shape when mounted, the new version flops badly with even the lightest load, it is NOWHERE near robust enough and the rigid piece of plastic inside is a joke.

I was so disappointed with the 2013 model I removed it & purchased a Topeak NOS bar mount from the USA, which, with shipping, was almost the same price as the new bag - the fact that I'm very happy with that shows how the cost cutting in production has really taken its toll.

If you can find an early version of this bag (with the older style bar attachment) then buy it - it will probably last a lifetime - otherwise I can't recommend this bag unless you intend to carry nothing but the very lightest objects with you.

posted by caaad10 [122 posts]
24th May 2013 - 8:39

42 Likes

If you put a light where it should be on an audax/touring bike, on the fork crown, then the bar bag won't get in the way Wink

Municipal Waste's picture

posted by Municipal Waste [191 posts]
30th May 2013 - 18:18

40 Likes

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