The Tour Guide might be the solution for day riders or those wanting to keep valuables close to hand. Measuring a mere 16.5 x 10 x 18.5cm, the bag demands efficient packing but the main compartment swallows a compact camera, MP3 player, energy bars and a multi tool, whilst the convenient side pockets are great for stashing credit card, keys and notes/change. It converts into a bum-bag but mercifully there’s an integral carry handle and shoulder strap for those of us who regard “Fanny packs” as the height of fashion faux pas.
The hinged two piece handlebar bracket is something of a mixed blessing It is undoubtedly very robust, offering excellent rigidity and designed to accommodate bar diameters between 25.4 and 31.0. However, fitting wasn’t quite as straightforward as the design and accompanying instructions suggest-thanks largely to the limited shim choice. Achieving a satisfactory fit on a pair of Nitto Randonneur type drops required judicious modification of the beefier inserts using a Stanley knife and I felt there could’ve been a wider choice of bolts to lock everything in place.
The computer mount is a nice touch but is potentially problematic with some wireless units as it puts the head unit further from the sensor. I employed it as a lighting mount although thoughtfully there’s also an LED tab woven into the front.
Aboard the bike, it’s reassuringly rigid and the tactile fabric will resist moderate showers, although heavier rains demand the yellow cover, especially if your cargo consists of expensive camera or similar electrical goods. Removal and fitting is child's play: simply engage the yellow quick release and pull upwards to remove.
A great little bag needing a broader choice of fitting hardware
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Make and model: Topeak Tour Guide compact bar 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?
In short, it's a compact (2 litre) bar bag aimed at day riders wanting to keep their valuables close to hand. To this end, it lives up to its design brief but by the same token demands efficient packing.
Tell us some more about the techincal aspects of the product?
Secured using a hinged clamp "Quick Click" quick release clamp, the main bag is made from a very tactile 2520 denier nylon softshell and includes a yellow, waterproof cover.
Typically Topeak in terms of design and build quality.
Quick Click system eliminates annoying bag sway very effectively whilst consuming comparatively little handlebar space.
Feels lighter than its 470g would suggest.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well, although not completely sold on the computer mount in practice. Insulates very effectively from shock which has to be good for delicate cameras and related equipment. Loose eggs packed tightly together survived a couple of miles of farm track, emerging completely unscathed!
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Bulging with features and a nice, solid hinge-clamp bracket ensures impressive rigidity.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I felt the choice of mounting hardware could've been broader-especially the nylon shims.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)