The SKS Energy Bag is nicely made and easy to access, and it's pretty cheap too. Triathletes have been using top-bar-mounted energy hoppers for years, and they're becoming more popular among road riders too as they give you a handy place to chuck a few gels or your phone.
The Energy Bag has a semi-rigid construction with an overlapping lid that secures via a Velcro tab at the front. It mounts with two straps; one round the head tube and one round the top tube. Most other bags of this sort have two top tube straps, but I didn't find the Energy Bag to be unstable.
Once it's on the bike you can fill it with stuff. It'll fit about five gels, and it's just about big enough for a smartphone; my HTC One X is pretty much the limit of what will go in. The lid closure is okay but the semi-rigid nature of the bag means that it sometimes takes a bit of fiddling to get the velcro to catch; not an issue if you're just carrying supplies but you won't want your phone jumping out over the speed humps. Side-to-side stability is okay; although it's fairly easy to knock it off centre it's eaqaully simple to shove it back again.
It's not too intrusive in use. Standing up on the steep stuff I did find that my legs rubbed on it a bit from time to time but it wasn't really a problem. Getting stuff out is simple enough, with the hinged lid opening away from you to give you easy access. The cover extends down over the base to help keep water out. It's not claiming to be waterproof but it'll shrug off showers easily enough. There's reflective piping around the lid to give you a bit of extra visibility after dark.
Handy hopper for your top bar that'll swallow gels or a phone.
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Make and model: SKS Energy 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?
Our ENERGY BAG is the easiest and super-quick way to carry your energy bars, money, phone or keys on your bike.
The small bag sits within arms reach on the front top tube, secured with Velcro attachments. Thus you can easily fuel up on energy bars while still riding. The bag lid protects the contents from the elements. Reflective details guarantee improved visibility in low light conditions.
Measurements: 144 x 53 x 70mm
Volume: 0,5 l
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Handy place to put stuff on a ride.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Velcro closure could be better.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
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
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.