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The Kanga handlebar harness is a secure and convenient platform for lashing luggage and – unlike most bar bags – it sits away from the bar and leaves it fully usable. With multiple attachments and simple Velcro strapping it fits almost anything, and the lightweight fibreglass reinforcement makes it very stable. There's only one size and it could do with some strap tidies, but those are the only niggles.
Alpkit takes a different approach to most as the Kanga, instead of being a bag in itself, it is simply a stabilised harness, to which a dry-bag (or tent or whatever) can be strapped.
It uses a waterproof, tear-resistant nylon fabric for its main section, and hides a pair of (removable) fibreglass struts that run all the way down to the fork. They work extremely well, keeping your pack really stable even of rough ground.
The Kanga offers multiple attachment points on its webbing ladders for the Velcro straps, and it's versatile. It can also hold luggage higher than the bar, unlike traditional bags, which is a bonus for anyone short of space above the front wheel.
I tested it on several road and gravel bikes – some with relatively narrow bars and flared hoods – and on mountain bikes, and it adapted to them all fairly easily. You do have to remove any out-front mounts though, as they clash.
The Kanga is designed to hold any bag in its three loops, rather than a specific Alpkit one, though the likes of Alpkit's £12.99 Airlock Dual 13L include tabs for super-secure attachment. Compression bags, stuff sacks, sleeping bags and tents all play well with the design, though it's important to pack things evenly and avoid anything very heavy.
One big plus with the Kanga is that it sits your pack slightly away from the bars, leaving the tops perfectly usable. Many other front-loading bags attach directly to the bar, blocking it.
The straps are long enough to take some pretty chunky bags, but they're also long enough to potentially touch the front wheel. I ended up tucking them in as messy bundles, and you could of course trim them back, but some sort of strap tidy would be welcome.
A few squares of frame-protecting tape would be good too, as there's potential for scuffing to the paint, but Alpkit is hardly alone in leaving this up to you.
It's tricky to judge its value against other bar bags, as the Kanga doesn't actually include a bag, but at £59.99 it's more than quite a few complete bags. The Zefal Z Adventure F10 bar bag, for instance, is £45 ready to go – although the attachment is awkward – and the BBB Front Fellow is £52.95 with a reasonable, but still potentially awkward attachment. The budget LifeLine Adventure Handlebar Bag is just £30, but again the straps can be a cable-squashing problem.
At the Alpkit Kanga's quality level, though, you're looking at the likes of the Ortlieb Handlebar Pack at £100 (for 2020), or the Restrap Bar Bag Holster & Dry Bag at £105/£115 (it too has gone up since our review). Even adding the cost of a quality dry bag, the Kanga works out cheaper.
The stability the Kanga provides is really fantastic, and having used many other designs I'd say that for gravel and off-road use in particular, it's the gold standard. It's really well made, feels rugged, and provides an easy, quick and stable platform for pretty large bits of kit. It's a worthwhile investment if you're serious about luggage. Recommend the Kanga? It'd be roo'd not to...
Very stable, convenient and well-made platform for bulky bags
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Alpkit Kanga handlebar harness
Size tested: 26 x 32 cm
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?
Alpkit says it's the: "Ultimate handlebar harness to add stability, tyre clearance and protect your Airlok Dual. Lightweight and tough with flexible fibreglass stays to secure your Airlok Dual handlebar bags."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Harness for stabilizing your handlebar set-up
Made to last in the UK
Made with waterproof and highly abrasion-resistant fabrics
Fully customisable (contact support [at] alpkit.com)
Small pocket for stashing your valuables
Multiple bar-tacked daisy chain webbing ladders for versatile and secure attachment
Removable flexible fiberglass stays for stability
VELCRO strap provided
25 Year Alpine Bond
Well stitched with strong straps and good buckles.
Creates a very rigid, stable bag, plus it opens up the handlebar area really usefully.
It's built impressively strongly.
The Kanga plus a bag is heavier than all-in-one designs.
Keeps the full range of bar positions usable, so it actually aids comfort.
Factor in a drybag and the Kanga is competitive with many complete systems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works well – exactly as designed – and any downsides can be worked around.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The stability of those fibreglass struts.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cables are long enough to reach the front wheel, so need careful stowing.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's tricky to judge value as the Kanga is just a harness, and at £59.99 it's more than quite a few complete bags. The Zefal Z Adventure F10 bar bag, for instance, is £45 ready to go – although the attachment is awkward – and the BBB Front Fellow is £52.95 with a reasonable, but still potentially awkward attachment. Bags of the Kanga's quality tend to be more expensive, though, than the Kanga and a separate dry bag.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's stable, well made and really useful. You can get cheaper complete bags but they're not as good, while those of equivalent quality are more expensive – and ultimately rarely work as well as this. It's a solid nine.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb,
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.