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The Carradice Baja Bar Bag is well thought out and well specced for the money, and it looks to be as tough as old boots too. The Camo finish may not be to everyone's taste, but you can also get it in black or even 'now you see me' fluoro yellow.
For more luggage carrying options, check out our guide to the best bikepacking bags.
There are many handlebar bags on the market and the majority of them are very similar, with often just small details that make the difference between a good bag and a very good one. The Baja bag is definitely one of the latter.
First of all, it's easy to fit. It's simply a case of passing each of the two straps around the handlebar and through the plastic clamps to give a good secure fit.
Between the clamp and the handlebar you'll find some foam padding – two sections on each strap – which creates a bit of space for your fingers between the bar and the bag. They can be removed if you want.
For added security there is a third strap, which you can use to attach the bag to the head tube or wrap around your cables. I didn't need it on the road bike, but if I was out on rough gravel trails then I would use it to stop it swinging around too much.
You can't reposition the straps, like on some bags, but I found them to be placed ideally – wide enough apart to offer stability, without covering the taped sections of the bar, and far enough away from the stem that they don't clash with computer mounts or light brackets.
Because of the way they tighten, the straps will also work with aero-shaped bars, and their length means that if your bike has exposed cables and hoses that keep the bag further out front, there won't be any issues.
The strap positions mean the Baja can also be used as a saddle bag on those seats with bag loops.
At 3.5 litres in volume there is plenty of space inside for your ride essentials. I could easily stuff in a lightweight rain jacket, spares, tools and snacks if I wanted.
Everything inside is kept dry in pretty much all weather conditions. Even though Carradice doesn't make any waterproof claims, light rain and drizzle beads off the 1,000 denier Cordura, although heavier and prolonged rain will make its way through eventually. Personally, I'd never fully trust the waterproofing claims of any bag, so for anything electronic or that needs to remain dry I'd use some kind of internal bag or pouch if I knew I was in for a day of rain.
One thing that does help here is the flap that sits over the top of the bag, poppering in place to cover the main zip.
Within that flap is an extra zipped pocket which is ideal for small items that you want to grab on the fly – energy gels, map pages, work passes, that kind of thing. That flap also has a loop for a clip-on light, which sits facing straight ahead when attached to the bike – not something every bag achieves – and there is also a reflective circular detail too.
Carradice has also added reflective strips running top to bottom on the sides, which is a nice touch for when you're riding past junctions or on roundabouts in the dark.
It's not a major deal, it's just that the Topeak is easier to get things in and out of, even when lightly packed, plus it looks better – very important.
Quality-wise, there is little to fault the Carradice. It is well made throughout, and it's made in the UK too. The material is very robust and has stood up to all kinds of abuse from overgrown hedges and foliage on my local gravel trails with not a scratch or hitch in sight.
Priced at £52, it's decent value for money, too. The Topeak I mentioned above is £67.99 for a similar size – a touch bigger than the Baja at 3.8 litres, but not hugely so.
Restrap's Canister bag is similar in shape and fitment, and is a couple of quid cheaper at £49.99, but you are only getting 1.5 litres of space, and a single pouch too. It is waterproof, though.
The Baja works well regardless of the bike you are fitting it to. The build quality is great, as is the size, with the only downside possibly being the lack of full waterproofing. Carradice makes no claims on that front, though, and for the money I think it's a very good purchase.
Not as waterproof as some, but well made with neat attention to detail
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Carradice Baja Bar Bag
Size tested: Capacity: 3.5 litres Dimensions: 28 cm long x 14 cm wide
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?
Carradice says, "A handy midsize bar bag for drop or straight handlebars. Great for carrying your essentials close to hand."
It's a well-designed bag that fits securely to your handlebar.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Carradice lists these features:
Attaches to handlebars via the straps provided – no rack/support needed
Closed cell foam spacers are included to give your hands full access to handlebars
1000 denier military grade Cordura for abrasion resistance and strength
Multi-direction reflective panels for low light safety
Lined lid protects the main compartment from the worst of the weather
Zipped main compartment and flap pocket for easier access
Showerproof zips with rattle free pullers
LED light attachment loop
Optional third strap included to attach to head tube/cables for extra security
Can also be attached to saddles that have saddle bag loops
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
At 3.5 litres it has plenty of space for those ride essentials.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Plenty of space and the added pouch on the flap is a great touch.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It doesn't hold its shape when empty.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than similar sized bags like the Topeak mentioned in the review, and around the same price as the Restrap – but double the size.
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 a good price for the size of bag and the details, and though it's not waterproof (Carradice doesn't claim it to be) and some similar bags are, I think that with the quality of the build and the design it is very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!