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review

MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack (9L)

7
£140.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Very good bar bag but the price is rather steep
Waterproof
Expandable/compressible
Easy to fit
Quick-access pocket
Expensive
Thinner head tube strap could rub over time
Weight: 
240g
Contact: 

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The MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack is practical, waterproof, and easy to attach. It offers a decent amount of expandable storage, though it's considerably more expensive than others we've reviewed.

This collaboration between the two companies isn't just an existing Apidura bag with a MAAP logo printed on it. Perhaps the closest thing to it is the Apidura Expedition bar pack, but beyond the same 9L capacity there isn't too much else that's the same.

> Buy now: MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack for £137.86 from Depor Village

The bag is made from Hexalon, and is very light but also waterproof. It feels a little like the outside of a canvas tent – durable and unlikely to rip or tear.

Attaching the bag to the bike is easily done with three adjustable straps – two buckled straps that loop over the handlebar on each side of the stem, and the other an elasticated band with loop that fits around the head tube. You can attach or remove it in under 30 seconds, which makes it a very practical option, as well as being easy to switch between bikes if needed.

2022 MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack 9L - handlebar strap.jpg

The handlebar straps have a soft and wide material on the inside which prevents rubbing and scratching of your bar's finish, which is a nice touch. That said, if you keep the pack on a bike for a long period, because the elastic strap stretches there is a possibility of some rubbing, so it could be worth putting some protection on your frame where this fastens around the head tube.

2022 MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack 9L - head tube bungee.jpg

Although it's not as stable on the bike as a bag attached by a mount, it's fairly good – and the practical benefits of not requiring a mount are a good trade-off. The head tube strap also means that although there is a bit of movement on rough terrain, it never really impacts handling.

One thing to note, on my bike – a Cannondale CAAD13 – I did find that I needed to adjust the bag a bit to stop it from interfering with my cables. If I had it too tight then it would push my brake cable behind my stem faceplate's screws, limiting how far I could turn. It's simple to adjust, though, and other configurations won't have this issue.

With 9L of storage, it's ideal for carrying a decent amount of kit, whether you're using this for commuting or a longer ride. For instance, I could fit a jacket, travel towel, toiletries, and a full repair kit in the main compartment without any issues.

There's also a really useful extra pocket at the front, with a netted compartment within it. As the flap of this is held down by only two Velcro areas, access is simple and quick, so it's particularly handy for storing items you need quick access to. I could stick my phone in the net pocket, with gels and keys in the non-netted area, and all of it was simple to access on the go.

This pocket also has a couple of slits for lights and a large reflective area on the front, so it's practical for use in low-light conditions.

The bag itself has roll-down closures at both ends, which provide a certain amount of adjustability depending on what you're carrying; they're easy to use, and you can remove something from either end without needing to unpack everything, which is handy, though it's not something you'd want to attempt on the move.

2022 MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack 9L - roll top clip.jpg

I must say I didn't have any issues with my hands coming into contact with the buckles, though I know some people aren't keen on this design. Iwein, for example, much prefers the top-opening design of the Restrap Race bar bag he's been reviewing, because it does away with this potential problem.

Despite using the Handlebar Pack in some fairly torrid conditions there were no issues with water ingress. It's possible that small amounts of water could get thrown into the front pocket if kicked up by a wider and more textured front tyre, but on my 30mm road rubber I didn't experience this.

Value

There is no doubt that this is a high-quality handlebar bag, but it does come at a pretty steep price – £30 more than that Restrap bag mentioned above, for example, though that's a different sort of setup, being a drybag and holster style.

The Blackburn Outpost HB Roll & Dry Bag offers an additional 2L capacity and a saving of £40, though off.road.cc's review suggests it's nowhere near as simple to use as it requires a mount.

> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best bikepacking bags

The Vel Handlebar Pack 7L is much cheaper at £55 and Stu thought it was very good; it offers broadly the same qualities, though it doesn't have the same level of practicality without a front pocket.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a high-quality bag that's simple to use, with practical considerations, but it's the most expensive bar bag we've reviewed on road.cc – and by a fair amount. It works very well, but I'm not sure it fully justifies the high price.

Verdict

Very good bar bag but the price is rather steep

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road.cc test report

Make and model: MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack (9L)

Size tested: 9 litres

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?

Apidura says: "A durable lightweight handlebar bag designed to perfectly complement MAAP's Alt-Road collection.

"The MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack is designed to carry bulky, compressible items on long distance rides and multi-day adventures. This handlebar bag for gravel bikes features a single, large storage space complemented by an integrated accessory pocket for increased versatility to match MAAP's gravel cycling gear.

"Constructed from an ultralight, waterproof laminate developed for Apidura the MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack is perfect for storing bulkier, compressible items. The integrated accessory pocket is the perfect place to stash valuables and keep frequently accessed items close to hand."

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

Apidura lists:

- Roll down closure

- Integrated light attachment point

- Secure attachment system

- Integrated accessory pocket

- High contrast graphics

- Made from Hexalon

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Seems very well made, with extra attention given to details such as the additional anti-scratch material on the straps.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Works really well: things are easy to put in and take out, it's waterproof, and sits well on the bars.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Early days, but the Hexalon material feels strong and sturdy.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

At 240g it is pretty light for a bar bag.

Rate the product for value:
 
3/10

This is the most expensive handlebar bag we've seen on road.cc, and although it is impressive, it's difficult to justify the extra over others.

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

It performs very well: it keeps your kit dry, can be expanded or compressed, and provides quick access to items.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The accessories pocket is a really nice addition, and convenient to use in a number of situations.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price – this is a very expensive bar bag.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's expensive. The Blackburn Outpost HB Roll & Dry Bag is £40 less, with an additional 2L capacity, and the Vel Handlebar Pack 7L is much cheaper at £55 and offers broadly the same qualities, although it's not as practical, without a front pocket.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes – if it was discounted.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is an effective and impressive bar bag, but there is no getting away from the high price, which is difficult to justify even if it is very good.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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