The Topeak Tubular Barbag includes a number of features that make it – I think – one of the best bar bags on the market. I like the fact that it maintains its shape, it has plenty of storage options including loops, straps and pockets, and it is very robust. It's not the cheapest out there – but it's very good.
For more options, check out our guide to the best bikepacking bags.
> Buy now: Topeak Tubular Barbag for £55 from Balfe’s Bikes
Bar bags come in many shapes, sizes and designs. As regards the design, they're mostly split in two directions: either it's a bag that you strap directly to the handlebar, or you get a harness system that you strap to the bar and slide a drybag into it.
The latter is less faff – ideal if you leave your bike unattended regularly, as you can unclip the drybag to take with you, and on the return there's no messing about setting it up again.
The Topeak is one you strap directly to the bar, but other than the faff of whipping it off to take it into the shops every time I need to, I really like it.
As the name suggests, it's a tubular design and its construction is such that it retains that shape whether you're using the whole 3.8 litres of volume or it's empty. I prefer this to a bag that has a softer design, where its shape can be determined by what you pack into it. Keeping its tube shape means you can open it easily while riding (thanks to the large loop on the zip) and you can get your hand in to pull something out without any restriction.
Inside you get a Velcro divider so you can create two compartments of various sizes to suit what you're carrying.
The Topeak attaches to the handlebar using two straps that loop through a buckle back over themselves and are then held in place by Velcro.
They work really well, fitting snuggly regardless of whether your bike is running cables on the outside of the handlebar or not.
At 240mm wide it should easily fit in between your hoods regardless of bar width.
The straps pass through loops on the back of the bag, so there is adjustment there, too, should you need to clear anything on your handlebar like lights or computer mounts.
Even when fully loaded the Topeak doesn't sway a huge amount, but it does come with a stretchy cord that can be passed through one of the loops on the rear of the bag and wrapped around the head tube or stem, which completely removes any movement. Ideal for really rough sections.
You might want to add a bit protection to your head tube to stop any rubbing from the bag as you turn the steering, though.
There are also loops on the front of the bag allowing you to carry extra bits of stuff, including a clip-on light. I've been using a Lezyne Zecto Drive and it stayed put regardless of how rough things got thanks to the tautness of the straps.
Being able to secure the bag to stop it swinging means the light is always pointing forwards, too.
> 15 easy ways to carry stuff on your bike
Across the front you also get another bungee cord with reflective detailing which has enough give to stash a lightweight rain jacket or a pair of gloves.
For even more storage you get a couple of mesh side pockets for stuff you need to grab quickly. They are ideal for gels, bars and so on – while nothing fell out when I was riding, I don't think I'd want to put anything too valuable in there just to be on the safe side.
The bag is made from 6000D polyester and has a robust feel to it. After following a trail in the woods which led me to nothing but a dead end and a push through dense bushes and the bag being slapped by branches, it wasn't marked in the slightest.
It's also stood up well to the elements including heavy rain and a lot of mud spray. It isn't completely waterproof, but it is very water resistant; it'd be sensible to stash any electronics in a sandwich bag or something on wet rides just in case.
> Emergency essentials: 10 things to carry with you every ride
The bag is very well made, and if you don't like the all-black look you can get a green one – well, a black one with a green strip across the front.
You'd hope it was well made, too, considering its £67.99 price tag.
There are a number of similar but cheaper bags on the market, most notably the CamelChops Blimp 2.0. Its design is very similar, although it does come in a little smaller at three litres and only has a pocket on one end rather than both, but prices start at £46, and it comes in a whole range of customisable colours. The bags are also handmade in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Hollis was impressed with Brooks' Scape Handlebar Pouch, which has gone up to £60, so still cheaper than the Topeak. However, like the CamelChops it's also smaller (3L), and doesn't have the same amount of storage options as the Topeak, or such a neat fitting solution.
Overall, I think the Topeak Tubular Barbag is great. It's well made with plenty of storage options and it fits very well to the bike. The only real thorn in its side is that much cheaper option from CamelChops.
Great design that fits securely, offers plenty of storage options, and is well made
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Make and model: Topeak Tubular Barbag
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?
Topeak says, "A stylish handlebar duffle features full-length zipper for easy access and is perfect for short trips to carry anything you could need for several hours in the city or on some nearby trails."
It's a good sized bag that works very well for road or gravel use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
COMPARTMENT: One main, two side mesh pockets
CAPACITY: 3.8 L
MATERIAL: 600D Polyester, water repellent and stain resistant
BAG ATTACHMENT: Two anti-slip straps and one elastic cord
MOUNT: ø30-ø55 mm handlebars
HEAD TUBE DIAMETER: ø35-ø100 mm
MAX LOAD: 3 kg
SIZE: 23 x ø14 cm
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good storage volume, and offers decent weatherproofing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fits to the bike securely, without moving.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing to really dislike.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The CamelChops bag is a very similar design, but quite a bit cheaper. The Brooks Scape is also cheaper, but it's also smaller and doesn't match the Topeak on features.
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
There is very little to fault here, apart from where it sits price-wise against some of the competition. It's very good.
Age: 44 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
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,
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