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October 20, 2021
No matter where you travel on your bike, taking items along for the ride requires the right gear to accommodate the load. Whether commuting to work, venturing to the store for groceries, or heading out on an overnight bike trip, knowing which bike bag and accessories to equip yourself with can make a world of difference.
Bike bags are a perfect way to lighten your load and eliminate unnecessary weight on your body while riding. Whether it be a pannier mounted to your cargo rack, a handlebar bag, a frame bag, or a seat post bag, innovative bag design options can help you focus on riding and the road ahead. Having a secure spot for your water, lock, keys, phone, and wallet can relieve the stress of losing items or carrying them uncomfortably on your body. Next time you head out, switch up that backpack for a lighter and more efficient bike bag. While there are many available models on the market, we wanted to highlight a range of our favorites.
This Rapha trail hip pack is a form-fitting and breathable back panel bag that gives you the support and stability needed to keep your personal items secure and safe all the way down the trail. The adjustable waist straps and lock-in fit prevents the bag from moving around through bumpy terrain. This roomy pack comes with two external pouches for water bottles or other accessories with a mesh collar to ensure everything is tight and safe. All this, plus an external drawcord made of recycled materials make it easy to secure items like a jacket. The Rapha Trail Hip Pack is one of the most stable and comfortable bag options for mountain biking.
The Outer Shell Half Frambag comes in three sizes and ten different colors made to fit a variety of bike styles and sizes. While a frame bag can take up considerable space, Outer Shells’ design allows ample room for water and other accessories, coming with extra long velcro straps that can be trimmed or moved around to different slots. The bag itself is composed of a foam-padded perimeter to prevent rattling and PU-coated water-resistant Cordura fabric. Handmade in California, the Outer Shell Half Frame Bag has a full-zip main compartment, internal pocket(s) inside the main compartment, and full zip external pocket that makes for more than ample storage space. It’s never a bad idea to have your emergency trail kit or tire repair gear packed into an efficient trail bag like this.
The Outer Shell Mini Saddle Bag is a well-designed pack that fits perfectly on everything from sleek carbon road bikes to full-suspension trail bikes. While it may look minuscule, the mini saddle bag can easily fit one big tube for the MTB or two for the roadie, plus a multitool, levers, and CO₂ cartridge. A quick, secure, and dropper-compatible attachment fastens the bag using a rubber strap by Voilé. Also handmade in California, the bag features a water-resistant zipper closure and comes in PU-coated Cordura, X-Pac, or LiteSkin main fabrics.
The Brooks England Scape Top Tube bag is perfect for gravel enthusiasts who won’t stop for anything. The small and compact top tube bag makes it easy to store and access your gels or snacks with ease. The bag itself comes with padded lateral and bottom support that reduces noise and protects your belongings. All this, plus hook-and-loop straps, a KCC waterproof zipper, and waterproofing material, makes it a perfect option for extended rides, adventuring, or even racing.
While you may not ride your vintage bike to work every day, the Brooks England Barbican Messenger bag is a perfect way to make a statement and stand out in style. While the Brooks messenger bag comes in at a higher overall price, the vegetable-tanned leather, adjustable straps, and water-resistant coating make it well worth the investment. More than that, the bag can hold 800 cubic inches, which is enough space for both a computer and a jacket. It also fits nicely on your back with smaller accessible pockets for electronics, pens, or a wallet.
The Ornot Mini Handlebar Bag allows you to easily stash your phone, snacks, wallet, and whatever other small items you want to bring along your ride. This bag almost disappears under your bars when secured on a drop bar or flat bar bike via two durable velcro straps and a tether cord, leaving more than enough room for your bike computer or fitness tracker upfront. The bag itself features a secure YKK zipper that grants easy access to whatever you need on the go.
The REI Link Seat Pack combines top-notch weather-resistant materials, manufacturing, and innovative design to keep all your gear secure and dry. Whatever bike packing or touring conditions you plan to encounter, the water-resistant ripstop and rugged ballistic nylon is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) to repel light rain and tire spray. More than that, the roll-top closure and seam-sealed liner provide additional water resistance. When it comes to fastening the bag, the compression straps keep the load contained and stable with a shock cord on top for stashing a jacket on the go and a seat post attachment with cam-lock side-release buckles to maintain a secure attachment to saddle rails. Made using blue sign-approved materials, the REI Co-Op Link Seat Pack is one of the most sustainable and high-functioning seat packs on the market.
While not all bikes can accommodate pannier racks, if you are using your bike to commute, bike pack, or transport goods longer distances, take the weight off your shoulders and onto your bike with a pannier. They can save you significant time and energy. Something like the Thule Shield Pannier 17L is a great urban pannier option completed with a padded laptop sleeve, a waterproof design, and quick access to your phone, wallet, and keys. With a removable shoulder strap, carrying the bag off the bike is equally seamless. The Thule Shield Pannier 17L can go with you wherever you need it.
The Topo Designs Mini Bike Bag can be comfortably fastened to most bikes allowing the necessary space to store small tools, a tube, sunglasses, or an extra snack. While the bag may be mini, it requires little worry and maintenance while still looking fantastic. The water repellent exterior nylon and waterproof truck tarp liner make for easy cleaning, and a hook & loop 2-strap attachment system makes it even easier to attach. All this, plus an oversized coated YKK zipper and water-resistant zipper track, make the Topo Designs Mini Bike bag a quality product with a great lifespan.
For more riding and gear tips, Head to the Thread + Spoke Blog to learn more.
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Road bikes and gravel bikes are two popular types of bicycles that are designed for different purposes. Road bikes are specifically designed for speed and efficiency on the tarmac, while gravel bikes are built for versatility and durability on unpaved roads and mixed terrain. In this article, we will compare and contrast road bikes and gravel bikes to help you decide which one is right for you.