10 Jun 2019

Gear: Two Wheel Gear Mini Messenger Handlebar Bag

For the last couple of months, I've been testing out the new Two Wheel Gear Mini Messenger Handlebar Bag.

Now first, I have to start with one of the things I really appreciate about this bag: it's unique. I have never used a handlebar bag before. Further, I didn't really view this as commuting gear; to me, this was more beach or day out gear. But for me, it works great for both.

The more I used it, the more I appreciated having this space up front. Small things like wallet, keys, sun glasses, or phone were much nicer to have right up front, rather than tucked in a bag behind me. If I'm stopped at a red light or need to pull over, I don't even have to get off my seat to access them. I could stop, put a foot down, grab my phone, fire off a quick text to my wife, and be back pedalling within a few seconds.

So while I initially thought I'd use this bag mostly on weekends and stick to my The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier for commuting, I found I ended up using both on my commutes.

But let's start with the setup - first the mounting hardware. I love that this bag came with all the equipment required to attached this to my bike. I assume front brackets/mounts aren't as common as rear racks, and I have no idea how standardized these brackets are either. Therefore, I imagine it is necessary to provide these with the bag. And Two Wheel Gear does, so you do not have to buy anything extra. The kit comes with two sizing rings for different diameter handlebars. The larger set worked perfectly for me.

It took me about 15-20 minutes to get the bracket set up. It is not difficult by any means, but I took time to make sure I had it adjusted right. There is a wire that goes into the bracket and wraps around the stem to give it extra holding capacity (so the bracket doesn't slide down under weight). It is simple enough to do, but I took a couple tries to get it just right. So I would suggest taking some time with this step.

After that, the bag very easily snaps into the bracket. And press that red button on top, and it pops right off.

As for the bag itself, I really like it. It is the perfect size for small accessories during my commutes, as mentioned above. And for shorter outings, I can go with just this bag. It has enough space for sunscreen and small things I'll need for a casual outing. I can also fit my windbreaker or light jacket rolled up inside. I love Two Wheel Gear's marketing that it is the perfect size for a six-pack (holds up to 10 cans to head to the beach). And it definitely is. With room to spare.

It comes with a shoulder strap to carry it off the bike, although I am not a huge fan of this. I would rather just carry with the hand-strap. The bag is weighted more to the front too, so I found it didn't sit right on my hip when I used the shoulder strap.

As with all Two Wheel Gear products, it is very well made, with reflective bands on the front. I am a huge fan of the charcoal grey as well, as I've mentioned before.

I have two challenges with this bag though and it's to do with positioning (on my bike with drop bars). The first is the brake/gear cables. Because the cables cross between the drops, where the bag sits, I always have to push the cables out of the way to attach the bag. Obviously, this is just the way bikes with drop bars function, and it is minor, because the bag fits fine once it's in there. But it means it takes two hands to clip the bag in instead of just one.

The other one is my front light. With the bag attached, I had no where to put it. I've always mounted my front light to my handlebars. But the bag blocks where my light would go. Even with the bracket there and no bag, it would block the light entirely on one side. So I had to rethink where to mount my light.

I ended up using this: Origin8 Frame/Fork Eyelet Stub. This stub screws right into one of the cable  mounts along the left side of my front fork. From there, I just attach my light to this stub instead of the handlebars. It looks fine, works. But optically, it takes some time to get comfortable with the light being mounted lower. But I'm getting there. And a very workable solution, but still and extra cost.

Overall, this bag is a fantastic addition to the Two Wheel Gear lineup! It's stylish, functional, convenient, and built to last. It will definitely be a regular part of my bike setup for the foreseeable future.

Here are links to my reviews of other Two Wheel Gear products:
The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier
Pannier Backpack Convertible (original)
Convertible Bike Briefcase
Pannier Backpack Convertible PLUS+

Full disclaimer: I am a Two Wheel Gear Brand Ambassador. I was provided with this bag by Two Wheel Gear for the purposes of this review.

No comments:

Post a comment