Handlebar bags are one of the hottest accessories in the world of cycling, and for good reason: everyone needs to carry things while riding a bike! Handlebar bags offer more security than a basket and come in a variety of shapes and sizes for whatever you need to haul. Some are just large enough to carry a few essentials like a phone, keys and a wallet, while others reach to the opposite spectrum and are better suited for overnight camping than everyday riding. The new Chrome Doubletrack Handlebar Sling offers what we think is an optimal amount of storage capacity, while also providing off-the-bike versatility as a shoulder sling.
A Bag Fit for Goldilocks
Measuring out at nine inches wide, nine inches tall and 4.5 inches deep, this five-liter bag has impressed us with its size. It easily fits a bulky, non-athletic layer like a cotton sweatshirt, while maintaining a little bit of room for small items like a phone and a snack. Pretty useful, but let’s put that storage in a more delicious context. If you’re on a lunch run, this bag comfortably holds a couple healthy sized burritos, with potentially room for a third depending on size. The wide mouth of the roll-top closure design also outcompetes most zippered bags for ease of filling up the bag, ensuring none of your precious burritos get smashed. Plus, the roll top design is adjustable, letting you expand the bag for large or awkwardly shaped cargo. But the bag isn’t cumbersome to open on the move thanks to a magnetic closure system that’s easily unclipped with a single hand.
Two interior mesh pockets offer organization for your small bits like keys, and two exterior mesh pockets provide quick access to snacks. Daisy chain loops on either side provide extra options for clipping on gear; we just wish there were a loop on the front of the bag for a light.
Even with room for all that gear, the bag doesn’t get in your way while mounted on the handlebars. Whether you have flat bars or drop bars, this bag’s simple, yet strong dual velcro strap system takes up minimal real estate on your bars and holds the bag securely in place. During one ride, the bag dragged over the front tire when we hit potholes, prompting concerns—a bar bag that can’t withstand a full or heavy load will cause more frustrations than it’s worth. Luckily, we were able to tighten down the handlebar straps to compensate for the bigger load we were carrying, raising the bag up sufficiently away from the tire. This incident also gave us an opportunity to put the build quality to the test. Even after the bottom of the bag intermittently dragged over the front tire at high speeds, the reinforced bottom panel held up nicely. There are some slight abrasions, as is to be expected, but otherwise it is completely fine and ready for years of hard use.
Sling It (and More)
Of course, this bag is meant to do more than just live on your handlebars. Transforming it from a handlebar bag to a sling takes a matter of seconds. Just untuck the shoulder straps and tuck in the handlebar straps and you’re all set. Setting the bag back on your bike takes just a bit longer to line up the velcro straps, but can be still be done in under a minute.
Because the bag is large enough, the sling mode actually makes sense for use as an everyday bag, and not just as a feature to be deployed as a safety precaution to take your bag with you when lock up your bike. Indeed, too many small handlebar bags look like a useless, trendy bag when worn as a sling. Not the Chrome Doubletrack Sling.
We don’t think you need to limit this bag’s on-body usage to just a sling, though. It could be worn around the waist as a hip pack if that’s your preferred mode of carrying gear (the fanny pack is back!). In fact, we could see Chrome updating this bag with more substantial mesh pockets than the ones included—big enough to hold a water bottle or two, to make this bag transition from the weekday commute to weekend mountain or gravel bike rides as a hip pack. But even as is, this bag is a useful companion for wherever the bike takes you.
$60; 380 grams (13.4oz); chromeindustries.com