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The Specialized/Fjällräven Handlebar Bag is designed to work with the Specialized/Fjällräven Handlebar Rack – so it's secure, with no wobbling around like a direct-mount handlebar bag. Access from the top is quick and convenient, and there are loads of stash pockets. However, once installed, its elevated position unfortunately obstructs bar-mounted accessories. Having to buy a rack also makes it an expensive proposition. We don't have a guide to the best bar bags you can buy, but we do have one for the best bikepacking bags, for more options to consider.
Unlike a conventional bar bag that mounts directly to your handlebar, the S/F bar bag is more randonneur-style design and mounts onto a rack (ideally S/F's own Handlebar Rack). It has a rigid, box-like shape, with an easy-access top-loading lid.
The bag measures in at a rectangular 23 x 28 x 20cm, weighs 705g, and features a fairly generous 9L capacity. That shape gives a distinct advantage over many bags, allowing it to fit neatly in between your bar hoods without interfering with your hands, without sacrificing on interior space.
The main storage area is very capacious, allowing you to stow plenty of items like clothes, sandwiches, tools and your personal belongings. There are two mesh pockets on the inside to keep things neatly stashed, while two on the sides and one large one on the lid give you extra exterior storage space.
With the lid up, two straps on the inside of the bag prevent the lid from falling over the front section.
The exterior is made with Fjällräven's exclusive Vinylon F, which it describes as 'tough and durable', and a polyamide 210D lining, which according to S/F is waterproof.
The large S/F logo on the outside is reflective in low light, and the bag is available in Ochre, Ox Red, Black, and Green.
As with all the bags I've looked at in the Specialized/Fjällräven range, the material has excellent weather resistance, but the lid isn't sealed and nor are the seams. You'll want to take precautions if there's a chance of torrential rain, but you'll be okay over the course of a day's ride if the downpours come and go.
Attaching the bag to the S/F rack is easy – just loop the rear elastic straps over the top of the rack, then locate the lower straps underneath the rack, connect the buckles on the front of the bag and cinch them down.
It's worth noting that other than the lower straps, these are proprietary design details that wouldn't really work on another type of rack.
The same can be said for the elasticated fastening strap, which is designed to fit over a metal tab located at the rear of the S/F Handlebar Rack, keeping the lid securely in place. A fabric patch/tab on the strap is designed to make this easy to do, although I found it a little tricky at times.
If you happen to stop somewhere for a coffee or bite to eat, the Handlebar Bag is fairly quick and easy to remove, and the included shoulder strap means you can carry it comfortably. With the bag removed, a popper located on the fabric tab means you can keep the lid securely closed.
With the bag installed on the S/F Handlebar Rack, it looks slightly awkward because of the height that the rack sits against your handlebar; it's much higher than something like the Specialized Pizza Rack, for example, though this fits to forks rather than bars, so it's not really a fair comparison.
The high mounting position makes it pretty pointless attaching anything like lights or a bike computer, because they're obstructed by the rack and bag combo. That said, the screw holes underneath the rack do enable you to mount specific lights or cameras, if you have them.
I didn't, so I tried to remedy the situation by angling the rack mounts to move the rack and bag down, but the problem then is it decreases the space between rack and bar, so your hands aren't able to get on the tops. Added to this is that the metal tab for fastening the lid also sits lower and makes it much harder to fasten the cord onto it.
On the move, the bag and rack combo feels a little heavy initially, though you soon get used to it, and it's very sturdy, even over gravel.
I learned the hard way that it's important to keep the lid fastened at all times, after a puncture that required me to flip the bike over spilled the entire contents of the bag onto the muddy floor... whoops.
As I mentioned, the S/F Handlebar Bag is designed to work with the S/F Handlebar Rack, so unlike conventional handlebar bags it doesn't come with anything to mount it to bars. That makes it an expensive proposition when you add the two items together – the overall price is a not inconsiderable £170.
That said, the Restrap Rando, which is also designed to sit on a front rack (and would probably work with the S/F Handlebar Rack), is slightly larger in the small size at 11L versus 9L, but at £145 is £60 more than the S/F. And you still need to purchase a rack for it.
A slightly cheaper option, with a similar capacity of 10L, is the Restrap Bar Pack. It's not as secure nor as easy to remove as the S/F Handlebar Bag, but it's £112.99 all-in and does a very similar job.
S/F's Handlebar Bag is expensive when you add the companion rack, but it's a neat, convenient and secure option – and it's much cheaper than the equivalent option from Restrap.
Great rando-style bar bag, but the high mount position prevents you from using bar accessories
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized/Fjallraven Handlebar Bag
Size tested: One Size
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?
S/F says, "The Handlebar Bag provides easy-access storage and works just as well on urban missions as on gravel escapades. Slide it on to the handlebar frame and fasten with straps (note that the handlebar frame is not included and needs to be bought separately in order for the handlebar bag to function on a bike). Should you not want to leave it on your bike, it detaches easily and you can carry it with a removable shoulder strap. Elastic mesh pockets on the top and sides for items you want close at hand. Two webbings on the front works as attachment points for tent poles, accessories or the S/F Snack Bag. Note: The lid and seams are not sealed, but the lining is waterproof, so the bag offers good protection from rain. Part of the Fjällräven/Specialized series for urban rides and bikepacking adventures."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Weather-resistant, semi-rigid design in Vinylon F with lining in 100% recycled nylon.
One-hand easy-opening closure with an elastic cord loop.
Mesh pockets on top and sides and zippered inside pockets.
Reflective logo increases your visibility in low-light conditions.
Material: Vinylon F: 100% vinylal
100% polyamide 210D
Height: 23 cm
Width: 28 cm
Depth: 20 cm
Volume: 9 l
Weight: 703 g
Great choice of materials, and it's all put together really well.
Lots of storage space that's easily accessible, and it's easy to remove when you need to, but it sits so high that it obstructs your bar-mounted accessories.
No complaints in the months I had it for testing – S/F products appear to be very durable.
It's not that light, but then again this is a large (ish) bag with a properly rigid structure, and some nice design touches that inevitably add weight.
Given you really need the S/F rack for this bag to function properly, it's expensive when you add both products together. That said, it's cheaper than the equivalent Rando offering from Restrap.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great – it can carry loads of stuff, and it's secure while riding thanks to the rack mount.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
That you can easily throw stuff in the bag and access things without having to fiddle with straps and connectors.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Only that it obstructs your bar-mounted accessories.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's some £60 less than the comparable Restrap Rando (in small), though S/F's offering ideally needs the matching rack to work at its best, whereas the Restrap will probably work across a wider range of racks.
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
It is, no doubt, a very good product, but it's slightly let down by the requirement to buy the matching S/F rack, and the fact that it sits so high it obstructs your bar-mounted accessories (though some of these can be relocated to the underside of the rack, if you have the right mounting options).
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,