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It's fair to say that the Lotus SH-6404 Commuter Handlebar Bag isn't the most sexy cycling accessory, but then handlebar bags as rule tend very much towards the functional rather than flash end of the spectrum - and a good thing too. This Lotus bar bag has an understated look, functional materials and a boxy shape, but it's fully featured and not at all a bad price for what you get.
With a claimed capacity of around 7.6 litres, this is a roomy and capacious handlebar bag but on first examination, it's clear that it's also light with it, a good combination. The name suggests it's a Commuter bag but I'd definitely query that straight off, placing it in the touring kit zone instead. It's designed with a detachable clear plastic map case on top, a bottle holder at the side and all that space, so it definitely seems to be more focused around touring rather than the daily grind. The fabrics and YKK zips are all rugged and sturdy, the main internal storage area has plenty of space for most things you'd need on a long ride, and even a small SLR camera (or a big one with nothing else!).
At this price you are getting a lot of bag for your money, but I did encounter one disappointing feature, the simple Velcro strap arrangement for fastening the bag to the bike. The straps at the top were fine and very easy to use, but the lower strap to secure the bag further felt very flimsy and wasn't really long enough or sturdy enough for the job at hand. The two strap sets together secured the bag top the bike, but left it inclined to bounce around a lot when actually riding, making it less desirable perhaps to include that camera, and I wouldn't be confident loading it up with substantial weight for a series of longer duration rides. The lower strap also put a lot of strain on the fabric of the bag where they joined.
The Velcro strap arrangement did make for simple fastening but it did make it less sturdy and durable, and also less convenient and confidence inspiring for touring.
Well-featured and roomy for touring adventures but let down by the velcro strap fastenings
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lotus SH-6404 Commuter Handlebar Bag
Size tested: 7.6 litre capacity, Black/Grey
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?
The name suggests it is designed for commuters, but the description and volume suggest touring as a better option.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
600D Polyester + 420D Nylon (Rip-stop) / 1000D Cordura®
Light Clip Loop
Size (L / W / H, cm) 39 / 19 / 23
Claimed Capacity (ml) 7600
Detachable map case
Zipped side phone pocket
Optional webbed carrying strap supplied
The construction and finish feel a little on the plasticky side, but the fabrics and components are tough and good quality, apart from the velcro strap mounts for the bars which feel inadequate and flimsy.
As a "beginner's" touring handlebar bag it did the job very well indeed once I'd got round the slightly tricky fitting, and it's good value for money.
The main part of the bag will last for years but the velcro straps to fasten the bag to the bars, and the area of fabric around where they join the bag are under a lot of stress, so these will almost certainly wear quickly.
Very light for such a capacious bar bag
A very low price for a well-featured handlebar bag with a lot going for it. The velcro straps make fitting around cables tricky and they are a weak spot for wear and tear but for occasional touring or giving it a try this is good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well for short tours but not with heavier weights
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Size, volume, features, fabrics
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not with the existing velcro straps
Would you recommend the product to a friend? A first time tourer on a budget, yes
Use this box to explain your score
Hardened tourers will love the volume and features but find the simple and slightly inadequate velcro straps to be irritating and not up to the job
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.