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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
Brooks' Scape Handlebar Roll is a high-quality solution to carrying your bikepacking adventure kit on the front of your bike. The cradle gives loads of adjustment, is easy to set up and made of really tough and durable materials, while the included dry bag does what its name suggests. When fully loaded it can bounce around a bit, though.
The Scape Handlebar Roll is a cradle system, supporting the included dry bag rather than being an 'all in one' bag solution.
This allows you to leave the cradle attached to the bike and just remove the bag to either empty/pack your stuff or for security, where you can easily whip the bag out to pop into a shop for supplies.
The cradle is relatively easy to set up. Two pieces of webbing loop over the handlebar and pass back through aluminium buckles; pull things tight and job's a good 'un.
To deal with any cable or hoses in front of the bar, you use the included EVA foam spacers to get a flat position.
Once that's in place you can offer up the dry bag and, using the straps, wrap the holster around the bag and attach the aluminium hooks through the daisy chain loops on the top of the cradle.
It really is very simple, and with multiple loops you have plenty of adjustment depending on how much gear you are carrying.
The only thing I would say the cradle lacks is straps that pass under the fork crown, like those found on the Alpkit Kanga Handlebar Harness and Restrap's Small Bar Bag. These stop the cradle and dry bag bouncing up and down when you're riding on rough terrain.
Unlike many, this double-ended dry bag has an internal compartment, which means you can separate kit – like keeping dirty clothes away from your sleeping equipment or something. It's a handy thing to have.
It's made from 420D nylon with fully welded seams and has an IPX4 waterproof rating. That means it can cope with heavy showers, and to be honest, as long as you have both ends rolled up tight you are going to have to be riding in some very heavy prolonged rain before it gets through.
Overall quality is very good indeed. The materials used for the cradle are tough and it still looks brand new, even though it has been on my gravel bike on muddy gravel trails and through byways where it's come into contact with overgrown hedges and brambles.
It's the same with the dry bag. The nylon is very resistant to damage, and the clips used on each end feel strong – even though they are plastic I see no evidence that they'll let you down.
The Brooks has an rrp of £110 and that's in the same ball park as other top-end brands. The handmade-in-Yorkshire Restrap bag I mentioned above is £109.99. It has slightly more capacity at 14 litres, and also included in the price is a food pouch that uses magnets to clip onto the cradle, giving an extra 3 litres of storage for easy-to-grab essentials.
The Apidura 14L Expedition bag is cheaper at £104, while the Alpkit cradle mentioned earlier is £59.99 on its own, and you can add one of its 13-litre dry bags for another £12.99, showing you don't need to spend a fortune on bikepacking kit.
On the whole I really like the Scape. I own the Restrap cradle/bag system and I'd say the quality of the Brooks is very much at the same level – that is, very high. You aren't getting the little extras with the Brooks, though, and it would also be good to see those support straps added for riding rough sections of trail.
Excellent quality and easy to fit, but can get bounced about on rough terrain
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Brooks Scape Handlebar Roll
Size tested: -Width: 16cm -Height: 16cm -Depth: 35-40cm
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?
Brooks says, "Built for hardcore adventure cycling, the Scape Handlebar Roll is a bikepacking bag made to securely hold its own adjustable, superior waterproof (IPX4 certified) dry sack featuring two compartments."
It'll take the abuse of tough bikepacking adventures.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Front reflective logo
3 EVA Foam spacers (2x2cm, 1x1cm) each side
Aluminium buckle and hook
Hypalon velcro strap
Daisy Chain nylon webbing
420D nylon fully welded
Two-sided roll closure
Double opening with internal compartment
Capacity 10-12 L
W 350-400 mm x H 160 x D 160 mm
Dry Bag: 740 x 280 mm
Max Load 5 kg
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It can carry a lot of kit and I do like the twin compartment of the dry bag.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Bounces about on rough terrain.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a similar price to the Restrap equivalent, but smaller and doesn't include the extra 3-litre food pouch. The Apidura 14L Expedition bag is £104, while Alpkit's Kanga Handlebar Harness is £59.99 on its own, and you can add one of its 13-litre dry bags for another £12.99.
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
Overall, a very decent product. You are getting more for your money with something like the Restrap, though, and the Scape could really do with stability straps that pass under the fork crown.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!