Craft Cadence Handle Bar Bag: Getting Rolling

Craft Cadence Handle Bar Bag: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted

The Craft Cadence Handle Bar Bag on a table with other items
The Craft Cadence Handle Bar Bag comes with an accessory shoulder strap (foreground)

In the realm of bags for bikes, there are all sorts of choices, but in terms of a handle bar bag for a bicycle? That seems to have a limited amount of choices out there. Bikepacking has helped change that though, and so has the uprising of urban commuting. Both of those sectors of cycling have benefited the gravel rider with more choices. Craft Cadence, a commuter focused company based in London, U.K., has an offering that falls into that category of a cross-over product for gravel and bikepacking. It is the Craft Cadence Handle Bar Bag.

The Craft Cadence Handle Bar Bag on a table with other objects
Note the slots in the lower front of the bag where you could clip on a light.

Craft Cadence came into being when a few London commuters felt that they had a vision to push forward a backpack for commuters that offered a different take on that product. Since the debut of that product, Craft Cadence has expanded at a measured pace to include, amongst other things, this handle bar bag, a cycling ‘wallet’, and a 100% recycled materials jersey, all of which we have here on test. Look for the introductions to those other two products to come soon here.

What It Is: The Craft Cadence Handlebar Bag is a waterproof bag designed to compliment other storage solutions you may already be using. The webpage for this product lists the following as key features of the Handle Bar Bag:

  • Seam welded clam shell design enables IPX5 waterproofing with easy one handed access to essentials
  • 3 – 3.5 litre capacity perfect for phones, DSLR camera and set of lens, external battery pack, keys and other essentials
  • Three point mount with non-slip belt system on handlebar, suitable for road bikes, hybrids and folding bikes
  • Detachable strap that turns bag into casual shoulder bag when taken off the bike
  • Tough wearing tarpaulin material will take abuse for years and years
  • Internal mesh pocket for easy organisation of phones, battery packs, wallets, etc.
The backside of the Handle Bar Bag showing the mounting straps in their slots.
The rubber straps allow for a wide range of fitting options while the hook-and-loop strap goes around the head tube.

The Handle Bar Bag is a deeper, thinner type of bag, unlike the ‘tubular/roll’ looking bar bags many companies offer. It has dimensions which are listed as 20cm in height X 27cm in length X 9.5cm in depth. This yields a 3-3.5L capacity. The material is a tarpaulin material listed as “500D” which is constructed using a seamless welded type method. Two rubber and metal mounting straps, a hook-and-loop closure head tube strap, and an accessory shoulder strap are included with the Handle Bar Bag. The Handle Bar Bag has reflective accents on it for better nighttime visibility. The Handle Bar Bag is available in a yellow or black version at about $57.00 USD direct from Craft Cadence.

A close-up showing the interior of the Handle Bar Bag and the inner mesh pocket.
The interior of the Handle Bar Bag is one large open area with the exception of a small mesh pocket.

First Impressions: The Handle Bar Bag we received is the yellow version, and it is bright! This should help with visibility when it comes to city riding, and there is also a slot in the front of the bag which you could use to mount a small clip-on blinker light to further enhance that visibility. The over-all shape of this bag is unusual, being that it sets on the bike flatter against the head tube and reaches downward toward the front wheel, rather than setting outward, or lengthwise, as many other bar bags do. It is more like a handbag in that way than anything I’ve seen for a bicycle.

Next I was impressed by the tarpaulin material the Handle Bar Bag is constructed from. It is thinner than I had imagined it to be, somewhat flexible, and rubbery feeling in a way. It looks waterproof enough, but that will be tested later. The top is a flap which folds over the opening and downward on the front face of the bag where the buckle on the strap attached to the flap can be fixed to the other half of the buckle which is on the front face of the bag. On the back you see what appears to be laser cut slots which is how you attach the two rubber straps which hold the bag to your handle bar and the head tube strap which is positioned down low.

The Craft Cadence bag on a bicycle near a cement retaining wall.
Here Guitar Ted has the Handle Bar Bag mounted to his townie

There is that mesh pocket inside, but otherwise this bag is one big ‘marsupial pouch’ which can be used to carry various things you want to keep dry or have at hand. While Craft Cadence claims this bag is capable of being opened ‘one-handed’, I don’t see myself opening this bag up much while riding. You could, but it doesn’t really feel like that is something I would want to try out on a rough, loose, crushed rock road. That’s my take, but I’ll give this a try during the testing anyway.

The bag was easily mounted and I tried it on two very different bikes. One with a flat bar and one with drop bar. I’ll be sticking this bag on other bikes during the test period to see how it goes, but so far I am not seeing any real issues with mounting this bag on a bike. I’ll also be checking out various ways to use the Handle Bar Bag and report back on what I think there as well.

The bg mounted to Guitar Ted's Noble Bikes GX5 drop bar gravel rig.
And here is the Handle Bar Bag mounted to Guitar Ted’s Noble Bikes GX-5.

So Far… The Craft Cadence Handle Bar Bag is a very different style of bag for the front of your bike. It is made from a slightly unusual, tarpaulin material making for a sturdy, tough bag which has a claim of being waterproof. The large, ‘marsupial’ style pouch seems much like a handbag in shape and should hold a fair amount of cargo. It attaches easily to the bar and head tube of a bicycle and seems to hang well with stability and a dash of style.

Stay tuned for a wrap up on this bag in a month or so after which time I will have had this bag on several bikes and will have used it in several ways in varied conditions. At that point I’ll have a final verdict on this brightly colored bag.

For more on Craft Cadence see their website here: https://craftcadence.com/

Note: Craft Cadence sent over their Handle Bar Bag for test and review at no charge to Riding Gravel. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

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Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004, he has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and backroad events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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