Balancing gear weight for an optimal bikepacking ride experience can be tricky. You have to decide where to lash each piece of your trailside home to the frame, how to keep it all from rattling loose, and preferably prevent the straps from sanding the frame finish away. That’s a lot to ask of bikepacking bags that also have to fit a variety of frame shapes and hold an even wider sum of goods.
The Pro Discover Handlebar Bag is a versatile gear roll that will work with almost any handlebar and frame shape. The cockpit is a good place to carry your lightest weight items, since any added weight will effect they way your bike handles. This waterproof nylon roll will hold your sleeping bag and a tiny air mattress, or a featherweight tent. The trident-clasped straps are plenty long for a small sleep sack and pad, and I managed to cram all of my extra clothing inside as well.
A pair of foam blocks help squeeze the bag tight to the bar while reducing some vibration, and there are two sets of velcro straps to secure everything to the handlebar. Those straps are not tough enough to prop the bag up where it won’t contact your cables and housing, or rub against the head tube. If your frame and cable routing need to remain aesthetically pristine you may want to use a different bike for bikepacking. Scratches and kinks are part of the game.
The Discovery Handlebar Bag has another velcro strap to connect it around the head tube, preventing it from flipping up when you go off a drop or jump. I tied a piece of cloth beneath it to prevent some of the frame sanding. It’s nearly impossible to cover the head tube junction with frame protector tape, but this green rag proved effective. Between the two handlebar-straps and this anchor the bag stayed put on some silly-rough trails and rocky roads. I did have to stop and re-situate things a time or two, thanks to my hasty packing. Once everything is properly secured and tight it will stay put.
There’s a convenient nylon strap over the top of the roll for storing things you want quick access to, like a map or jacket. I have been keeping my gloves here while climbing so that I can bust them out at the peak without stopping. There are also reflective bits on the strap anchors, though I’m not sure what good they will do facing the sky. Maybe a helicopter pilot will see them before accidentally landing on you?
If you’re packing a tent or longer items there is also a second piece of fabric to cover and collect them. It clasps at the ends, keeping everything together. I couldn’t find a way to use this that didn’t interfere with my brake levers, so I opted to leave it behind and pressed my gear into the corner of a plastic bag to keep it dry. While the Pro Discover Handlebar Bag is waterproof, it’s not sealed from the elements at the edges, so a sturdy liner is likely a good addition. With a large enough plastic sack you can add your dirty clothing as it accumulates without fear of it jumping ship — and the bag will keep the odor from escaping.
For a quick two-day rip I was able to pack all of my sleeping gear and clothing in this roll, leaving just snacks and emergency gear for the backpack weight. For something longer I would need to add a frame pack, keeping the seat post open for full-drop fun. This chunk of fabric will keep your gear quietly ready for the next campsite, and its overall construction is tough enough to last multiple seasons on the trail.
- Quick to mount
- Waterproof material
Pros and the cons of the PRO Discover handlebar bag.
- Can interfere with brake levers
- Not sealed from the elements
- May scratch frame and bars
The Pro Discover Handlebar Bag is available at your local dealer for around €51, or you can search our product finder.