Review - Arkel Signature BB Waterproof Handlebar Bag

With each additional long distance bike tour, my bikepacking kit list shortens and lightens. On returning from each trip I can usually pare back my equipment based on 'use versus weight' calculations. The Arkel Bags Signature BB Handlebar Bag could well be the minimalist lightweight handlebar bag that I have been searching for to use on future bicycle touring trips.

Handlebar bags are great for stashing valuables in that you do not want to lose in the cavernous depths of your panniers. On my last few tours, such as the #CoastsandCols, #7Countries7Passes, and #RoadsFromRome, I used traditional rigid style handlebar bags or large roll-bag bikepacking handlebar bags; from brands like Arkel, Thule and Restrap. These bags were great, but they were also quite cumbersome and restricted your view of the front wheel.

The reality was that on these past bikepacking trips I used to fill my handlebar bag with everything from jars of peanut butter to rolls of toilet paper (some would say those are essentials). With two small rear panniers, a frame bag, and the space to stow items on top of the rear pannier rack, I found I did not really need the 7-9L capacity of a full size handlebar bag (view my #RoadsFromRome Kit List here).

The Canadian based Arkel Bike Bags has become a favourite of mine for bicycle touring luggage. Since I was introduced to them in 2013, either their panniers, rack-top bag, bikepacking bags or handlebar bag have accompanied me on most of my expeditions. It was logical therefore to turn to them to see what was on offer in terms of a lighter weight bar bag.

The Arkel Signature BB Handlebar Bag was launched in 2018, and provides a near perfect solution to my requirements…

The small waterproof handlebar bag is made from super tough 1000 denier Cordura® lined with a waterproof TPU laminate fabric with fully taped seams. It adopts the well-known roll-top closure design, with a magnetic Fidlock snap buckle to secure the rolldown. The bag attaches to the handlebar with two simple but reliable Velcro straps, and it also comes with a useful shoulder strap for carrying.

At four litres capacity, the Signature BB bar bag provides enough room to take a camera, windproof layer, map, wallet, phone, and essential snacks (no room for loo roll, sorry). That should be all you really need in a handlebar bag on a lightweight tour, and the contents are kept safe and dry in this flexible design.

The Signature series from Arkel is handmade in Canada and signed by the individual that worked on it. That quality control and passion shows through in all the Arkel products I have used to date, and it is also happily seen in the Signature BB Handlebar Bag; the stitching, fabrics, and design are all superbly executed.

With repeated use the Arkel Signature BB Handlebar Bag has continued to perform. Initially I was a little sceptical about the strength of the Velcro attachment straps, but even with a significant weight in it, the bag has remained secure. I have yet to take it on a cross-continental tour, but it is certain to do one in future; this is a great option for the minimalist touring cyclist.

>> View the Arkel Bike Bags range here <<




The Arkel Signature BB Waterproof Handlebar Bag was provided to lifeinthesaddle.cc for testing

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