I know, I know. Kickstarter, right? Often, crowdfunding gives us a glimpse of truly WTF products (The Babymaker e-bike??). But every once in a while, crowdfunding works in the way it was intended – launching a new brand to the masses with a unique new product. That seems to be the case with Route Werks and their new handlebar bag. Apparently two years in the making, this take on the humble bar bag offers a number of clever features – which makes it clear why it was fully funded in just six hours.

Route Werks Handlebar Bag dashboard

There’s a lot going on with the bag, but we’ll start with what Route Werks refers to as their customizeable dashboard. The rigid bag top has a built-in Tech Mount which is compatible with Quad Lock, K-Edge, and Barfly adapters giving you a huge range of options for what can be mounted on top. Phones, cameras, GPS units, even lights – although the bag also has threaded M5 accessory mounts on the side which are the ideal place for a light or bell.

Route Werks Handlebar Bag inside

The rigid polycarbonate top allows you to open the bag away from you while riding, and the integrated stop will keep whatever is mounted on top from smashing into the front of the bag. The latch to open the bag is spring loaded making it super easy to access the contents mid-pedal.

Route Werks Handlebar Bag storage Route Werks Handlebar Bag storage

Route Werks Handlebar Bag sizing

The bag is fairly narrow at 145 x 235 x 153mm so it fits well between narrow drop bars and still looks like it would provide plenty of room for the movement of shift levers. But thanks to its depth, it still offers 3.2L of storage in a 648g (1.5lb) package. The maximum carry weight is 4kg (9lb), which should offer the ability to haul most of what you’d ever carry in a handlebar bag.

Note that while all the photos show the bag mounted to dropbars, it seems like this would also work well on flat bars, if you have a flat bar commuter, gravel, or road set up.

Route Werks Handlebar Bag water resistant

Inside, there are storage dividers made from ripstop nylon, and the outside is made from 500D cordura fabric for a water resistant construction. Additional storage is offered with exterior pockets on the side, plus shock cords to strap down things like an extra layer.

Route Werks Handlebar Bag mount Route Werks Handlebar Bag mount

Mounted to the handlebar with a rigid bracket, the bag won’t put any pressure on your cables, sag or bounce, or rub on the frame. There’s also a locking on/off lever for easy removal and installation of the bag. Note that the included mount is for 31.8mm bars only. Route Werks says that they will have custom shims with a matching finish available to fit smaller bars, but they are also planning to have dedicated Bike Mount adapters for other sizes in the future.

Route Werks Handlebar Bag shoulder strap

When you’re not riding, you can take the bag with you using the minimalist integrated shoulder strap.

Route Werks Handlebar Bag on bike Route Werks Handlebar Bag features

As with any Kickstarter project, there is some risk to backing it. However, the reward for trusting that Route Werks will deliver the bags on time in January, 2021, is that you can pick up one of the bags for a discount. Planned MSRP for the Handlebar Bag will start at $179, while the current lowest Kickstarter price is $127 for the bag and a 31.8mm bike mount.

Route Werks Handlebar Bag saddle bag

Handlebar Bags will be offered in your choice of black or green and there is also an optional matching saddle bag included for a higher pledge. The small bag includes a waterproof zipper, and a .4L capacity and weighs 40g.

kickstarter.com

routewerks.us

 

21 COMMENTS

  1. These guys figured out a solution to an obvious problem when no other brand in the biz even thought to address it. Not only is there first effort well executed, but they obviously did their homework and this isn’t a their first prototype thrown up to test the waters….this is likely one of a dozen prototypes that led to a very well thought out final product they decided to throw up for sale on Kickstarter.

    That’s commendable and exceptional.

    Think they’ll be a brand to closely watch for years to come.

  2. I have an Arkel front handlebar bag that I have be using since 2008, and its fantastic. If I had to replace it, this Route Werks would be a great replacement.
    Some sort of attachment would be welcome if you could include or purchase a proper map display. I do use a GPS device when touring, but I also always have a map in front of me.
    When I look at that the overhead dimensions diagram where the back of the bag meets the mounting bracket, the back of the bag angles outward to meet the sides. If it did not angle outwards it would give you additional space inside the bag, and any available space is always welcome.
    Good thinking with the side accessories mounts.
    .

    • My guess is the bag angles out by the mounting bracket to provide room for your fingers if you want to ride on the tops of your bars. That’s always been an annoyance of mine when using various handlebar bags, so for me it seems like an intriguing feature.

      I wonder if there would be some way to attach a map pocket to the top mount? Well, I know there is a way, just how well it would work. Seems like you could attach a magnetic mount like an iOmounts disc to any map sleeve you prefer, and then use their Garmin adapter on the top mount. It seems like this would be a good way to do it that would offer easy access to the map pouch, plus a mount that would also work for your phone or other device if wanted. Just a question of if the map sleeve would be rigid enough to pull from the magnet!

      • The quick release mounts with Arkel extend further out front so its no problem to grab the top of the bars. Arkel mounts are used by Brooks in both the front bags and pannier mounts sand he Arkel front mounts come with shims for various bar sizes.
        The one problem with the Arkel bag is since it mounts a bit higher a front handlebar light is pretty much useless,
        I would like to check out the Route Werks as it does have some nice features, but it just looks a bit small in the photo’s. A small front zipped pocket out front would be nice for hard items like the larger Swiss army knives and a multitool, while soft items help protect my camera in the large compartment. Its so nice when you or one of your riding buddies need something, and if you know its in your front bag you can just straddle your bike instead of leaning your bike against something while you sort through your panniers.
        There have been so many attempts at front handlebar bags over the years, soft bag, hard shell, I still like the accessories attachment knubbs on the side of this bag. If I think of my first front bag it was a Cannondale which was all new and I bought it States-side in 1982 with the Cannondale rear paniers. The front attachment was this weird shaped metal rod that went under the stem and over the bars. There was a bungee cord style attachment on both sides of the bag which then wrapped around the front quick release axle. Primitive, but it worked. The rear panniers was nylon cloth glued to a plastic skeleton. Because of the frame you were limited to how much you could stuff into the bags.But then! Back then you didn’t haul all of the useless sh*t it seems you have to bring today..

    • Seems entirely in line with other offerings for mini randonneur-style handlebar bag. Swift Industries Paloma bags cost US$175 without the required handlebar adaptor (though part of that might be the cost of a local labour force as opposed to contracting it overseas). Keep in mind that these randonneur-style bags are designed to be readily accessible while riding, not just to lash stuff to the handlebar. They have more internal structure than a simple sack with straps. On the contrary, $179 seems perfectly reasonable for a product with so many features. That’s like 1/3rd the cost of an OS derailleur pulley system.

  3. @retro_slouch: I respectfully disagree. I think this bag is anything but boring. I have become something of a handlebar bag evangelist and I agree with Sevo that this bag solves several of the shortcomings that typically plague handlebar bags – namely that they make mounting an out-front computer difficult and in most cases impossible, that they make it difficult to ride on the bar tops, they are difficult if not impossible to access while riding. So yeah, this is very interesting to me. And as far as the price goes – yes, it is more than a lot of other bags out there but it is also more highly engineered that anything else I am familiar with. On top of that, I know plenty of people who will spend that kind of money on a jersey. And I’ll save y’all the trouble – I am in no way affiliated with the company

  4. I am generally not a fan of Kickstarter programs but this does actually look kinda neat. Sure others are doing stuff and yeah whatever but this looks like something worth taking a look at.

    Maybe dude works for them maybe not who knows or cares? It is a new bike accessory if it sucks it will probably die off and if it is neat then it will stick around to enjoy.

    There is enough dumb stuff it is good someone is building what looks to be a practical product.

  5. As a long-time user of an Ortleib handlebar bag I think that they have solved many of the annoying handlebar bag problems. I especially like the M5 mounts for your lights, top mount for phone/satnav/gopro, the cargo netting and side pocket(s?). The internals appear to be well thought out too. But its too small (my Ortleib is 6L), apparently not fully waterproof, and doesn’t use the standard Klick-fix mount so is not compatible with all the mounts that I already have. Oh, and its expensive.
    But as a handlebarbag lover, i will be watching this brand for future products. Good first try guys,

  6. What’s old is new again, I have a hard sided, waterproof Carradice bag from 1999 with a removable map sleeve on top, mesh side pockets for snacks and cameras, internal compartments and zippered pockets, reflective stripes, quick release attachment system AND a shoulder strap.

  7. If anyone at Route Werks is listening, how about computer/light mount that can attach to the same bracket for shorter rides when you don’t need a bar bag?

  8. I very much think this might be the first kickstarting thing I support! its a lot of what I am looking for in a day front bag as it can carry a lot of but I looking to take and make it easy as can be to access. I can fit my phone, medium sized camera, wallet, car keys, some snacks, rain layer, etc. This with a frame bag (or half bag) and a small seat bag would make for quite a comfortable all day setup for a more relaxed ride. For a more touring/bikepacking mode this would probably be too small to be and something like a sweetroll or the salsa anything front cage (which is awesome) would make more since, but this is clearly more after the serious rider that also know how to take casual rides as well.

  9. @greg that’s a great idea. I was just thinking that the main issue for me is i wouldn’t use the bag every ride. and I would have to remove my out-front computer mount.
    I bet you could 3D print something.

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