Vertical bar bags?

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Vertical bar bags?

Postby Simpossible » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:18 pm

Hi,
Not so much a bikepacker as a rider of a comfy, quite versatile road bike (GT Grade 105, Schwalbe S-One tubeless) looking to strap stuff to it for extended, self-supported multi-surface rides.
Looking at bar bag set ups I can't help but notice all the unused vertical space above and below horizontally mounted bags. This seems to limit size to about 15-20 litres especially with drop bars, even flared ones.
Is this because that's how bikepacking harnesses are set up or because experience has taught you that this is the best method?
Would the 'pendulum effect' of a wide, full bag not be reduced if it was turned upright 90 degrees, making steering a bit lighter?
Could it not then also be quite a bit bigger, maybe up to 35 litres and possibly of some use off the bike (thinking Alpkit Gourdon or similar)?
Should I shove my head up my own peculiar niche and go away?
With these and other questions rattling around the space between my ears I have decided to try, like others on here have done, abusing some aero bars. These ones, in fact http://www.decathlon.co.uk/pz-racing-ae ... 68774.html. They look too short to be any use as aero bars but that should let me point them straight down at the wheel. A strap round the end (now at the bottom) cross member to stop the bag dropping, remove the elbow padding leaving a nice wide support I can also thread a strap through.
At 296g they're not much heavier than a Kanga harness, less without the pads. My cables wouldn't be squashed, frame rub would be cut to almost nothing or maybe nothing at all and most of the flat part of my bars would still be usable.
Only ordered it today, will set it up and take pics asap. Does this sound workable or, to quote The Pet Shop Boys, am I losing my mind?
Would like to know your thoughts. Be gentle, it's my first time. :???:
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Bearbonesnorm » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:38 pm

Interesting thought.

I think one reason why bags are generally laid flat is to aid in clearance between the wheel and bag, obviously something made worse if suspenson forks are used. I'd also say that another reason why it's 'done' like this is because there's not really any need to turn the bag ... 20l really is all anyone should need on the front of the bike and once you start to go beyond that capacity, chances are you'll increase the weight of what's carried and begin to effect handling.

However, I reckon you might be onto something and I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with but my own opinion is, peoples time would be better spent trying to reduce what they carry, rather than looking for ways to carry more :wink:
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Simpossible » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:44 pm

I was really looking to relocate weight rather than increase it. I wanted a full frame bag decades before I ever saw one, but now that they're ubiquitous (almost obligatory as distinguishing feature of bikepacking) I have reservations. Apart from the high cost or sewing skills needed to make one, coming from a backpacking background I'm definitely a weight weenie and one of the criteria I judge luggage of any type on is the volume/weight ratio.
Alpkit's Stingray, being custom, doesn't give weights or capacities so using an XL Wildcat Ocelot as an example it gives 4.7 litres capacity at 210g weight. A 5 litre Airlock is half that weight and a 35 litre one, should you need it, only 228g. A simple drybag gives the best volume/weight value if you can find somewhere for it and shoving more gear up front also frees up bottle cages which are in short supply on my bike. Also I think that centrally inside the frame is the best place to carry your most concentrated weight, liquid, both for weight distribution and wind resistance.
Another reason for a bigger bag is packing post-camp which is never as easy as doing it at home. I think most people struggle to get their clothes back in the suitcase at the end of a holiday and camping is the same, only you have to do it every morning. Extra capacity makes getting back on the trail faster and less hassle as neatly folding and rolling wet, muddy kit in a rainy, windy field is annoying aswell as a good opportunity to start the day cold, wet and unenthused.
That's not to say I'm trying to prescribe a 'one best way', I'll probably completely change my mind next week. One of the appeals to me of the bikepackers approach is that there are no set rules and everyone is free to do what's best for them, with others learning by example or having a good laugh at people's weird ideas as they see fit. It'll be less and less the case the more this new(ish) type of bike adventuring catches on, but for now I love being able to do whatever I like without being told it's wrong and being directed to the advice of some official body or other. :-bd
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Bearbonesnorm » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:00 pm

Also I think that centrally inside the frame is the best place to carry your most concentrated weight, liquid, both for weight distribution and wind resistance.

Without doubt. I like to think of the bottom bracket as the centre of the universe and all weight should radiate out from it.

One of the appeals to me of the bikepackers approach is that there are no set rules and everyone is free to do what's best for them, with others learning by example or having a good laugh at people's weird ideas as they see fit. It'll be less and less the case the more this new(ish) type of bike adventuring catches on, but for now I love being able to do whatever I like without being told it's wrong and being directed to the advice of some official body or other. :-bd

For me, the almost 'punk rock' attitude that bikepacking captures / nurtures is certainly part of the charm.
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby whitestone » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:13 pm

I use a different setup on almost every trip :roll: Depends on time of year, weather, intended pace, is it a social or competitive ride, etc., etc. As an example my bivy kit can vary in weight from 500g to 3000g.

Simply strapping a drybag to your bike works for a while but all the shaking around will eventually take its toll. My preference is for separate harness and dry-bag but appreciate that others might see things differently. As a result I either accept the extra weight penalty of the harness (quite a bit for a full set of bag/harnesses) or take less stuff. The latter option might not be acceptable/sensible during winter though.

Even using "standard" stuff, it's a continual learning experience as you find out what works for you rather than someone else.
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Simpossible » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:36 pm

whitestone wrote:Simply strapping a drybag to your bike works for a while but all the shaking around will eventually take its toll. My preference is for separate harness and dry-bag but appreciate that others might see things differently.


Was kind of hoping to reduce the shaking/wear and tear to both bag and bike with my misuse of stiff aerobars which are still quite light. I'd love to know what is and isn't in a 500g bivi kit, sounds more like vagrancy than bikepacking! Is it just a can of Special Brew? :wink:
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby whitestone » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:47 pm

Simpossible wrote:
whitestone wrote:Simply strapping a drybag to your bike works for a while but all the shaking around will eventually take its toll. My preference is for separate harness and dry-bag but appreciate that others might see things differently.


Was kind of hoping to reduce the shaking/wear and tear to both bag and bike with my misuse of stiff aerobars which are still quite light. I'd love to know what is and isn't in a 500g bivi kit, sounds more like vagrancy than bikepacking! Is it just a can of Special Brew? :wink:


Cocaine!

Sol Escape bivy bag, Klymit X-frame mat, PHD down vest. I think it's actually 580g - the weights are at home - definitely summer only and for "races" where you aren't too fussed about getting 8hrs sleep :lol: Supposedly the SOL's reflective barrier helps keep heat in but I'm not convinced. My Borah bivy would knock 100g off that weight so definitely under 500g
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Simpossible » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:02 pm

Ah, Bolivian Bikepacking Powder! The ultimate weight/sleep/food saver. :shock:

Liking a proper nights sleep and not being remotely competetive my minimum weight will be about twice your maximum. Golite shangri-la 3 flysheet (to hide sleeping me and precious bike), Alpkit Cloud Base mat, Cloud Cover duvet, tool kit, Rohan pub clothes and Teva Mush comfy shoes plus brewkit being pretty much the bare minimum.
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Bearbonesnorm » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:31 pm

Rohan pub clothes and Teva Mush comfy shoes

You need to embrace your inner tramp :wink:
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Simpossible » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:04 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Rohan pub clothes and Teva Mush comfy shoes

You need to embrace your inner tramp :wink:


We can't all be TGO legend Chris Townsend! For me a little bit of well made lightweight luxury is well worth a kilo carried. When you're closer to 50 than 40 the odour is more reminiscent of neglect than adventure. Not gonna say I've 'been there and done that' because there's always more and no-one's done it all, but a big part of my kicks is to have everything I want in the smallest, lightest package(s) possible. Nower days I can fit what used to be a 70 litre winter kit into 35-40 litres and probably be MORE comfortable. Flippin' love that. :geek:

Not saying I always brush me teeth and take clean jimjams though. :smile:
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby whitestone » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:14 pm

That was an extreme example and (to be fair) I've only used that setup on two nights, I'd be the first to admit it wasn't entirely comfortable. :| On next weekend's winter event my bivy stuff (including my "share" of shared items) is likely to be nearly 2Kg.

Just you wait until 60 is poking its head over the horizon :oops:
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Simpossible » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:25 pm

whitestone wrote:

Just you wait until 60 is poking its head over the horizon :oops:


1 (&1/2) words, E-Bike.
And maybe a hot water bottle. :cry:
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Simpossible » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:41 pm

Finally about to try it out. Alpkit 35L bag (filled to about 20L) and strap, looped round stem with heavy duty Velcro round the bottom tab all kept away from the frame on a 250g set of aero bars.
Sits very securely right over the front axle, should keep steering light.
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Blair512 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:20 pm

You're just trying this now? How long did delivery of the bars take? :lol:
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Re: Vertical bar bags?

Postby Borderer » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:03 pm

If you have your bar bag vertical then you can't use a bar mounted light I would think.
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