Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

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K1100T
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Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by K1100T » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:34 pm

Apologies, this is probably going to be a somewhat rambling and incoherent post. TLDR; don't like my bar bag and harness, want to replace it with some fork bags and a barrel bag.

I bought a load of Restrap bags at the start of the year and they've performed variably on the four adventures I've been on this year outside lockdown. I like the seat bag, it's performed well, as has the half frame bag, although I've worn a hole in the bottom of it already. My main issue is with the bar bag and harness and how I've set my bike up.

Given that my bivvy rides so far this year, make up about 17% of my riding, it's understandable that my bike is setup for all the other riding I do. The front end is low and I have normal width drop bars. I struggled on my first couple of bivvy rides with fitting the dry bag in-between the bars and with the dry bag buzzing off the front wheel.

Image

On my third, I ended up mounting it along my tri bars in an effort to stop this happening, which it appeared to do. I tried the same thing on this months bivvy, but I hadn't noticed that the dry bag had rotated and was rubbing on the tyre. The upshot is that I've worn a hole in the dry bag and rather than buy a new dry bag, I'm considering cutting my losses and trying something different.

Image

My fork is carbon and doesn't have any mount points. I was considering buying a couple of Topeak VERSACAGEs, as they come with mounts, cages and straps. Pairing those with a couple of Alpkit Betonga bags and one of their new Toploader barrel bags. This would give me around 10 litres of storage, which is considerably less than the 14 + 3 litres that my Restrap setup theoretically provides.

My main concern is fitting cages to a fork that's maybe not designed for them. However, another thing I'm considering, is changing the fork to a Lauf Grit SL. The Lauf website says: We do not have cargo mounts on our forks but there are 3rd party solutions that can be used; one of which they sell in their store. I know this has been covered before on here, but I'm just wondering how much of an issue it would actually be, if at all?

Assuming I can find a new job quickly, I have also considered buying an expedition bike, and keeping the gravel bike as a speed machine. This would mean any cages and bag I bought, could be transferred straight onto the expedition bike, as it would have the necessary mount points. It would also open up the possibility of participating in events that wouldn't be suitable for a gravel bike.

I'm not really sure what I'm asking here, but I'd quite like the thoughts to stop rattling around in my head. Does it sound feasible to use fork cages and bags? Should I just buy n+1? Should I reduce bulk by buying a Lunar Solo and a quilt?

Happy to entertain any thoughts or suggestions, especially about any solutions I may not have considered.
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matt_brk
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by matt_brk » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:48 pm

I've used cages on my forks that probably are not designed for it with no issues. Carbon bladed fork, just used old inner tubes to protect the fork then held the cages on with cable ties.

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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by Cheeky Monkey » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:00 pm

To my mind you're either carrying too much or the wrong stuff leading to TMS, rather than TLS. Impossible to tell from just a couple of pics though. Is there a frame bag in there too?

If it was me I would get wider bars, but then I love wider bars and can't get on with narrow drops due to the twitchy feeling I get. Plus I'm broad shouldered so feel "squashed" as well. That or get a much smaller bar bag, or even one of those cube ones rather than a roll/cylinder or barrel.

You'll have to explain what an "adventure bike" is to this luddite. I've only just started to grasp gravel bikes / gravel wankers so an AB is a bit of a mystery.

It's all a bit HYOH though and if you just want new gear, GFI, I'd never try and talk someone out of that.

:cool:

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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by K1100T » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:39 pm

matt_brk wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:48 pm
I've used cages on my forks that probably are not designed for it with no issues. Carbon bladed fork, just used old inner tubes to protect the fork then held the cages on with cable ties.
The Topeak cages come with a plastic jubilee clip type affair, so was hoping those and some inner tube would be enough. πŸ‘
Cheeky Monkey wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:00 pm
To my mind you're either carrying too much or the wrong stuff leading to TMS, rather than TLS. Impossible to tell from just a couple of pics though. Is there a frame bag in there too?
This is was my set-up for my first two bivvies:
Image

I've since added a couple of Alpkit stem cells, as I was struggling to fit everything in:
Image

I don't think I'm carrying too much stuff, it's just all my stuff is old, repurposed, and really bulky. For my last bivvy:
  • Bar bag - Army Gore-Tex bivvy bag, Exped Down Mat, base layer for sleeping in, hat, buff
  • Stem cell 1 - food
  • Stem cell 2 - gas canister, stove, lighter, Ti mug, coffee bags, porridge, spork, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Top tube bag - more food
  • Frame bag - battery for light, ID etc, inner tubes, tools, pump, hand sanitiser, gillet, packable 2L water bottle
  • Seat pack - sleeping bag, primaloft jacket, lightweight waterproof
The stem cells, top tube and frame bags weren't totally full. I didn't use the Buff, and even though it rained a bit, I didn't need my waterproof, other than that, I used everything else. This is why I'm thinking of a Lunar Solo and a lightweight quilt, as I feel I should be able to get all the current stuff from the bar bag, and seat pack, into the seat pack. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ
Cheeky Monkey wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:00 pm
If it was me I would get wider bars, but then I love wider bars and can't get on with narrow drops due to the twitchy feeling I get. Plus I'm broad shouldered so feel "squashed" as well. That or get a much smaller bar bag, or even one of those cube ones rather than a roll/cylinder or barrel.
The bars are perfect for the vast majority of the riding I do. While I would consider getting the wider version of what I have, I don't want to upset my road position too much.
Cheeky Monkey wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:00 pm
You'll have to explain what an "adventure bike" is to this luddite. I've only just started to grasp gravel bikes / gravel wankers so an AB is a bit of a mystery.
All my riding locally, is joining up bridleways and byways with vast tracks of tarmac. My old fat bike was pure drudgery on the tarmac, hence why I now have a gravel / adventure bike. It's great for probably 75% of my riding, the other 25% being type two, and occasionally type three fun, hence why I'm considering an expedition bike, i,e, bigger tyres, possibly suspension.
Cheeky Monkey wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:00 pm
It's all a bit HYOH though and if you just want new gear, GFI, I'd never try and talk someone out of that.

:cool:
Yeah, I don't know if I want n+1, just because it's n+1. I'm sure if I double down on the gravel bike with a Luaf fork and an Ergon CF3 Pro seat post, I'd be more than happy for all my local riding. I know that I need a more wilderness capable bike if I'm ever to do anything like the HT550 though... πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by ScotRoutes » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:57 pm

First of all, investing in lighter, more compact kit is always the best move. It just makes everything else so much easier.

Next idea would be to consider a small change to your setup whilst in bivvy mode; flip your stem. I appreciate that this might require a small additional expense in cable/hoses. I made this change to my Amazon when it was in "road tourer" mode when I started going off-road and ended up just leaving it in the higher position.

When using the Amazon for bivvying, I use a Revelate Harness which looks similar to your Restrap in width and mounting position. I team this with a 13L Alpkit bag. The bag isn't actually cylindrical. looked at end-on there is a definite oval to it. I pack kit so that the bag retains this oval shape, then mount the "long" part of the oval so that it is horizontal or at around 45 degrees. That means the bag sticks out a bit more to the front, but retains tyre clearance. (I hope that makes sense.. You can sort of see it here...

ImageDSC_0143 by Colin Cadden, on Flickr)

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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by K1100T » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:17 pm

ScotRoutes wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:57 pm
First of all, investing in lighter, more compact kit is always the best move. It just makes everything else so much easier.

Next idea would be to consider a small change to your setup whilst in bivvy mode; flip your stem. I appreciate that this might require a small additional expense in cable/hoses. I made this change to my Amazon when it was in "road tourer" mode when I started going off-road and ended up just leaving it in the higher position.

When using the Amazon for bivvying, I use a Revelate Harness which looks similar to your Restrap in width and mounting position. I team this with a 13L Alpkit bag. The bag isn't actually cylindrical. looked at end-on there is a definite oval to it. I pack kit so that the bag retains this oval shape, then mount the "long" part of the oval so that it is horizontal or at around 45 degrees. That means the bag sticks out a bit more to the front, but retains tyre clearance. (I hope that makes sense.. You can sort of see it here...
I tried that technique after you suggested it a while back. It made a bit of difference, but I just don't have the necessary clearance, given how my stem is. Hadn't thought of flipping it round though, might have to try that before I do anything else.
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:24 pm

I used to run fork cages a lot many years ago but the downside was how wide they made the bike. This was noticeable when riding narrow (potentially overgrown) tracks and also by the amount of air drag they produce ... they do act like air brakes.

I'm generally of the opinion that it's better to look at your carrying capacity and tailor your kit to fit, rather than adding more luggage capacity to fit your kit in. :wink:
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by whitestone » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:53 pm

While we (OK, some of us :roll: ) obsess about weight, it's worth obsessing over bulk too.

Your list of kit is little different to what I'd have for an overnighter, in fact I've usually a tarp plus pegs and pole over and above your list. The difference is that when we started bikepacking much of my kit was at the point of needing to be replaced anyway so getting the lightest, most compact items made sense. The problem of course is that such items aren't cheap but things like the quilt have had over 100 nights' use so the "per bivy" cost is minimal. Also good kit lasts, with a bit of care.

This is my bike with kit for a three day ride (including much of our food) and we were using a tent so you can just see my half of that behind the bar bag. From memory I think most of the seat pack was food but with bits of clothing to help pad things out -

Image

This was my setup for last year's JennRide.

Image

Bar bag (Alpkit Gnaro, 3L): tarp, pole, sleeping mat (KLymit X-frame), bivy bag. Waterproof in elastic straps on outside.
Frame bag (3L?): tools, spares, meths stove, mug, porridge, brew stuff, meths, trail snacks, water filter.
Top tube bag (1L): trail snacks, phone, card/money, first aid kit
Seat pack (small Wildcat tapered dry bag, can't remember if it's 5L or 8L): quilt, merino top and bottoms, microfibre towel, inflatable pillow, lightweight down jacket.
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by Cheddar Man » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:53 pm

matt_brk wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:48 pm
I've used cages on my forks that probably are not designed for it with no issues. Carbon bladed fork, just used old inner tubes to protect the fork then held the cages on with cable ties.

Image
Blimey, that bike is so clean!

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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by K1100T » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:05 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:24 pm
I'm generally of the opinion that it's better to look at your carrying capacity and tailor your kit to fit, rather than adding more luggage capacity to fit your kit in. :wink:
Given my current job situation, it's a lot cheaper buying fork bags, than smaller, lighter, kit! To be honest, fork bags might very well have to wait until I get a new job anyway. But it's one of the reasons I'm seriously considering a MYOG quilt, as it's the sleeping bag that's the main bulk.

whitestone wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:53 pm
While we (OK, some of us :roll: ) obsess about weight, it's worth obsessing over bulk too.

...

This is my bike with kit for a three day ride (including much of our food) and we were using a tent so you can just see my half of that behind the bar bag. From memory I think most of the seat pack was food but with bits of clothing to help pad things out -

Image


I've been looking at loads of photos on here, marvelling at how little space some people need to carry all of their kit. It's certainly something to aspire to, even if it feel like you've got to win the lottery to be able to afford it all. I think I'll have to work on the "per bivy" cost angle when I come to justify my future purchases... 🀣
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by Landslide » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:11 pm

K1100T wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:05 pm
...it's the sleeping bag that's the main bulk.
Something I've found helps me with packing is to not use the sleeping bag's stuff sack. I pack my saddle bag with mat, bivvy bag, tarp, pillow and pole, then stuff the sleeping bag into the remaining space. The flexible shape (rather than a big cylinder) seems to help. Maybe worth experimenting with?

(I do need to have a think about how this might work for wet and/or multi day trips, as it doesn't sit well with the principle of separating wet and dry gear...)

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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by K1100T » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:30 pm

Landslide wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:11 pm
K1100T wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:05 pm
...it's the sleeping bag that's the main bulk.
Something I've found helps me with packing is to not use the sleeping bag's stuff sack. I pack my saddle bag with mat, bivvy bag, tarp, pillow and pole, then stuff the sleeping bag into the remaining space. The flexible shape (rather than a big cylinder) seems to help. Maybe worth experimenting with?
Fist thing that was ditched was the sleeping bag stuff sacks, they're just really bulky...
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by whitestone » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:42 pm

Back to your original list. It looks like you've identified the two bulky items, namely tent and sleeping bag.

Lunar Solo would be a good option. The Gatewood Cape is also worth considering but you may need some bug protection. I've the Gatewood and it packs really small, probably less than a litre.

Cumulus 150 quilt (or the 250 if you are cold sleeper) would be the standard BB suggestion.
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by K1100T » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:57 pm

whitestone wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:42 pm
Back to your original list. It looks like you've identified the two bulky items, namely tent and sleeping bag.

Lunar Solo would be a good option. The Gatewood Cape is also worth considering but you may need some bug protection. I've the Gatewood and it packs really small, probably less than a litre.

Cumulus 150 quilt (or the 250 if you are cold sleeper) would be the standard BB suggestion.
Yup, very bulky sleeping bag, very bulky bivvy bag, currently no tarp or tent. I have the Lunar Solo and the Cumulus 150 quilt on my wish list spreadsheet, which is getting ridiculously spendy.
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Re: Replacing a Bar Bag and Harness

Post by matt_brk » Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:03 am

Cheddar Man wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:53 pm
matt_brk wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:48 pm
I've used cages on my forks that probably are not designed for it with no issues. Carbon bladed fork, just used old inner tubes to protect the fork then held the cages on with cable ties.
Blimey, that bike is so clean!
Clean AND shiny I think you'll notice

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