SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
SEE SENSE HANDLEBAR BAG
150g £38.00 (* Special Offer £29.00)
The See Sense Handlebar Bag is a compact but intelligently thought out design for riders who want easy access to essentials, without the bulk of bike packing models. An obvious choice for Audax and sportive duties, its unobtrusive and well made.
On paper, stitched, rather than welded/taped seams smack of penny-pinching. In practice, rain tends to bead up and roll away, rather than work inside.
Pros: Intelligently designed, solid construction, unobtrusive.
Cons: Not a con as such, but taped seams would've been nice.
The See Sense Handlebar bag is made from 600d, polyester coated PU, with a waterproof main zip. Measuring 21x9x10cm. The1.9 litres is spread across a main compartment, side pocket and elasticated 'cargo net'.
The latter is designed for capturing micro jackets and other odds and ends, in changeable conditions. Talking of which, long elasticated tags enable easy access, wearing full finger winter gloves.
Across the top, there’s a strap for mounting lights/similar accessories. Webbed straps and serrated closures continue this secure, user-friendly narrative. There's also an elastic "head tube" strap with reflective splashes, for "additional security"
Generally speaking, this is very straightforward, practical enough should you need to whip it off, say when locking up in the street. I’ve had no issues with bars between 42 and 57cm wide and there’s enough strap to cater for diameters between 23.8 and 31.8. More ornate riser/drops, such as the Soma Condor haven’t presented any issues.
That said; lighting/similar accessories needed relocating. Similarly, though stem length isn’t a massive consideration, really short examples (including my Univega’s) may require further creativity. The K-Lite Bikepacker Ultra V2 Dynamo light could’ve been repositioned above the bars, but the aesthetic didn’t work for me.
Therefore, I positioned our bag atop the stem/bars. Precise tensioning and securing of the straps, took a few runs, before becoming counter-intuitive. Locked down, there’s been no hint of bobbing, or annoying sway - even with 520g in tow. Though I have always carried it, the head tube strap hasn’t been necessary for road riding. However, a good move, when venturing off road. A piece of “helicopter tape” to protect the head tube’s paint is another, sensible precaution.
Carrying Capacity/Ease of Access 3.75/5
See Sense have organised the bag very sensibly. True to claims, the main will swallow tubes, multi-tool, 6-inch smart phone, energy bars, cable ties, CO2 cartridges etc. No signs of indigestion.
I have tended to employ ours as a stash point for tube, tyre-lever, CO2 cartridge and K-lite USB charger (allowing me to charge lights and other accessories during day rides).
Filled to capacity, ours has been impeccably behaved. When temperatures have turned uncharacteristically warm, the stretchy blue cargo net has readily accommodated balaclava/ thermal hat and winter weight gloves.
The small side pocket has proved a useful cubby-hole for spare AA/A batteries.
Access to the zippered compartments is refreshingly easy. Even wearing winter weight full finger gloves and at 17mph, thanks to high quality zip and generous elastic tags. Perfect for plucking out energy bars, or on the thankfully few occasions when I’ve flatted along a dark lane.
Having arrived during a "monsoon" period in November, I was initially skeptical, upon spotting the stitching. On balance, I'd pack sensitive electricals, or notes, in a re-sealable "freezer" type bag. Nonetheless, I've ridden for 2-3 hours, through persistent rain, with no apparent ingress.
Even when I've had a charge cable running to my K-Lite Dynamo lights or given the bike sudsy bucket washes with the bag in situ - no problems with ingress.
Subjected to my garden hose, on a moderate setting and given a few minutes, some water crept through the stitching. This isn't what you'd experience on the road, so something to bear in mind, rather than a mark down/deal breaker.
Performance and specification aside, £38 seems quite expensive, relative to the capacity. After all, 10 litre models such as Zefal Adventure F10 go for around £40 odd. However, the See Sense is aimed at a different audience. Riders who want to release the burden on their jersey/jacket pockets, or those wanting a compliment to their post mounted wedge pack.
Arguably its closest rival, is Restrap Cannister. It’s hand-made, from 1000D Cordura nylon, features a dedicated light loop and costs £44.99, although we’ve seen it discounted online. Mind you, See Sense has also discounted theirs and at £28.99, there’s some left over for spare tubes/similar essentials.
The See Sense Handlebar bag is nicely made and carefully thought out. If you’re looking for a highly weather resistant design. One that will keep the essentials and more, within easily accessible reach. Being critical, taped seams are a missed opportunity. However, popping sensitive electricals in resealable freezer type bags is good practice, in my opinion, and addresses this issue
Verdict: 3.75/5 Attractive and neatly executed small bar bag, but taped seams would make it better still.
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH