Detours Cruiser Handlebar Bag
Riding a tandem presents some unique advantages and challenges when it comes to where you put your gear. One advantage is that with a handlebar bag, the stoker can navigate, read maps, and get snacks while still riding. The difficulty lies in finding a handlebar bag that fits the stoker’s position. While there are a few commercial bags marketed as stoker bags, they are few and far between. In reality a regular handlebar bag will usually suffice, though it won’t be perfect. Handlebar bags are designed to hang forward over the wheel where there is nothing to impede its size. Placing one on the stoker bars can lead to your stoker’s knees hitting the bag on every stroke while moving it to avoid knees can dig into the captain’s back. Despite these challenges, a stoker bag can be a huge help while on long rides and on tour. The stoker will be more readily able to grab a snack or look at a map leaving the captain free to drive.
After a long search we found the Detours Cruiser handlebar bag. The bag has performed well in terms of bike positioning, capacity and durability though it is disappointingly not waterproof. Read below for full details of the review.
The Detours bag fits well right in the middle of the stoker’s bars. Our tandem is equipped with touring bars (aka butterfly bars) so we have a bit of space to fit a medium sized bag without impeding the stoker’s comfort. We did give it a slightly more upright than normal angle and it sits in perfect limbo between the captain’s rear end and the stoker’s knees. After the first rain the bag has started to lose it’s shape and sag a bit barely touching the knees of the stoker. We have made an adjustment and when riding it’s like the bag is not even there.
The Detours bag is relatively small compared to other handlebars bags which is one of the attributes that allows us to cram it into the small amount of free space available for a stoker bag. The bag has just enough room for our map, wallet, phone, snack and tissues. With too much weight we find it starts to sag but overall the capacity has been fine. In reality you don’t need to access a lot while you’re riding but it is convenient to have a few items at hand. One downside I have found is that the clear map sleeve is far too small to be useful unless you actually cut up your map. We have never used it.
The Detours bag is well designed with great zippers and a convenient magnetic closure for the top map flap. A few thousand kilometers in and we have yet to see any wear on either the bag fabric, zippers or handlebar mount. I will update this review as the bag gets older.
This is the one major downside to the Detours bag. It comes with a yellow rain fly that you can easily slip over the bag when the rain starts to pour. Great. Only the very first rainstorm we hit we discovered that the rain fly isn’t waterproof at all. With even a light rain it quickly soaks through and starts to get the bag wet. For us this hasn’t been a deal breaker. It isn’t too hard to remove water sensitive contents and put them in the waterproof Ortliebs, but we have taken to calling the rain fly the “decorative yellow covering” as that is a far more accurate description.
I give the Detours bag a 6 out of 10. I am satisfied with all aspects of the bag and was very pleased to find something that fit so well on our bike. However, the extremely poor design of the rain fly is almost unacceptable. If the detours came without a fly that would be one thing, but the inclusion of a useless fly creates a false expectation of waterproofing contents.
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