LAST UPDATED: March 18, 2020
Best Motorcycle Handlebar Bags: Enhance Your Storage
The best motorcycle handlebar bags offer convenience while enhancing your comfort
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON March 18, 2020
Whether you’re cruising or commuting on your motorcycle, the last thing you need is a bag that gets in the way of your comfort or affects your control. You need a bag that can hold your items and allow you to concentrate on riding. The more focused you are, the safer you’ll be.
Motorcycle handlebar bags offer great storage for your tools and personal items. Some of them have enough space for important documents. Today, we’re reviewing three of the best motorcycle handlebar bags to help you choose a great one.
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Benefits of Motorcycle Handlebar Bags
- Comfortable riding. Carrying a bag on your back or waist might affect your focus. If you want to experience the thrill of riding a motorcycle, you must be comfortable. A motorcycle handlebar bag holds your personal items and is easily accessible. It gives you the freedom you need to control your motorcycle.
- Extra storage. Motorcycle handlebar bags come in various sizes. You can always get a bigger bag if you feel your current one does not serve its purpose well.
- Keep items safe. Most of the things you carry are valuable, so it’s important to keep them safe. The best motorcycle handlebar bags are made out of genuine leather and have buckles to keep your items protected. Some bags are small and can be detached from the bike. When you stop, you can remove the bag and carry it with you.
- Style statement. When you invest in a high-quality fork bag, you make a style statement. The bag shows your attention to detail and your unique style. You may even get compliments.
Types of Motorcycle Handlebar Bags
Your motorcycle is a machine, and machines break down. A motorcycle tool bag stores basic repair tools you may need in an emergency. These bags are not big and are constructed out of superior leather because of the weight of the tools they carry. Some have sections meant for specific tools, while others have one main storage space.
Personal Item Bags
If you normally carry small, important personal items, these bags are the best storage option. They might feature compartments to separate your stuff. Some bags even have specific sections for cell phones. Some have adjustable straps and can be installed at the front or back of a motorcycle.
Detachable Carry Bags
These bags are bigger than other bags and can be used as everyday bags. They can hold documents and bigger items like tire accessories. Due to their size, it is common to see the bags used for outdoor activities such as hiking. You can detach the bag from your motorcycle and carry it on your shoulder.
Dowco Powersports was founded in 1922. Initially a tent manufacturer, the company has grown to become one of the most recognizable producers of motorcycle accessories. Under its parent company, Redline Plastics, Dowco has innovated motorcycle handlebar bags such as the Dowco Willie & Max Handlebar Bag.
Chase Harper USA
Like most American business giants, Chase Harper USA started in a garage in Santa Barbara, California. It was established in 1979 with a focus on motorcycle accessories. Over the years, the company has grown in leaps and bounds because it focuses on clients’ needs to come up with products such as the Chase Harper 10300 Barrel Bag.
Giant Loop is a young yet recognizable brand that was founded in Oregon in 2008. A popular manufacturer of motorcycle accessories, it creates products for extreme sports, snowmobiles, and snow bikes. Products such as the Giant Loop ZHB Handlebar Bag have made it a permanent fixture in bike riding competitions.
Motorcycle Handlebar Bag Pricing
- $10-$20: For the first-time buyer, this is a great place to start. There are many options, and the bags are spacious enough to carry small personal items. They are made of quality leather.
- $20-$40: In this category, you will find higher-capacity bags. The bags on the higher side of the price range may have some decorations that enhance their aesthetics.
- $40-$60: If you want a bag made of high-quality leather with more storage and great detailing, look in this price range. The bags are usually made from reputable brands with top grain leather and have extra pockets.
- $60-$100: Here’s where you’ll find bags made by big brands. They offer more storage and are made of full-grain leather. Most of these bags are waterproof.
This is the most important thing to look at when buying a motorcycle handlebar bag. These bags are either made from leather or fabric. If you prefer leather, you can choose between synthetic leather and genuine leather. Synthetic leather is inexpensive, while real leather is higher quality. Both materials can be treated so they are waterproof. If you’re on a tight budget, get a bag made of fabric. But if you plan on carrying items such as bank cards and smartphones, we don’t recommend it.
A bag’s capacity determines how useful it is. If you usually carry small personal items, you only need a small bag that is slightly bigger than a waist bag. However, if you plan on carrying tools, important documents, and bigger items, invest in a bag with more storage. You can also get a handlebar bag with compartments.
Security features ensure your items stay safe. Some motorcycle handlebar bags come with pull tabs where you can put a lock. Most bags come with buckles and straps, but these only ensure your items stay inside the bag. Bags that have zippers are better than those with buckles. For your peace of mind, get a bag with security features.
- Detachment: While all motorbike handlebar bags are detachable, some are meant to be carried in your hands. Others have long straps and can be carried on your shoulder. If you get a bag that’s big enough, it can also serve as a travel bag.
- Design: Some handlebar bags have a classic rectangular box design, while others are designed in the shape of a barrel. The design of a bag usually affects its storage capacity, so choose carefully.
Best Motorcycle Handlebar Bags Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The brand Willie & Max is synonymous with high-quality motorcycle gear. This bag proves why the brand is so popular. From its gold eagle embellishment to its three-strand braids, it looks like a biker’s handlebar bag. It’s made of artificial leather and closes at the front with two chrome buckles.
If you own several bikes, you won’t have a problem mounting this bag as it has a universal fit. It can carry up to 2.5 liters, which is approximately 5.51 pounds. You can put tire accessories inside it, and it won’t fall apart. The strong mounting straps on its back ensure it stays in place.
However, not all of its features please us. It is smaller than most motorcycle handlebar bags and isn’t waterproof. And after a few months of use, it may start to lose its color.
This bag looks like a classic motorcycle handlebar bag. It has studs in different areas that improve its overall structure and make it look stylish. You can mount it in different areas of your motorbike: the handlebar, the front fork, the sissy bar, or the side frame. The side flaps ensure your stuff stays dry if it starts to rain.
If quick access to your items is something you prioritize in a handlebar bag, you’ll love this bag. Quick-release buckles let you open and close it fast. It is a great bag for carrying small items like keys, sunglasses, a driver's license, a hairbrush, and a cell phone. Its back straps are adjustable and removable.
However, a few things need improvement. It would be great if the front buckles were adjustable so the bag could close even when it’s extra full. The manufacturer also needs to make the buckles stronger. The bag has a tendency to scratch paint, likely because of the studs.
The first thing that strikes you about this bag is its simplistic design. The leather has a smooth finish which makes the bag appealing. The manufacturer has used 100% genuine cowhide leather to make the bag very durable. Using its two straps, you can mount it on your bike’s handlebars or front forks. You can also use zip ties to secure the bag. The braid trim completes its look.
You’ll never have to worry about your items falling out as the manufacturer has included a zipper and a velcro closure. Once you close the flap, the velcro connects and you don’t have to press it. This makes it easy to carry delicate items.
However, the bag has a few faults. Unless you stuff it, it won’t hold shape. It is also fragile and can only hold a phone, a wallet, and items that are not heavy. It is not designed to last.
- If you want your leather bag to last, only take it with you when you’re sure there’s no chance of rain. Leather loses its shape when it comes to direct contact with water. When cleaning the bag, use warm water and dish soap or a leather conditioner and moisturizer.
- You can buy handlebar bags and mount them on other parts of your motorcycle to increase storage capacity. Get bigger bags and secure them to the front fork, the sissy bar, or the side frame. For long-distance travel, consider saddlebags that can be mounted on the bike’s sides or tank bags.
- When you’re storing your motorcycle handlebar bag, air dry it completely before storage. Also, open the straps and the buckles so the impressions are released. The bag won’t have permanent creases in unwanted areas.
Q: Will all motorcycle handlebar bags fit on my handlebar?
A: Most motorcycle handlebar bags have a universal fit. They have adjustable straps for easy installation. However, some are smaller or bigger than average and only fit specific bikes.
Q: How do I clean a leather motorcycle bag?
A: Cleaning synthetic leather is simple. Use a cloth dipped in warm soapy water to wipe down the bag. For extra shine, use a conditioner afterward. Do not put the bag in water. If your bag is made of real leather, clean it with a leather conditioner and protectant.
Q: Are motorcycle handlebar bags machine-washable?
A: Unless the manufacturer has indicated that the bag is machine-washable, clean it by hand. Use a mild detergent to wash it and no harsh chemicals. Some manufacturers provide cleaning instructions for their bags.
For its simplicity and usefulness, we give the nod to the Dowco Willie & Max Motorcycle Tool Pouch. Unlike most motorcycle handlebar bags, it is made from real leather. It also protects your items whenever it rains or snows.
But if you want to spend less on a quality bag, get the Kemimoto Motorcycle Fork Bag instead.