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Chrome Industries Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 review

19 Mar 2021
Verdict:

Versatile, weatherproof essentials bag for commuting, exploring – or just shopping

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Waterproof • Easy to fit • Simple to operate • Secure and stable in use • Great alternative to a small rucksack • Handy extra storage for gravel rides, too
Against 
Carrying capacity limited • £80 is a lot for a small essentials bag

Who’d have thought that a piece of luggage the size of a greedy guts’ lunchbox could broaden your riding horizons so widely? OK, not me, until I rode with the Chrome Industries Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 attached to the front of a Boardman ADV 9.0 in winter.

For rides when you’re kitted up for a few hours on or off-road, and for which you wouldn’t normally don a rucksack, it’s a very decent option.

Also for quick runs into town – even to the local shop for a few tins of beans or Pot Noodles (living the lockdown dream) – it’s been a real eye-opener. In fact, I’m starting to wonder what I ever did without a handlebar bag…

 

Fit and function

I am not an instructions person, so it was with great delight that I realised none were required in order to fit the Chrome Industries Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 securely to the tops of my handlebars.

Two hook and loop closure straps affix the main body of the bag for a bounce-free fit, while a bungee cord failsafe wraps around the head tube.

The single compartment of the bag has a magnetic closure and roll top, and is fastened with a sturdy fabric tag and bungee arrangement. It’s well thought through and idiot-proof. Just as well.

 

Load it up

It doesn’t take much to fill the Chrome Industries Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0, given its three-litre carrying capacity. But then, it’s not designed to be used for moving house, is it?

In practice, on longish rides I’ve used it for carrying a decent softshell jacket (the kind of thing which doesn’t fit easily into a jersey pocket), my house keys (in a pouch) and my phone (which I don’t want to be scratched by my house keys).

It’s basically, as my wife called it, a ‘fashionable bike handbag’. And she’s pretty much nailed it with that comment.

Buy the Chrome Industries Urban Ex handlebar bag 2.0 now

 

Splash and dash

The durably finished outer of the Chrome Industries Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 features knurled welds. This method of fused construction, allied with the rolltop closure, ensures its contents are suitably protected from the elements.

The interior is lightly padded, but I wouldn’t want to risk carrying a dozen loose eggs in it. Stick to the Pot Noodles or waterproof jacket and you’ll be just fine.

 

Crossover appeal

The plusses keep coming, with a supplied webbing strap allowing the Chrome Industries Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 to be used as a crossbody bag, so you can simple unstrap it from the bike and take it with you.

Buy the Chrome Industries Urban Ex handlebar bag 2.0 now

Its boxy dimensions aren’t going to win any streetwear awards, and the look is more ‘World War Two evacuee’ than ‘Off-White catwalk star’, but it does the job, and is easily detached from the bike for portability.

 

Brass tacks

The remaining question is ‘does this all justify the price tag?’ You can certainly buy a decent waterproof cycling backpack for the £80 the Chrome Industries Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0 would cost you.

However, I’d argue that its versatility, quality construction and foolproof nature make very strong cases for its viability.

You’ll never know how much you needed a cycling handbag until you’ve tried one.

Buy the Chrome Industries Urban Ex handlebar bag 2.0 now

Price: 
£80