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Chrome Industries Helix handlebar bag review

27 Jul 2021
Verdict:

Easy to fit, no nonsense bag is just right for most bikes and good for a short or a multi-day ride, but would benefit from being waterproof

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Very easy to attach to a bike • Works with internal and external cabling • Good capacity • Carry strap can be stowed away • Looks good
Against 
Fully waterproof should be the start point for any bike luggage • On the pricey side

Nowadays, even the most ‘pro’ looking amateurs, too busy pushing the watts to wave back or say good morning, can be seen with handlebar bags attached to the front of their high end road bikes in a way that wouldn’t have been thinkable just a few short years ago.

On-bike luggage was for tourers and commuters but now a lot of people are seeing the merits of a bit of extra capacity for tubes, tools and snacks.

Perhaps like many others, the desire to achieve self-sufficiency in order to keep riding during the pandemic – when the opt-out of a train or taxi was somewhere between illegal and undesirable – saw my bike continuously clad in a bar bag and saddle bag to carry anything and everything I thought I might need, from a power bank to charge my phone and lights to extra cereal bars to see me home.

Into this role has recently stepped the Chrome Industries Helix handlebar bag. Its no-nonsense velcro straps allow it to be attached to almost any bike, regardless of internal or external cabling.

Get your Chrome Industries Helix handlebar bad from Always Riding here

Spacious interior

Inside, the main compartment is a spacious rectangle with a couple of organiser net pockets to keep things like money or hand sanitiser within quick and easy reach.

The bag's capacity is thanks to its size, obviously, but it doesn’t look or feel overly large when on the bike and does nothing to affect handling or the operation of the cables it sits against on externally routed brake and gear cables.

Off-the-bike use

Chrome is pushing hard in its marketing material for the Helix handlebar bag to be considered and used for off-the-bike carrying as well as on. To this end, there is a shoulder/waist carry strap so that the bag can be taken with you when locking your bike – or indeed on its own with your bike left at home.

The strap can be neatly stowed away in a pouch on the back of the bag, something I was pleased to discover after using it for the first couple of times with the carry strap dangling down towards my front mudguard.

Not waterproof

The Chrome Helix handlebar bag is not waterproof – but I should add, nor does it claim to be. The worst type of non-waterproof product is one that had previously claimed it was.

The front and top will see off a rain shower – or for the purpose of this review during a heatwave, the running of a tap – but a substantial downpour from above or significant road spray from beneath would likely get in and mean that what’s stored in the bag will need careful consideration during changeable conditions.

For me, waterproof should be the start-point for any on-bike luggage so that the user doesn’t need to worry about getting caught in the rain. How we carry our gear for short rides or multi-day touring trips shouldn’t be a concern once out.

Chrome does stock the Urban Ex Handlebar Bag 2.0, which it says is waterproof, so perhaps worth considering over the Helix if you know you’re likely to need a handlebar bag in any weather other than a Met Office extreme heat warning.

Price

At £55, you would need to be sure that you’d use the Chrome Helix Handlebar bag on and off the bike as much as possible to justify the investment as, when compared to similar products from other brands, it comes out on the pricier end of the scale.

Buy now from Always Riding here

The fact that it's well made, stylish and has great carrying capacity goes a long way to explain its price but each person considering making a purchase will need to decide if it goes quite far enough for them to part with that much money.

Conclusion

The Chrome Helix handlebar is an excellent piece of on-bike luggage. Its key attributes are its carrying capacity and the ease with which it can be attached to and removed from pretty much any bike you put it near.

However, with a pricetag at the higher end of the market and with it not being completely waterproof, I’d be keen to see mark II improved in these areas because then we’d be looking at a product much nearer to 5-star perfection.

Price: 
£55