Bedrock Bags Moab Handlebar Bag Review
The Bedrock Bags Moab Handlebar Bag is a unique take on the classic handlebar roll. Purpose built for modern mountain bikes with short stems and wide bars, this arc-shaped bag repositions the load to limit negative handling characteristics. We’ve been using one over the last few months on gravel, fire roads, and rugged singletrack. Here’s the full review…
Earlier this year, Bedrock Bags introduced the Moab Handlebar Bag, their innovative variation on a key piece of bikepacking gear. The Moab Handlebar Bag’s unique design aims to solve the problem of contents pushing into the brakes and shifters when running a shorter stem by wrapping the handlebar bag into a curved ‘delta’ shape. And Bedrock says there are other benefits to this non-traditional shape, too. I’ve been using the Moab regularly over the last few months as my go-to handlebar setup to see how those claims hold up.
As someone who regularly rides mountain bikes with short stems and wide bars, I have to admit I wasn’t immediately convinced there was a problem with my standard cylindrical handlebar bag setup. I’ve found comfort and convenience in a simple handlebar harness with a removable drybag, a system that’s easy to pack, unpack, and adaptable with different sized drybags. Plus, I love being able to unclip it from its harness and toss it into a tent at camp. With larger loads, there’s definitely the possibility of crowding the handlebar controls, housing, and hoses, but simply running longer housing often mitigates major issues. I’ve noticed a lack of stability in harness setups, especially with wider loads and while riding chunky trails, so Bedrock’s claims of “rock solid stability” grabbed my attention.
The Moab Handlebar Bag is made up of three components: the harness, main bag, and optional front pocket. First, the ultra-minimal harness is secured on either side of the stem with two velcro straps, leaving two alloy buckles free to secure the main bag. The main bag has roll-top closures on each end with two slick surface mount buckles and webbing straps to secure the bag once it’s packed. The alloy buckles on the harness wrap over the main bag, hooking into the bartacked loops from the bottom of the harness. All cables and hoses are tucked neatly away towards the centre of the bag, towards the bike’s headtube, excluding the front brake line, which is better positioned outside the main bag. Additional velcro loops found near the ends of the main bag are also secured on the handlebar to provide additional stability. The optional front pocket is attached easily using similar alloy buckles and corresponding daisy chains, making it easy to remove when running into a store or a tent at night. Set up is straightforward; check out the installation video from Bedrock below…
The only issue I had while out bikepacking is discovering the main bag is best loaded while off the bike, so some disassembly and reassembly is required. As such, I found myself just leaving the main bag secured to the harness on the bike and doing my best to pack things tightly again. The shape of the bag does make stuffing in a down quilt or tent a little trickier than a traditional cylindrical bag, especially due to the narrow diameter of the main bag. As for overall capacity, Bedrock claims approximately 13 litres, which seems about right. For me, this provided enough room for a 20°F (-7°C) rated sleeping bag, tent body, and some waterproof camp socks. In warmer conditions, with a less bulky sleeping bag, I could likely fit a lot more. What I like about the size and shape of the main bag is there’s just enough wiggle room to keep things tight, but I was never tempted to pack more than I need up front. This meant a lighter front end of the bike, which equals way more fun riding trail.
It’s clear Bedrock Bags gave this bag a lot of thought. Between the removable straps and daisy chains, there is enough adjustability without looking messy, and when set up properly, the Moab Handlebar Bag is incredibly stable. In fact, it’s by far the most stable handlebar bag setup I’ve ever used, making it perfect for singletrack-heavy bikepacking and gliding through rock gardens with ease. To achieve this stability, key areas of the bag are reinforced, including the high-friction spots around the levers and headtube, stress points are bartacked, and Bedrock used high-quality buckles, which is the icing on the cake. It’s a bomber bag that I expect to last for a very long time. The pocket also has a nice size, perfect for quick access items like snacks, sunglasses, or a small camera. And the velcro is beefy enough to keep the weather and elements from getting inside. Although the Moab isn’t fully waterproof, instead relying on a stitched design that isn’t seam sealed, I’ve had it out on some rainy rides with no issues. It’s certainly no place for a full-sized DSLR, but it’s padded enough for smaller electronics that deserve to be close at hand.
All in all, the Moab’s stability is likely its most notable benefit. Plus, the ‘delta’ shape of the bag positions the weight of its contents closer to the steering axis of the bike, which has less effect on the bike’s handling – perfect for technical riding. However, due to its curved shape, I did find my knees rubbing on the end of the bag while tackling steep climbs. This will be different for everyone, depending on your bike and body type, though is a factor worth considering (for reference, I have a 33” inseam and used it on my Why S7 with a 45mm stem and 596mm top tube length). I also noticed that the ends of the bag start to impede on stem bag real estate due to their position on the bars, which sometimes made it difficult to insert a bottle into the Rockgeist Honeypot Feedbag I often use.
It’s also worth noting that Bedrock Bags offers the Moab in a variety of colors and fabrics, including X-Pac in black, grey, red, turquoise, coyote brown, olive green, and deep purple, as well as dark camo Cordura and X-Pac LiteSkin. The Moab weighs in at 456g (16.1 oz) and is handmade in Durango, Colorado, at Bedrock Bag’s new manufacturing space. I was initially a little surprised by the $160 price tag of the Moab Handlebar Bag, but after some first-hand experience, not to mention the impressive design and quality, I’d say it’s justified – especially if you’re on a mission to seek out singletrack-heavy bikepacking routes.
- Capacity: 13L
- Material (as tested): Electric Blue X-Pac
- Weight: 456 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Colorado, USA
- Price: $160 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: BedrockBags.com
- Very stable handlebar bag setup. Likely one of the most stable options out there, with no sway, bounce, or sagging of any kind.
- Unique design. Only one of its kind.
- Built to last. Reinforced in high wear areas.
- Potential for interference with knees and/or other bags.
- Expensive. Especially when compared to other harness setups available, but justified.
- Best to remove main bag to pack up. Takes a bit extra time.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I wasn’t sure I had any problems that needed solving by Bedrock’s Moab Handlebar Bag. Sure, sometimes handlebar bags sag a bit, and often require careful packing, and maybe the straps require adjustment throughout the day, but I guess it never bothered me that much. Bedrock Bags set out to create an innovative bag that’s super stable and pairs well with modern mountain bike trends and geometry and they nailed it. Day after day, riding singletrack and chunky service roads, the Moab Handlebar Bag stayed put, zero adjustment needed. It’s not perfect, and for me the bag did create a few smaller issues, like knee and bag interference and a slower pack up time, but it’s unquestionably the most stable bag I’ve used. I’m impressed.