Sling it over your bars or round your chest; the Rapha Bar Bag is a stylish and versatile cycling accessory

It’s no surprise to see premium bike apparel brand Rapha producing on-bike bags and packs to cater for the bikepacking crowd. The Bar Bag on its own may not be big enough for anything more than a long day in the saddle, but it does have a neat feature. A removeable strap means it can be worn across your chest like a mini man bag, so you can easily take your valuables and cycling glasses with you when you park up at coffee stops. Or keep your phone and wallet when your out and about in town – and want to let folk know subtly that you’re a bike rider.

Men’s Fitness verdict

Not many brands say ‘I’m into cycling’ quite as much as Rapha. So if you’re looking for a holdall for day trips by bike or on foot, look no further than the 2-litre Rapha Bar Bag.
  • Rugged, waterproof design
  • Easily converts to a wearable bag
  • Reflective details
  • Quick release strap a little too quick to release
  • At 2 litres, its use on its own is limited

How we test the best cycling accessories

I tested each accessory on a range of day-long, overnight and multi-day rides. These included riding and camping in varied weather conditions over a period of three months. Where appropriate I rode a hardtail, full-suspension mountain bike, gravel bike or road bike to test each product.

Product shot on an open Rapha bar bag
Reflective webbing has loops for clipping cycling lights to; the logo’s also reflective

Rapha Bar Bag design

Primarily, though, it’s designed to be attached to the bike. Two adjustable clasps on the top and one at the back allow for easy attachment to the bars and head tube respectively. I liked that the two top clasps feature clip locks to stop the straps from loosening mid-ride.

Once on, you can get up to 2 litres into the Bar Bag – that’s in the main compartment and two mesh pockets. That may not sound a lot but it’s enough to take all the contents of a small tool bag like the one by Café Du Cyclist and add a phone, wallet, snacks and a lightweight gilet. I found it would swallow everything I needed for a long day in the saddle. It meant I could ride with empty rear pockets for a change or – if I wanted – carry extra cold and wet weather gear there.

Rapha Bar Bag features

Speaking of riding conditions, the Bar Bag is well protected against the elements, with a waterproof DWR coating on top of the 100% recycled nylon construction. There’s protection for you too, with a reflective strip of webbing and logo on the front. The webbing also has handy loops for clipping lights to.

There’s also an adjustable strap with clasp to the side, which would be useful for stashing additional items of soft clothing. I wouldn’t stow anything solid like a water bottle here, though, as it could easily slip out.

Inside there’s Rapha’s trademark flash of pink in both the main and secondary front compartments. I liked the fat zip handles, which were easy to grasp even with gloves on. The additional strap could be a little annoying as the ‘S’ shaped clasp can easily fall out of its loop if not under tension.

There are more voluminous bar bags on the market – some can swallow more than five times the amount the Explorer can. But for a versatile pack for on- and off-bike use, it’s a useful piece of kit to have. And those little Rapha design details never hurt either.

Capacity2 litres
Attachment systemQuick-release buckles
Inside pocketsMain compartment, 2 mesh pockets, quick access pocket
VisibilityReflective webbing and logo