One possible solution was a KLICKfix adapter that bolted to the steering tube, below the handlebars, however I wondered if this plastic support for my handlebar bag would be up to the weight of a camera, two lenses and miscellaneous other items, especially on these rough New England roads. The failure of one of the brackets on my handlebar mount this summer confirmed my fears.
In the course of my searching, I had come across the so-called French-style handlebar bags, which are designed to rest on a small rack above the front wheel, and traditionally attach to the handlebars, or to a décaleur affixed to the stem. This lowers the load and brings it closer to the bicycle, thus improving the handling and balance. Since the load is supported from underneath it is also more stable and secure. This all seemed so sensible to me, but these accessories are rather pricey. My research led me to Velo Orange which carries its own line of French-style bags, racks and décaleurs at a somewhat more reasonable price.
I chose, for my purposes, the Velo Orange Grand Cru Handlebar Bag and the Pass Hunter Front Rack with Integrated Décaleur.
|Velo Orange Grand Cru Handlebar Bag and Pass Hunter Front Rack|
|Velo Orange Grand Cru Handlebar Bag -Front quarter-view showing large front pocket.|
|rear quarter-view showing small back pockets.|
The top cover sports a generously-sized clear-view map pocket.
The top cover opens conveniently facing the rider for easy access.
The Grand Cru Handlebar bag easily contains my camera insert with room to spare for a few odds and ends.
The insert holds my camera , two lenses, and a few odds and ends.
The bag rests on this small front rack. The Pass Hunter rack has an integrated décaleur -- a device to which the top of the bag is attached to steady the bag, yet leave the handlebars unencumbered.
|Velo Orange Pass Hunter Front Rack with Integrated Décaleur|
The Pass Hunter rack support struts bolt to the cantilever brake bosses via included double-ended cantilever bolts.
The rear support strut of the Pass Hunter rack bolts through the hole in the middle of the fork crown. On my bike this hole had a threaded boss at the rear, which I had to drill out. I had read horror stories of failed and/or mickey-moused installations of this rack. Luckily for me, everything lined up the way it should, and came together very neatly. The rack tilts backward slightly. I could have used spacers between the rear strut and the fork crown to correct this, but I like the bag leaning in toward me a little, so this is perfect for me.
Here's a comparison shot of how much lower and further back the weight is carried with a French-style décaleur bag versus the popular handlebar quick-mount bags of today. Steering and security are much improved. I think it's esthetically better-balanced as well.
Looking forward to my next picturesque bike ride!