Test: Vel Handlebar Pack 7L

The Vel Handlebar Pack 7L is easy to attach, stays stable and is incredibly waterproof. Its size means it’s versatile enough to be used for everything from long-distance travel to just hauling things on your daily commute or for day-long walks.

Handlebar packs come in a range of sizes, some big enough to carry all your sleeping kit, others that will just about carry your phone and some snacks. At 7 litres, the Vel sits in the middle, making it practical for a multitude of outings.

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For day trips or longer trips on gravel tracks, he’ll easily swallow plenty of snacks, tools, spares, and a waterproof jacket or other small clothes, but cool, is that by using the air release valve you can compress the bag if it is not full.


The compression strap on the outside also lets you adjust the width of the bag, and you can use it to store things underneath like a map or vest. I had no problem getting it between the drops of a 42cm-wide handlebar when fully loaded; it’s a snug fit but not a problem.

Some bags of this style use a cradle design that wraps around a dry bag, making it easier if you need to keep getting your kit off your bike, like when camping or going to the shops. It’s a design that I prefer, but if you go with the Vel, it’s not a big deal to keep attaching it.

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Mounting is via two Velcro straps that wrap around the bar and stick to the top of the bag, with plenty of adjustability.


2021 Vel Handlebar Pack 7L - on bars handlebar strap.jpg

Many bags do this, but one thing I like here is that Vel has included two straps on the back of the bag, which wrap around the steerer tube and stop any ‘flapping’ when riding a rough terrain. Be sure to install some protection on your steerer tube though to avoid wearing your paint.


2021 Vel Handlebar Pack 7L - on rear bars.jpg

You can open the Vel from either end. To keep your belongings secure, simply roll up the end of the bag and secure it in place by clipping the straps together.


2021 Vel Handlebar Pack 7L - roll up closure.jpg

This, along with the ripstop fabric, makes the Vel extremely waterproof; riding on rainy days, no rain penetrated my stuff inside.


2021 Vel Handlebar Pack 7L - back.jpg

The fabric is also durable. Riding through the woods encountered no issues with thick brambles snagging or tearing, and I really don’t see any longevity issues. Its lack of zippers also bodes well for many years of use.

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As for other details, there are reflective details for riding at night as well as a few mounting points for attaching lights, as long as they use clips rather than a handlebar mount.

Value and conclusion

Overall the quality is very good. I loaded the bag full a few times and found no weakness when it came to the stitching either on the bag or on the shoulder straps.

Priced at £55, the Vel Pack offers good value for money. It’s a similar price to the Brooks Scape Handlebar Pouch, which has gone up five since we tested it, now £60. From the Brooks Scape stuff I’ve used I’d say they’re very well made and sturdy – but keep in mind you only get 3 liters of capacity compared to Vel’s 7 liters.

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Blackburn’s Outpost HB uses the separate cradle and dry bag system and comes with 11 liters of storage, but is priced at £99.99.

Overall, I’d say the Vel is very good: a well-designed and secure bag that can carry a large amount of stuff, and it’s affordable too.

Verdict

Well-made, value-for-money pack that will keep your belongings safe and dry

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Brand and model : Vel 7L Handlebar Pack

Tell us what the product is for and who it is for. What are the builders saying? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Vel says: “With a 7-litre capacity and double-ended closure, the Vel handlebar pack can be used as part of a complete luggage system for multi-day adventures or used on its own for day outings. when a little more load capacity is needed.Simple velcro straps and a versatile head tube attachment mean the bag can be used on both road bikes and mountain bikes.As the bag has snap closures double winding, its width can be reduced if necessary for use on narrow handlebars and it facilitates access to the contents without having to empty everything.

“The handy purge valve allows any excess air to be extracted from the bag to reduce its size and prevent the contents from moving around while the external bungee cord can also be used to compress the bag or to store a spare diaper underneath. Fully waterproof, the ripstop fabric provides excellent protection against rain and spray, keeping contents dry in all weathers.”

It performs well in all weather conditions and stays secure on the bike.

Tell us a bit more about the technical aspects of the product?

Vel Lists:

Capacity: 7 liters

Lightweight and waterproof construction

Double-ended roll closure

External compression strap

Lightweight attachment points

Multi-point steerer tube mounting strap attachment points

Air valve to reduce bag size/remove air

Reflective marking

Dimensions: 18 x 30 x 20cm

Rate the product for build quality:

8/10

Rate the product for its performance:

8/10

Rate the product for durability:

9/10

Rate the product by weight (if applicable)

8/10

Evaluate the product for its value:

7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used as intended

It keeps your kit safe and dry.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great sealing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I prefer a separate dry bag solution if I’m likely to leave the bike unattended.

How does the price compare to similar products on the market, including those recently tested on road.cc?

It’s the same price as the Brooks Scape but has almost double the capacity. The Blackburn I mentioned in the review is bigger, but almost double the price.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider purchasing the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Overall the Vel is very good – don’t forget to protect your head tube. It’s also good value for money considering the quality.

Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month’s test bike My best bike is: B’TWIN Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I have been riding since: Over 20 years I ride: Everyday I would classify myself as: Expert

I regularly practice the following types of riding: time trials, commuting, club rides, sports, fixed/single gear,

Wiley C. Thompson