Many of you have already heard of Bike Bag Dude, an Australian bikepacking bag manufacturer focusing on custom frame bags, handlebar rolls and slings, as well as chaff bag (stem), and anything cage bags. Kedan and Kath have dedicated their lives to the bike industry, sewing bike bags for adventurists all across the world. Last year we reviewed a custom frame bag that they made for a Borealis Yampa. The detailed and innovative bag passed our inspections so we were excited to test out another Bike Bag Dude product. I started talking to Kedan about handlebar systems and how I was having trouble packing my bag on the fly while on my bars. He said he had the perfect product for me, I was intrigued. The Bike Bag Dude Handlebar Roll comes with a sling and your option of 3 separate roll sizes, 17, 22 and 28 centimeters. Each roll, or dry bag as I like to call them, are made out of a Dimension Polyant VX 07, with a 2nd layer of VX 07 taped and stitched into the mid section. The entire bag is internally sealed at every seam with precise tailoring. The bag has 2 closure systems, one on each side, with velcro sewn into the dry bag ends for a secure seal and ease when rolling. Sewn into the bag ends are two burly buckles looped into a piece of nylon webbing to complete the closure. There are also two nylon loops sewn into the front body of the bag, to ensure the sling straps stay in place. The sling is constructed with a piece of foam sandwiched between more Dimension Polyant and sealed around the edges. A vertical piece of nylon webbing with a few rows of stitching creates 3 loops to accommodate different size bikes and head tubes or forks. Four more pieces of nylon straps are sewn into the the sling. Two on the top holding the female buckle, and two on bottom holding the longer strap and male piece of the buckle. The last feature is a horizontal piece of nylon webbing attached to the top of the sling creating 4 loops, this is where you connect the sling to your bars. (This feature has since been changed for a different system, we will touch on this). Usefulness Enough with the technical details, lets talk about how sailmaking techniques and attention to detail make this handlebar system a winning combination. Most bike manufactures have found a love for Xpac or Dimension Polyant. The ripstop, waterproof and UV qualities have proven to be a bikepacking go to, especially if tape sealed like all BBD products. Bike Bag Dude prides themselves on making 100% waterproof bags, and I think it is important especially if it’s the difference of having a wet or dry night sleep. I tested out the sling with the 22cm bag, as well as a smaller lightweight sailcloth fabric bag, however I will be mostly referring to the standard 22cm bag. The ability to accommodate different sized bags has given the system year round purposes. While the 17cm bag is great for summer travel, the large 28cm bag is perfect for that -40* Iditarod Trail Invitational sleeping bag. That leads me to my next point. While Australia is teetering around 100 degrees this time of year, -40* is not uncommon in Alaska, a 140 degree difference. I found that the oversize webbing and drybag clips were so large that I was able to keep my gloves on while either tightening down, removing the sleeping bag, or just unbuckling the system. This is an important feature when it gets brutally cold outside and you need to remove your sleeping bag. If the bag is stuffed to the max, it is a little more difficult to remove the clip through the two loops attached to the dry bag. In the past, once I put my standard handlebar bag on, I would never remove it. It’s awkward to balance your bike, lifting up your bag, and cinch it down all at the same time. Everyone packs differently, and unpacks differently. Personally, with this bag system, I found that I kept the bag on when stuffing or gathering some layers during the day. When it came to getting to camp, and unpacking, there was no question of taking off the dry bag from the sling, a difference from past experience when I had a one piece handlebar system. Another useful feature is its ability to go onto different bar systems. Riser, flat, Jones Bars, it even fits on Bar Yak systems. Yes, you will likely need to tinker with your specific set up to ensure brake clearance as well as pogie clearance, but I have always found a way to figure it out without adding spacers. Two pieces of advice that I would give Bike Bag Dude would be the handlebar attachment system that lacks a solid fit, stretching out the webbing and putting stress on those particular seams. The other thing is the webbing that flies around from the access nylon strap after cinching down your bag. After doing more research, it looks like these two issues were resolved after I received my bag system. Although I have yet to test them out, it seems that the new handlebar system is much more secure – replacing the 4 nylon loops with a more solid Velcro system. Also added were cam buckles on the straps to keep the extra webbing in place. Durability Although I did not use this system all summer, heavy fall and winter use has showed its durability and given me trust in the bag. After looking over the 22cm bag, the Dimension Polyant has held up great, with no real signs of wear. The professional stitching shows no signs of blowing up, especially after I crammed my -20 degree sleeping bag in it, keeping it in there for weeks at a time. The sling and straps have also shown no real signs of deterioration. The strap ends are burned to prevent fraying and the stitching has held up great, especially after really tugging down on them. The white sling and bag have acquired some discoloration from dust and grime, likely more noticeable on the white fabric. By the way, if you are looking for custom colors, BBD has you covered with a number of unique colors and combinations. Using this particular bag in a 125 mile race this past month was a great experience. Unfortunately or fortunately, however you look at it, I did not need to take the bag off of the sling. But what surprised me the most was that I never needed to tighten the bag down to the sling, nor did I need to adjust the handlebar straps. A bag that you don’t have to worry about while you are riding is important to me, and that has been my experience with this system. Overall this system has been tested by many other bikepackers out there, from summer to winter. A simple, strong, professional, and durable handlebar system has been a great addition to my bikepacking rig, and I’m excited to use it in the future, especially for my winter bikepacking trips. HandleBar Rolls start at $180 AUD for a custom color combination with a 17cm bag and up to $200 AUD with a 28cm bag. Bike Bag Dude also ships world wide, and has a number of retailers. For more information head over to BikebagDude.com.