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I have been reviewing Garneau bags because, apparently, I must have too much time on my hands.
I believe this bag is sometimes overlooked because its usually advertised in red which can be a little bright for some riders taste. The colors name is actually ginger. If red/ginger isnt your thing, please remember it comes in a very nice black with a touch of red striping. Whatever color you choose I think you will be more than happy with the striking good looks and excellent quality.
What caught my attention was the price which, when compared with bags of this quality, is more than fair.
The bag comes with lots of bells and whistles without becoming so complicated you need an instruction manual to operate it. I like the one large, roomy center pocket which is easily accessible with a double zipper. What I dont like is another set of zippers which allow expansion, however that is just my opinion. Its just more zippers and more things that could break or wear out. I like the fact that Garneau did not install zipper pulls for the expansion zippers so you can easily, and quickly, tell the difference between the two.
Other features include foam insulation for anything you want to keep cold on your journey. I like the Velcro side loops which can accommodate a pump. This is a very simple and inexpensive addition, but one that is welcomed and appreciated. Reflective piping, found on most bags of this caliber, is tastefully done. There are two roomy side pockets and one rear pocket, all with their quality made zipper pulls. I have always been a fan of the generous pocket sizes found on the Garneau bags because, after all, if the pocket is too small to put anything in, its worthless. Elastic side pockets on both sides are awesome for gloves or whatever. Another cool feature is the helmet harness which allows a perfect place to park your helmet when not in use.
Like most trunk bags it is fastened to the rear rack using Velcro strips. (Just what the hell would we do without Velcro?) Now the problem here is the strips are placed at the very front and very rear of the trunk bag. This is good if you have a rack that can accommodate these strips in those locations. My Toba rack, for example, can not. I had to find another way to secure the trunk to my rack. Im sure you can do the same, however I am hoping Garneau will work on a moveable/sliding mount that would accommodate more racks. What I really would like to do is to help Garneau create their own rear rack designed specifically for their bags however I dont think I have to wait around for that phone call.
The bag I reviewed was the Profile R-16. It should be noted they have other trunk bags you may want to consider including, the Stream R-12, (just who comes up with these names???), and the X-tra Steam bag. The R-12 is very similar to the R-16 however I dont believe it expands. The X-tra Steam has side pockets that fold down into small panniers.
I hope this review was helpful.
Enjoy the ride, it goes by fast
Out of the box the Garneau panniers are striking. This is a well made and equally nice looking set of bags. Their simple design with large roomy pockets on each side complimented with double zippers is perfect. Im even a fan of their Zipper Pulls which are quality to say the least. Their trademark rubber fasteners for a rear light, (or rear lights), is a nice touch. It should be noted these bags are attached and therefore you cannot put one side on and leave the other side off. The panniers have a comfortable center handle which allows you to grab the bags and take them off the bike easily. (Thats the good news.)
Now the bad news. Youll like these panniers right up until you set them on your "standard rack". Standard racks are about 6 inches wide. The width of the separation between these two panniers is only 5 inches! What is advertised is compatible with virtually any bicycle rack. This will be a problem for many riders.
On a personal note, I was having a great deal of trouble finding a rack for my new Cannondale. The 2011 bike I purchased is about as rack unfriendly as you could make a bike. Thankfully, after an eternity of research, I found a company in Canada that made fully adjustable racks that not only fit my bike, but with a rear rack width of only five inches!
Another situation many riders will experience, and have to work around, is the Velcro fasteners. These un-movable strips of Velcro didnt work with my rear rack. Thankfully I was able to work around it. As mentioned in my other reviews of Garneau bags they need to create a movable/slide-able attachment allowing for a more universal rack fit.
For me the panniers are very good. If they had a better attachment they would be great. They will be great for you too provided your rear rack width is 5 inches.
I hope this has helped.
Enjoy the ride it goes by fast.
Garneau Handlebar Bag
The H - 7.5 Bag, or Box, as its sometimes called, may have a name you'll soon forget, however that is the only thing you will forget about this bag. As soon as I took it out of the box I was impressed with the design, color combination, and overall quality. I knew this bag would be with me for a long time.
I like "simple" things. This bag is just that, a very well made, easy to use, simple bag. There is one roomy main pocket and one adequate sized front pocket. I'm a little concerned about the two mesh side pockets with elastic as if anything is going to rip or give you trouble it's going to be these. However, that is just a guess at this point.
There are an assortment of bonuses including Velcro straps to hold your pump, an adjustable top strap to keep an item or two right on top of the bag, (I dislike those vinyl map holders that some bags have on top but that is just my opinion), reflecting stitching, a rubber holder for your light, and even a shoulder strap, just to name a few.
The bag is available in black with a touch of red, or red with a touch of black.
It should also be noted Garneau offers another handle bar bag that is larger, called the Box H - 8.5. Among some of the differences in addition to size is the 8.5 has two side zippered pockets instead of mesh pockets. Personally I like the appearance of the 7.5 a little better.
The instructions for installation, like most instructions, could be much clearer and larger. It was suggested to "cut" the cable which holds the bag to the handle bar. I actually found away to feed it back through and therefore not have any sharp cable interfering with my bag.
Once installed the bag sits nice and upright. It feels secure on the bike. The bag "unclips" perfectly should you want to take it with you while grabbing a water or whatever.
I am very impressed and glad I did my research. The H-7.5 is well made nice looking handle bar bag that is worth the investment.
Enjoy the ride it goes by fast.
I'm looking for a rack that sits slightly back on my bike as my Cannondale Adventure seat may get in the way of my trunk/bag. Would this be a good choice?