Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Product Review: Detours Mini Met Handlebar Bag

Last week, I was heading out to central Pennsylvania to do a short two-day bike tour and check out the new Allegrippis Trails mountain bike trails at Raystown Lake.

As I was tuning up my bike at the shop and getting it ready for the ride, I regretted having left my old favorite Topeak Compact Handlebar Bag at home. Knowing I wanted to take a lot of pictures during the trip, and knowing that it's nice to keep your camera handy, I grabbed one of the Detours Mini Met Handlebar Bags off of our shelf.

At first, I was wary of the handlebar clamping system. It doesn't have the auxilliary cable or steel band that goes under your stem to help keep it stable, like most other brands of handlebar bags and baskets. It's just got two sets of rubber shims, in different thicknesses to accomodate different handlebar sizes. Once I got the clamp in place on my handlebar, though, I could see that it gripped pretty tightly, and wasn't likely to go anywhere.

At half the size of my old handlebar bag, the Mini Met is still surprisingly roomy. I was able to fit all of my usual stuff in it--wallet, cell phone, digital camera, and keys (the "big four"), and then still had room for the rain cover (included with the bag), some spare change, and a small tube of sunscreen.

Out in the real world, the handlebar clamp did not let me down. It held firm while riding over all types of terrain--paved roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, even singletrack.

In addition to the rain cover, the Detours Mini Met Handlebar Bag also comes with a detachable shoulder strap, so you can convert it into a man-purse (or "European Carry-All," as Jerry Seinfeld would call it). You can also order extra handlebar clamps, so that you can easily swap the Mini Met from one bike to another. The clamp is compatible with all models of handlebar bag from Detours; the Mini Met is the smallest, but there are larger models available (such as the Cruiser) for those who want to carry everything, including the kitchen sink.

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