In the past I have always cycle toured with a traditional box shaped ‘stiff’ handlebar bag. However, these types of bags are always challenging to pack as you have to get everything to fit neatly in to the rectangular shape. Perhaps more importantly they are not very practical (or stylish) when used off the bike – out and about in town, sightseeing or at the beach. I was looking for something different….more squishable, ‘less-handlebar -and -more –handbag’ like! When I saw the Knog Leading Dog handlebar bag I thought I would give it a go on our 5 day family cycling holiday to Holland over Easter.
How practical is the Knog Leading Dog?
At 260 x 290mm in size, this handlebar bag is the perfect size to fit all those necessary items you need close at hand when cycle touring, especially with children – camera, purse, sunglasses, emergency snacks, tissues, spare gloves, suncream, etc, etc….the list is endless.
There are a number of internal organiser pockets, so things are easy to find, including a zippered rear pocket, which is a secure place to keep passports and tickets. There is also one pocket with an anti- scratch lining – unfortunately not big enough for a 10” notebook (if you were using this as a commuter bag), but was useful for my kindle (or similar 7”device).
The strap of the Leading Dog is adjustable and can be removed.
The Leading Dog is small enough to lean over to adjust the kid’s helmets
What about quality?
The bag is well made and the material (‘a heavy waxed cotton canvas’) feels like it will last. It looks good too. Knog states the material is water resistant, and certainly the snow bounced off it! There is also a waterproof cover supplied.
How do I fit the bag to my bike’s handlebars?
The attachment for the handlebars was supplied with the bag. The integrated rubber strap made this really easy to fit without any tools required. The bag then clips on to the attachment using Knog’s universal hub system. This unfortunately wasn’t quite so easy to do once the bag was full and heavy, but it did still work.
When you are not using the bag on the bike, there is a rubber cap that fits over the universal hub to hide it and keep it grit free.
What to watch out for
You don’t have anywhere to attach your map so it is visible, but I left the navigating to someone else and just enjoyed the views!
If you were using the bag at night, it takes the place of a central handlebar mounted light – this wasn’t a problem for us though, as we were only cycling during daylight hours.
Finally, we were happy leaving the attachment on the handlebars when we were off exploring. If you were in a high risk area and worried about leaving it on your bike, then you’d have the carry the attachment with you. This wouldn’t leave much room in the bag for other stuff.
Knog Leader Handlebar Bag review – the final verdict
It’s great for holding all the little items you need when cycling with kids so they are easily accessible, but the best thing about this bag is that when it’s not on your bike it just looks like a ‘normal’ bag.
Where to buy the Knog Leader Handlebar Bag
Sadly Knog have discontinued the Knog Leader Handlebar bag. There are sometimes a few available on e-bay. An alternative handlebar bag, which comes with a strap is the Ortileb Classic Bar bag which comes in a variety of colour options, and is available from Rutland Cycling. This however, is a more rigid handlebar bag. The VAUDE Aqua Box Handlebar Bag also comes with a long handle for use off the bike.
Cycle Sprog was provided with the Knog Leading Dog handlebar bag for review.
About Kathryn: Kathryn is from the UK, but in Summer 2015 moved with her family (husband and two children, Alice and Tom) to Montreal. She works as a trainer, facilitator and coach, using her experience of cross-cultural working and cultural transition to support other families with relocation. Find out more about Kathryn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/
This review was first published in April 2013, and updated in December 2016 to reflect the lack of stock of the Knog Leader handlebar bag