I got my hands on Craft Cadence waterproof handlebar bag and the Essentials Case. I used them as extended storage in Italian Alps and during my endurance training.
In this review, I will share my one-plus month experience and highlight their advantages and disadvantages.
Keep reading to find out whether or not these products are worth their price.
Who Are Craft Cadence Products for?
Craft Cadence focuses mainly on commuters. Their products are ideal for people who commute in cities because they are stylish and well-made. They are also durable and can withstand the elements, so they keep the contents dry.
The Craft Cadence Handlebar Bag (57 USD) is a waterproof handlebar bag that you can use as a shoulder bag. It is useful, for example, when you go to/or from work, and you need a place to store your belongings, documents, accessories, etc.
However, its use does not end with the city borders. It is also suitable for longer bike trips – for example when you need extended storage for food, water, and other accessories.
The Craft Cadence Essentials Case (50 USD) is ideal for storing essentials like a spare tube, mini pump, smartphone, credit card, CO2 inflator, etc. It perfectly fits jersey pockets, so you don’t have to use a saddle bag.
What’s in the Box?
The packing of Craft Cadence products is not fancy or extravagant. Their products are delivered in bubble wrap and a plastic bag. In the end, you always throw away the packaging anyway, don’t you?
What surprised me was the fast delivery time from Ireland to the Czech Republic. The package was shipped on Monday and was delivered the same week. Thumbs up.
The package of the handlebar bag contains only the essentials – the bag itself, a velcro strap for attaching the bottom of the bag, two rubber straps for attaching it to the handlebars, and a shoulder strap to use the bag as an accessory.
In the box
- Handlebar bag
- One velcro headset strap
- Two rubber headset straps
- Shoulder strap
- Available colors: Yellow & Black
- Weight (without straps): 250g (0.55lb)
- Capacity: 3-3.5l
- Dimensions (H × W × D): 20 × 9.5 × 27 cm (7.87 × 3.74 × 10.63 in)
The bag is available in yellow-black or black color. I chose black because yellow doesn’t match anything I wear on my bike. With black, you can’t go wrong, but it is less visible.
The weight of the bag without straps is 250g (0.55lb). Straps add around 70g (0.15lb), so the total weight is 320g (0.7lb). This is much less compared to handlebar bags with a fixed attachment mechanism.
One of the most important features of the handlebar bag is, of course, the volume. 3-3.5l is a figure that won’t tell you much. Therefore, in the My Experience section, you will find out how much will fit in the bag.
You might also be interested in this Craft Cadence Top Tube bag review.
Craft Cadence Essentials Case is case intended – yes, you guessed it – for essentials. I like that it is designed to fit in a jersey pocket. The packing does not contain anything extra, only the case.
In the box
- Essentials case
- Available color: Black
- Weight: 103g (0.23lb)
- Dimensions (H × W × D): 19 × 10 × 2.8 cm (7.48 × 3.94 × 1.1 in)
My Experience with Craft Cadence Products
So what is my experience with these two products? Let’s take a closer look.
Craft Cadence Handlebar Bag
The bag is made of tarpaulin which ensures durability and longevity. The bag’s quality fully corresponds to its price, so my first impression was pretty good. I used it mainly for storing food and other accessories in Italian Alps. Here is my take on its benefits and disadvantages.
- IPX5 waterproof*
- Well-built & stylish
- Easy to access
- Inside mesh pocket
- Reflective elements
- Multi-use (thanks to shoulder strap)
- Compatible with bike lights
*Protects against water jets (low-pressure jet spray). Source
- 0.75l water bottle fits only diagonally (not horizontally)
- Won’t fit bikes with short head tube length (bag would interfere with the tire)
- Cannot be opened if you use a bike computer mount
- Interferes with braking and shifting cables
I used the handlebar bag mainly for long distances to take more food and some accessories with me. Not everything always fits in my pockets, and I feel better riding with things in the bag than with full pockets.
You can see in the following picture, how many things I was able to fit in the bag.
- One extra water bottle
- Power bank with a charging cable
- And there was plenty of space left
There is also a mesh pocket inside, which is suitable for a phone or documents, for example.
Craft Cadence claims that the bag has IPX5 waterproofing. This means it should protect its contents against low-pressure jet spray. If it starts to rain, you don’t have to be worried that the contents will soak. However, I decided to test it to avoid a potentially unpleasant surprise.
And the result? If the water splashes from above, no problem. Unfortunately, when it splashes from the bottom, it can get inside.
The bag is relatively easy to access even while riding. However, closing the release buckle requires both hands, so it is better to stop.
One of the biggest advantages of this handlebar bag is that you can use it as a shoulder bag. It looks stylish, so it is suitable for commuting to or from work. You don’t have to limit yourself to using it for bikepacking only.
It also features a few reflective elements and it’s compatible with bike lights. So you can attach a bike light to it to increase your visibility and therefore safety.
In the beginning, I was skeptical about the attachment mechanism. I thought the straps wouldn’t be reliable, but longer-term usage proved me wrong.
The straps will also allow you to adjust the height of the bag a little bit (so it can sit above or under handlebars).
Keep in mind that if you use a bike computer the way I do, you won’t be able to open the bag.
This bag is also unsuitable for bikes with short head tube lengths because it can interfere with the tire. It requires at least 20 cm (7.87in) clearance between the handlebar and the tire.
If you don’t have an internal cable routing, keep in mind it will interfere with the shifting and braking cables. This may limit your bike’s maneuverability.
Craft Cadence Essentials Case
The Essentials Case is made of TPU-coated polyester and YKK rain-resistant zippers. These materials ensure the durability and waterproofing of your essentials. This is handy if you use the case for storing your phone or banknotes.
- A lot of inside pockets
- Fits jersey pocket
The case can fully replace your saddle bag keeping your bike clean. It features many dedicated pockets for cards, money, spare tube, CO2 inflator, tool kit, gels, mini pump… The list goes on. It is up to you how you combine these items.
I have only one complaint about this the Essentials Case. It is pretty expensive. I mean, when you compare the price of it with the handlebar bag (57 USD), it is just 7 USD cheaper. I don’t fully understand the pricing strategy but 50 USD for a small simple case is a lot.
Craft Cadence FAQ
So, what is the conclusion? Are these products worth buying? Well, it depends.
If you are looking for a handlebar bag ideal for commuting in a city, you will hardly find an alternative that provides a similar price/value ratio. It is well built, IPX5 waterproof, and provides you with storage for essentials like a rainjacket, an extra water bottle, snacks, gels, documents, etc.
Of course, you can use it for long, endurance on the road, gravel, or a hybrid bike. However, if you are a hardcore bikepacker or need a more spacious handlebar bag, this bag is probably not for you because it won’t fit as many things as you may need.
The Essentials Case is a great accessory not only for commuters or casual cyclists but also for road cyclists. It fits the back pocket of a jersey and fits most things you need – a mini pump, spare tube, smartphone, credit card, etc.
The product for this review was kindly provided by the manufacturer. This did not influence my overall verdict or my opinion about the product.