- Quick and easy to mount Harness with spacing pads
- Removable weatherproof stuff bag
- Lack of fork mount to keep it fully rigid
- Waterproof stuff bag
The BBB Front Fellow is a handlebar bag that combines a harness that mounts to the bike plus a removable 10L separate dry bag with a useful carry strap to give a decent load capacity for bikepacking. It mounts solidly, works well and it's decent value too.
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The Front Fellow is a two-part handlebar mounted harness and bag system. The harness attaches to flat or drop bars via simple buckles and straps that go around the handlebar, the head tube and - unusually - around the stem. It comes with a selection of foam blocks which you can thread on or remove from the straps to help the system clear your brake/gear cables and allow your hands to hold the horizontal section of a drop bar. These pads can also be used to hold the bag away from the headtube at the bottom for more clearance for cables to sit underneath and so on.
It’s a more comprehensive system than that offered by the likes of Alpkit’s Tivaro model and is more akin to Vaude’s Trailfront or the Wildcat Lion system. In use the Front Fellow doesn’t wobble too much; there is a bit of movement up and down but totally within reason. Part of this is due to be the ability to fit it tightly in the first place using the extra strap that goes around the stem. It all feels very sturdy. There is also a buckle on the front of the harness which I haven’t found an official use for but it could be used to strap the front down to your forks if that was required with an extra strap.
The black harness unclips to reveal a bright blue inside where there is a large rectangular strip of velcro that is designed to match the opposite strip of velcro on the carry stuff bag. This is a great idea as it eliminates the possibility that the bag can wiggle free along the harness if not clamped tight enough. It also helps locate the bag centrally and gives some support whilst you are doing up the harness. The bag will actually stay in place when packed full making loading and unloading simple. There is a small reflective logo on the front of the harness but this may well be obscured by any accessory bag mounting.
The bag itself has a 10litre capacity and measures 15cm in diameter and 60cm long. That's proved large enough to hold my three-season sleeping bag, a thermal liner, beanie, buff, spare socks and mini first aid kit. That’s about as much as I’d expect to get in there and all you might have space for depending on the style of bars you are mounting it too.
If you have 42cm wide drops or narrower you will need to stuff less in if you want to be able to use the levers, which is no different from most bags in this sector. Being able to stuff the carry bag away from the bike is a quicker and less awkward solution allowing you to cram more in without the risk of dropping your bike, scrapping the frame or generally getting frustrated about how difficult it is to stuff a fixed bag or having to re-attach the bag each time you stop and start.
BBB don’t claim the bag as waterproof but it does have taped seams, feels tough and it kept my kit dry through many a puddle, stream crossings and plenty of light drizzle. There is nothing to prevent you from using your own dry bag of choice but it wouldn’t have the Velcro patch or carry strap.
On the outside of the harness there are two horizontal strips of accessory attachment webbing which can be used for all sorts of extra carry duties as long as you provide your own straps. I recommend using something like Surly Junk straps or Voile straps for just this purpose. Be it your waterproofs that you no longer need but are still too damp to go inside a dry bag, or your flip-flops or your bivvy bag and sleeping mat. It’s a simple and perfect solution for adding extra storage capacity for stuff you cannot fit or don’t want to fit inside.
The whole system feels well made and well stitched together although it doesn't quite have the solidity of the best out there on the market with their air valves in the stuff bags (to help you pack) or heat welded seams or triple and quadruple stitched buckles and accessory loops, but it has all of what you need and none of what you don't for many adventures into the outdoors as long as you look after it.
The Front Fellow is a simple to fit front bag fixed harness system. Even if you don’t use the supplied stuff sack in favour your own personal waterproof one it represents good value, has a proper adjustable harness which clears you cables and lever and its subtle looks will appeal to many.