The Chrome Doubletrack Handlebar Sling is a smart-looking, very well-made, heavy-duty handlebar bag with some neat touches that also doubles up as a sling. Its large size is very useful and its quality cannot be faulted which is just as well as it's not cheap.
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How it's made
Chrome's Doubletrack Handlebar Sling bag is a beautiful 5-litre handlebar bag that fits very neatly between my 46cm Deda Gravel bars allowing me to still ride on the tops. It's constructed using typical Chrome quality material of 1050d nylon with a heavyweight 1000d TPE tarp base, should you wish to sit it in a puddle and a 70d polyester liner. There are 2 stretchy mesh pockets inside, two on the outside and some attachment loops on either end. It doesn't have a front light mount or any real reflective detailing apart from the tiny badge.
It has a rollover closure and a slightly fussy magnetic buckle, which I still find awkward even after using it dozens of times. The rollover top does what it should, and even though I've been drenched a lot recently, the bag contents have stayed completely dry.
It fixes to the bars via a pair of tough Velcro straps and plastic rings. It's quick and easy to install and fits neatly on the untapped section of my drops. One issue I had was a clash with my out-front GPS mount, which made access to the bag impossible. I swapped back to a shorter one, and access was much improved. You could also use a stem cap to mount or a stem mount option if this is a problem for you.
The Doubletrack's size is a large part of its success, being 23cm wide, it holds my mini pump perfectly inside, which is how I prefer my pump to be carried. It is 16cm tall when packed and done up and roughly 10cm wide. With my simple maths, that makes it less than Chrome's claim at 5l, but hey, there are those outside stretchy pockets and attachment loops so more stuff can be carried.
In fact, it is very tempting to fill it to the brim and ditch one of your other bags from your bike, as I did on a recent ride. And it can certainly carry a lot. I stuffed it with a Sony CSC camera in case, a tube, tyre levers, 2 gas cartridges and head, a mini-tool, a small squirt lube bottle, a small bottle of sealant, loads of energy bars, a set of arm and leg warmers, and a buff - I was starting at 5 am. Don't ask.
So it's a big bag, and that is a bonus if you don't intend to get out of the saddle or hurry things along at all. If you do, it will swing and slap your frame and no amount of tightening the straps will prevent this. They are fixed at the top of the bag, so it hangs from them and can make unpleasant noises as it whacks your headtube unless you use the headtube strap.
Mine was not supplied with a strap just the loop for one so after few rides, I added my own. I’ve since checked with Chrome though and it should have had one, so for the sake of the review I will assume their strap works in the same way as mine. That’s not too much of a leap – any strap will work and it is easily removable or switchable if you prefer a different type. Importantly, with the strap fitted, there’s no more swing. You might want to consider some frame protection and foam pads if it rubs the headtube or you want to space it out.
This issue is in part true of all deep handlebar bags and why they really need a support mount like the Strapdeck from Drj0n that Matt reviewed recently or a frame/fork/handlebar mounted support to hold the weight.
It's great if you are only popping to the café or park, but it's less than ideal for a bikepacking or travel solution, especially as its size is saying fill me up! If you don't fill it full and/or it doesn't clang on your frame, and you use a strap, you have an excellent bag that will last for ages and keep your stuff dry.
I've only used the Sling setup to see if it works; it does. The straps stay neatly hidden inside an open-ended sleeve on the back of the bag when not required and pull out when needed. However, I found it so quick to remove and hold one-handed that I haven't felt the need to 'test the Sling' fully, although I can see it would be useful for hands-free coffee and cake. I can see the value of the Sling, it's not like a clip-on waist strap - you cannot lose it, but I suspect many would have preferred a more secure mounting system and foam blocks, I know I would.
Value and verdict
It is quite expensive at £63. There are certainly plenty of cheaper options, but its quality of construction means it fares well against its competitors, like the Outer Shell Handlebar bag tested by Benedict a few years back at £72, which came with the elastic strap and foam spacers to protect your headtube. It's cheaper than the 2l smaller Straight Cut Bagel Bar bag that Matt tested, which also came with the strap recently, but the size isn't everything, as I've explained.
A really good bag whose generosity in volume allows excellent options for day rides, just make sure you use the headtube strap to prevent the vicious swing and clang on your frame It’s smart looking, brilliantly constructed out of tough materials, and should last for ages which is good to know at this price.