I’ve used a few Chrome Industries products over the years. Two of the bags which I still use now were originally sent through TotalMTB for a review and I’ve managed to hang on to them. Since Chrome focus on ‘urban cycling’, there’s no surprise that something I noted about the rucksacks were the lack of waist strap. In my mind, that’s absolutely vital for mountain biking. Otherwise, their products have been faultless. I use both the backpacks above all my others when not on the mountain bike. Chrome have a knack for making something highly functional but really comfortable too and the stuff I already had has become my daily work bag and shopping bag with mega capacity.
When Chrome reached out and told me about one of their bar bags, the Doubletrack Handlebar Sling, I was pretty excited to see what their on-bike solutions were like. After all, I’ve been more than impressed with their rucksacks and since getting the gravel bike last year I’ve had more and more of a need for frame bags and the like – cameras don’t carry themselves.
Over messenger, Chrome weren’t sure if I’d be able to fit my DSLR and lens in the bag when attached together. They were confident they’d fit separately but, what with the endless dimensions of all the different lenses, there was no way of being sure that I’d be able to keep a ready to shoot rig in the bag for whenever it’s needed. Turns out, I can. Granted, the setup is a bit too big when it’s one of the larger lenses but for something like a 10-18mm or a nifty 50 it’s perfect.
Already, it’s got a fair amount of use. The flap top closure with magnetic fastener is a dream to use without having to get off the bike to grab contents from in the bag. Inside, the simple double pockets with elastic netting have helped keep key bits and bobs organised from the general compartment; easy access to spare batteries, keys and my wallet. There’s also two little netted side pockets on the outside of the bag. With the webbing above, they’re perfect for clipping keys and throwing them in the pocket.
I wouldn’t like to say the Doubletrack is waterproof, although there is a definite liner inside the bag and I’d be quite confident taking it out in a shower. As it’s a fold (or flap) top, rather than a roll, there’d be a risk of water getting to the contents that way instead. It is definitely durable and splash proof though. The hardy lower side of the bag is not the regular fabric found over the rest – it’s that water-resistant plasticy, hard wearing stuff. And it’s great. Size-wise it’s lovely to fit between the drops on the bike and stays in place nicely thanks to the velcro fastening over the bars and the stabiliser fastening which I pop around the head tube.
Something which I thought I’d not bother using is the stowable strap. At the back of the bag, there’s a pull out shoulder strap which can be pushed neatly into a little pouch to be hidden from view when not in use. I presumed that, once it’s on the bike, I’d have no need to take it off until I got home. However, it’s been really useful when stopping en route. It means that I can quickly lock my bike to something, grab the bag and head into a shop or cafe hands free knowing that my cameras, or whatever else I’ve put inside, are with me and safe.
I can’t believe I’ve taken this long to get involved with testing some of Chrome’s bags for mounting on the bike. The Doubletrack is just as high quality as the rucksacks they make and will likely end up getting just as much use. Considering smaller bags are going for just as much or more, I don’t think the £60 price tag is unreasonable either.