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Apidura Expedition Handlebar Pack and Accessory Pocket – lightweight, bombproof, waterproof legend

Apidura brought precision lightweight construction to bike packing bags but is its latest Expedition Handlebar Pack still a benchmark?

Apidura Expedition Bar Roll
(Image: © @roofowler)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Lightweight, yet totally waterproof and ultra-durable bar roll with tight rolling setup and expansion options at a decent price. Needs paint protection and potentially bar spacers though.

Pros

  • +

    Bombproof durability

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    Totally waterproof

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    Lightweight

  • +

    Bungee and clip-on pocket option

  • +

    Compact shape and secure fit

Cons

  • -

    Close mount impacts bar space

  • -

    Potential paint rub

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    Comparatively more expensive in US

Apidura is the original modern generation bikepacking bag maker and one of the best bikepacking bag producers around. Thanks to the brand's constant innovation, its lightweight minimalist designs have always made it a racer/fast touring favorite. 

As the name suggests, the Expedition is a modular, higher-capacity bar bag using first-class materials with awesome customer backup but still comes in at a more affordable price than we expected. 

Apidura Expedition Bar Roll

(Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Design and specifications

The signature grey material is a triple-layer ripstop waterproof laminate made specifically for Apidura based on its extensive experience in combining durability and low weight. The ‘precision crafted’ manufacturer means patterns are laser cut and the single bag seam is ultrasonically welded as are the reinforcing patches. These patches are made of Hypalon which is the same ultra-tough rubberized nylon used for proper inflatable dinghies. 

The two bar straps are stitched on with Aramid (bulletproof vest) fiber and the characteristic lemon yellow color is picked up in the borders of the two hexagonal patches that the front elastic ‘X’ bungee mounts onto. The closing roll ends use Hypalon rather than stiff bars too. There’s an optional head tube strap to reduce bounce on rough ground too. There’s no light loop but the Apidura logo is reflective.

The buckles are super tough Woojin pieces and there are three extra clips to add on the $69/£50 4.5L ‘Accessory Pocket’, more on that later. If you want extra capacity as standard then there’s a 14L Bar Roll for $142/£104 which shares the same design and materials.

Apidura Expedition Bar Roll

Minimalist attachments keep the roll stable but can threaten paintwork (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance

The low weight of the Apidura is the first really striking thing. Features like the soft roll ends also mean it packs up more tidily than others too. There’s even an ‘automatic’ air valve so make sure you crush the air out so it doesn’t take up more space than it has to. Even the 9L still filled the space between a 46cm flared Salsa bar though, so make sure you have the cockpit width to cope if you go for the 14L version. The X bungee and optional Accessory Pocket let you add capacity without adding to width though.

We really recommend opting for the additional Accessory Pocket too. It feels expensive considering it's specific to the Expedition handlebar pack and adds over 50 percent to the cost of the handlebar pack, but the utility and performance offered is impressive and worth the extra money. The clip system really locks the Accessory Pocket in place and there is plenty of adjustment in the straps to hold it tightly in place, stop items jumping around inside, or securely store a jacket between it and the main handlebar bag. We used it to store food, electronics, and other useful at-hand items, there's a stretchy mesh internal pocket too for separating small items like keys.

Apidura Expedition Bar Roll and Accessory Pocket

The Accessory Pocket adds a significant amount of storage to the handlebar pack (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

The Expedition Handlebar pack's minimalist strap system also means it mounts directly onto the bars. While you could add your own spacers to reclaim the top section for your hands, that would take you out of the extra grippy Hypalon reinforced section of the straps. The head tube strap also pulls the bag in tight to the front of the frame. This is great for stability and compact set up but it makes it much more likely to rub paint and fight with cables so make sure you put plenty of protective tape on to avoid raw patches.

What you won’t have to worry much about though is whether your gear will stay dry as the Expedition Roll is totally sealed (the air valve baffle is particularly clever). Durability is very unlikely to be an issue either as Apidura has an awesome reputation for being totally bombproof on the longest, roughest tours. Our sample has certainly laughed off everything we’ve thrown at it over summer and we know a load of people who are still on original bags after years of use. There’s a lifetime warranty on manufacturing defects and Apidura runs a program of repair stations at the end of events and through its shop network. There is also a Revive 'second life marketplace' where you can buy refurbished packs from its testing program at a reduced price and reduce waste in the process. Apidura even has guides for DIY repairs on its website to keep you going until they can fix you up properly. 

Apidura Expedition Bar Roll and Accessory Pocket

Soft ends and air purge valve make for a compact pack down (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict

Apidura’s Expedition Bar Roll is an excellent totally waterproof and ultra-durable bar roll with clip-on expansion options at a race-ready weight. It’s well priced considering its reputation, precision construction, and awesome support program too. The close bar and bike fit mean paint protection is a wise move though and you’ll need extra spacers if you want to get your bar tops back too.

The additional Accessory Pocket feels pricey as an add-on but it not only opens up a really convenient storage option at the front but the payload is generous beyond what would be expected from the 4.5 liters capacity. The clip-on system is also solid so there are no worries of it falling off either.

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Shop Apidura Expedition range at Apidura.com (opens in new tab)

Tech Specs: Apidura Expedition Bar Roll

  • Price: $132 / £96 / €109
  • Sizes: 9L (tested) 14L and 4.5L Accessory Pocket 
  • Weight: 300g (113g Accessory Pocket)
Guy Kesteven
Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg

With contributions from