When Maap released their Alt-Road range it wasn't just a collection of high-fashion performance gravel kit from Australia, they also released a bunch of accessories to compliment their new riding clobber.
Any gravel and adventure range wouldn't be complete without some bikepacking bags to match so Maap collab-ed with Apidura, who are one of the best bikepacking bag makers around, to make their own handlebar pack, framebag, and seat pack.
The handlebar bag isn’t just a rebranded Apidura model either, the MAAP X Apidura Handlebar Pack has a number of unique features that aren't seen on other Apidura bags. The unique features and Maap branding comes at a premium though, so does the MAAP x Apidura Handlebar Pack have the performance to back it up?
Design and specifications
The Maap X Apidura Handlebar Pack features 9L of storage accessed through a double-ended roll closure similar to Apidura’s Expedition handlebar Pack, so it's got firm design foundations. The Maap Handlebar Pack also uses Apidura’s Air vent to aid stuffing and compression. However, that's where the similarities to the Expedition Handlebar Pack end.
The Maap Handlebar Pack benefits from a material upgrade and is built using Hexalon which is a waterproof laminate developed for Apidura and used in their Racing Series bags. The handlebar straps are the same webbing with Hypalon sections stitched in to grip the handlebars but rather than use more webbing to secure around the head tube there is a bungee loop with a hook.
Up front, Maap has specced a pocket with a simple folded-over Velcro closure for the odd small item and there is a mesh pocket inside to secure any valuable items. The front of the pocket feature a light loop and the graphics are reflective too.
As with Apidura’s other air valve-equipped bags, the Maap Handlebar Pack is a breeze to pack. As the air can escape when the ends are being rolled up I was able to maximize the 9L of storage, fitting my bivy sleeping setup into a very compact space. It's notably more compact on the bike than the 9L Expedition model too which is useful for small bikepackers who would otherwise struggle with tire clearance. Stiffening strips around the open ends mean you can get a neat and tight closure roll to assure no water can sneak in.
The straps securely grip the bars and needed no re-tightening once fitted, plus there is a strengthening bar sewn between the buckles to stop any drooping or extra movement. You will lose finger space to grip the tops of drops as there aren't any spacers. You could fit your own although you would lose the benefit of the grippy Hypalon on the handlebar. The bungee does a good job of stabilizing the bag on rough terrain, there's a tag to pull the bungee tight which is then neatly stored in a loop to stop it from flapping about.
As the front pocket is on a curve when the Handlebar Pack is loaded it doesn't have much storage volume. It will fit a few small valuables like cards and keys in there although don’t expect to be able to securely store a multitool in there or other such bulkier items. The Velcro closure didn't fill me with confidence when valuables were stored there, although nothing escaped during testing plus the netted pocket should stop things leaping out if the Velcro lid did flap open.
The Maap X Apidura Handlebar Pack is compact, feature-rich, and superbly manufactured. It might not have the same capacity, expandable storage, or bungee lashings as the Expedition model, but it has a sleek and compact size that will suit smaller riders and fast-packers better. The 9L is a good amount of storage to fit a minimal sleeping setup for an overnighter or enough spare layers on a dawn-till-dusk big miler.
I think it looks great too, with the black material and Maap and Apidura reflective decals on the front. Durability so far has been faultless and my test sample still looks great, cleans up well, and all the stitching is still tight. If there was an issue with material or craftmanship Apidura has your back.
The unique design features, uprated material, and Maap logos add a serious premium over the comparable 9L Expedition which costs $62 / £40 / AU$48 less. While some will prefer the compact size, stealthy looks, and exclusivity of the MAAP X Apidura Handlebar Pack, the larger Expedition is going to be more versatile, especially as you can expand storage further with the Accessory Pouch for $69 / £53 / AU$97.
Tech specs: Maap X Apidura Handlebar Pack
- Price: $200 / £140 / AU$230
- Size: 9L
- Weight: 232g