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26th August 2021 / Comments (0)

Ashdown Bags Cockpit Combo Review

Bringing classic materials into a modern collection of well made bikepacking luggage for all your snacks and goodies, Dan Monaghan spent time some on two wheels to review the Ashdown bags cockpit combo.

 

Ashdown Bags are a reasonably new, South West UK based company run by Josh & Jacob producing a range of bags. ‘Honest, robust and beautiful carry goods’ with a considered and well thought design process. At present the range is 7 on and off bike bags. I’ve been testing the cockpit combo of the bar bag and top tube bag. 

The bags have been tested on a mix of adventures, in various conditions, on various bikes, I really wanted to test drive the bags and explore their full potential. 

Construction and Materials

I’m a sucker for cotton canvas. My first ever hiking rucksack, passed down to me by my dad was a red cotton canvas Karrimor, which I treasured. I loved the rugged feel of the material. The Ashdown bags are made from high quality cotton canvas and feel robust. The canvas is organic and sustainably sourced too. I was really happy with the look of the bags and how they felt like they could withstand the elements. 

Bar Bag

– One main 2.5L compartment

– Padded sides giving structure

– Zipped closure

– Adjustable elastic cord (removable)

– Universal velcro wrap attachment system

– Weatherproof finish and waterproof zip

– British made heavy weight cotton canvas throughout – organic and sustainably produced

– YKK waterproof zips

– Super strong polyester webbing

– Leather logo patch

 

Any colour cord can be used on the bar bag

 

The bar bag was the product I used consistently and the most, therefore I needed it to be resilient. UK riding throws all sorts at your gear and being out front and above the front wheel means that mud and grit are run of the mill for a bar bag. The weatherproof finish and the exceptional waterproof zip kept everything out. There were rides where the rains were incessant and the bar bag kept the moisture at bay. At 2.5ltrs the bag isn’t huge, don’t expect to use it for bikepacking gear, but its certainly enough for daily rides.

My standard loadout to cram in was a mini pump, multi-tool, tube, levers, Outdoor Provisions bar (Bakewell!), extra Gillet. It was even possible to get my rain jacket in as an alternative to the Gilet also. The bag was a really effective gear stash bag on photo shoots too, I could carry a couple of extra cables, powerbank, all alongside my bike gear. 

On the outside of the bag there’s a handy elastic laced cord where I could stash the Gillet or a jacket if the weather was changeable. It’s secure and adjustable enough to not worry about dropping things. 

 

bungee cord on front of bar bag perfect for stowing jackets or even flip flops

 

To mount, the bar bag makes use of two Velcro wraps, which seemed limited at first sight, but they were more than enough to firmly secure the bag, with no slipping or movement. There are multiple mount points for the straps on the bag too which is really useful. I’m a big fan of these types of strap and the extra material tab at the end is a great touch. 

 

Top Tube Bag

– One main 0.7L compartment

– Padded base and sides

– Universal velcro wrap attachment system

– Weatherproof finish and waterproof zip

– British made heavy weight cotton canvas throughout – organic and sustainably produced

– YKK waterproof zips

– Super strong polyester webbing

– Leather logo patch

 

 

The top tube bag isn’t something I’ve previously used on rides, I tend to have enough room elsewhere for storage, so this was a little alien to me. What I did find is that it’s a great way to access small bits and bobs. Bars (10 Outdoor Provisions bars capacity), snacks, powerbank for additional power and phone. It’s a useful addition to the cockpit for longer rides, although for shorter rides it felt a little excessive. The weatherproofing and construction is, as with the bar bag well prepared against the British weather and stood upto all the showers and conditions just as good. The top tube bag also mounts with the velcro straps, two on the top tube and one to wrap either around the headset strap or stem. There are multiple mount points which means you can adjust accordingly depending on your frame set up. 

Overall

The full cockpit combo is a great addition to the bike, both visually and functionally. I really like the materials and construction, both feel well thought out. You can also customise the look with alternative coloured elastic cord (I think pink would be cool). The bar bag has been my favourite, it’s my go to grab bag for shorter trips and has meant I don’t have pockets full of bulging gear. For bigger adventures the capacity may not work (future project Josh & Jacob?). The bags are still going strong, holding shape, without issue having been used over a 4 month period. 

At £69 for the bar bag and £45 for the top tube (or £95 for a combo) the price seems a little above market, sitting just above the price of Restrap, but I’m sure as the range builds and more people invest in Ashdown products the price may come down, plus I think the attention to detail balances out the price. 

I’m really excited to see where the lads at Ashdown go next, this feels like a great start to a great range of gear… so what is next?

A quick word from Josh from Ashdown below..

“What’s coming next eh….. It’s a rough plan but I’d call it : ‘considered and organic growth’ – so constant iteration of current products, and the introduction of new ones. Hopefully all with a level of innovation that stands them apart from the crowd. Whether that’s through functionality, or choice of materials/hardware. As a product designer I’m always looking to improve things and generally we’d like to get a balance between ‘off-the-shelf’ products and bespoke projects. We’ll always look to keep things minimal, robust and timeless.”

 

Ykk waterproof zip on the ashdown bags top tube bag

 

Ashdown Bags Bar Bag and Top Tube Bag

£69 (bar Bag) £45 (Top Tube Bag)
8.5

The bar bag has been my favourite, it’s my go to grab bag for shorter trips and has meant I don’t have pockets full of bulging gear

8.5/10

Pros

  • Brilliant material choice, robust and weatherproof
  • YKK Weather sealed zips (they are really good)
  • bar bag is an ideal size for day trips

Cons

  • not really useable for larger gear or bigger trips
  • may just be a touch too pricey

Last modified: 26th August 2021

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