Over the past year or so, I’ve gone from riding with a palm sized Canon s95 camera stuffed in my jersey pocket to using either the Fuji X-T10 or Fuji X100s in one of two different bags on my bike. The reasons are twofold:
1. My riding used to mostly be made up of training to race and extended rides (or at least a reasonable facsimile of training and giving a shit about performance), to riding just to stay in half way, not bad, sort of crap shape. In the past I just wanted a camera that took good shots to document the activity for this crap blog, and not get weighed down in the process.
2. As my “training” declined, and my want to take better photos increased, I picked up a used Fuji X100s, and then soon after a Fuji X-T10. I love both of these cameras, and couldn’t be happier with the results that the Fuji mirrorless systems provide. Once I got a taste of the results the Fuji X Series cameras gave me I couldn’t go back to using the Canon point and shoot*.
The Fuji gear isn’t DSLR size, but the cameras are larger, and require a bag to transport on rides. I already had a Porcelain Rocket DSLR Slinger (seen in the photo below) in my possession from my time with the now sold Nikon D3200, but that bag is best suited for use on a mountain bike; I wanted something to use when riding the Boone.
Last fall I picked up the NAV Handlebar Bag by BiKASE down at Terry’s Cycle in beautiful downtown Alma, Michigan. The bag is of course not a dedicated camera bag, but it has plenty of room for the X-T10 with a 55-200mm lens (minus the lens hood).
The bag is super easy to take off and on, and quickly unzips for quick access. As an added bonus the clear plastic map holder on the front acts as another barrier between any road spray that I could potentially encounter.
For my need the only real issue I had with the bag was that there was no padding, and that the camera–especially the smaller X100s–could jostle around on rough terrain. So, I got crafty and picked up some foam padding, cut two pieces to size, and Gorilla Glued it to the inside back and bottom of the bag. This keeps the camera snug when riding over rough terrain, and adds a bit of padding in the event of a crash. It was totally worth the five bucks in padding and five-minute installation for some added peace of mind. Not sure exactly how much crash protection it would offer, but that is yet another reason I opted for the protection plan on the camera.
The bag offers a decent amount of protection from the elements, but I tend not to take the camera with me if it looks like heavy rain is possible during the ride. I also always keep a large Ziploc freezer bag inside the bag so I can stow the camera aways if needed.
I’ve found over the last few months that I actually prefer riding with the BiKASE to the Slinger (which I have also added extra padding to). Because the bag is on the front of the bike, the chances of the bag making direct contact with the ground, or slamming against the frame during a crash is extremely low. I’ve used it on my mountain bike as well, but it seems best when used on the Boone.
The BiKASE seems constructed well enough and I have had no issues with the quality other than the small rubber zipper pull-grip broke within the first two rides and now I use zip tie to pull the zipper. It sucks that it broke, but the 3¢ zip tie fix ended up being easier to grip with riding gloves on, especially cold weather gloves, so I probably would have done that at some point anyway
The BiKASE NAV Handlebar Bag retails for $49.99, I paid slightly less due to my work affiliation with the shop. If you’re like me and have grown to enjoy using your bike as a vehicle for your creative side and are looking for an on bike bag to haul your gear, this is a good option, but invest in some ghetto padding for sure.