The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Gear Gallery……Guu-Watanabe Bag (fabrique en Tokyo)

with 2 comments

Guu Watanabe Handlebar Bag

Guu Watanabe Handlebar Bag

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I saw a random picture of a handmade Guu-Watanabe bag back in 2006 and thought it was the most elegant design I had ever seen. (I urge you to spend some time exploring the design options now available on their website).

Shortly after seeing one of these bags, I tracked down the maker, Watanabe Shoichi, in Tokyo and together (with limited common language skills) we designed the bag for my Ebisu, emailing measurements and drawings back and forth until we had the proportions just right. I believe I was his first customer outside of Japan.

I’m still delighted with my purchase. It was — and still is — impossible to get a bag this size. It is much bigger than either the Ostrich bag or the Berthoud and it fits the proportions of my 59cm 650B frame just right, as I think is very clear in this photo.

The only flaw — if you can even call it a flaw — are the straps and metal buckles (a slightly fussy or showy detail that has no place in classic randonneuring designs). I would have preferred simple elastic and hook closures  (and I notice that Shoichi now uses this type of closure on his current line), but otherwise it is perfect.

Written by fridaycyclotouriste

March 19th, 2010 at 2:19 pm

2 Responses to 'Gear Gallery……Guu-Watanabe Bag (fabrique en Tokyo)'

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  1. Hi Nathan,

    Truly a beautiful bag. I’ve done some bag making myself and have studied Guu-Watanabe photos on Flickr to glean what I can of their process. Anyway, what I like about your set up is that the bag actually comes to the height of the bar, which greatly aids in the sheltering of hands on a chilly day. I think this is a valuable attribute. You don’t realize how good it is until you’ve tried it and then gone without. Has this come into play for you?



    19 Mar 10 at 7:39 pm

  2. dave/ great comment! the height of the bag was indeed the guiding design element. i definitely wanted to get the height near bar level (primarily to make it easier to take things in and out while riding i hadn’t even considered the wind issue, but it makes perfect sense).

    i looked, but unfortunately there was no ready-made solution. as you know, on larger frame sizes the head tube is considerably longer than on smaller frames and if the bag sits at fender level the top of the bag sits well below the bars. plus, the tallest handlebar bags are often not very deep. i wanted both tall and deep to emulate the proportions i was seeing on a typical 52-56cm japanese bikes.

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