How To Mount A Front Bike Light When Using A Handlebar Bag

The problem with handlebar bags is that they usually block the bike light you might otherwise have mounted onto the front of your handlebars. So, how exactly do you mount a front bike light if you’re using a handlebar bag on your cycle touring adventures? In this video, I give you four front bike light mounting strategies.

I received an email the other day from a Bicycle Touring Pro reader named Kevin… and this is what it said:

“Hi Darren. Where do you do about your front bike lights when you’re riding with a handlebar bag, because my handlebar bag is quite large and blocks my front bike light?” – Kevin L.

That’s a good question, because Kevin in right, when you’re riding with a handlebar bag, the bag itself will usually block the standard bike light that you might have mount to the front of your handlebars.

While some bicycles can be equipped with a center-mounted bike light near or on the head tube, most bicycles do not have a quick and easy way to attach a light in that area. Which is why, if you plan to use a handlebar bag for your bicycle touring adventures, you need to find another location to mount your front bike light.

I use a pair of front and rear USB rechargeable bike lights. The rear light is easy enough to figure out. As long as your rear rack isn’t stacked too high with camping equipment, you can simply mount that rear light to the back of your seat post… and if that won’t work, you can mount it to the back of your rear rack.

For the front light, however, I have four main suggestions:

  1. If you have drop handlebars, mount the light near the bottom of the drops, making sure the light is in a position that still shines forward, but doesn’t block your brakes or shifters from functioning properly.
  2. If possible, mount your light to the side of your front fork. I usually place the light on the traffic side of my bicycle, making sure the wheel doesn’t hit or rub up against the light as I ride.
  3. If you don’t mind the added weight, you might try using a handlebar extension like this carbon fiber one from to lift your front bicycle light up over the top of your handlebar bag. This will work better on some handlebar bags than others. My handlebar bag, for example, is still too large and blocks most of my front bike light – even with the handlebar extension in place.
  4. Which is why, one of your best options might be to use a handlebar extension mounted to the side of your handlebars, allowing you to place your front bike light well into view of passing vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians in your vicinity, but far enough away from your brakes and shifters that you can operate your bike normally.

Kevin, I hope that helps to answer your question about where to mount your front bike light when using a handlebar bag.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer about bike touring, world travel or anything in between, leave a comment below and I might just answer your question in a future Bicycle Touring Pro video.

5 thoughts on “How To Mount A Front Bike Light When Using A Handlebar Bag

  1. says:

    Does it bother you that a handlebar bag blocks your view of the front wheel’s contact with the ground?

    • Darren Alff says:

      No. You get used to it. I don’t even notice this anymore. And, obviously, the side and placement of your handlebar bag affects how good or bad your view is if your front wheel. Interesting question though. No one else has ever asked me about this…

  2. Sandra Remson says:

    If “one of your best options might be to use a handlebar extension” why wouldn’t you share a link to what you are suggesting?

  3. Mark says:

    The best place to mount a front light/strobe when using a handlebar bag is either on the fork crown or on the leading edge of the front carrier (Tubus, Surly). Both of these mounting methods would provide an unobstructed light path for both “see and be seen” scenarios. Numerous light and bike accessories manufacturers provide these types of mounts, e.g., PlanetBike, CatEyes, Spanninga, B&M, ProblemSolvers, etc. Most of the European bike light manufacturers offer a fork crown mount option, but do not make bike lights with flash or strobe modes, which is essential for being seen during the day.

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