German outfit Deuter makes everything from frame packs and sleeping bags to paniers and kid carriers. The Mondego series is the brand’s latest offering of budget-friendly, bike packing bags, designed to increase the capacity of what you can haul on the bike, without draining your bank account.
Mondego HB 8
Priced at $129.99 AUD, Deuter’s Mondego HB 8 is a relatively basic large-capacity handlebar bag with room for 8L of stuff.
The main compartment has a pair of elastic mesh pouches on the back edge and a set of velcro pockets on either side to keep small bits or valuables from disappearing into the black hole inside.
Depending on the type of adventure you’re planning, and how carefully you pack, there is room for a Jetboil, a couple of layers, some food or compact tools and a handful of small items like power banks. You could even get away with storing the body of a 1-man tent on the inside and carrying the poles with the bungee if you rolled it very tight.
Outside, there is a pocket on either end; one is zippered, and one is mesh. These are pretty tight, so don’t expect to fit much more than a wallet or low-profile snacks.
The bag has some structure to it, which helps to hold the zipper taught for one-handed access. It’s also shockingly stable over rough ground. It does move a bit when things get spicy, but it’s not like Tarzan is up there swinging from your handlebars.
It’s made from recycled Bluesign-approved fabric and sees a double PU coating which will keep the contents dry in light showers, but it’s not waterproof.
The bag mounts using only velcro straps and Deuter includes a couple of foam spacers that allow the position to be tailored to play nice with computer mounts, lights and cables.
We’ve had success using the Mondego with both flat and drop bars, though it may take some careful wrangling of cables and hoses to make everything sit nice — this will depend wholly on how neat your cockpit is.
Mondego FB 4
The Mondego FB 4 is a frame bag that secures inside your front triangle turning otherwise unused space into valuable real estate for storage. Made from the same Bluesign-approved recycled fabric, it attaches to your bike using velcro loops and sees daisy chain attachment mounts running 3/4 of the way around to ensure it can fit your frame’s shape.
On gravel bikes and hardtails, it will more or less universally fit, however, full suspension rigs will be hit-and-miss. With that said, it does bogart the headroom above your bottles, and you’re more than likely going to need side access cages. This is not unique to the Mondego bag, and in our experience, is more of a universal truth with these type of bags. It also was not a fantastic fit with the proportions of our Focus Atlas test bike, but was a better match to Colin’s personal Sage Barlow. This doesn’t affect the performance of the bag in any way, and even fully loaded, it doesn’t touch your knees as you pedal, or rub the frame the wrong way. It simply means that the space inside the front triangle isn’t being fully maximised by the bag because of its shape.
Priced at $89.99 AUD it’s a pretty basic bag. There’s a zipper on each side; with the drive-side opening leading to a 4L void for tools, spares, snacks or whatever else you can stuff in there. The other zipper accesses a flat pocket running the full length of the bag, big enough for gels, keys, a wallet, or other essential things you don’t want to disappear in among the chaos on the other side.