Cargo Cages and Fork-Mounted "Anything Bags"

Svetlana November 11 2021

Do you think the conventional bike-packing bags setup such as frame, seat, and handlebar roll bags are not enough for you? Sometimes you have to go on a trip where you might have to carry a lot of gear, water, food or other necessary things. That’s when fork bags come in handy.

Fork bags are popular with bicycle tourists. The reason for this is because when you’re riding solo, especially in unsupported tours, it’s nice to have extra bag space on your bike. You can use it to store food or even camping equipment when needed. Fork Bags are not limited to touring bikes though, but they can also be great for commuters too!

People tend to get confused between fork bags and cargo cages, which look very similar. Both of them hold additional weight on the front end of your bike, above the front wheel axle, however, fork bags attach around the forks while cargo cages are usually mounted onto disc brakes or suspension fork legs. A great thing about using a cargo cage over a fork bag is that you can usually carry more weight. Fork bags are capable of carrying smaller objects like sleeping bags, tents, tarps, and other light items.

You also get the benefit of better handling of your bike. The center of gravity is moved closer to the front wheel which makes your steering more responsive and allows you to carry more weight.

Fork bags and cargo cages work well with off-road touring bikes because they allow you to carry additional gear that can be used for short overnight trips, while still having the option to use it as a commuter bag during the day without dealing with any extra weight on top of your rack. This is because most fork-mounted bags attach around the axle instead of directly behind it like fork-mounted panniers or road bags (which will put extra stress on your rear tire).

When you need some super extra space, fork-mounted “anything” bags or cargo cages are the optimal answer. You can stuff all your extra gears and other things in the cargo cages or fork bags because carrying stuff on the bicycle is always better than carrying it on your back or body.

Cargo Cages: History and Purpose

Everybody knows that necessity is the mother of invention. Following this proverb, a biking company Salsa Cycle in 2010 developed the open-sided innovative anything cage to hold all your extra stuff and things bigger than a water bottle. Even though the idea was not purely new, the concept was groundbreaking and helped create today's cargo cages.

Jumping to 2021, we have lots of variants that can help us carry our extra stuff. Today we have cargo cages, packs, and regular bags. Some fork bags can be directly attached to the forked legs, downtubes, or eyelets of the bike.

Packing Cargo Cages and Anything Bags

In a general view, the cargo cages and anything bags should carry round but lightweight things that do not fit your standard bags. They can carry weight up to a limit of 3 kg (6.6 lbs).

Though there are numerous types of things, you can carry in these bags. Usually, the most popular scenarios are where people carry sleeping gear, shelters, dry bags, and many more.

Features of cargo cages and fork bags

Size: First of all, these bags are big in size. But if you have a bike that has a larger wheelbase, then there is nothing to worry about the size. The design goes with an aim to provide extra space for your luggage.

Wheel size compatibility: The next important thing is the compatibility of the wheel size. You should make sure that whatever cargo cage or fork bag you choose is compatible both with your bike and you don't need adapters when they go on shopping (since it will be an additional cost).

Mounting Type: There are different mounting styles available depending on what kind of bike accessories you're using on your bike. You can either use quick release mounts or axle mount that comes in two styles, i.e., front axle mounts and rear axle mounts that give better stability for your cargo cage or anything bag.

The next important thing is the mounting style so you must make sure of your bike compatibility before opting for a specific cargo cage or anything bag. 

Strength: Since these bags are going on the front fork legs of the bicycle as it's attached to the middle section of the fork, therefore, they need to be strong enough to bear all kinds of pressure from different angles as people use their bikes in different conditions. And that's why most manufacturers use an aluminum alloy with perfect thickness and other materials like stainless steel which makes them not only durable but also lightweight at the same time which is a huge plus.

Sleeping Gear

Camping gear is one of the main things when going on long trips, and you will have to sleep outside. It can be a small shelter, sleeping bag, or sleeping pad. All of them occupy a large area in your bag. To make space for other things, you can always use a fork bag or cargo cage. Always put your sleeping gear in a sack before stowing it in anything bag.

Extra Water

Another widespread use of anything bags is to carry water. You can carry thermoses, Nalgene bottles, and Klean Kanteens by directly attaching them to the bike's downtube using voile straps to enhance stability. For the winter season or icy terrains, you can use insulated bags.

Food Overflow

One of the most popular uses of fork bags is to carry extra food on longer trips. Stow the food in the cargo cage and attach it to the fork. You can eat it whenever you are hungry during the journey.

Pros of cargo cages and fork-mounted anything bags

These bags are a great alternative to traditional panniers. The biggest advantage is that they free up your space on the back of your bike and keep it airy. You can also buy them without having to worry about rack compatibility. That's why you should always see your accessory compatibility before buying any bucket bag or cargo cage for your bike since all these things play an important role in making sure that the bag stay secure, stable, and aerodynamic while riding during harsh terrains or long-distance cycling.

Cons of cargo cages and fork-mounted anything bags

One of the main cons associated with fork bags is their high price which is because of their large size, premium built material, design style, the easy installation process. Another con associated with these bags is that they reduce the bike's stability and can be dangerous.

The best thing that you should know before getting a cargo cage or fork mounted anything bag

When buying a cargo cage for your bike, there are some points to keep in mind:

  1. Always ensure the compatibility of the accessory with your bike before buying it.
  2. Make sure whatever bike accessories (fork bags or cargo cage) you get for your bike must be made up of high-quality material like aluminum alloy, stainless steel, etc., which not only saves you from rust but also makes them durable. Check Out 6 Best Cargo Bags Comparison Table.
  3. As an extra fixing point, always look for mounting style options. Front Axle Mount Rear Axle Mount
  4. Make sure the attachment point is strong enough to withstand high pressure from different angles as people use their bikes in different conditions. Always go for the accessories that are guaranteed by the manufacturer to be usable on all types of bikes and rough terrains.
  5. The fork-mounted cargo bag should be aerodynamic and must not cause air or water resistance problems while you ride your bike especially during long trips with lots of luggage weight. 
  6. Try to look for portability options like, if you just want to carry one bag then why invest in a big cargo cage when you can buy something smaller and easy to use.

Conclusion

Cargo cages and fork-bag attached to anything bags can be a great alternative to traditional panniers because it frees up the back of your bike and keep it airy and you can buy them without worrying about rack compatibility. Always see your accessory compatibility before buying any bucket bag or cargo cage for your bike since all these things play an important role in making sure that the bag stay secure, stable, and aerodynamic while riding during harsh terrains or long-distance cycling.

If you are visiting a harsh location, it might be an icy, almost freezing location or an arid desert-type location, or a place where it will be challenging for you to buy materials. It is common sense that you will need a lot more supplies than usual to survive in such extreme conditions, and if you do not have enough space, it might cause a massive problem for you. With fork bags, space will never be an issue again.