I thought I would post this, as I know many randonneurs like to have a front handlebar bag but have been dissuaded from doing so if they had STI shifters. Two reasons. First is that if your handlebars are not wide enough, the shifter levers will hit the side of the bag. The other reason is the STI shifter cables usually poke into the side of the bag, and make opening and closing the lid problematic, as well as accessing the side pockets. In fact, when I was first looking into buying my large Gilles Berthoud bag, a few experts advised me against it.
However, Gabe at BoxDog Bikes pointed out that as long as the levers don’t hit the side of the bag when shifting, I should be ok. Luckily, that was the case, so one hurdle down. He also suggest using a Vbrake noodle to route the cable. I didn’t end up doing that at first, as the setup was functional.
However, it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing as the cables pushed against the side of the bag, and pinched the top, ruining the clean lines. I also had to be very careful when taking the bag on and off. Once the cable got underneath the bag, and had I not noticed it, would have affected steering significantly.
It was just awkward opening the bag while riding, particularly on a long brevet. Closing was also tricky, as I had to push each side down again against the cable to really shut the bag properly.
So after a few months of this, I was in Huckleberry Bikes, which is where I bought my Salsa Casseroll. I mentioned Gabe’s idea to Kevan, their ace mechanic. He was intrigued and said he would like to try it. He took a Vbrake noodle, cut down part of it to make a clean angle, and installed it.
In practice, it works great. I can see no downside to having this setup. I really like my STI shifters, and had come close to getting rid of them and getting down-tube shifters to accommodate my handlebar bag.