Empowering The Bicycle Traveler

Gille Berthoud Decaleur Brackets, Custom Replacements

Gilles Berthoud makes bicycle products with apparent disregard for costs. The materials and methods and designs are always uncompromising. That is why it is surprising to me that the Gilles Berthoud decaleurs (a bracket made to attach to the bicycle stem and secure a front bag) don’t really work with the Gilles Berthoud rando bags.
Gille Berthoud H-121 decaleur
The large bolt replaces the stem bolt and threads into the hole in the short piece of tubing which replaces the stem nut. The arms are bolted on to the short piece of tubing which is threaded at both ends. Then the arms can be rotated to the desired position to line up with the pieces attached to the leather trim piece along the top of the bag so all the pieces can be skewered together. The only problem is, the shape and the length of the arms allow for only a very narrow range of positions; if the arms are parallel to the ground, the bag is pushed too far forward….if the arms are rotated down so the bag can sit closer to the bars the connection point is low, potentially below the point where the pieces need to be attached to the bag. Another problem is that the arms of the decaleur interfere with closing the top flap.

The GB Decaleur arms keep the flap from completely closing, resulting in a permanent curl in the top flap.

This is the shorter version of the decaleur. For a bag topping out at close to handlebar height it pushes the bag too far away from the bar.

For a bag topping out below the handlebars this decaleur, the GB H-91, works fine. The back side of the bag is still close to the handlebar.

I know someone with access to a machine shop who likes to tinker with bike parts so we imagined a part that would work to replace the stock arms. He did a rough sketch and gave it to his c.a.d. guy who put it into language a machine could understand and out came these:

One of these pieces will bolt to either side of the short piece of tubing bolted to the stem and replace the bent arms of the original decaleur. The holes allow for adjustability plus they make it look rad. The U-shape will bring the outer arm up in under the top flap of the bag without interference.

Here’s a comparison of the original bracket arms bolted side by side with the new ones

New U-shaped brackets provide more adjustability and clearance for the bag lid.

Here are the new brackets in use with a GB25 bag on Sky King’s Bleriot:

And here are the new brackets on Chief with a GB28 bag:

The original arms are a little bit wider than the new brackets at the bag attachment point, so some spacers take up the slack. Here, we see the upgraded leather spacers in use.


Here are the two bags with the new brackets. The bags top out at roughly handlebar height and they sit close to the bar, minimizing any adverse influence on the steering.


Notice how neatly the brackets tuck under the top cover flap of the bag.

6 comments… add one
  • Pondero April 14, 2012, 3:32 pm

    Well done!

    I’ve never purchased a decaleur because (for the reasons you provided) I’ve never been quite sure the thing would fit right. My dilemma has now been solved with a custom rack, but this looks like a great solution for many.

  • JimCee June 4, 2012, 5:03 pm

    I have my Berthoud GB2886 handlebar bag (the largest made) installed on a 65cm Rivendell Road Standard with a decaleur made by Velo Orange (unfortunately no longer available from them). It’s worked quite well and avoids the problems that you’ve discussed with the Gilles Berthoud decaleur.

    Here’s link to my Flickr site that shows the decaleur as it’s mounted and in use:


    • Bike Hermit June 4, 2012, 8:58 pm

      I’ve not seen that decaleur before. I wonder why it is no longer available. It would be nice if it was adjustable, up and down, for the different size bags. It still looks as if the horizontal projections interfere with the lid flap closing completely without deforming, but it’s hard to tell from the photos.

      • JimCee June 5, 2012, 3:55 pm

        I’m not sure why Velo Orange no longer makes the decaleur that is mounted on my bike. The decaleur was designed to be cut to the length required to fit a particular bike in order to have the bag properly seated on the front rack. It has worked well for me.

        The lid does, in fact, close completely and the decaleur does not interfere with closing.

  • JimCee June 6, 2012, 4:16 pm

    Bike Hermit:

    Here’s another photo that I took today that shows the lid flap on my Berthoud bag “battened down”. I don’t see any noticeable deformation and it fits nicely.


  • James May 21, 2014, 3:07 pm

    So do you sell this?


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