Crumpler is an Australian company that grew rapidly in the 1990s after it started out making bags for bike couriers. With clever ideas and a can-do attitude, a few blokes from Melbourne took the brand to the world.

Things have evolved and Crumpler is back in the cycling market with a range of bike bags, complete with the original logo, bright colours, and a fun approach to reigniting the business.

– By Rob Arnold

It all started when Stuart Crumpler and Dave Roper were bike couriers. They also knew their way around a sewing machine and realised that there must have been a better way to carry stuff around town. There were a few others from the original crew who got to work in a warehouse in inner-city Melbourne, and together they set about creating something that would make their job a little easier.

The courier bag isn’t a Crumpler invention, but they refined the concept and it became the genesis of what would soon become a global business.

Using an Australian-made Cordura material, Crumpler created some colourful bags that were easy to use, durable, and capable of carrying all manner of things while not getting in the way of the rider who had places to go and parcels to deliver.

The Fruiterer, designed to fit easily to your handlebars, also has a long strap for convenient carrying option when off the bike. AUD$100.

It’s likely that you’ve seen the brand. You have probably even owned a Crumpler bag or two over the years. But you may not know that it is back in business and creating handmade products from a small workshop in Fitzroy, not too far from where Crumpler, Roper et al got the whole show started.

There’s a lot more to the story of this company that went from small to huge in a matter of years but let’s sum it up by explaining that Roper bought the business back not too long ago and decided to return to basics.

Dave’s daughter is a fashion designer and there are plans to introduce a clothing range to the Crumpler line. Right now, however, the focus is on slowly recreating some of the original fun while also offering bike riders bags that can carry stuff without a fuss.

At the Fitzroy ‘factory’ Crumpler continue to do things other labels tend to shun in 2023 – stuff like… repairs. Yep, they fix things if they have broken. It’s a novel concept in this day and age but, as an owner of an original courier bag by Crumpler – one that has seen many years of use and still hasn’t got a stitch out of place – I can say repairs are not always necessary.

The bags by what is now (once again) a small Aussie company, are built to last.

From the outset, Crumpler offered a “lifetime warranty”.

For many of us, the Crumpler name brings back fond memories, a little bit of youthful nostalgia even. Personally, it was in 1996 that I met Stuart and Dave not long after getting my first courier bag. I was working at a cycling magazine, commuting to work (mainly by bike, sometimes by train) and the original purple and black bag was my go-to.

While in Melbourne sometime around the start of 1996, I visited what seemed like a makeshift ‘factory’ and saw the bags being sewn together. I also saw what seemed to be organised chaos. There was stuff everywhere but while I chatted with Stu and Dave about their Grand Plans, I saw one bag after the other coming off the production line.

Things changed dramatically not long after that visit. Some corporate bloke also saw the benefits of the bags that I’d come to love and investors came into the equation. The rest, as they say, is history.

The small business became a big one and before long, you’d see the brand in airports and shopping centres around the world, special shops with myriad product lines all built around the early notion of convenient bags for bike riders who delivered stuff.

The “Dry Floral Arrangement” is one of the bike-specific products of the re-energised Crumpler brand. “Frame hanging bike bag,” they call it. AUD$100.

Cordura is still used for most of the Crumpler creations and while the material retains all the original benefits, it is no longer Australian-made (like it was back in the 1990s). Still, it suits the style and the line of products that are coming out of the small workspaces in Melbourne.

With bright colours, considered designs, and a nod to the emergence of bike packing and all the associated fun, Crumpler’s range includes four bags that RIDE Media was sent to sample: the Fruiterer (which straps easily to your bike’s handlebars), the Dry Floral Arrangement (a frame hanging bag, pictured above), the Steamed Bun (again, designed to fit to your handlebars/stem), and the Great Question (which fits under your saddle and doubles as a mudguard).

RRP in Australia (March 2023)

  • Crumpler ‘Great Questions’ (under saddle bag): AUD$150
  • Crumpler ‘Fruiterer’ (handlebar bag): AUD$100
  • Crumpler ‘Dry Floral Arrangement’ (frame hanging bag): AUD$100
  • Crumpler ‘Great Questions’ (under saddle bag): AUD$150


The “Great Question” easily carries a couple of pairs of knicks, a couple of jerseys, some casual shorts, a T-shirt, rain jacket… underwear, socks and a few other things. Seven litre capacity – plenty for a nice little weekend away.

There are other products emerging from the workshop in Fitzroy but the bags listed above round out the bike-specific range. They are practical, robust, bright, cool, fun, useful… and not at all aero.

The Crumpler bike bags are absolutely worth checking out. And, if you live in Melbourne, you too can watch them come together. There’s a shopfront in town and customers are welcome to have a look around while the sewing is going on in the background.

Dave tells me that there are already plans for expansion (again), with a retail/factory space on Little Bourke St, and a shopfront in Sydney that has caught their eye.

Roper and his cohort in Melbourne are starting out small (again) and there are currently only three machinists doing the sewing. There soon could be more but for now, it’s great to see a quality product made in Australia, with love and the same passion that got things started almost 30 years ago.


– By Rob Arnold