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  1. #1
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    Messenger bag recommendations

    My venerable Timbuk2 tore on the way home tonight. It's not catastrophic - I don't have to replace it yet - but I'm starting to think seriously about a new bag. It's the size large Timbuk2, which has about a 2000cu capacity, and I'm pretty happy with that capacity. I would want a little different shape in a new bag, though - I sometimes carry a laptop. The sleeve's outside dimensions are 15.5"x13" and I'd like a bag that fit that without too much fuss - so it should have a bottom panel at least that wide and be at least that tall with the flap closed all the way. Depth is pretty negotiable, as is flat width.

    I'm annoyed with Timbuk2 for switching from good bike pockets in the old bags to weird business person pockets in the new ones, and the buckle and strap hardware's not confidence-inspiring.

    What's everyone's favorite?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  2. #2
    LCI #1853
    Reputation: PscyclePath's Avatar
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    Chrome Metropolis, or Mini-Metro, depending on how much stuff you have to pack along. I have one of each, and they've been pretty much bullet-proof (and storm-proof) over the past year.
    Ride a mountain bike... you will not regret it if you live.
    [SIZE="1"](with apologies to Mark Twain & The Taming of the Bicycle)[/SIZE]

  3. #3
    No, that's not phonetic
    Reputation: tscheezy's Avatar
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    Definitely a Chrome bag. With apologies to the sensitive out there, Timbuk2 bags are yuppie purses. I had one and the quality is terrible. The lining breaks down and the shoulder strap is pathetic. I got maybe a year of regular use out of it. 'Nuff said.

    I have had Chrome bags for many years now, use them daily, they hold up great and have a very natural carry. I have a Kremlin (huge, and discontinued... I can carry a wheelset in it- sticking out the top a bit, naturally) and a Metropolis. The Metropolis holds my 17" Macbook Pro, in a sleeve, comfortably with room for a few other items. It rides nicely on my back, lower with a bulky load, or snugged up high when empty. My wife has a Citizen and she likes it for her books and papers, but borrows my Metropolis sometimes for bigger trips. The Mini Metro is just tiny and I don't see how it could fit a laptop.

    Couple of further thoughts. The bags really could use some back padding if you carry weird shaped stuff (like loose groceries, etc). The bags can be turned inside out (separating the lining from the shell) very easily via a velcro "seam" wonderfully engineered in. Buy a ~1/2" thick $5 closed cell foam camping mattress at WalMart and cut it to fit the space between the back panel and the lining. Stick it in there (I sew the upper corners in place personally) and you will never get poked again. Definitely get the light-colored interior lining like white or yellow. The dark colors are more common but the inside of the bag turns into a black hole and finding stuff is much harder. You end up seeing stains from spilled coffee, leaky pens, grease from parts, etc more inside the light-colored linings, but they wipe out pretty effectively and being able to find stuff in the dark is great.

    I would buy one again in a heart beat. Like I said, we have 3 of them and they have been working perfectly with heavy use for years. A superior product.

    http://www.chromebagsstore.com/bags/messenger-bags.html

    If you want a deal and don't mind the color, they often sell oddballs at pretty good prices at their backdoor sales page, like this Citizen:

    http://www.chromebagsstore.com/backd...redorange.html
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about a Metropolis myself. I'm concerned about the size of the bag, though - a 25.5" width sounds huge, and I found the slightly larger XL Timbuk2 to be pretty unmanageable. I'm not a large person - 5'9" and 140lbs. If you don't mind, how big are you guys?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
    I Ride for Donuts
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
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    I've never had an expensive commuter bag. I've always been a backpack guy... I have a really nice backpack, but don't know if I could get used to one strap, and the commuter bags I've used have moved around and slid to the side and been horribly awkward. How to these nice bags like Chrome bags fit, stay put, etc. Do they have a waist strap?

    And for those that are shopping... watch steepandcheap.com ... they have timbuck2 bags and chrome bags on there at crazy discounts fairly often.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    I like my messenger bag because I can set it up to sit a lot lower on my back. I usually wear it just high enough not to get caught on my saddle. Then when I ride in a tuck, it doesn't force me down onto my handlebars. I've never been able to get backpacks to sit like that - they always slide to the side, or if I have the straps tight enough for stability, they're too high on my back for comfort.

    You're a flat-bar guy, right? I rode my mountain bike with my messenger bag the other day and hated it. I think it's a riding position thing.

    Anyway, Timbuk2 may be warrantying my bag. If not, I'll probably try for Chrome. I didn't realize backcountry.com carried them?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    I Ride for Donuts
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
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    I have bullhorns on the commuter and a flat bar on the mtb. The bullhorns put me in a pretty decent tuck. Not much different than my position when I was riding drops.
    My backpack has a small waist strap that keeps it from moving around, but I see what you're saying about getting a messenger bag to ride lower on your back. That would be sweet if it didn't swing around and attack my top tube all the time.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  8. #8
    Gigantic Hawk
    Reputation: dubthang's Avatar
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    http://www.baileyworks.com/

    Bailey Works in Portsmouth, NH makes some really nice bags. Their Super Pro bags have a really slick strap setup too.

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Timbuk2 warrantied my bag. Gave me quite a lot of online store credit, so I have a new one on the way. We'll see how often they're willing to do this - the new ones don't look to me like they have the staying power that my old one did.

    It should be here on Thursday.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ADDam's Avatar
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    I have a Chrome Soyuz and I love it, I don't commute with it, just use it for school. My 15" MacBook Pro fits in it perfectly.

    http://www.treefortbikes.com/400_333...-Backpack.html
    Adam Ann Arbor, MI

  11. #11
    Beetlejuice!
    Reputation: Solrider's Avatar
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    If you are interested in considering a backpack I highly recommend something in the Crumpler line, either the Mahoubar or Seedybar. I just picked up the Seedybar myself about a month ago and I love it...never going back to riding with my Timbuk2. Build quality is fantastic and there are a ton of pockets, along with many strap adjustments to make the ride comfy.

    Keep your eye on Geartrade.com...thats where I picked up my bag brand new (open box) for $30!
    "too weird to live, too rare to die" - HST
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  12. #12
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
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    Messenger bags are sweet. If you are having trouble with keeping them centered while riding, you need to learn how to use a messenger bag. Adjust the straps depending on loads, though most loads will have it high center. Most come with a stabilizing strap to help reduce slipping while climbing. I've used mine on just about every type of bike and it doesn't effect my riding position or the bag on my back.

    That being said, I have a back issue that messenger bag wasn't helpful in fixing, so I have an Ortlieb messenger bag. Rides fine, but messenger bags are a lot more versatile for the random things in life. I've managed to buy a bike on craigslist and tote it home in a messenger bag- never going to happen with an ortlieb.

  13. #13
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    The old Timbuk2 was well built. I have a Chrome bag but almost knock a tooth out when the seatbelt buckle release and snap back to my face when co-worker was checking out how cool the bag looked. I had all my commuting gear so it was full. That prompt me to buy a Bailey Work Super Pro. It had 2 front pockets outside w/ velcro cover that carries my U-lock, and ton's of nice other pockets inside that keeps things nice and organized. But the one thing I love is the fact it has a yellow interior which helps with finding loose things in the main compartment. Same Strap set up like the Chrome bags but with a Heavy duty plastic version. I had this bag for 4+ years.

    The only grip I have with messenger bags is that to me, it wasn't a good distance walking bag. For me it fits the bill on riding both my HT MTB and my Road bike. It seems to hurt my shoulders more standing up and walking around town stuff.

    I'm thinking about a Deuter backpack now.

  14. #14
    Gigantic Hawk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frenzy808
    The old Timbuk2 was well built. I have a Chrome bag but almost knock a tooth out when the seatbelt buckle release and snap back to my face when co-worker was checking out how cool the bag looked. I had all my commuting gear so it was full. That prompt me to buy a Bailey Work Super Pro. It had 2 front pockets outside w/ velcro cover that carries my U-lock, and ton's of nice other pockets inside that keeps things nice and organized. But the one thing I love is the fact it has a yellow interior which helps with finding loose things in the main compartment. Same Strap set up like the Chrome bags but with a Heavy duty plastic version. I had this bag for 4+ years.

    The only grip I have with messenger bags is that to me, it wasn't a good distance walking bag. For me it fits the bill on riding both my HT MTB and my Road bike. It seems to hurt my shoulders more standing up and walking around town stuff.

    I'm thinking about a Deuter backpack now.
    I have a Deuter Hydro Lite, and it's awesome. Excellent quality. If their backpacks are as good as their hydration packs then you can't go wrong.

  15. #15
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    I've been using a Chrome Metropolis daily for 10 months in Colorado. It's been great, the strap's padding and tightening system is far superior to Timbuk2, and I've had no issues in snow or rain and it holds a a lot of stuff.

    As far as the size goes I'm about 6'4" and it fits me well.

    I have a flat bar on my mtn bike and have no issues with the position of the bag. I do use the stabilizing strap under my left arm.

    My Jansport backpack is far superior for hiking and walking, or for carrying sharp objects the chrome has zero padding.

  16. #16
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    The bag came in the mail the other day. Timbuk2 gave me a pretty big store credit, so I blew it all on the new bag (and shipping.) Got it in my colors, with an extra divider in the back and compression straps. Still didn't cost anything shipped, up-charges included.

    From Andrew's Reflections


    From Andrew's Reflections


    So we'll see how well it does. I'm kind of digging the new buckle, but some of the other hardware is less confidence-inspiring.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    Definitely a Chrome bag. With apologies to the sensitive out there, Timbuk2 bags are yuppie purses. I had one and the quality is terrible. The lining breaks down and the shoulder strap is pathetic. I got maybe a year of regular use out of it. 'Nuff said.
    ?? Not really enough said. I've been using a 'custom' large Timbuk2 bag DAILY for the last 7 years, with some really HARD and high speed use on my motorcycle in addition to my bicycle, carrying HEAVY engineering textbooks in addition to laptop, clothes, lunch, ect. I orignally bought it for use on my motorcycle and have put 10's of thousands of miles on my bag through all kinds of weather. I also use it as a carry on and light travel bag when I fly on business in addition to taking it to work every day. It not only has shown practically no wear and discoloration, but is still waterproof too. I use it for camping, vacations and hiking too (I have backpacks, but I prefer the messenger bag for all day comfort.) I don't use it for bird hunting only because it is too bright and I don't want to get it stained... but I have considered getting a camo pattern bag from them for that.

    The strap and strap pad, the buckles, everything on it is still in perfect shape after 7 years, but then again, I take care of all my equipment. The velcro is starting to get a bit worn though, but I'll just have some new velcro sewn in when it comes to it.

    It has literally been the best bag i've ever owned, and I've gone through many, many bags (mostly backpacks) over the years. Also, their guarantee for defects is for the life of the bag. So as long as it isn't your fault or from abnormal wear, they will repair or replace it. From the original poster, I'm glad to know that they will honor that, even though I personally feel I've MORE than gotten my money's worth out of my bag.

    So I'm a bit confused by this response. Has Timbuk2's quality gone down that far in the last 7 years since I got my bag?

  18. #18
    Happy in Happy Valley
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    I like my Timbuk2. Got it used and it's holding up great. The med is a bit small some days but most of the time it gets me by.

    As far as it being a 'yuppie purse', I've always had the same thoughts about chrome stuff Seems like all the fixie hipsters go for the chrome stuff around here :P

    Like the new bag Switch.
    Rigid Surly 1x1 650b--------Fixed CrossCheck--------Surly Pacer-------Salsa Ala Carte

  19. #19
    ride the moment
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    IMO Timbuk2 and Chrome are overpriced fashion accessories, although the chrome does seem to be a little tougher. If you just want a quality, functional bag for about half the price check out Banjo Brothers. You better like black though, cause thats the only color they make. $80 gets you a large, PVC coated nylon bag that comes with a laptop case. There's a sleeve in each corner for water bottles, thermoses, or whatever. Mine has been through 3 Oregon winters so it got really wet and its still going strong.
    Just because you read a book it don't make you conscious. - MC Lush

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