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Review: Chrome Messenger Bag

Stylish, Rugged, Functional

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

By

Chrome Transport in San Francisco, California, is known for its line of products that fit the urban cycling lifestyle. Chrome's products, which include knickers, footwear and a wide range of bags and packs, are designed with functionality and durability foremost in mind, and the same thing holds true with their messenger bags. Built by people who know bikes and what it takes to last in day-in, day-out riding, Chrome's products -- including and especially the messenger bags -- contain an astounding level of quality and a great deal of built-in features that highlight both functionality and style.

Chrome Messenger Bags - Well-Designed for Daily Riding

Chrome messenger bags come in three sizes. Regardless of which one you use, all carry the same design and have the same cool features. These are bona fide messenger bags, designed first for people who make a living riding in the city, hauling stuff on their bike. That means that the bags have to be rugged and functional, and that's what you'll find.

The Chrome messenger back is chock full of features, front and back, inside and out. This short list of the best items is based on my experience as a daily bike commuter, and knowing what is necessary for a bag to fit you comfortably and keep your stuff secure.

Here's what I found:

  • Wide padded shoulder strap with cushions in exactly the right spot. No crappy little strap to cut into your shoulder.
  • Shoulder strap holds fast but has nice easy adjustment.
  • Quality snaps and clips to secure cover and straps. No cheap plastic clips that break or crack and don't hold.
  • Smaller side strap goes underneath your arm if needed. Keeps bag properly positioned across your back - no rotating or twisting as you ride.
  • Durable double and triple stitching so bag stays together.
  • Bag stays flat to maintain low profile against your back unless additional room is needed. When bag is expanded, a flat bottom allows it to stand independently.

A particular strength of these bags is that they aren't going to slide around on your back. That's a huge plus as you know if you've ever ridden with a bag that constantly falls to one side or another.

Interior Compartment - Lots of Pockets, Smart Design

Chrome Messenger Bag citizen pocket

Chrome continues the thoughtful design of its messenger bags with the set-up of the interior compartment. Wide velcro closers hold the top flap closed but still allow for eacy access. These are broad strips that will stay shut and not lose their holding ability. The main interior compartment is lined with a waterproof, rubberized material to keep your stuff dry., Set up to normally lay flat and stay unbulky, the main compartment also expands to fit your cargo.

Three smartly designed interior compartments hold pens, papers, PDAs, whatever, with contents visible and easily accessible. There is another interior pocket with a zipper to hold your more important stuff secure. The messenger bags feature still more interior pockets, some open, some with velcro closers -- multiple compartments that provide both access and protection for what you're carrying.

Regardless of what you're carrying, you'll either find room for the big objects in the main compartment or just the right spot for smaller, more delicate items in one of the many additional smaller interior pockets to keep these items so you can find them when you need them - both accessible and protected.

Three Sizes and Cool Touches

All three Chrome messenger bags are built the same way. Same design, same fabric, same cool features. All three feature a shoulder strap made with the same durable material as the seatbelt in your car. There is no way this strap can wear out or break. The shoulder straps buckle with an honest-to-goodness chrome seatbelt buckle right in the middle of your chest with cool Chrome logo right in the middle of the buckle release.

The bags come in a wide array of colors so you'll be sure to find one you like. Chrome also offers limited runs of special bag colors and color combinations when they got into a lot of unique material that can be used for the bags.

Sizing

  • Smallest of the three Chrome messenger bags, the Mini-Metro, is 20" wide, 10" high, 6" deep, with a volume of 1,251 cubic inches.
  • The medium-sized bag, the Citizen, is 22.5" wide, 11" high, 7" deep and has a volume is 1,587 cubic inches
  • The largest of the Chrome messenger bags is the Metropolis. It is 25.5" wide, 14" high, 7" deep. Volume is 2,441 cubic inches

Worth the Price

Chrome Messenger Bag buckle

There is absolutely no question about the quality of these Chrome messenger bags. But the biggest hitch for most people is going to be their price tag. The Mini-Metro is $120; the Citizen $140 and the Metropolis $160.

My thought on this is if you can afford it, by all means, spend the money and get yourself a darn good bag. It's made in San Francisco by people who know what they are doing. This will be the last bag you ever buy.

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