Empowering women in cycling

Archives › Bags

Review: Rickshaw Velo Backpack

1 Rickshaw VELO Backpack

“Made right here in San Francisco, The medium Velo edition backpack is an exercise in minimalist design — sleek, simple, lightweight, black. My goal was to address the essential functionality of the everyday, all-purpose carry-all — nothing less, nothing more. I wanted a casual, yet stylish, alternative to the old-school book bag and the over-built wilderness pack — while still working with technical fabrics rather than canvas and leather.”

-Mark Dwight Founder and designer

Meet the Rickshaw Velo Backpack

• MSRP: $139
• Fully customizable
• Ultra light weight at 1.5 lbs
• Waterproof X-Pac™ sailcloth, YKK water-proof zippers
• Top-loading main compartment for quick access
• Seatbelt shoulder straps
• Reflective strip and light loops
• Removable padded 13″ laptop sleeve or document pouch
• Organizational front pocket
• Padded base and lumbar support.
• Made to order in our own San Francisco workshop.
• Dimensions: 15.5” H x 11” W x 5” D (16” top zipper)
Rickshaw Velo Backpack

Initial Thoughts of the Velo Backpack

Pulling the bag out of the box I could tell right away that this is a top quality bag. The seams, fabric choices and the attention to detail is superb!

As the designer stated in the quote above, this is a minimalistic, functional bag for everyday use.  You aren’t going to over load it, or use it for epic trips but for the everyday girl bag that needs to work as a backpack but not weigh you down – this is going to work well

Customization

When talking to Rickshaw about reviewing this bag it was offered to make a customized version. I jumped at the chance picking a bright color that is easy to spot but won’t show dirt horribly. The process is super simple with the Rickshaw online customizer and the back arrived about a week later.

Using the Velo Backpack

The bag is super light weight and easy to move from backpack to tote with the comfortable straps. The backpack straps are of seat belt material, making them wide and comfortable but not too heavy duty. This bag was meant to get you through the day but not to carry tons of weight.

When using it at a farmer’s market it easily was carried as a tote filled with corn and then swung around on to my back for walking or biking.

It’s a verily slender bag, fitting my bag well and leaving room for visibility when looking behind me on a bike.

Rickshaw VELO Backpack

Conclusion of the Rickshaw Velo Backpack Review

These days cycling inspired bag companies are popping up in all areas of the United States.  The quality of Rickshaw and the “handmade in the USA” all have meaning, add in that you customize your bag to your liking and I can’t think of another bag with these features at this price point.

The need to carry my iPad or MacBook Air with wallet and essentials leads me to using this bag more. Walking or riding down to the local coffee shop or office is what this bag was made for. You aren’t going to use this bag to carry you’re whole life but if you are looking for something trim and durable for the every day needs, check out the Rickshaw Velo Backpack.

Disclaimer: This bag was provided at no charge for review

Review: Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

4 Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

Above is a great example of what I normally carried in the frame bag. A random piece of fruit or a small, light-weight, rain jacket are missing from the photo.

Roughly a month ago I did a quick preview of the Banjo Brothers Frame Bag, which you can read over here. The bag has around 700 commuting miles and a couple accidental tumbles while gravel grinding.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag $32.99-34.99

Size on test: Medium
Size and type of bike tested on: 56cm carbon cross bike, 55cm carbon road bike, 17″ mountain bike

Use and Abuse

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

The main testing ground of this bag over the past few weeks was on my cross bike during my August commuter assault. 60 miles a day for 2-4 days a week during the month of August. Only once during this assault did  I not used the frame bag and used a backpack instead to see if my opinion of this frame bag could be swayed.

The bag looks pretty brand-new even with the daily use. The only thing showing wear is some mud on the bottom down tube strap. The velcro and straps aren’t fraying and they never scratched any of my frames due to a nice piece of padding between the velcro strap and frame.

The zippers have a nice weather resistant cover to them and in the handful of rainstorms I caught myself in, the fabric nor zippers let in water. This is also in part of the front “pocket” that you can pull the zippers into.

Features

There are a few things I really like about this bag.

  • Reflective piping around the rim of both sides make this bag a great extra piece of safety when riding at night.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

  • The smaller and larger pocket compartments are a nice touch. Allowing me to put smaller things like multi-tool, money and keys in one pocket and then food/jacket and tubes in the other pocket.
  • Double zippers allow you to access gear easily from either end of the bag. Pretty crucial in the dark when you are looking for your arm warmers that you buried thinking that you weren’t going to need them.
  • The padded piece between the velcro and frame are pretty killer.

Downfalls

Some of these downfalls will depend on your frame size and usage

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag Review

  • My front bottle was pretty hard to get out when using the frame bag. If you are using this frame bag for bike camping or long rides get in the habit of drinking out of your seat tube mounted bottle and then rotating when you empty that one. They do advertise you can run a 70oz hydration bladder in the bag.
  • Take care when trimming the velcro. If you plan on moving it between bikes it may be long on some frames and rub your leg. There is no way around this, but if you keep it on one bike you can trim the velcro straps perfect and never run into a problem.

Overall Thoughts and Review Conclusion

I used this mostly during the testing for review while bike commuting. This bag may not be ideal if you have to lock up outside or leave your bike parked somewhere that the bag could be lifted. If you are doing some longer rides, want to test out bike camping without breaking the bank or just want a different way to carry some essentials with ease – give this bag a try. You can’t beat the price, quality or company standing behind the product.

To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed using this bike, when we plan out some overnight bike camping this fall I plan on picking up another one for my gf’s cross bike. Pairing a Banjo Brothers Frame Bag with one of their Handlebar Bags and Waterproof Trunk Bags, I believe she’ll be set as I’ll be carrying the tent.

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review purposes

Preview: Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

7 Banjo Brothers Frame Bag Review

Needing a bike bag? Scroll to the bottom for an exclusive discount with Banjo Brothers!

The exploding market of bikepacking has lead to the design and development of many useful products for the utility cyclist, specifically frame bags. Up until a couple years ago if you wanted to go with the minimilist approach of strapping things to your bike without a rack in a “frame bag” you were going to pay a decent amount of coin for someone to sew a bag for your bike. Thankfully, you can now find many bags coming to market that are more universal fit and ready for your excursions.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag Review

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag $32.99-34.99

Size on test: Medium
Size and type of bike tested on: 56cm carbon cross bike and 55cm carbon road bike

Blurb from Banjo Brothers

The Banjo Brothers Frame Pack is designed to maximize the gear-carrying efficiency of your bike.  Built from tough-as-nails ballistic nylon with  waterproof zippers and a “no-rattle” zipper-pull garage, you’ll quickly wonder what you did withouth this bag. Two pockets – one full size and one  flat pocket to organize smaller items – includes wallet pouch and key clip. Our Med Frame Pack fits up to a 70oz hydration bladder

Cut-to-length straps fit oversized tubes to 3″ dia. Small fits sloping frames down to 15″ 102 cu in Interior Dimensions: 15.5″ x 5.5″

FEATURES

  • 01064 (medium) is 15.5″L x 5.75″ H x 2″W and 01063 (small) 14.75″ L x 4.25″ H 1.75″W

Initial Thoughts and Usage

Last week I strapped this bag to my bike for my first commute to work. Inside I had the standard flat kit, wallet, phone and then a handful of fruit. The bag felt pretty empty but very stable against the main triangle of my road bike. Today it looked like it would rain so I threw in a pretty compact rain jacket, some more food and a pair of gloves. Again, the bag felt pretty empty (maybe 70% used.)

While riding I don’t notice the bag below me too much. The first 10 minutes of the initial ride I noticed my knees very barely brushing the bag but the velcro wasn’t rubbing me and to be honest my pedal stroke is one that I can brush the top tube with my knees when I get tired. In a cross wind the bike catches a bit more but it doesn’t feel like a sail even under some large gust coming out of the foothills of Boulder this morning.

So far, I’m pretty stoked on this new addition to my commuter rig. Thanks to it’s size I don’t need a backpack and I love that it has two pockets for easy fetching of food or keys. It apparently can hold a 70oz hydration bladder so that will be the next thing to try.  Both of my bottles are accessible but the front can be a tight squeeze with the tight carbon cages I’m running.

20% Discount with Banjo Brothers Through July

That’s right, Banjo Brothers wants to know if folks that read my reviews actually purchase stuff. They are offering a 20% off discount off anything if use BIKESHOPGIRL at time of checkout (case sensitive.) http://bit.ly/12SPsAu

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review. 

 

Spotted: Chrome Bags Chekhov Rolltop Utility Belt

1 Chekhov Rolltop Utility Belt

Chekhov Rolltop Utility Belt

Is it a murse, purse, sling or belt? The answer is: yes.
MSRP: $110
Details:
• 12″ wide, 8 1/2″ high, 2.5″ deep
• 2-4L Volume • Waterproof rolltop closure accommodates a range of load sizes
• Dual waterproof compartments separate wet/dry cargo
• Iconic quick release buckle with integrated bottle opener
• External phone pocket for quick access while riding
• Daisy chain mounting loops for attaching carabineer clips or bike lights
• Rear sleeve holds most u-locks

100% Welded-Waterproof Rolltop Utility Belt with iconic seatbelt buckle keeps phone, wallet, keys and windbreaker dry. Made to be worn on the hip or across the chest.

Made in USA. Guaranteed for Life.

Review: Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

14 Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Bags seem to be an addiction for cyclist. You need something for your commute, your mountain riding, your city dwelling and grocery shopping. Finding a bag that can do a little bit of everything and not weigh 40 pounds at the end of the day is pretty important to me.

A few years ago I reviewed the Banjo Brothers Commuter bag. For everyday life the bag was just a bit too big for me. I loved the white color and functions but it was just too bulky for my back. A few weeks back Banjo Brothers sent a care package of review items, one of the bags inside was their newer Metro Backpack, in white of course. As the box was being unpacked my girlfriend quickly put her claim on the Metro Backpack for her daily commute to the hospital. As she is commuting 10 miles a day, 6 days a week, with an extra set of clothes, iPad, overnight “essentials”, lunch and books, I figured she’s a good candidate for testing out the Metro Backpack.

Metro Backpack Essential Details

  • MSRP: $74.99
  • Available in Black or White
  • 18 oz vinyl tarp material (for easier cleaning) with hanging liner for excellent water resistance
  • Full width wicking back pad
  • 12 interior and exterior pockets
  • Padded laptop pocket fits up to 10″ x 15″ notebooks
  • Cell phone holster included
  • Front and rear reflective tape and webbing tab for safety light
  • 16″H x 11″L x 6.5″W / 1100 cubic inches

Details that Mattered to Emily

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Not too big, not too small. The bag isn’t so big that you can overload and have too much gear on your back. You can stuff it, carry tons of stuff or whatever else you may but it’s right at 1100 cubic inches of space.

It’s white and has a large reflective strips. The added safety of a white bag with a large reflective strip across the back flap, a couple reflective strips on the shoulder straps and light holder is pretty thoughtful for when she is commuting at 5am.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

12 interior and exterior pockets. Each side of the bag has an outside pocket, perfect for a small u-lock, keys or waterbottles. The main flap has a pocket for items you need quickly but want under the protection of a zipper. Inside you have a large compartment with a padded laptop sleeve. Pen pockets, phone pockets and other smaller compartments to keep things organized.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Phone pocket on shoulder strap that fits a Lifeproof iPhone.

Waterproof. The fabric is waterproof, the flap would keep out water in most rain storms and the most water we deal with normally in Denver are sprinklers. I wouldn’t submerge the thing but it will be more than enough for most commuters.

Removable waist belt. She didn’t ever use it, so we simply unclipped it!

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Compression straps on the sides. Keeps things snug, and when the bags not full you can make it a lot smaller.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

What’s In Your Bag?

This is a blow out of what is normally in Emily’s bag for her daily commute.

What's In your Bag

Overall Feedback and Thoughts

The bag does not have the classic Banjo Brothers removable liner, which I am thankful for. This is a trimmer, and realistic bag for the everyday commuter (or smaller frame person.) It does still create a sweaty back on commutes over 15 minutes, but that’s really the only downfall of this bag.

There are a few things I would change if I had my way… The material they use is waterproof but that also makes it not stretch or flex very well. The interior and side pockets could be made out of a material that had a little give in it to allow things to get in and out easier. The material also has a lot of friction so sliding things like phones/pens/etc in and out the tight pockets can require two hands. (Note from Banjo Brothers: Truck tarp is stiffer than the ballistic nylon – white is truck tarp, and black and red are in standard ballistic nylon, which is a little more forgiving.)

For $75 I would be surprised if you found a bag comparable for everyday use and easy to use features with out too many thrills to over complicate the bag.

20% Discount with Banjo Brothers Through July

That’s right, Banjo Brothers wants to know if folks that read my reviews actually purchase stuff. They are offering a 20% off discount off anything if use BIKESHOPGIRL at time of checkout (case sensitive.) http://bit.ly/12SPsAu

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review. 

Camelbak Octane 18X Hydration Backpack Preview

0 Camelbak Octane 18X Preview

Camelbak Octane 18X Preview
MSRP: $99.00
Water Capacity: 100oz
Size: Expanded 20L, Closed 16L
Weight: 1LB

Details from Camelbak

The CamelBak Octane 18X weighs in at just a pound and with 18L of fully expanded cargo capacity, this pack is perfect for 3+ hours of nonstop action. The Octane 18X features an independent suspension, easy to reach stash pockets, a harness pocket and an expandable cargo pocket so you can comfortably carry everything you need which moving fast. Great for extended trail runs or adventure races. The CamelBak Octane 18X also includes the new 100 oz. Antidote reservoir which has a quick-snap cap that tightens in a quarter turn and a quick-disconnect tube system.

Video Preview from Camelbak of the Octane 18x

Initial Thoughts and Feelings

I try to use water bottles as much as possible.  Too much weight on my back can kill me on hard and fast rides.  When I venture further away from the car or house, I need to carry things.  If it is to be more of a boy scout with things to fix trail side or more water and food for longer rides.    In the past I have used bags from Camelbak (the Lobo), Deuter, Osprey Packs and more .   Several of these will have final reviews posted in the coming months as well!  I have always wanted something lighter, and Camelbak seems to have delivered that.

The material of the bag reminds me of a parachute.  The zipper in the center helps keep things nice and tight when I don’t have a jacket or extra clothes in the bag.  My only concern is the lack of support on the bag.  It literally can be rolled up (without the reservoir) and put in a large jersey pocket.

Full review after Sea Otter

I will be taking the Octane 18x with me to Sea Otter and will be able to provide a full review after I abuse it a bit more in the heat and sand!

Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack Review : Long Term

3

Banjo Brother Tag

Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack
$79.99
Overall : 4 out of 5 stars.
Pros : Durabilty, storage/pockets, replaceable inner liner.
Cons : Size,  heat/sweat in the summer months.

For the past few months I’ve been using a my Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack for a variety of things.  The gym, going to work with my laptop, and even in the front of the Civia Loring that I was reviewing. You also may want to read theIntroduction to the Review on the Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack.

Continue reading →