Review: 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
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.
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.
- 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.
Some of these downfalls will depend on your frame size and usage
- 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.
Padded Velcro Straps
Downtube Sway Strap
Up close top tube strap
Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review purposes
Review: 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
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.
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.
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!
Compression straps on the sides. Keeps things snug, and when the bags not full you can make it a lot smaller.
What’s In Your Bag?
This is a blow out of what is normally in Emily’s bag for her daily commute.
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.