Chrome Citizen Messenger bag review

How is done

Tempo di lettura: 8 minuti

How it is done




It’s difficult for a modest photographer like me to be able to create some decent images of a floppy bag. So I open the static presentation with a couple of photos taken from the official website.

It has an aspect of already seen, a familiar one. Here is its value: it’s the messenger par excellence, it was Chrome who conceived this form. It’s a familiar one because after it, any other manufacturer who ventured on it, started from here. Which he paraphrased.

The line is simple, fruit of the maximum functionality on the bike.

The dimension expressed in inches are: 22” in width, 13” in height and 7” in depth. Converting them in centimeters we have respectively 56x33x18 cm., rounding it. As it’s a floppy bag, we cannot determine its measurements with absolute precision.

The internal volume was calculated in 26 liters; all with a total weight of 1210 grams detected by me.

These number are interesting to know, but that alone do not explain this messenger; but they make us understand we are in the presence of the medium version.

Yes, Chrome declines its messenger bags in three different sizes for the European market. I specify the European market because while I am writing, the Metropolis, which is the largest bag in the range, is provided only for us inhabitants of the Old Continent.

So for now in the catalog in the official website we have the citizen, subject of today’s review, and the more compact Mini Metro, which shrinks to 20x12x7 inches, obtaining an internal volume of 20,5 liters.

The Citizen can comfortably accomodate a 17” notebook, the Mini Metro must resort to the 15” one.

Thew Metropolis is vitaminized: 11,5”x26”x7” with a volume of 40 liters.

Information that is always convenient to receive; however, given the succession of news in the Chrome company, it’s better to take a look at the official website first. If somebody will happen to read this review in a year, maybe could find the information not updated.

I add a personal note; I was undecided whether to ask for the Citizen or the Mini Metro, the latter closest to my personal needs. I chose the Citizen, however, because I consider it the most interesting version for a greater number of cyclists. With a minimum upper size, it gains volume and versatility that make it suitable to exit from the specialized use and to become a daily companion. From the university to work, from the gym to the groceries shopping, you can really put everything inside it. And, I announce it but we will see it better in the road test, its correct shape and its correct mounting system make sure that the bag doesn’t move from your back and its weight is well discharged, without unbalancing.

Well, after all these premises and presentations, we can go to know the bag in its details. I abandon the images borrowed from the Chrome Industries website and move to the photos taken by myself.

Let’s start with the outer fabric in 1050d anti-abrasion nylon.

Saying anti-abrasion nylon it’s not enough; I added an acronym but without giving you a (quick) explanation, I don’t do a good job. And, since I don’t like to omit anything, raiding Wikipedia I discovered that it’s called ballistic nylon: whew!

But do not let us be misled, it is not a bulletproof fabric, let’s not exaggerate. Developed by the giant Dupont already during the Second World War, it proved ineffective, in fact, against the bullets. However, it proved to be very robust for other uses, initially military uses and then civilian ones, in which resistance and tenacity are fundamental.

Nowadays, ballistic nylon is used for countless applications, for police and army uniforms to belts, from work clothing to the bags. The number classifies the weight on a predefined yarn of 9000 meters, so not the resistance. Laboratory studies have established that the nylon 1050d is the yarn that offers the best ratio between strength, resistance and durability. And you think that writing a test of a bag it’s a few minutes’ work …. Tzé:-D

However, this nylon is not the only material used. We find a preview on the big font flap; the rest is all inside and is an oil cloth totally waterproof. The manufacturer informs us, not without a bit of good-natured snobbery, that is the one used to cover the truck trailers 😀

Let’s go back to the outside and let’s focus on the details, starting with the closure of the flap.

Which features two practical straps with snap-in buckles, adjustable in length.

The straps are embroidered with high visibility reflective yarn. A valid contribution to the safety.

Looking closer we can see some large Velcro strips peeping out.

They are two, sewn vertically, and guarantee a more tenacious closure. To be easily exploitable regardless of how much we filled the bag (and therefore inflated …), the other half of the Velcro runs horizontally inside the flap.

The lenght of the vertical stripes is generous…

… allowing you to firmly close the bag even when transporting some particularly bulky items.

In the bottom we have a buttonhole, created to accomodate a safety light or a spring catch.

The seams are robust and protected.

The embossed logo that embellishes the front is very nice.

This is what appears outside; we will to get to know the inside in the next paragraph, dedicated to the road test.

And now comes the strong point: the shoulder pad. Why strong point? Well, strength aside, it’s the main maker of the convenience and the practicality of this Messenger bag.

It seems immediately clear that it’s not a simple strap.

The large and shiny buckle immediately catches the eye and it’s undoubtedly the distinctive feature, technical and aesthetical, of our Chrome Citizen messenger and the other bags of the Company.

Why inserting a buckle to divide the shoulder strap? In metal sturdy without a doubt but also heavy, a simple shoulder strap wouldn’t have been better? Cheaper to produce and lighter?

The answer to all these questions is only one: it would no longer a Chrome messenger.

We need to focus on the way this bag is worn and on its perfect stability as we pedal.

One of the basic requirements when we use a shoulder bag, any bag I mean, is to be able to shorten the shoulder strap to make the bag perfectly adherent to our back; and we must be able to wear it “high”, as much as possible, to avoid swaying right and left and continuously sliding.

So, using a normal shoulder bag means to extend the strap otherwise we cannot wear it, put the bag on our shoulder, then the helmet and tighten the shoulder strap to the maximum allowed and/or necessary. And then with normal bags rarely the allowed one is what is necessary…

Once we get out of the saddle, we remove our helmet, widen the strap and then pull it off. In short, we are there to wheel and deal. Not to mention that if the regulation system is tough, every stop is a battle; if it’s fluid it loosens during the ride, forcing us to continuous adjustements.

All these difficulties are solved by the steel buckle patented by Chrome. A click on the button and we wear it, another click and we remove it. Easy.

The button is the red enamel one with the embossed logo.

This part of the buckle is integral with the half of a well-padded shoulder, rather wide and not adjustable in length.

The other half is fixed to a generous nylon strap and here we find two adjustment systems.

One is the classic sliding system.

The other one is in the buckle: a lever that serves to enlarge in case of need; we can define it a sort of a quick release.

In addition, the buckle also incorporates a practical bottle opener: cheers!

In addition of being functional, as we will see in the next paragraph dedicated to the road test, this system is very beautiful. My preference is obviously for the shiny buckle, after all just take a look at my Ellesar. On other bags it is available in aluminum and in a gritty mat black.

We have not finished yet. In fact, the shoulder strap, although ell structured and practical, could be not sufficient to guarantee a perfect stability once you wear the bag.

The solution studied by Chrome to solve the problem at the root, is an additional strap to pass under the armpit.

In a rest position, when it is not necessary to resort to it, to avoid annoying swings, we fix it in its seat with a Velcro lock.

The material is identical to the one of the front closing straps, so it inherits also the high visibility yarn.

How many technical solutions in a bag, isn’t it? Some details that makes a huge difference.

I go back to the padded shoulder strap for another detail: the large upper strap is provided with Velcro.

It raises and can be used as a belt to secure a little bag.

I summarize with an official image the operation of the shoulder strap and the stabilizing strap.

If all this technology is really functional we will find out in the next paragraph; where we will also know the inside of the bag and its nine separate compartments. I preferred to move this part to the section dedicated to the road test, it seemed more appropriate to write about it there.

Available colors, excluding the dedicated series.

So, let’s turn the page and let’s start to fill our bag.

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