The road test
The road test
What do we have to test in a bag? It’s not a bike or wheels or tires, so in theory it should be simple: you fill it and go around for few days. If it doesn’t break, or slips from your back and it soaks with a light rain, that’s it: in less than a week you have the article ready.
In theory, exactly. You lose half day just to fill it, because you can put in it so much stuff that, then, you ask yourself what can you do to create difficulties for it.
Twenty-six liters of capacity are really a lot. Consider that you can find a luggage bag for urban use in a range between 9 and 15 liters. More than this, we talk about tourism bags.
Plenty of space in this Chrome Citizen messenger, but it’s not a travel bag. It’s a citizen one, its own name says it. And in the city we don’t need so much stuff as if we were riding on the roads of the world.
So much space it could have been potentially a limit, because we know that riding with half-empty shoulder bags means to make them unstable, with the load that sways inside, dragging the bag everywhere.
So I filled it up to bursting point, I left it half full, I used it almost empty: and on every occasion, stability an comfort were perfect. The only suggestion to follow when you want to take advantage of every space is to avoid placing angular objects with their corners at the side of your back. The bag should be worn tight and it will hurt you in the long run. It’s not a bag’s fault, of course, just a practical advice.
Because this bag is beautiful but above all it’s a practical one: 9 pockets of different size and shape, everything find its right place.
The big central pocket, able to accomodate a 17”notebook and there is still a lot of space, lords it over everything else. In the image below I put my 15”; you bet you can add a lot more….
To make you understand how much space we have I put a shoebox: Chrome of course 😀
Later we will see the bag will be filled, please, be a little patient as I finish the theoretical part.
The main pocket has two Velcro slots; you can fix a snap link, you can pass an U-shaped padlock a little bigger or whatever you think it can go there.
Another large pocket is immediately in front of the main one. You do not immediately notice it, because its Velcro closure keeps it very adherent. It’s perfect for large and thin objects, such as documents, folders, notepads.
Between the upper flap, the Velcro closure and the absolutely waterproof inner lining, there is no danger that our precious sheets get wet.
A little further other three pockets, all open, which follow the front profile of the bag. The front one easily accommodates a U-shaped padlock, the side pockets can accommodate from the flask to the pump or any other object long as the bag’s height you can think about.
I took the photo here below just to show the layout of all the pockets, without inserting the objects thoroughly. To give you an idea of the size, keep in mind that the big black tube is the tool to mount the track of the headset series on the fork.
To help us to have everything in order and immediately available, there are four additional pockets, one of which is zipped; the others are open and suitable for pens, a telephone or anything else.
In this animated sequence we can get an idea of how much stuff we can put into the bag. For photographic needs, I had to leave the objects partially in sight, sacrificing some useful space; and I used a very low resolution, otherwise I had a too heavy file and I could not load it in the server.
However you can see what I mean.
Ok, I used a folded helmet, the Morpher you read the review about; but I put a lot of things 😀
Yes, we have seen it, we are far beyond the normal city needs. Also because we can fill it as much as we like, but then we have to load all this staff on our shoulders: and it’s heavy…
Yes, the weight. The empty bag has its own, not really content (but there is a lightened version in the catalog) which, however, I do not count among the defects but among the merits. It is not superfluous weight, as it is determined by the very strong materials with which it is assembled. A bag, you can see immediately, destined to last a lifetime.
However the kilos are still kilos when we have to carry them and their source is of little interest as we pedal. But if the bag is easy to place on our shoulder, shaped in order to unload and effectively distribute and doesn’t unbalance whilst we dare another slalom in the chaotic urban traffic, then we found the right bag.
That is this Chrome Citizen messenger.
The shoulder strap is of rare comfort: very large, generously padded and perfectly shaped. It manages not to tire our shoulders even when we carry more than the superfluous.
The stabilizer strap is very useful to prevent the bag to move or slide or with its load moving inside. That can happen with small and heavy objects, because there is so much space.
A strap very useful but not always essential. With a moderate load (in terms of weight), we can safely avoid the extra hook, the bag remains stable on our back, and doesn’t slip forward even on the steepest slopes or during the most abrupt braking.
And don’t forget that I did all this test pedaling only on bikes with folds and some with a very unequaled handlebar/saddle, sport one more than urban ones. And we do know how the inclined back is the enemy of any shoulder strap.
But I should say almost any shoulder strap because I went out even with the sports flagship, to really test them all and nothing to do: an absolute stability.
Two precautions are however necessary if you want to fully enjoy the complete functionality of the bag.
The first one, it’s easy to intuit it, it’s to perfectly adjust the shoulder strap. It’s instinctive to tighten to the maximum, convinced this is the best solution to ensure stability.
But no: we must tighten but we must leave a little clearance. It’s difficult to put it in words, I’ll Try.
Tightening the bag to its maximum, it’s true, it doesn’t move an inch; but it impedes, you don’t feel at ease (or at least I didn’t feel at ease…). It’s much better to leave a little freedom; if you want to quantify it, I can say you just manage to insert your hand in a closed fist between your shoulder and the strap.
Thus obtaining two results: a great comfort in the saddle without any sense of constraint and an excellent stability of the bag.
The second caution is actually common sense and general rule when you load any bag: place the heaviest items in the bottom. Easy, but here the bottom is actually on the side: the right one looking at the bag from the front to be exact.
And yes, because once worn, the bag will position itself diagonally on your back and when we fill it we must not forget it.
No practical contraindication to wear it tight as I explained before, because taking it off and putting it on it’s really quick thanks to the shoulder strap buckle.
Once worn it is not an encumbrance; it is not on the saddle, not at all. It is not on foot, leaving an equal freedom of a well-made backpack. To give you an idea also of the proportions once put on your shoulders, the photographic model (myself…) is 172 cm. tall.
This buckle is a simple idea and definitely effective. And it makes the difference in everyday use.
Daily use that, pass me the easy worlplay, envisages the unexpected. That is the rain for us cyclists, a great nuisance let’s face it. During a sport outing we make a reason for it and we also feel heroic; in the city, with civilian attire and the bag full of our documents and our expensive notebook, we feel only unlucky.
But even if we get drenched to the skin, we have the certainty that our precious load will not suffer a similar misfortune. The impermeability is downpour-proof.
Indeed, pressure washer-proof. Yes, this time I pushed myself far beyond. In this September that seems July, I did not have a drop of decent rain to prove the impermeability.
So I hung up the bag, I filled it with newspapers and watered it generously with the pressure washer by adjusting the fan jet; not the tap-hole, otherwise it could fly from the terrace.
Even if I own a hobby pressure washer, it has 120 bars; and even if the pressure is reduced when you use the fan jet, it’s much more violent than a thunderstorm.
Fifteen minutes to me seemed enough time for this extreme test (also because if it really rained so hard I wonder who would continue to pedal instead of seeking, wisely, a shelter…) and at the end the bag was just a little wet outside.
And as you can see, the area protected by the flap is perfectly dry; and the newspapers inside perfectly dry too.
Only one corner presented an infiltration, but considering that I didn’t made the flap to adhere perfectly, I should say that the waterproofing test was passed with flying colors.
But I must consider that, as I don’t have a mannequin available, and for sure I didn’t put myself under the jet of water (sense of duty yes, but up to a certain point), the bag was subjected to this test keeping it horizontally.
When we pedal we know we wear it diagonally, so it is good to pay attention to close it to prevent the rain from entering into the gap we have let open.
In fact, there is an eyelid acting as a further barrier; just be less distracted than I was; or maybe it was the violence of the jet of the pressure washer that moved it.
Well, I think we have enough data to be able to draw our conclusions; which, as usual, can be found in the next page.
Sono Fabio Sergio, giornalista, avvocato e autore.
Vivo e lavoro a Napoli e ho dato vita a questo blog per condividere la passione per la bici e la sua meccanica, senza dogmi e pregiudizi: solo la ricerca delle felicità sui pedali.
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