Two Wheel Gear Laptop Messenger Bag Review
Cons: Bulky, not waterproof without rain cover
Manufacturer: Two Wheel Gear
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Two Wheel Gear Laptop Messenger Bag
|Price||$149 List||$152.00 at Backcountry|
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|$179.95 at Backcountry|
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|$71.99 at REI|
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$64.19 at Amazon
|Pros||Convertible, multiple storage options, secure mounting system||Durable and waterproof, huge storage capacity, easy and secure attachment||Large volume, waterproof, simple & sleek design, great value||Highly durable, waterproof, inexpensive, sleek and bright design||Easy to install, convenient storage design, made from upcycled materials|
|Cons||Bulky, not waterproof without rain cover||Limited pockets and organization||Mounting system is not as secure as others, no additional compartments||Smaller total storage volume, limited pocket options, only compatible with 10mm racks||Not watertight, mounting system not as secure as others|
|Bottom Line||A bulky yet durable hybrid pannier with many organizational storage options, though less overall storage space than the Two Wheel Backpack Convertible||This top performer scores well in every category with no apparent weaknesses||A high-volume, high-quality touring pannier that comes at a reasonable price||An impressively durable and waterproof design that is compact and inexpensive, but is not compatible with all rack sizes||A simple, affordable, easy to use pannier perfect for cruising around town|
|Rating Categories||Two Wheel Gear Lapt...||Ortlieb Back Roller...||Thule Shield||Burley Pannier Set||Green Guru Dutchy|
|Mounting System (25%)|
|Ease of Use & Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Two Wheel Gear Lapt...||Ortlieb Back Roller...||Thule Shield||Burley Pannier Set||Green Guru Dutchy|
|Volume (liters)||20 L||2 x 20 L||2 x 25 L||2 x 11 L||22 L|
|Dimensions (in.) (H x W x D)||17.5" x 14.5" x 7"||16.5" x 12.6" x 6.7"||14.6" x 7.9" x 15.8"||14.5" x 10" x 6"||13" x 13" x 8"|
|Weight (pounds)||3.3 lbs||4.2 lbs (pair)||4.3 lbs (pair)||2.1 lbs (pair)||2.3 lbs|
|Material||TPE Waterproof Backed 600D Polyester and closed-cell foam||PS 490 and PD 620 nylon||Thermal welded 420D nylon||500D tarpaulin PVC fabric||Upcycled Billboard and Banners|
|Pockets||Four large zippered comparments, 15 in laptop pocket, 1 external water bottle pocket, 5 internal mesh pockets||Internal sleeve and zippered mesh pocket||Internal sleeve with two smaller mesh sleeves||1 main compartment, one small exerior pocket||Internal sleeve|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The 20-liter Two Wheel Gear Laptop Messenger Pannier contains a padded and protected array of organized storage compartments supported by a user-friendly mounting system. While the pannier worked well as a messenger bag, we felt there wasn't quite enough storage space for a long-haul commuter. Unfortunately, the bag is not as resistant to water and abrasions as the competition, creating a lack of versatility for the bag's functional use. It received a solid score in all performance metrics but was not a stand-out product in the review lineup.
Two Wheel Gear's KLICKfix Kompakt Rail Mounting System is a simple and effective triple latch system that keeps the bag tightly secured to the bike rack. Two large plastic hooks attach to the rack while a central red locking latch clicks tightly to the rack. The outer two latches can be adjusted along the KLICKfix rail while the central lock-latch remains fixed on the sliding bar. A buckle strap on the bottom of the bag secures the lower half of the messenger to the rack.
The pull-down and tuck-away design of the back panel of the bag is worth noting as it differs from the rest of the commuter bags in the lineup. The back panel zips open to reveal the mounting system and then folds down into itself to expose the mounting rail when ready for attachment. While the design is quite interesting, it adds the bulkiness of the bag. Regardless, the simplicity of this system surprised us and exceeded our expectations. The bag remained secure to the rack at all times and was a breeze to mount and remove.
The Laptop Messenger scored well in the storage department due to its unique variety of pocket options. While other bags in the lineup used a stuff-sack construction, Two Wheel Gear designed their messenger to adhere to the needs of students or working professionals who commute to work. The messenger contains four large external pockets, one padded 16" laptop pocket, and five internal mesh pockets. The exterior liner has notable padding to protect electronics and valuable items.
The interesting fold-down construction that reveals the mounting system is unique but adds some bulkiness to the bag as the top of the back panel folds into the bottom half of the panel. This provides padding for the bike and user during use on and off the saddle, but it takes up a bit of space, minimizing the total usable storage space. Regardless, we could still fit our laptop, phone, chargers, two textbooks, lunch tupperware, a thin jacket, and a water bottle in here at one time, which was a pleasant surprise.
The Laptop Messenger is designed with 600-Denier polyester and multiple layers of foam padding between pockets to keep important commuting items safe from harm. The padding adds weight to the bag but provides an extra layer of protection and durability that some of the competition lacks. The laptop sleeve is particularly protected by the foam padding in the rear section of the messenger.
The zippers and carry handles are thick and sturdy, though YKK zippers would improve the overall weatherproofness of the bag. During toss tests, the interior items withstood harm, and the material showed little to no scratches. We would feel safe tossing this bag off of a two-story building. Its thick, cushioned, and scratch-proof design is a winner in our book.
We were a bit disappointed in the lack of an integrated weatherproofing design for the Laptop Messenger. Most of the competition contains some type of water-resistant material or treatment, while the Two Wheel Gear pannier requires the provided rain cover to keep the bag and its contents dry. The bag handled light exposure to water without the rain cover but did not fare well under the heavy spray down test. The inside of the bag collected a few ounces of water thanks to the standard nylon zippers. Electronics and other components would have been soaked, so getting the rain cover over the bag as quickly as possible is a must.
In a second test, the rain cover undoubtedly kept the bag dry, but the cover is not designed to protect the mounting compartment, leaving the stow-away panel noticeably wet. Even though the rain cover protects the majority of the bag, the stow-away panel faces the rear tire, which will pick up mud and grime from the street and soil the internal pocket of the stow-away compartment. We were a bit disappointed with the lack of weatherproofing here when all commuters are keen on keeping their electronics and valuables dry.
Ease of Use & Versatility
The Laptop Messenger ranks somewhere in the middle on ease of use and versatility. Thanks to its organizational properties, along with plush padding and the ability to convert into a messenger bag, we deemed this design practical, comfortable, and functional. The mounting system also fits bike racks sized 6 to 16 millimeters with adjustable straps and mounting hooks, so no need to worry about rack compatibility. Overall, the pack felt user-friendly, but the bells of whistles of multiple pockets and compartments with dangling zippers and straps began to feel cluttered when compared to the competition. The materials are extremely taught, so re-zipping and re-organizing pockets began to feel like a bit of a chore. Luckily, time lost rearranging items was saved by the quick and easy mounting system.
One drawback we recognized immediately is that the messenger does not necessarily have a multi-functional design. The bag itself is quite heavy and is barely water-resistant on its own. It is hard to imagine using this bag for activities or errands outside of commuting to school or the office in warm/dry weather conditions.
The list price on the Laptop Messenger sits at an average price point compared to the lineup and ranks somewhere in the middle on performance metrics. While most of the bags we tested follow a "you pay for what you get" rule, the Two Wheel Gear Messenger Pannier doesn't quite live up to that rule. If the bag had a more signifying feature regarding versatility, waterproofness, durability, or design, it might feel worth its value. However, due to its singular design for commuters, it feels like it falls a bit short.
The Two Wheel Gear Laptop Messenger Pannier is a solid option for students or professionals in need of a daily commuter bag designed with organization and user-friendliness in mind. The messenger bag is a bulkier option with less freedom in the storage department, lacking a sense of versatility across a variety of biking disciplines.
— Liz Chamberlain
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