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Two Wheel Gear Laptop Messenger Bag Review

A bulky yet durable hybrid pannier with many organizational storage options, though less overall storage space than the Two Wheel Backpack Convertible
Two Wheel Gear Laptop Messenger Bag
Photo: Two Wheel Gear
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Price:  $149 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Convertible, multiple storage options, secure mounting system
Cons:  Bulky, not waterproof without rain cover
Manufacturer:   Two Wheel Gear
By Liz Chamberlain ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 29, 2021
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Mounting System - 25% 8
  • Storage - 20% 6
  • Durability - 20% 6
  • Weatherproofing - 20% 6
  • Ease of Use & Versatility - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Two Wheel Gear Laptop Messenger is a sturdy, multi-functional hybrid pannier, ideal for those seeking a commuter-friendly bag that contains multiple pockets to organize belongings. The Laptop Messenger felt like a true messenger bag intended for work commutes in need of quick and easy mounting and removal. The pannier felt a bit heavy and particularly bulky once filled with items, and unfortunately, it is not waterproof without the rain cover. Despite these drawbacks, the Laptop Messenger delivers on its intended purpose and is a solid option for commuters in need of an organization-oriented pannier.

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Pros Convertible, multiple storage options, secure mounting systemDurable and waterproof, huge storage capacity, easy and secure attachmentLarge volume, waterproof, simple & sleek design, great valueHighly durable, waterproof, inexpensive, sleek and bright designEasy to install, convenient storage design, made from upcycled materials
Cons Bulky, not waterproof without rain coverLimited pockets and organizationMounting system is not as secure as others, no additional compartmentsSmaller total storage volume, limited pocket options, only compatible with 10mm racksNot 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 ConvertibleThis top performer scores well in every category with no apparent weaknessesA high-volume, high-quality touring pannier that comes at a reasonable priceAn impressively durable and waterproof design that is compact and inexpensive, but is not compatible with all rack sizesA 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%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Storage (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (20%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Weatherproofing (20%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Ease Of Use & Versatility (15%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
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
Best Use Urban/Commuting Touring Touring Touring/Commuting Urban

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.

Performance Comparison


The Two Wheel Messenger Pannier is a solid option for coffee shop...
The Two Wheel Messenger Pannier is a solid option for coffee shop stops or heading to the library.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

Mounting System


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 back panel of the Two Wheel Messenger flips and folds down into...
The back panel of the Two Wheel Messenger flips and folds down into the panel to reveal the mounting rail.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

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 messenger strap tucks in quite easily to the folded back panel.
The messenger strap tucks in quite easily to the folded back panel.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

Storage


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 Two Wheel Messenger Pannier stores books, laptop, chargers, and...
The Two Wheel Messenger Pannier stores books, laptop, chargers, and more for those cycling to the nearest coffee shop.
Photo: Tucker Adams

Durability


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.

Clicking the Two Wheel Messenger onto the Pak Rak was simple and...
Clicking the Two Wheel Messenger onto the Pak Rak was simple and didn't delay our departure as much as other panniers did.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

Weatherproofing


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.

The rain cover for the messenger pannier serves as a reflective...
The rain cover for the messenger pannier serves as a reflective light during transit.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

The conversion from pannier to messenger is quite easy however the...
The conversion from pannier to messenger is quite easy however the bag felt a bit bulky once fully loaded with items.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

Liz Chamberlain