Chromes buckle messenger bags are built inThe USA withThe most rugged assembly of industrial materials and hardware available. Guaranteed for Life. Weatherproof 1,000 denier Cordura outer shell 18 oz. weatherproofTruckTarp liner sealed with military spec. seam binding Independently suspended weatherproofTruckTarp liner with military spec binding eliminates any seams exposedToThe outside elements Seat-belt buckle releaseThat doubles as a bottle openerFive bar seat belt webbing Nylon 69Thread EVA
a Weekend Warrior
from Albuquerque, NM, USA
Date Reviewed: October 13, 2009
Strengths: Superb product. Holds a ridiculous amount of stuff. I have managed to fit two 12-packs of beer plus other groceries into this thing. My back will give out before this thing reaches capacity.
Waterproof. While it does not rain much here in Albuquerque, the tarp liner of this bag comes in VERY handy on those occasions that it does.
Looks bad ass. With it's slung-over-the-shoulder vertical design and seatbelt-style strap, it is probably the coolest looking bag of its type.
Weaknesses: It lacks any sort of internal compartments. If you're carrying a laptop in this thing, it is absolutely essential that you get a laptop sleeve as it WILL get banged around in this bag.
Excellent bag. Comes highly recommended provided that you have a good sleeve for your laptop.
Similar Products Used: REI messenger bag (meh)
North Face Backpack (meh)
Bike Setup: Peugeout fixie road bike conversion.
a Cross Country Rider
from Reno, Nevada, USA
Date Reviewed: December 2, 2008
Strengths: Comfortable, lasts forever, handmade in the USA, quality, works great as a carry-on bag when flying(even when the girl next to you spills orange juice all over it) nothing inside gets wet.
Weaknesses: On me, if it is "all most" empty it tends to want to slide off my right side of my back. When it is full or empty it stays put.
This bag has been every where with me and still looks new. Mine is Blue w/white. I have mainly used it when on a road bike and the bag sits on my back taking most of the presure off of my shoulder. When using it while walking it puts all of the weight on your right shoulder, and if there is a lot of weight in the bag, your shoulder will start to get sore fast. What ever will fit in the plastic hand basket at the grosery store will fit in the Chrome bag, no paper or plastic needed!
Bike Setup: Kona Coiler Primo
Specialized Langster Boston (fixed gear road bike)
Trek 5900 (road)
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2008
Strengths: High quality U.S. made product that will last for years.
Weaknesses: Really heavy loads can make my left arm start to go numb after a while.
This is a quality bag. Can I say quality enough!!!!??? Yes the bag is expensive, but it does what it is meant to do and it does it on a professional level. And the bag looks good doing it. I actually tore a hole in this bag during a wreck and had it repaired locally instead of paying the money to have it shipped back to Chrome. The bag is very tough. I would have never tore a hole in the bag if I would not have been carrying a ceramic coffee mug that shattered when I hit the ground letting a sharp piece of the mug tear through the outer bag material. I consider it my fault.
The only problem I have had with this bag is that when carrying heavy loads my left shoulder will get tired quickly and my left arm will start to go a little numb if I don't change positions on the bike regularly. Let me quantify how much weight I am talking about here. I would estimate about 40-50lbs. I am a college student and I carried all my books home with me on my bike for one full sememester of my BSN program. The bag held all the stuff fine, but my shoulder got tired quick.
Lastly, Monkey Wrench Cycles is the place to buy these bags in and around Lincoln. Nate and Eric are great peeps and they will help you make a proper selection of chrome bag if you are in the market for such a product.
Similar Products Used: Various back packs of lesser value and quality.
Bike Setup: Surly Cross Check and a SS 29er.
from Los Angeles, CA
Date Reviewed: May 23, 2008
Strengths: High quality construction. Voluminous main compartment. Relatively comfortable on the bike - does not swing around much and places most of the weight on hips.
Weaknesses: Not that comfortable when carrying objects with sharp corners (i.e. laptops, boxes, books) - the guys at Chrome told me a lot of people place a sheet of plastic flexible enough to conform to your back, but stiff enough to prevent corners of boxes from jabbing you. Haven't tried that yet though. Could use more reflective piping or have loops to place lights. When the straps are tightened, there is a lot of excess strap that flops around. When filled to near capacity, the metal seatbelt buckle sometimes digs into your chest/shoulder. No compression straps.
This is a review of the Chrome Kremlin (the largest of the messenger-type bags).
Background: I'm 6'2" and weight about 190-195 lbs. This is my first messenger-type bag. I recently made the decision to try and minimize the use of my car. I've been commuting to school (4-5 miles each way), grocery shopping, and running errands by bike. I found that my various backpacks felt uncomfortable and ungainly while riding, and that most of my bags simply weren't big enough to fit most of my groceries.
I bought this bag with the hope that the bag would be relatively comfortable, be durable and weather-resistant, and have enough volume to significantly reduce my dependency on my car (I like my car BTW, but it's just getting too expensive to run (Subie LGT MT wagon)). Because this was my first single strap messenger-type bag, I really wasn't sure what I was getting into.
What I found was that the bag is surprisingly very comfortable on the bike as long as I don't have hard flat surfaced objects or objects with sharp corners in the bag. When I do, I generally try to pad the bag with clothes, but because the bag lacks compression straps, this doesn't always work as things get shifted around. When I get less lazy, I will definitely have to try the plastic sheet method.
The bag definitely has a high cargo carrying capacity, and as long as the items you're carrying are soft, it isn't too bad. I haven't had the bag long enough to test durability. And living in LA - well I haven't had an opportunity to test its weather-proofness. But the materials and quality seem top notch. One thing I had hoped for regarding the style of bag was that it would reduce the dreaded sweaty back - nope I'm still sweating.
Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the bag. It's relatively comfortable on the bike, it doesn't shift around too much, it places most of the weight on your hips, and the materials and build quality seem very good. I don't think the bag was necessarily designed for commuters, so I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed with the minimal reflective material (I wish that whole contrasty panel was reflecive) and lack of places to put little blinky lights.
Bike Setup: Mountain: Turner RFX Road/Commute: Scott CR-1
a Cross Country Rider
from Harvard, MA, USA
Date Reviewed: August 9, 2006
Strengths: This is probably the most durable, waterproof, excellent bag I've ever owned. It's really great for me, it's comfortable walking or biking, it survives the torrential downpours of New England, and on top of all that it looks awesome. And the size is perfect for what I carry, books and sometimes clothes. It's not only the perfect huge-load bag, it's also a fantastic man-purse.
Weaknesses: The only real weakness I can find in the bag is that it's kinda hard to keep my computer in (Apple Powerbook 15") because it's contoured to my back. It also made every other bag look paltry in comparison.
Pretty much the best bag money can buy. And yes, it does cost more than the other bags. And it is harder to buy. But the advantage is, you'll never buy another bag again. It's comfortable, can hold a whole bunch, looks fantastic, is durable, and is made in America. I really really enjoy this bag, and I think you will too.
Similar Products Used: Some huge Burton monster, Kelty Redwing Daypack, a Timbuk2.
Bike Setup: 2004 Stock Kona Dawg Matic.
a Weekend Warrior
from Loughborough, UK
Date Reviewed: August 1, 2006
Strengths: Indestructable build quality and materials are what set this bag apart from the rest. You can get a choice of colours and strap options if you buy direct from Chrome (handy if you wear your bag over your right shoulder, see below) It's waterproof, it has sensible sized pockets (big enough for a few tubes and your tools, aluminium Sigg bottles or even wine bottles), and an organiser on the front panel and all are easily reached when the bag is full, refelctive strips in the rear and cross-chest straps, and an extra pair of buckles on the bag itself to tidy the straps away when not in use or to hold a rolled up jacket. It has a big velcro bar on the main strap pad for attaching a phone or radio holster, which also doubles up to hold the stabiliser strap when not in use, and there's no chance of loosing the pad as it's stitched to the bag. The hidden stash pocket is a nice touch, as well. But these are not the main selling points of the bag, as I've said before. The fact is that this bag will last for years and keep all your kit, or other people's if your a messenger, safe and dry. Think of this as an investment.
Weaknesses: You're kidding? Ok, just a niggle then: although you can choose to use the stabilising strap as either a waist strap (there's a snap-lok buckle for it on the opposite corner of the bag) or as a chest strap, I'm not totally convinced of it's value. For one, you'd most likely use this when the bag was at it's fullest, yet the strap isn't long enough to use as a waist strap with the bag full to bursting (and I'm not the world's biggest guy. I'm 5"9' and 12 stone.) Neither is the position of the snap-lok buckle for the stabilising strap on the bottom end of the shoulder pad particularly useful. I'd prefer to see it attached somehow to the lower strap, so that the stabiliser was more across the chest and less under one arm. But, like I say, it's a minor point.
I have commuted for a year, lugged kit to and from muddy, rainy Welsh rides and on holiday up and down the country, and even travelled across Canada with this bag, and it still dosn't even begin to look used. If baggage handlers can't kill it, neither can you. Buy one, put all your other tired, frayed, sad-looking commuter and messenger bags in it (they will fit, no matter how many you have) and take them to the charity shop in it! That's justice.
Similar Products Used: Tumbuk2 (ok) Crumpler (nice website, good bags) Various Eastpak things...
Bike Setup: Spesh hardtail frame, XM319s on XT, custom Marzocchi MXPro, 2.1 Cinders, hope C2 brakes... the list goes on.
a Cross Country Rider
from Arlington, VA USA
Date Reviewed: June 19, 2006
Strengths: This bad is very well made and is worth the high price tag. You can fit A LOT of stuff inside and it is completely waterproof. There are a lot of colors to choose from so select the combination of colors you like. Very comfortable shoulder strap and easy to adjust.
Weaknesses: I'm a small guy (5'4") and the bag does not tighten completely against my back, however, the bag is still comfortable. Few pockets and no key ring.
This is a good bag. Don't let the high price tag steer you away - BUY THIS BAG! I commute to work and this bag can hold everything I need. I most likely could have gotten by with the Citizen, the next smallest size bag that Chrome makes.
a Cross Country Rider
from Charleston, WV 25301
Date Reviewed: February 14, 2006
Strengths: Reviewing the Kremlin, and not the Metropolis. Absolutely amazing bag -- comfortable riding, comfortable walking (which is amazing for something that could hold a body, basically indestructable (and guaranteed if it's not), and awesome looking.
Weaknesses: Cost, though I guess it's worth it.
This is the messenger bag you want -- skip all of the rest of them. Bag is tough as nails and will keep all your goods dry.
Bike Setup: Gary Fisher Big Sur rigged up to slam into things with parts that it's okay to steal; Giant TCR road bike set up to go fast
a Cross Country Rider
from Anchorage AK USA
Date Reviewed: December 15, 2004
Strengths: Totally bomber Good looks comftorable
This is a serious bag for getting around town with your stuff. The strap system is very functional and comftorable. The pockets are great! My only gripe is that the main strap is just barely long enough for my 6'2" torso. I wish the padded part was a bit longer. Also for basic non-bike travel the buckle tends to be right at the contact point for your shoulder. So all in all not perfect, but probably the best out there.
Similar Products Used: Timbuk2 twice. glad I made the switch. Although the T2 now makes a great bag to carry diapers & lunches to daycare.
Bike Setup: Marin F/S w/Marzocchi. love it.
a Cross Country Rider
from colorado springs
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2003
Strengths: Quality fit and finish. Bomber construction. After a high speed crash on the way to work, the bag received only light scuff on the bottom after I slid to a stop on the pack (my skin and jersey did not fare so well). Keeps stuff dry.
Weaknesses: Cost more than the chain store Timbuk 2 stuff. (Unless you work at a bike shop).
I heard about these bags from word of mouth through another shop employee. Although the initial outlay of cash is high, you will feel comforted after you get caught in your first heavy rain. All of bags contents stay DRY! No wet paperwork. An excellent design at flaps edge provides the overlap required to keep out the moisture. This bag carries an outragious amount of gear. They make one that is even bigger (You could probably use it as a bivy sack!) I also use the Metropolis as a carry on bag when traveling. No worrying about rain when you are running to the rental car counter (Been there!)