While I am well aware that Chrome is the love of many-a-messenger and that everyone and their bike riding mothers review these bags, I too want to put in my two cents regarding this particular bag: the Chrome Citizen Night.
Again, I must stress that I was not asked to do a review: this was of my own accord, and no one is paying me. Or bribing me.
Looks: This bag looks like Batman's bag if he were a messenger. Chrome bags come in an array of possible colors, but the Citizen Night is what you see right here. I, personally, like the Batman look (it matches my bike) but I'm also not into the flashy colors that some people are.
The black is deceiving though - that bottom strip is highly reflective, which you can see samples of on Chrome's page. Sorry, I had no way of taking a photo of my back at night while riding. So even if you don't attach lights to yourself, you still look like a giant reflective...thing...on a bike, which is usually enough to make someone do a double take. Also you can ruin photos really easily.
The overall look is rugged, but not overcomplicated. It looks like a bike bag, but I use it to carry just about everything. It's not flashy, it matches, and I dig the design. Batman.
Functionality: As far as how well the bag functions, it's easy to put on and take off, is waterproof, holds lots of stuff, and has lots of little pockets. The bag velcros and clips close to ensure that nothing will be lost, and has a pocket design that seals in things really, really well. There's an attachment on the front for a reflector or light, which I use here.
|One of these days I'll get a camera that isn't a phone.|
|The inside, containing tubes and a U-Lock at the moment. Also, all of the side pockets are full. Can you tell?|
The buckle and underarm security strap thing are really, really well made, easy to adjust, and can fit most body types. I like the way the mechanism releases in the front, but I never worry about it becoming unbuckled during a ride.
The one thing I do have to say is that I'm not sure this would be the most functional bag for the wilderness. All of the pockets are secure when the bag is closed, so storing something in easy reach is a bit out of the question. And I can certainly cram a lot of stuff in here, but camping equipment or lots of extra water bottles and snacks might need to opt for the next size up, of which Chrome certainly offers. I'm not saying it wouldn't work for mountain biking and steeplechasing, but it's certainly designed for urban riding - to which it functions beautifully.
My one caution would be that the bag's design tends to compact its luggage slightly, so stay away from transporting glass or breakables unless they are well packed.
Durability: This, is in my opinion, where this bag truly shines. I am not kind to my bags. They get thrown, scraped, dropped, rained on, and sweaty. Over the past almost year of usage, this bag has held up amazingly well. The only telltale signs of use are a scrape on the buckle where it landed on concrete a
|The only real sign of abuse.|
No threads coming out, no velcro weakening, and the buckles and clips feel exactly the same as the day I bought them. These Californian made bags are very well made and withstand a lot.
Comfort: If you pack this bag right, it will give you no problems on the ride. Packing it right mainly means no pointy things in the back that will dig into your spine. The bag is pretty forgiving though, and is far more comfortable to ride with than a backpack. It evenly distributes weight, and I rarely feel myself having to adjust it mid-ride, unless I've completely botched the straps. It does take a while to break in and figure out, however. As I mentioned before when packing it, you also have to make sure it's adjusted right - not too tight or too high up. The security strap that goes under your arm gave me some problems with armpit rubbing, but I found once I adjusted the bag right it was no problem. No back pain, and I've stuffed close to thirty pounds in this thing.
Pros: Durable, well made, and can hold a LOT. Comfy once you break it in. Super secure design means you will never lose your stuff. If bags could be considered loyal, this one is my most trusted friend. Looks badass.
Cons: Pricey, a bit large for some people, and it does take some tweaking to get it to fit right. There's also only one real light attachment, and I'd like to see another one or two places to attach lights on future models. No pockets on the outside, so easy access is a bit out of the question.
Overall: There is a reason why people like this bag and I see it everywhere. It's well designed, it can take a beating, and it's useful for far more than just biking. Plus, they can be personalized in lots of colors, so everyone can get what they want. I use this bag for long rides, short rides, grocery shopping, and more. I recommend these bags to people, and will continue to do so.
Also, Chrome is a cool company, based in Chico with a store in San Francisco. If you can visit them, I urge you to do so. They really make quality stuff.
|Draw me like one of your French girls|