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slidey
05-11-2013, 12:24 PM
I'm contemplating riding into work(school) on days that I can foresee not having to come back home after dark*. My commute is 10 miles each way, with a marginal bit of rollers...haven't bothered checking my Garmin but I'd hazard close to 600 - 800 ft of ascent. Yesterday while riding in to work my back felt like it was going to break, and the same feeling some 9 hours later in the evening as well. In fact it was worse on the way back! Now, I use a backpack which is quite an old one, mainly because I carry my laptop + papers + notebook, around everywhere I go. The backpack weighs in about 20~22lbs on days I ride (change of clothes, footwear).

Here are my related Q's:
1. Do you think the backpack could be the cause of the back-ache?
I haven't been riding into work everyday, just once or twice a week, but it hurts every time. It was just unbearable yesterday, enough for me to swear off riding in without solving the root cause of the pain.

2. Do you think a messenger bag will help in alleviating the pain?
I can't see how a lop-sided bag makes any weight-proportion sense whatsoever. Besides, its the stupidest looking contraption I can conceive to carry things around on a bike...but, given its popularity despite its appearance, maybe it does have some benefits that I'm not reaping.

3. If the answer to Q2 is a YES, then can you suggest bag models I can go in for. For what its worth, I'm a really flexible guy with pretty darn good core fitness, and weigh 120 lbs. Not sure if its even necessary, but it might help you get a mental picture.

4. Would an internal frame backpack be better? My present one is quite an ancient one.

* Let's leave lights out of it, mainly because I can't be bothered with riding in the dark (personal preference).

tuscanyswe
05-11-2013, 12:32 PM
My experience with carrying alot of weight on your back for an extended time says that backpacks are far superior.

With that said you could have a really crappy backpack?

slidey
05-11-2013, 12:56 PM
Yeah, I'm considering that conclusion as well. I wonder, have you had any luck with internal frame backpacks like Kelty, for on-bike commuting?

My present one is around 5 years old, and the padding on the shoulder straps have all but worn out, and there is some padding for the back but clearly it isn't being very effective.

My experience with carrying alot of weight on your back for an extended time says that backpacks are far superior.

With that said you could have a really crappy backpack?

dnades
05-11-2013, 01:05 PM
Can you mount a rack on the back of your bike for a pannier?

djg
05-11-2013, 01:06 PM
I think that a better backpack might help a lot, but 10 miles each way would be sort of the border for me between ok and needing a different arrangement for carrying that amount of weight.

Is there any way to leave the laptop at home? There's a big difference between 10 miles with a change of clothes on your back, with work shoes, computer, etc. at the office, versus everything in the bag. If you have to cart everything, you might look into the question whether there's some way to get it off your back and onto a rack -- even on a road (versus touring) bike there are ways to do this if you'll allow for a bit of a kludge.

A decent pack is way better than a lousy one. Something that fits the contour of your back, keeps most of the weight low, doesn't sway too much, has decent padded straps (and waist and sternum), and either a padded back or a sprung back (like Vaude or Deuter).

A messenger bag is a great way to get a lot of stuff in a bag, including big stuff, but apart from capacity, and the ease of getting things in and out of it quickly (especially handy for . . . you know, messengers) and, I guess, 1997 street cred, if only on certain streets, it's not that great. You need to pack it more carefully than a pack, you'll need to be extra careful about sharp edges or hard objects, and it's going to shift around while you ride (folks who say otherwise . . . lots of ways to reduce this, but I've no idea how they get rid of this without either kidding themselves or a whole lot of duct tape).

jtakeda
05-11-2013, 02:37 PM
I use a messenger bag, but if you're back is hurting get a rack.

CNY rider
05-11-2013, 02:49 PM
I agree with djg.
If you can't get the load way under 20 lbs. you need to get it off your back and onto the bike somehow.
I generally have 5-8 pounds to take to work. Most of the year it's in a front bag. Winter, beater bike, it goes in a messenger bag on my back. It's an annoyance.
If it was 20 lbs. it would be intolerable.

mccx
05-11-2013, 03:34 PM
My experience is that messenger bags, even "good" ones like ReLoad, Chrome and Timbuk2 are worse on my back with heavy loads than backpacks. I like messenger bags if the load is less than 15 pounds and I need to access contents frequently.

I suspect that even with a good backpack (internal frame, chest strap, etc.) 20-25 pounds may cause back strain when riding. I've taken to using a large Carradice saddlebag & support if it'll fit, otherwise it goes in panniers. Not the easiest solution, but worth it if it means back pain during the ride and throughout the day.

blessthismess
05-11-2013, 03:41 PM
I would stick with a backpack if your having pain back there. A messenger bag is strictly for convenience. (I use one) but a packpack is the best for proper weight distribution. If that still doesn't work I would look into a basket, panniers, or rack as stated above. Good luck:)

slidey
05-11-2013, 03:48 PM
Thanks for chiming in. I wish I had the chance of doing panniers, etc but my bikes are all road bikes, more akin to race bikes. Moreover having a setup which is exclusive to commuting twice a week or so isn't worth the investment at this point of time (limited resources)...I had much rather just continue taking the bus to school. However, I think I'm going to purchase a new internal frame backpack as a replacement for the present one and see how that goes. That way if it still fails, I will still be able to use the IF backpack as an everyday thing unlike an oversized saddle bag, which is the option I'm most keen on presently. If indeed I find myself commuting much more frequently, I do have another bike in mind for it...a yeti arc-x, with cross tyres :p

VA-Scooter
05-11-2013, 04:04 PM
I recently saw a rack on line that mounted under both seat rails & to seatpost. It could take most of your weight. I will look around & see if I can find it. Anybody else recall seeing it ? With 2 mounting points it looked strong.

sworcester
05-11-2013, 04:55 PM
When I commuted to work, about 15 miles each way, I would take a weeks worth of clothes on Monday and haul home daily or when I drove in again. Fortunately we had a shower in that facility.
Backpack would be the way to go, maybe leaving the laptop at the office too?

pbarry
05-11-2013, 04:57 PM
Yes, stay with the backpack, but maybe not the one you are using: You definitely want one with a well padded waist belt. Get the weight on your hips and off your shoulders. 20lbs. is not too much to carry if done right. You gotta cinch up the waist belt firmly, then adjust the shoulder straps for balance. Place the heaviest weight down low, and lock the compression straps down hard so the weight is closer to your body.

FWIW, with a mess bag, the majority of the weight is on one shoulder, even with the minimalist weight stabilization strap in play. Alternate the carrying shoulder daily. Don't go there unless you are slinging packages for a living. ;)

gasman
05-11-2013, 06:15 PM
I think you should consider a Carradice along with your packback. You are carrying up to 20% your bodyweight in the pack and with a 10 mile commute that puts a bit of strain on your back. I have about the same commute and if i stop at the store for groceries it really puts almost too much weight on me. Messenger bags look cool but are really meant for.... messengers.

GRAVELBIKE
05-11-2013, 06:21 PM
I've used Carradice bags for several years, and they work very well. The SQR bags are easy to install and remove.

tuscanyswe
05-11-2013, 07:07 PM
Yeah, I'm considering that conclusion as well. I wonder, have you had any luck with internal frame backpacks like Kelty, for on-bike commuting?

My present one is around 5 years old, and the padding on the shoulder straps have all but worn out, and there is some padding for the back but clearly it isn't being very effective.

Sorry havent got any feedback on that type of backpack. For me i rarely carry that weight for more than a few minutes and much like you i dont care for it that much but i noticed that its not only about the load but also how and where its distributed.

Sometimes i can pack something not that heavy but it has an akward shape or it just happen to pick a spot in the backpack that is the worst possible. I can feel pretty good with some packages that are heavy while standing up only to have it feel very uncomfortable immediately when i lean forward on the bike.
For instance i wouldent pack a laptop near my back if i could put it in the center or at the back part of the backpack. Its stiff and wont flex so if i carry alot of load it will be poorly distributed on my back.

Cant you go to a store and try some out, ideally while seated on a bike or even a test ride? I fear its going to be abit like saddles.

Or maybe this is the way to go. He doesent look like he have back pains?! :)
Wonder if these briefcases / bags work any good.

http://www.geek.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/retrovelo01-500x510.jpg

hokoman
05-11-2013, 07:22 PM
I recently saw a rack on line that mounted under both seat rails & to seatpost. It could take most of your weight. I will look around & see if I can find it. Anybody else recall seeing it ? With 2 mounting points it looked strong.

Pretty sure it's the Arkel rack.
http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categories/bicycle-bike-pannier-rack/arkel-randonneur-rack.html

Check out the Sherpak that slips on it, might be a little small, but slick system. Btw, I got backpack but I don't care for sweaty back.

phcollard
05-11-2013, 08:46 PM
2. Do you think a messenger bag will help in alleviating the pain?

Hell NO it's gonna be worse! Because all the weight is carried on one shoulder only, and always the same, and the content can be heavy - think clothes, lunch, laptop. I have commuted with a messenger bag for years and it has totally destroyed my back. I m not kidding. Now I can't even walk with an empty messenger bag for more than two miles without firing up the pain. Neck, upper back, chest. I can't take it anymore.

My suggestion is a cycling specific backpack. I have the Rapha and even fully loaded I don't notice it when on the bike. No more back pain!

Be well and choose wisely :)

slidey
05-11-2013, 08:58 PM
Man, that Rapha looks pretty pricy. I'm about to pull the trigger on this: http://www.kelty.com/p-748-bender.aspx

Although its a new offering from Kelty, it claims to be bike specific and given how much I like their Redwing 55 how bad can it possibly be? (My rationale)

Hell NO it's gonna be worse! Because all the weight is carried on one shoulder only, and always the same, and the content can be heavy - think clothes, lunch, laptop. I have commuted with a messenger bag for years and it has totally destroyed my back. I m not kidding. Now I can't even walk with an empty messenger bag for more than two miles without firing up the pain. Neck, upper back, chest. I can't take it anymore.

My suggestion is a cycling specific backpack. I have the Rapha and even fully loaded I don't notice it when on the bike. No more back pain!

Be well and choose wisely :)

phcollard
05-11-2013, 09:34 PM
Man, that Rapha looks pretty pricy. I'm about to pull the trigger on this: http://www.kelty.com/p-748-bender.aspx

Although its a new offering from Kelty, it claims to be bike specific and given how much I like their Redwing 55 how bad can it possibly be? (My rationale)

Honestly the Rapha is overpriced like most of their stuff but I managed to find one secondhand. I am sure there are more bike specific backpacks though. I think you can't go wrong for the Kelty at that price. It's a small investment if it does not hurt your back :)

christian
05-11-2013, 09:39 PM
I do my commute with a 25l lightweight top loader backpack. Backpack definitely better than messenger bag. I never carry more than 12 lbs though. That includes laptop, shoes, and work attire.

tuscanyswe
05-11-2013, 10:08 PM
I have one of these when im not working.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Chrome-Sultan-Ivan-Large-Rolltop-Bike-Messenger-Waterproof-Backpack-Bag-/130903084995?pt=US_Cycling_Clothing&hash=item1e7a6e8fc3

i recently got it n i really like it.

gdw
05-11-2013, 11:27 PM
The Kelty looks pretty good and is designed for cycling. It has wide shoulder straps and a decent back panal which should distribute the load more evenly. Hopefully that will help.

Are you using a road bike to commute... one with the handlebars several inches below the saddle?

VA-Scooter
05-12-2013, 06:27 AM
Pretty sure it's the Arkel rack.
http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categories/bicycle-bike-pannier-rack/arkel-randonneur-rack.html

Check out the Sherpak that slips on it, might be a little small, but slick system. Btw, I got backpack but I don't care for sweaty back.

This is it. Split your stuff between this & pack.

soulspinner
05-12-2013, 06:35 AM
Yes, stay with the backpack, but maybe not the one you are using: You definitely want one with a well padded waist belt. Get the weight on your hips and off your shoulders. 20lbs. is not too much to carry if done right. You gotta cinch up the waist belt firmly, then adjust the shoulder straps for balance. Place the heaviest weight down low, and lock the compression straps down hard so the weight is closer to your body.

FWIW, with a mess bag, the majority of the weight is on one shoulder, even with the minimalist weight stabilization strap in play. Alternate the carrying shoulder daily. Don't go there unless you are slinging packages for a living. ;)

+1-used to commute with a bp and the waist cinching and weight distribution made all the diff.......

kurto
05-12-2013, 08:30 AM
Check out some bike-specific backpacks. They usually have cool features and shapes that make them more conducive to riding positions. I have a Timbuk2 with a padded laptop compartment and expandable roll top that I love, but there are a lot of other options made for biking. I'd go this way before investing in an internal frame hiking pack.

giverdada
05-12-2013, 08:55 AM
i too commute with a laptop and a ton of books, not to mention enough food and coffee to fuel the trip and my time at work throughout the day. i don't like the pannier option mostly because i don't have a dedicated commuter, and i don't like having the load there for my short 8-mile commute. just me.

anyway, the messenger bags are great and all for slinging packages and documents and locks in and out at breaknecking pace, but otherwise, i'd avoid them like the plague. like philippe, i commuted with one for years and now i'm lopsided worse than i already was, and i have had to switch to a backpack.

switching to a backpack has been great. the dual straps are secure and comfortable, and you can carry the load evenly across your back, high or low. and about the load carrying style - that might be part of your pain. with any kind of bag on my back, i like to make sure the load is on my back instead of on the straps/shoulders. depending on how much is in the bag, i ride it low on my lumbar or up high on my mid back or between my shoulder blades. weight also dictates how high or low. either way, i want the load on my body and not on the shoulder straps. i think someone was suggesting this with the waist/hip strap of an internal frame kelty.

and in terms of the most beautiful (but pricey) suspension/harness/strap system i've come across, i'd give the nod to mission workshop. the lexus to chrome bags as toyotas. gorgeous stuff. really well constructed, a breathable suspended back pad and internal frame. wicked bag. wish i hadn't sold mine.

anyway, i wish you luck. my current bag is a chrome ranchero and it works mostly perfectly. the straps now slip in the cinch mechanisms, and the back pad is frayed from super duper use, but it's waterproof to boot and a great carrying bag. safe commuting!

nick.

canadasteep
05-12-2013, 02:14 PM
A pack with a framesheet will distribute heavy loads over a wide area (your back) and will bear loads much more comfortably.
Also, awkward items won't jab you in the back.
Ideally, you can get a framesheet with a stay which you can form to the contour of your back.

To minimize heat/sweat, look for a pack with a mesh/suspension backpanel.

Also, the Arkel trunks are great.

shinomaster
05-12-2013, 04:46 PM
I'm contemplating riding into work(school) on days that I can foresee not having to come back home after dark*. My commute is 10 miles each way, with a marginal bit of rollers...haven't bothered checking my Garmin but I'd hazard close to 600 - 800 ft of ascent. Yesterday while riding in to work my back felt like it was going to break, and the same feeling some 9 hours later in the evening as well. In fact it was worse on the way back! Now, I use a backpack which is quite an old one, mainly because I carry my laptop + papers + notebook, around everywhere I go. The backpack weighs in about 20~22lbs on days I ride (change of clothes, footwear).

Here are my related Q's:
1. Do you think the backpack could be the cause of the back-ache?
I haven't been riding into work everyday, just once or twice a week, but it hurts every time. It was just unbearable yesterday, enough for me to swear off riding in without solving the root cause of the pain.

2. Do you think a messenger bag will help in alleviating the pain?
I can't see how a lop-sided bag makes any weight-proportion sense whatsoever. Besides, its the stupidest looking contraption I can conceive to carry things around on a bike...but, given its popularity despite its appearance, maybe it does have some benefits that I'm not reaping.

3. If the answer to Q2 is a YES, then can you suggest bag models I can go in for. For what its worth, I'm a really flexible guy with pretty darn good core fitness, and weigh 120 lbs. Not sure if its even necessary, but it might help you get a mental picture.

4. Would an internal frame backpack be better? My present one is quite an ancient one.

* Let's leave lights out of it, mainly because I can't be bothered with riding in the dark (personal preference).

I think I'm crooked from having used a messenger bag for 15 years. I finally ditched it for an Ortlieb backpack and am much happier.

R3awak3n
05-12-2013, 05:04 PM
also commute with a laptop and defintely prefer a backpack, I have one of those mission workshop ones and they are great. Have had it over a year now and it looks brand new, dries really fast and is pretty confortable.

However I do have a dedicated commuter with a front rack so I think I will get some paniers because the backpack can get annoying and cumbersome some times. I like to commute with all my bikes so it will be nice to have when I dont take my commuter to work.

bluesea
05-12-2013, 05:10 PM
The Mission Sanction is functionally a great cycling backpack, with a couple of features they will hopefully improve. The first would be the inclusion of ventilation padding for the back, the other, adequate padding for the notebook pocket.

R3awak3n
05-12-2013, 05:37 PM
I had the Sanction and now have the vandal, the sanction was great but was a little too small for me, I do agree with the issues you mentioned and I think the ventilation padding in the back applies to all their backpacks.

I love the Vandal but it is huge, I usually never need that much space but I have used it many times fully expanded, packed up and it was still confortable. They are also made in the USA and life time warranty and look pretty good.

martinez
05-12-2013, 09:49 PM
i would definitely go with a backpack (as already recommended) for heavy loads such as the amount you are carrying daily... one with a chest and stomach stabilizer.
anything over 15-20 pounds would bear too much stress on your shoulder with a messenger bag.

i've ridden a few T-Level bags, and they were all great. i've used both the infinity rolltop and challenger backpack. the challenger backpack was a perfect size for my school commuting. carried it all! the infinity was mostly used for longer trips/adventures.
i've also actually been considering getting racks because i absolutely hate commuting with bags because the straps/pads end up becoming sponges and leaving me more sweaty than i want to be!

i currently have an Engine No.11 Night Rider rolltop backpack.
by far the most comfortable bag that i've ever ridden with. plenty of room, and even comes with a built in usb powered light (rechargeable). and i've gone through chrome messenger bags and backpacks, t-level bags, SAG backpacks, timbuktu and manhattan portage messenger bags.
another favorite backpack of mine has been the SAG x Mash backback. so many good things going on with that bag

bluesea
05-12-2013, 09:54 PM
Have seen a couple of Chrome packs, that were well configured with low key aesthetics as well.

Salsa_Lover
05-12-2013, 10:11 PM
I always used a messenger bag wherever I commute by bike. It's the best option for carrying stuff IMHO. The backpack holds the load too high and as I prefer low handlebars it doesn't fit well on my back and tend to put the weight high on the neck direction, the messenger bag is much better for this.

But recently I had a lumbar disc inflammation due to s heavy messenger bag that had sharp edges inside ( computer or fond other metallic objects )

That kept me out of the bike and any other activity for a full week and still hurts a bit.

From now on, only pannier bags on my commute.

slidey
05-12-2013, 11:47 PM
christian: I have a ton of junk in my backpack in preparedness for the zombie apocalypse that's gonna hit anytime soon :eek:, and all that adds up to 18~22 lbs on days I carry two changes of clothes (work + squash). Hoping to cut out the crap while filling in the new backpack.

gdw: yeah, I do commute on road-bikes with stem definitely lower than saddle...but, not several inches, just a tad. I've flipped my stem upwards on my bikes since I'm not racing any more.

Mission Workshop/Arkel/cyclo-backpack recommenders: MW unfortunately is plain and simple out of my reach at this point in time. I'm putting in an order for the Kelty Bender tomorrow, and hopefully that'll make my commute easier. If that fails, then I might have to bite the >=$200 bullet (rack + bag) and be forced to look into the Arkel setup.

Thanks for all the inputs though!

verticaldoug
05-13-2013, 12:02 PM
Osprey Metro 35 Pack.
It is bigger than I'd want to carry on a bike, but is designed for commuting.
Built in laptop sleeve for storage to boot.

http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/commute_1/metron_35?tab=features

Likes2ridefar
05-13-2013, 12:19 PM
i've commuted with both and prefer the backpack. After extended use of a messenger bag I noticed tension starting to build in my neck and back muscles due to always using it on the same side. It was also way less comfortable on longer rides with any sort of weight in it.

I don't like the stomach area straps on backpacks as I find it constrictive and not much help with stability. A few of my bags have sternum straps but I don't really notice much difference with or without.

I do like packs that have some sort of suspension system/mesh that keep hard objects from bouncing around on your spine, but these almost always have pockets and hip straps which I find unnecessary for commuting. So I currently commute with a cheap ~18L crumpler bag simply because it's very lightweight, bright colored, and has light padding in the back to make it comfortable. It has no straps besides the shoulders. It's also pretty much waterproof and has very durable fabric.

GRAVELBIKE
05-13-2013, 12:31 PM
Here's an 18L Carradice SQR Tour saddlebag:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8122/8692608207_a466a04f56.jpg

Easy on/off, no sway, and very resistant to the elements.

OperaLover
05-13-2013, 03:24 PM
I use one. Waterproof (important in Seattle). Comfortable. Well made. Chrome does a good job. I carry clothes, papers, groceries, etc. Even fully loaded its comfortable on the shoulders.

LJohnny
05-13-2013, 03:37 PM
I use an Ergon with external frame. I don't know if they make them anymore since I wanted to put a link to it here and I could not find it on their website. It is good and keeps the weight distributed on your hips.

I think it shows up from time to time on ebay. I was lucky to get mine on close out from competitive cyclist.

cachagua
05-14-2013, 12:27 AM
If it hurts bad enough to make you think of quitting riding, then visit an exercise physiologist who's familiar with biking issues. I wouldn't expect meaningful improvement from swapping a messenger bag for backpack, or the reverse, if the problem's that severe.

Can you do your non-bike commute one day, leave all your stuff for the next day there, and ride in in the morning unloaded? (And of course leave the stuff there in the afternoon, to pick up the next day.) That would tell you if it's any use putting the weight on your bike, as some have suggested.

But short of that -- ruling out such factors as bike fit, relative strength and flexibility of different muscle groups, and what you do inbetween rides as causes might be informative, before focusing on which bag.

pdmtong
05-14-2013, 01:48 AM
I use an Ergon with external frame. I don't know if they make them anymore since I wanted to put a link to it here and I could not find it on their website. It is good and keeps the weight distributed on your hips.

I think it shows up from time to time on ebay. I was lucky to get mine on close out from competitive cyclist.

I've got an ergon bd-1 to sell if you would like. they don't make them anymore...the ergon rep told me the mfg costs were just too high and no one wants to spend $150+ (new) on a backpack. ....sits off your back so no sweaty back and all the weight goes to the hips. nice..but I am trying to thin down the paks I have and do not commute.

R3awak3n
05-14-2013, 07:13 AM
I've got an ergon bd-1 to sell if you would like. they don't make them anymore...the ergon rep told me the mfg costs were just too high and no one wants to spend $150+ (new) on a backpack. ....sits off your back so no sweaty back and all the weight goes to the hips. nice..but I am trying to thin down the paks I have and do not commute.

Funny that rep says that when both chrome and mission backpacks are over $150 and both companies seem to be doing well.

gdw
05-14-2013, 09:14 AM
"Funny that rep says that when both chrome and mission backpacks are over $150 and both companies seem to be doing well."

Ergon built their packs mainly for multiday racers and bikepackers. That market is pretty crowded and most of the top packs cost less than $150 and the most popular one, the Osprey Talon 22, is only $99. Urban riders are more willing to drop the big dollars than the folks who use and abuse their gear in the backcountry.

mcrispl
10-09-2013, 10:56 AM
I commute to work by bike 3.5 times a week on average and I am huge sissy when it comes to backpack weight. I switched from a messenger bag to a backpack because I found the messenger back hurt more and also just wasn't as comfortable. I found myself adjusting the messenger bag a lot during my rides which was very frustrating.

Ultimately I've moved to biking to work without anything on my back. On Monday I drive to work and bring with me my change of clothes and lunches for each day that I plan on biking in. If you are required to bring a laptop home with you then of course this is all for not.

Edit: Just realized I bumped this super old thread. apologies

slidey
10-09-2013, 12:56 PM
Since this has been revived, let me say that I did in fact purchase the Kelty Bender. I have little else to compare it to, bar my now-retired, baggy backpack...but it does make my commute painless so I'm not complaining. I don't see myself going the pannier/rack route anytime soon, so this bag is doing its job by me for now.

I commute to work by bike 3.5 times a week on average and I am huge sissy when it comes to backpack weight. I switched from a messenger bag to a backpack because I found the messenger back hurt more and also just wasn't as comfortable. I found myself adjusting the messenger bag a lot during my rides which was very frustrating.

Ultimately I've moved to biking to work without anything on my back. On Monday I drive to work and bring with me my change of clothes and lunches for each day that I plan on biking in. If you are required to bring a laptop home with you then of course this is all for not.

Edit: Just realized I bumped this super old thread. apologies

Mr. Pink
10-09-2013, 01:18 PM
Well, I'll just chime in on this bumped thread.

I commuted twenty miles into NYC for a few years in the late ninties (train back home), and bought a Patagonia Critical Mass messenger bag, thinking, hey, if it's good enough for the pros (bicycle messenger), than it must be OK, right? Wrong. Those guys don't do long distance, and rarely as much weight. Swore off messenger bags after that. Basically, it twists the upper body with that diagonal position, and kills the back. And, yes, it almost always required adjustment, no matter how well you started with the straps and stuff inside positioned just so. Switched to a Vaude backpack, and experienced much relief.

faryab
11-05-2013, 06:37 PM
Backpack

jbal3242
11-05-2013, 09:01 PM
Osprey momentum backpack. Been using the 26 liter to commute 15 miles each way and works great.

http://www.vicfryzel.com/2012/02/27/review-osprey-momentum-34-backpack

Fixed
11-05-2013, 10:35 PM
Good back pack beats good messenger bag for most commuters
IMHO
Cheers

weehastogopee
11-06-2013, 03:04 AM
If you only have road bikes, you can probably try the axiom streamliner rack. It mounts onto the brake bridge and the axles of the wheels.

Works pretty well and not too expensive

sjbraun
11-06-2013, 07:07 AM
I'll second the recommendation for Osprey backpacks. I use the Radial 26. Even in an Arizona summer it doesn't too hot or sweaty.

Reviewed here:

http://www.bikehugger.com/post/view/osprey-radial-34-pack

I use the 26 liter version. Its more than enough for my to commute with work clothes, breakfast and lunch, extra cycling clothes, (in AZ you need to cover temps from the 30s to the 70s for the rides too and from work so I always need to carry extra clothes that I wear when I ride in the morning,) locks, lights, etc.

plattyjo
11-06-2013, 09:59 AM
I love Ortlieb's backpack (http://www.rei.com/product/768101/ortlieb-velocity-cycling-backpack,-yellow?preferredSku=7681010034&cm_mmc=cse_PLA-_-pla-_-product-_-7681010034&mr:trackingCode=D88C4FFE-FB85-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA&mr:adType=pla&mr:ad=20834099080&mr:keyword=&mr:match=&mr:filter=39033470920&msid=CRXzp4Nv_dc|pcrid|20834099080|&{copy:s_kwcid}), which I've had for over 10+ years.

It's padded, waterproof, rugged and you can configure the waist and chest straps so that it evenly distributes weight on your back (not too low, I found, is optimal.) My husband and I bike-camped/credit carded our way from SF to Ventura on our CX bikes one year, and we both wore our Ortliebs and had one rear rack to carry our gear. It wasn't optimal, but it would have been the only backpack I would have chosen to do the job!

CircuitHero
11-06-2013, 12:02 PM
I only use a messenger bag because 3000+ cu in backpacks don't pack down right when empty.

gregj
11-06-2013, 01:57 PM
I love Ortlieb's backpack (http://www.rei.com/product/768101/ortlieb-velocity-cycling-backpack,-yellow?preferredSku=7681010034&cm_mmc=cse_PLA-_-pla-_-product-_-7681010034&mr:trackingCode=D88C4FFE-FB85-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA&mr:adType=pla&mr:ad=20834099080&mr:keyword=&mr:match=&mr:filter=39033470920&msid=CRXzp4Nv_dc|pcrid|20834099080|&{copy:s_kwcid}), which I've had for over 10+ years.

It's padded, waterproof, rugged and you can configure the waist and chest straps so that it evenly distributes weight on your back (not too low, I found, is optimal.) My husband and I bike-camped/credit carded our way from SF to Ventura on our CX bikes one year, and we both wore our Ortliebs and had one rear rack to carry our gear. It wasn't optimal, but it would have been the only backpack I would have chosen to do the job!


I also recently went back to my Ortlieb Velocity after trying out a Mission Workshop messenger bag. The Mission Workshop is a well-made, nice-looking bag, and I liked having the additional pockets, but in the end I am more comfortable with a backpack than a messenger bag when carrying a laptop on my commute (8+ miles each way, plus a train ride in the middle). The train ride in the middle is why I stopped using panniers. It's kind of a hassle to be removing bags, putting the bike on the rack, etc.

The only downside for me with the Ortlieb is the lack of outside pockets.

sevencyclist
11-06-2013, 06:02 PM
Anyone with experience with Mission Workshop backpack? Are the bags sturdy with the shoulder straps without the waist harness?

Interested in the Sanction vs the Rapha. Thanks.

giverdada
11-06-2013, 06:13 PM
Seems like mad coin for both, and I can't vouch for the Rapha in terms of what matters to me lots (weatherproofness and sturdiness of the suspension system), but the MissionWorkshop bags are top notch for both.

I've been on the hunt for a Rambler ever since I got one at a steal and then sold it again as I didn't need it as much as I needed the cash. Dumb move; haven't found another one since and could really use one as my Chrome Ranchero is significantly worn. The Rambler's major selling point, for me, is its suspension system. The MOST comfortable backpad and strap system EVER, rivalled only by Arcteryx internal frame packs I used a bit in the early 2000's. The Mission straps cinch perfectly (my Chrome straps slide annoyingly all the time) and sit perfectly on the shoulder. The back pad breathes more than anything. And I think there's a carbon stiffening panel inside the bag that helps protect your back and your contents from each other, and the contents from the ground. All around awesomeness. The fabric can't be beat for out and out waterproofness. So many details addressed so very well. The Rapha bag looks really nice, but I have no personal experience with it in any kind of weather or actual load-bearing on a bike.

ptourkin
11-06-2013, 06:14 PM
Anyone with experience with Mission Workshop backpack? Are the bags sturdy with the shoulder straps without the waist harness?

Interested in the Sanction vs the Rapha. Thanks.

I use a Mission Vandal and never bought the waist harness. I've weighed it after riding home with groceries and I've crammed it to at least 35 pounds without needing the waist harness. I think it's a top-notch bag but I suspect they are like saddles and different feels are for different folks.

ahemphill
11-10-2013, 05:26 PM
In my experience, sternum straps are much more important than waist straps while riding (unless you're bouncing around for some reason, e.g. getting rad). I use a Chrome backpack for grocery loads and have even used it on a hundred-mile trip without issue save for a little sweat buildup. A Mission Workshop bag will serve you very well.

tuscanyswe
11-10-2013, 05:35 PM
Anyone with experience with Mission Workshop backpack? Are the bags sturdy with the shoulder straps without the waist harness?

Interested in the Sanction vs the Rapha. Thanks.


My r6 feels sturdy enough to me but im use to not having a waist band. Dont like em. Bought a new arkiv r6 just a few weeks ago. Feels like a great bag. Unfortunately its too small for my use so i have not used for more than a test ride. Size is advertised abit weird as its smaller than my ortlieb yet claimed to be quite abit bigger.

I could sell if anyone is interested or possibly trade for something bike related. Ideally a similar bag but bigger.. Mine is the large black one with the portfolio and a sidebag ad ons. Literally like new.

11.4
11-11-2013, 02:00 AM
I've been trying to get more miles this winter on the bike, so I bought a MW Vandal after trying several bags. I also bought an Ortlieb Flight to try it out.

The MW bags are first-rate construction and you don't really need the belt for commuting. They flatten down as needed, but the bigger bags like the Vandal can get obscenely large if you want to stuff in a week's office clothing or the like. They certainly can handle 40+ pounds on the bike. I left Apple with 56 lbs of new notebooks and the bag didn't give me trouble for an 8-mile ride -- stupid ride with that much value but I like playing with this big bag. Don't let the size put you off. As long as your head doesn't butt into the top of the bag when you lean your head back (or more specifically, when your head is up and you are leaned over), it fits fine. I looked at the Arkiv hardware upgrade and talked with people who had it -- it just doesn't do anything except cosmetics, and it doesn't actually hold as well as the good old fashioned nylon buckles. And the modular systems are heavy and collect dirt on the road. I think you're better off just getting a few storage sacks from Eagle Creek and using them inside a regular backpack.

I do also have a MW Shed messenger bag, and I often use it with up to 30 lbs. Frankly, most messenger bags aren't designed that well and anyone over 30 will feel them after a while. The PAC Designs is just too beefy and simply heavy and bulky, but does feel very comfortable except for the weight and bulk. The MW really nailed it and are a lot nicer than Timbuk2's, Chromes, and the rest. There's a new Chrome coming out made with Hypalon and I got to see a sample; it's heavy and hot in the summer but very nice for winter -- very much a clone of a MW. Don't write off messengers; just get a good one.

Back to packs. The Ortlieb Flight is more compact, smaller, completely waterproof, and is really one of the nicest bike commuting packs I've found. You won't want to put a 17 inch Macbook Pro in it, but for a smaller notebook and all your daily stuff plus gym clothes, office clothes, etc., it is great. Do check it out. It's pricey, which has kept it from being more popular, but everyone thinks of Ortlieb just as the big roll-top sacks which is sad -- they make real bags that are actually comfortable and have sophisticated design elements.