Bike messenger bags are a must for anyone who uses their bike for commuting or longer rides. Since they allow easy access to your items without having to dismount, finding a great messenger bag is essential for any rider. I’ve rounded up the bags which stand out from the competition for your viewing pleasure.
So, what’s the best bike messenger bag? For my money, the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag is the best for the average cyclist. With a great single strap system, excellent stitching and buckles, and a surprising amount of options available, it’s just too good to overlook.
Of course, every rider has their own needs. Read on and I’ll show you what’s out there and teach you how to ensure that you’ve got the right bag for a smooth ride.
Last update on 2020-04-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Reviews of the Best Bike Messenger Bags
1. Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag – Best Overall Bike Messenger Bag
Overall, the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag won out for me. It’s a great, highly adjustable messenger bag that comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors, and has more than enough features to occupy most people.
The waterproof liner is a nice touch, but it also comes with a ton of internal organization. There are several pockets on each side of the bag, allowing you to organize smaller items so they don’t get lost at the bottom of the bag.
The construction is some of the best on the market. It’s well stitched, the buckles are made of high-quality plastic, and the strap has a cooling air mesh pad that slides along its length. The Timbuk2 classic is made to last.
It’s not perfect, though. They’re a bit expensive if you’re not using it regularly, and it lacks a secondary stabilizer strap, which really may be necessary for rough terrain.
However, the Timbuk2 Classic is a perfect bag for daily use. It’s well organized, the single strap can be customized to a great fit, and there are a ton of options available. For the average cyclist, it’s definitely a step above and beyond the competition.
- Many colors available
- Different sizes with the same high quality
- Highly customizable strap
- Excellent overall quality
- A bit pricey
- Single strap system
2. Chrome Citizen Messenger Satchel Bag – Upgraded Pick
Chrome is an iconic brand when it comes to messenger bags. Their seat belt buckle is instantly recognizable, as well as being a useful addition for those who are on their daily commute since you don’t have to lift the bag over your shoulders.
They’re expensive. That’s obvious upfront; Chrome’s bags are some of the priciest on the market. You get what you pay for in this instance, but I feel that the Timbuk2 offers the most bang for your buck if you’re looking for a bike messenger bag.
The Chrome citizen bag is made of high-grade materials and is probably the best poor weather bag on the market due to the waterproof lining and durable outer construction. You simply can’t match the quality; it’s superb from top to bottom.
It also features the best internal organization of the reviewed bags, hands down. The dividers and pockets are very well thought out and make it a great bag for those who are on the move during the day.
One last note: on daily commutes in some areas, the iconic strap may be a bit of a burden. It’s easy to remove, and a savvy thief will know it’s an expensive bag. That means the seat belt buckle ends up being a bit of a trade-off if you live in an area where theft is common.
It’s iconic and made with superior quality: the Chrome Citizen is hard to beat. If you’re willing to shell out the money, it’s one of the best on the market, but I feel that most people would be better served spending the extra elsewhere.
- High-quality construction
- Very weatherproof
- Easy removal with seat belt strap
- Superior internal pockets
- Very expensive
- Easy for thieves to remove
3. Banjo Brothers Messenger Bag – Best Messenger Bag for Mountain Biking
While most mountain bikers opt for a regular backpack, the Banjo Brothers Messenger bag might be set to change their minds. With a large capacity and an adjustable X-strap system, it’s one of the most stable messenger bags on the market.
The exterior is made of a tough, ballistic-grade material as well. That means scrapes and the occasional crash won’t destroy the bag. That’s a big plus for those who are off-road. The larger option may be a bit much for a day-ride, but the additional capacity is welcome for those who prefer longer treks through the wilderness.
It also has quite a few internal pockets and a removable divider for those who are planning on carrying a laptop. It’s well thought out, though not quite as customizable as the Timbuk2.
The price is right on this one, although the internal organization could be better. It’s also on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to price, but I feel that it will make a valuable addition to any mountain biker’s equipment.
While it may lack some of the organizational ability to make it a great commuter bag, Banjo Brothers deliver with a great X-strap and tough material, which makes it suited for those who are riding off-road.
- Tough exterior material
- High storage capacity
- Two sizes available
- X-straps for superior stability
- Could have a better internal organization system
- High priced
Choosing the Right Bike Messenger Bag for You – Buyer’s Guide
Finding the right bag isn’t all that hard. You’ll just need to keep in mind a few essential qualities and ask yourself a couple of questions along the way.
Fitting and Straps
The fit of a bag is the most important element overall, particularly if you’re planning on going mountain biking or trail riding with the bag. While a bag that sits well on streets just needs to stay in place over relatively smooth surfaces, off-road biking will require a bit tighter of a fit to keep from banging on your kidneys through rough terrain.
For the most part, this means highly adjustable straps. The bag should be able to be brought tight to the body in any case.
Look for padded straps as well. A bike bag that fits well for walking can quickly start cutting into your collarbone or shoulder without padding. The pad itself should be able to be moved smoothly along the length of the strap for more comfort once the pad has been fitted properly.
Depending on what you’re carrying, and how much extra cargo room you have on your bike, capacity is rather important.
Most riders will end up carrying their water bottles on the frame, but on really long rides, it’s not always possible.
Larger bags are great for touring riders or those who plan on carrying a lot of stuff around. The capacity of most bags is measured in liters, and it’s easiest to estimate how much space you’ll need by using something with known volume like an old water bottle.
Look for a bag with about 25% more capacity than you think you’ll need. This will allow you to carry everything without the bag bulging or being too tight to be accessed without needing to dismount.
Stitching and Buckle Quality
A good bag for your bike will ideally have plastic buckles rather than magnetic straps. They’re easy to open while you’re on the bike but keep things in place despite a bit of outside pressure when you’re riding hard.
Magnetic buckles can be tempting but avoid them for a dedicated bike bag, particularly if you’re planning on riding off-road.
Some bags feature a seat belt buckle, which will allow you to quickly remove the bag once you reach your destination. These are awesome for most people, but the quality needs to be up to par or you may end up with a bag with two useless straps in short order.
There are a few extras to look for in your new bag but they’re a bit situational. Just keep an eye out for the following if you think you’ll need them.
Waterproof – Essential for those who commute in the rainy season, mountain bikers can also benefit from a waterproof bag as crossing creeks is a regular occurrence on many trails.
Ripstop Materials – Extra heavy-duty materials aren’t essential for most riders. They can add a bit to the overall cost of the bag, but if you ride in areas with brush, trees, or just have a bad habit of dropping your bike, they’ll dramatically increase the lifespan of the bag.
Inner Compartments – Not all messenger bags have good internal dividers. While that may not be a problem for some, if you’ve got a hankering for organization, then you should pay extra special attention to the internal dividers and compartments included within the bag.
My Choice for the Best Bike Messenger Bag
When it comes to bike messenger bags, the sheer amount of options out there is astonishing. They’re great for daily commutes and short treks; you just need to make sure that you’ve got the best bag to get the job done.
In my opinion, the Timbuk2 Classic is an ideal bag for most uses. It’s not hyper-specialized, but it offers great value for the dollar and high-quality construction that will last for a lifetime without breaking the bank.
Add in great internal organization and one of the best single strap systems on the market, and we’ve got a clear winner in this roundup.
Top Rated Bike Messenger Bags
Last update on 2020-04-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Last update on 2020-04-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API