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  1. #1
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    Reputation: Dick Rhee's Avatar
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    Ortlieb Messenger VS Chrome Backbone???

    Hey all,
    I'm looking into buying a Chrome Backbone or Ranchero messenger backpack and was wondering if anyone had any firsthand knowledge on either of the two. We have a gigantic Ortlieb Messenger bag and I was wondering how the sizes compare. Also, has anyone who's used these bags while riding had any problem with the bag hitting the back of the helmet or noticed blind spots from the bag being too high up on the shoulders?

    Also, size wise, I need to fit a 17" laptop plus school supplies in this sucker.

    I'm trying to shy away from using a messenger bag because 1: I hate having them shift all the time and 2: the strap feels like it's restricting my breathing while riding. I dunno, maybe it's just because I have a crap Timbuk2. Any opinions are welcome.

  2. #2
    AW_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Rhee
    Hey all,
    I'm looking into buying a Chrome Backbone or Ranchero messenger backpack and was wondering if anyone had any firsthand knowledge on either of the two. We have a gigantic Ortlieb Messenger bag and I was wondering how the sizes compare. Also, has anyone who's used these bags while riding had any problem with the bag hitting the back of the helmet or noticed blind spots from the bag being too high up on the shoulders?

    Also, size wise, I need to fit a 17" laptop plus school supplies in this sucker.

    I'm trying to shy away from using a messenger bag because 1: I hate having them shift all the time and 2: the strap feels like it's restricting my breathing while riding. I dunno, maybe it's just because I have a crap Timbuk2. Any opinions are welcome.
    I am looking for a new backpack myself. I need something big and waterproof. The Backbone and the classic Ortlieb are on my short list.

    Is there anything else out there that I should be looking at?

    Thanks.

    Backbone dimensions (2400 cu inches):


    Ranchero dimensions (1480 cu inches):


    Ortlieb messenger backpack looks to be 19.7 x 15.4 x 6.1, total volume 1831 cu inches, specs here: http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/...%5Ccourier.pdf

  3. #3
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    The Ortlieb is great!

    After years of suffering back pain with a messenger bag, I finally made the move to an Ortlieb Messenger backpack ...

    Its an excellent purchase ... I considered the Chrome, but chose the Ortlieb as it was on sale at my LBS and way cheaper ...

    It is super comfortable, even with a bucket load of groceries and a laptop in it ... very stable and the best thing about it is the fact that it is made for cyclists and sits a little lower than normal backpacks, which means your helmet has no problems with clearance.

    Been riding with it pretty much everyday for the last two months and have yet to encounter any blind spots.

    The only problem I can see is the fact that the Ortlieb is essentially a giant cavity without pockets to organise stuff like your wallet, phone etc … the add on pockets that attach on the inside are a must … Apart from that, they are almost 100% waterproof and the straps are well built and very comfy

    Stylin’ wise, I suppose the Chrome bags look cooler, but as far as utility goes, the Ortlieb can’t be beat … plus it’s super visible (I have the Orange one)

  4. #4
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    Chrome Backbone

    I have been commuting with a Chrome Backbone daily since August, and occasionally prior to that. Before the Chrome, I used a "crap" Timbuk2 messenger bag. I would also agree that the Timbuk2, while a nice bag, is not ideal for riding with a heavy load or commuting regularly.

    The Chrome bag has been pretty nice. I am a grad. student, so the bag gets pretty heavy loads every day, sometimes up to about 30 lbs when you factor in clothing, shower supplies, books, food, and battery for my headlight (I've been curious when I get home, so I've stepped on a scale with the bag and without to see how heavy the damn thing gets). The bag certainly doesn't shift around, and is much more evenly weighted than a messenger bag. At 30 pounds, however, the bag is comfortable on my back, but it puts a decent amount of strain on my shoulders when it is this heavy, which makes riding less fun. This, however, doesn't imply that a messenger bag would be better, I think that a 30 lb. load would be uncomfortable under any circumstances.

    I live in Houston so, consequently, heat is another factor. The bag is hot on my back. There are built in airflow channels on the back pad, but they are only minimally effective if at all.

    The upper corners of the bag do impede vision over both shoulders as compared to a messenger bag, but this is something that I have learned to adjust to by looking around the bag. Quick glances over my shoulder for cars are not as easily accomplished as with a messenger bag.

    A previous poster mentioned that the Ortlieb bag doesn't have any divisions/pockets inside to separate out his stuff. The Chrome bag does a nice job of this with many small pockets and divisions.

    One other nice factor of the Chrome bag (as compared to my previous Timbuk2 messenger bag is that my stuff stays dry when I ride in the rain. Despite the coating on the inside of my messenger bag, it still got wet when I rode home in heavy rain. This hasn't been an issue at all with the Chrome.

    I have thought a bit about going to racks and panniers to get the weight off my back, but at this time, the Chrome bag is working for me. I'm happy with it.

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