By October 22, 2017 Read More →

Two Wheel Gear Convertible Pannier Backpack

I used the new Two Wheel Gear Convertible Pannier Backpack for two weeks as a bicycle commuter from an in-town neighborhood to a small city co-work space in a bike-friendly Southern city. I’ve been using a “corporate backpack” that is great for vehicle commuting, but was not shaped nor designed for bicycle-commuting. Overall, I like the convertible pannier backpack, but it reminded me of a few pet peeves I have as a long-time bicycle commuter with vehicle options.

The Good

  • The shape and size of the backpack is perfect for my bike commute to co-work space. I can fit my laptop (see note below, because this is a critique, too), battery, headphones, and a full change of clothes along w/ lunch and water bottles.
  • The chest strap can be adjusted for comfort, but definitely requires planning ahead. The attachment mechanism does not come off easily. Once adjusted, they were very comfortable.
  • Enough interior and exterior pockets, but not too many. Liked the mesh interior pocket.
  • The bright yellow rain cover easily removes from the pocket for visibility and protection.
  • I stuck my bike lock in the rain cover pocket while riding.
  • The exterior charcoal material is work appropriate for the tech environment of my co-work space.
  • I was apprehensive about the lack of waist strap, but the backpack fit well while riding in a small city environment with bike lanes. It did not slide around, as I had worried.
  • The pannier attachments were easy to use, but it reminded me why I don’t like riding with panniers. By the time I got to work, the exterior of the pack was gritty from the road and just yucky. I didn’t really want it touching me once I was ready for work, whereas wearing it as a backpack, it stayed clean from road grime. I had forgotten that about fabric panniers until I commuted with this bag for 2 weeks.
  • I attached my helmet to the outside loop once I got to work.
  • The Bad

  • The interior slash pocket for the laptop is too small. The pocket itself would fit my laptop, but the opening has no stretch or give and does not open wide enough to let my computer in. We tried 3 different laptops (Asus, Lenova, and HP) and they were all just slightly too thick to fit into the pocket. Kinda defeats the point of a laptop pocket.
  • The main zippers are VERY substantial. Unfortunately, even with the red grippers, the zipper itself is hard to open and requires holding the bag in a certain way to unzip. You have to fold back the fabric all along the zipper and guide it around the opening. It stops at the curves of the top unless you guide it along. You could not open this bag one-handed.
  • The interior compartment is black, making it the deep black hole. Literally any lighter color interior would be a better choice than black.
  • I do not have locker or storage space in the co-work space, so when my riding shoes were dirty, I had to put them in a separate baggie and attach it to the outside of the bag, as I don’t want grit on the inside of the bag where my computer goes. I got one of those giant zipper style plastic bags and kept it in the backpack for those days.
  • Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a prototype Two Wheel Gear Convertible Pannier Backpack for 2 weeks of testing, which I then returned, in consideration for a gear review.