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Old 02-08-06, 02:06 AM   #1
8bitevolution
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I was looking at getting a messenger bag and, until tonight, had pretty much settled on a medium Timbuk2 Pro Messenger. That was until I heard from a friend who has a medium Timbuk2 and, after listing a rather short list of items that he carries in it, the fact that he usually finds it very uncomfortable. He got me looking at Chrome and Crumpler bags.

I'm heavily leaning towards the Chrome, though.

My one concern (dervied from a Powerbook owning reviewer) is how my laptop will fit in the bag. I'm certain that it'll have plenty of room but I'm also certain that there will be too much room, allowing the laptop to slide around a lot.

I'm looking at the Metropolis but I'd also consider the Citizen. I'm looking more towards the Metropolis for more storage space.

So is anyone out there commuting with a Chrome bag and laptop? If so, what size of bag, laptop, and are you using a sleeve? Do you use some of your other stuff (like change of clothes) to keep the laptop in place?
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Old 02-08-06, 04:26 AM   #2
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I don't have a laptop, but I do have a Metropolis. I carry around a constantly varying amount of books though, so I think I can give you some guidance.

First of all, how big is your laptop? Depending on how big (or small) your laptop is it might feel weird just having that in your bag. Is that the only thing you'll be carrying generally? If so, you probably don't need the Metropolis.

If it were my laptop and I had it in a bag that wasn't specifically designed to hold it I would always have it in a sleeve, no matter what. This will also provide more padding for you.

Any messenger bag or backpack will be uncomfortable if you load it improperly, but moreso with messenger bags. I quickly learned what not do when packing my bag. Usually the more stuff you have in the bag, the more comfortable it will be on your back (as long as it's not too heavy). Sometimes I wish I had a bigger bag, quite often in fact. Occasionally I want something smaller. Most of the time though, my bag is great.

You should look at the Chrome Ransacker as well. I'm not overly fond of the seatbelt buckle after using it for a while. I do use it on occasion, but it's unnecessary weight. Inevitably someone will walk up to you and just push it too, which sucks.
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Old 02-08-06, 07:14 AM   #3
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My laptop is a 15" powerbook. In it's case, it's about 16" wide and 12" tall and no more than 2" thick. When I bought the case, I fully intended to use it in a messenger bag and would never consider putting it in a messenger bag without it's case.

I plan to carry that, maybe a change of clothes for work, my lunch, a book, probably a multi-tool of some sort and an air pump, an iPod, and possibly shoes.

I guess that's what makes things difficult because I think that's all I'll end up carrying but there's always that chance that something else will end up getting stuck in there. And then something. And then something else.

But most of what I've read agrees with what you said - the more you carry, the more comfortable it will be.
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Old 02-08-06, 12:29 PM   #4
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I too have a Chrome Metropolis with a brand-new 15" Powerbook. I always keep the powerbook in a padded sleeve. And if I am going any farther than 10 or 15 blocks I either don't take the powerbook or don't ride... placing the flat laptop against my curved back with everything else in there (clothes, etc) makes me very nervous. Especially since the thing is spankin' new.
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Old 02-08-06, 01:08 PM   #5
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I've been carrying my (company supplied) Dell in a Chrome Metropolis for a few months now. I do not use any type of sleeve for the laptop. I'm carrying it both on the bike and on the bus. To date I have not had any problems. When I load the bag up with the computer and clothes, shoes, lunch, etc. I do try to arrange things so that there is minimal pressure on the computer. The Metropolis is comfortable and swallows everything that I've needed to put in it.
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Old 02-08-06, 01:35 PM   #6
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I see almost everyone carrying the Metropolis, no Citizens. I contacted Chrome and they recommended the Citizen to me because I'm 5'7". He said it could be a bit more difficult to handle a Metropolis because of my height.

So how tall are you guys? And if you're under 5'8, how easy is it to handle?
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Old 02-08-06, 01:47 PM   #7
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Hey, I had a Citizen for a while and carried my 15" pbook in there along with all sorts of other stuff. I used the Chrome sleeve and still use it, because it fits so perfectly around the 15 incher.... anyway, maybe it was because of all the stress and lack of massages that Architecture school (grad) brings you, but I started to get some major and very serious neck and shoulder pains, particularly on the side (left) where the bag rested on my shoulders. Maybe it was the lack of massages, again, but hey... I'm a busy guy. Anyway, I quickly switched to a backpack. I'm now using the Mountain Smith "Headrace" (no longer in production, from what I can tell)... it's great because the hip straps are something in between a full-on backpacking strap and a commuter strap, and they dramatically help to aleve the weight from the shoulders. Plus, the design of the backpack is slim and when properly straped along the body, it not only maintains balance on my back and does not shift around when i'm hammering up hills (or down them), but it also is slim enough for me to look over my shoulder as I dodge in and out of LA's wonderful traffic.... *ahem*.
I'm 5'8", too.
My 2 cents.
Anyway, I doubt I'll go back to a messenger bag any time soon. Maybe after a year's worth of massages to restore my otherwise f*'d up back muscles to normal... then... maybe? Dunno.
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Old 02-08-06, 02:06 PM   #8
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I was at a trade show for outdoor retailers last weekend and was able to compare a lot of bags from Chrome, Timbuk2, Crumpler and others, as possible replacements for the Nike backpack I now use. I sometimes carry a 12 1/2" laptop and often a lot of bulky color cards, samples, etc for customers.

I ruled out the pure messenger bag styles for lacking much more than one main large compartment. The heavy vinyl material also turned me off. I was interested for a while in Chrome's Soma, a laptop dedicated bag with built in sleeve that will hold up to a 17" Powerbook. Then I started questioning the heavy metal buckle and the contoured strap which would only allow the bag to be used on the left shoulder (can't alternate for comfort). But the decision maker was the poorly designed top that shifted open and inch or so when wearing it. This could definitely allow rain to enter and damage your laptop. The guys from Chrome readily admitted the design deficiency and suggested waiting for the next version due out this summer that would have this problem corrected.

Then I discovered the Commute from Timbuk2. They label it as, "Messenger bag style meets laptop computer protection." It has a cordoroy lined laptop sleeve (the medium holds a 15" powerbook and the XL size holds the 17" Powerbook) and a well engineered amount of storage pockets, water bottle and ipod holders, etc. The removeable shoulder strap has the same quick release system as the Chrome but without the heavy metal buckles. And, it can be used on either shoulder. The only drawback was that you had to purchase a shoulder pad separately if you wanted one. Also has a chest strap. The sales folks said it was their best selling bag for commuters. Haven't got around to ordering it yet, maybe this weekend.
You can see it here: http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/retail/ca...m?categoryId=7
Note that they give a good comparison to their Laptop Messenger bag under FAQ's.
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Old 02-08-06, 02:37 PM   #9
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8biterevolution: Despite my contempt for Apple (and Microsoft for that matter) I can provide some input. I use a metropolis, I'm 5'9 and it holds my laptop plus much more without any problems. The sleeve should do you fine as long as you don't bang it up to much. Also it is wise to put a towel, or in my case my clothes for the day, inbetween your back and the laptop.

Go Linux!

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Old 02-08-06, 03:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmcowan
Go Linux!

Dave
While I stand by my Debian box for it's flawless operation and a love of elVIs, I'm in love with OS X's excellent reliability and just overall awesomeness. Linux is great for servers but I never had much luck using it for anything else other than basic scripting. I wasn't impressed with the GUIs. I love command line on my Linux box but I'm not very adept at it.

But back on topic, damn my shortness. I'd like to hear how someone around the same height as me handles this bag. But thank you very much for sharing your experience.
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Old 02-08-06, 07:54 PM   #11
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I'm 5'7" and have a medium sized Chrome bag. It's usually stuffed to the brim with books, clothes, food, and whatnot, but it carries well and works nicely. I was thinking about purchasing a L or XL (the Kremlin, I believe?) and quite frankly, the bag was just about as big as me.
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Old 02-08-06, 08:30 PM   #12
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I carry a 15.4" widescreen laptop in my Citizen bag, without a sleeve, with no problems at all. I'm often also carrying a binder or two and some additional cycling clothes. My usual commute is 32 miles round trip, and it's snug and comfy the whole way.

- Warren
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Old 02-08-06, 09:24 PM   #13
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i gots a citizen and ibook. i've never combined em, but i wudn't be a problem
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Old 02-08-06, 09:31 PM   #14
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5'6" with a Metropolis.

I've used the smaller bags.

I thought the Metropolis was too large at first. It is perfect.

I carry a 15" Powerbook, in a padded sleeve, plus allot of other stuff with no problems.
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Old 02-09-06, 01:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwbnyc
5'6" with a Metropolis.

I've used the smaller bags.

I thought the Metropolis was too large at first. It is perfect.

I carry a 15" Powerbook, in a padded sleeve, plus allot of other stuff with no problems.
Awesome! Just the person I've been looking for. How long have you been carrying your Chrome?
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Old 02-09-06, 01:35 AM   #16
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It's so weird - 8bitevolution has apparently been waiting for one specific instance of a Metropolis + 15" PBook w/ sleeve... yet myself and so many other people replied to (his/her?) topic subject of "Anyone carrying a laptop in a Chrome bag?"...

and since Chrome makes so many bags... well, shoot, 8bit - be more specific next time if you're being so picky about a particular response... just makes the rest of us responders feel like our contribution was worthless when you're only looking for one answer in specific. just 2 cents again.
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Old 02-09-06, 02:23 AM   #17
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About a Year.
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Old 02-09-06, 02:28 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prendrefeu
It's so weird - 8bitevolution has apparently been waiting for one specific instance of a Metropolis + 15" PBook w/ sleeve... yet myself and so many other people replied to (his/her?) topic subject of "Anyone carrying a laptop in a Chrome bag?"...

and since Chrome makes so many bags... well, shoot, 8bit - be more specific next time if you're being so picky about a particular response... just makes the rest of us responders feel like our contribution was worthless when you're only looking for one answer in specific. just 2 cents again.
I don't think he was looking for one specific instance, it was more or less somebody near his/her height, i'm assuming?
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Old 02-09-06, 03:41 AM   #19
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ah, there's the rub.
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Old 02-09-06, 09:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prendrefeu
It's so weird - 8bitevolution has apparently been waiting for one specific instance of a Metropolis + 15" PBook w/ sleeve... yet myself and so many other people replied to (his/her?) topic subject of "Anyone carrying a laptop in a Chrome bag?"...

and since Chrome makes so many bags... well, shoot, 8bit - be more specific next time if you're being so picky about a particular response... just makes the rest of us responders feel like our contribution was worthless when you're only looking for one answer in specific. just 2 cents again.
I'm sorry to make it feel that way; I appreciate all the advice everyone gave me. Well after I had started the thread, I received the information from Chrome that made me question if a Metropolis was going to be the right bag for me based on my height. I also wanted to weigh the options and, of course, someone who was carrying a laptop in a Citizen had valuable information, too.

Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences, I feel like I'm making an educated purchase when I order the Metropolis. It wasn't that I was looking for one answer in particular, but after the height issue came up, I was looking for someone around my height who was carrying a Metropolis to see how it worked for them.
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Old 02-09-06, 12:15 PM   #21
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I was looking at a TB2 but settled on the “Soma” from Bike Nashbar. On Sale for $50.00

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
Rode in with it on Monday and it seems pretty bombproof.
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Old 02-09-06, 12:42 PM   #22
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You might want to check out one of these sleeves:

http://www.tombihn.com/Merchant2/mer...ct_Code=TB0300

I've never used them myself but Tom Bihn is supposed to be excellent stuff.
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Old 02-10-06, 09:51 PM   #23
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I've had a few Timbuk2's (including the Commute), and I have to say I really prefer a backpack over a messenger bag, especially when it comes to putting a laptop inside. The weight is distributed better. Have you considered one of Chromes backpacks (the Ranchero, for example)?
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Old 02-11-06, 06:35 AM   #24
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Try a laptop sleve. I have used an Eagle Creek one for about 2 years now. If I am useing a back pack or a messenger bag, I have had no problems. They are well padded and can fit the larger notebooks.

http://www.rei.com/online/store/Prod...cat=REI_SEARCH

OR

http://www.rei.com/online/store/Prod...cat=REI_SEARCH
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