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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-18-07, 11:58 PM   #1
sac02
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Messenger bag size

I'm planning on replacing my standard backpack with a messenger bag for commuting to school. (about 40 miles a week) I've read a lot of reviews (thanks especially to FGG) and have decided that a Chrome bag is right for me in regards to features, price, useability, style, etc. Oh yeah and the burning desire I have to be a wanna-be hipster

Anyways, I'm not sure if the Metropolis (L) or Citizen (M) would be the better size for me. I am 6'0", 185lbs, pretty average male build. My routine load would include:
  • 1 or 2: 600+ page texts
  • 2 or 3: 1-inch, three-ring binders
  • the required assortment of pens, pencils and calculators

On inclement weather days, I would also like to carry a change of clothes (including shoes) and rainsuit, that my current back pack is too small for.

I'm thinking about the Metropolis - even if it was a bit too big, the extra space would be good to have for running errands (grocery, UPS store, etc).

But in pics like this one:

the bag looks really freakin' huge. But the guy in the pic could also be 5'4", on the other hand.

I'm confused. Can anyone comment on which size would likely be better for me and my needs?

Thanks,

Mac
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Old 01-19-07, 12:10 AM   #2
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you could head to you local bike shop and try some different sized bags out
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Old 01-19-07, 12:26 AM   #3
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There's not a single messenger bag, much less a Chrome, where I live unfortuneately. There are Chrome dealers in Austin (~1.5 hours away), but I have no need to go to Austin anytime soon. And I'm not making a three hour trip just to try on two bags.

Mac
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Old 01-19-07, 12:42 AM   #4
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I have a Citizen right now. From the load you've described, the citizen might be too small for you. I have not seen the Metropolis in person, but it sounds like it'll better fit your needs.

I also find that carrying heavier loads on my messenger bag becomes a little uncomfortable after a while, because it's single strapped (though, the Chrome strap is nicely padded). If I'm going to be on campus for a while, I switch to my backpack, so I can carry a heavier load, such as 2 bottles of water, books, notebooks, folders, snacks, etc. Using a backpack with 2 straps on heavier loads is a lot easier on the commute.
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Old 01-19-07, 12:50 AM   #5
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all I can say is, a few years ago I bought a "medium" size Timbuk2, to this day, I wish I got a Large cause I can't afford 2 messenger bags. damn those things are expensive.
So, I'd recommend the larger of the two... never know what you might need to carry.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:10 AM   #6
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there's a great "bag size in beer cans" thread somewhere.
anyone?
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Old 01-19-07, 01:44 AM   #7
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I have a Metropolis and love it. From what you have said it sounds to me like the Metropolis bag wouldl be perfect for you. It should be large enough to hold all the stuff you mentioned. I'm between 6' and 6'-1" and use mine almost daily for those trips to the store, or anywhere for that matter. When I first saw the Metropolis, I thought, DAMN, thats huge, but I soon became accustomed to the size and on numerous occasions was very glad I got the Metropolis instead of the Citizen.

Just get the Metropolis and stop spinning you rwheels over the decision, it's always better to have more room than you need than not enough, especially considering the fact you'll probably end up having to order it.

Do it!
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Old 01-19-07, 02:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koyman
there's a great "bag size in beer cans" thread somewhere.
anyone?
I think that is the battle of the giant bags thread. I think those bags are all bigger than the Metropolis though. In my opinion, the Metropolis is actually not that big.

Something to consider when thinking about investing in a messenger bag are it's uses. This sounds pretty straightforward, but it might not be. It sounds like you will mostly be using this bag for class. If that means walking around with it for a period of five minutes or more, then you may want to reconsider. Messenger bags are great on the bike, but off the bike, they really suck.

You can find many of the same qualities that messenger bags have (waterproof, durable, stylish, comfortable on the bike) in backpacks that are made by the same companies. Chrome makes some that are supposed to be nice, but you should also check out Reload, Freight Baggage, and Seagull Bags. See the Battle Of The Giant Bags thread for reviews and comparisons between many of these bags and backpacks.

I'm not necessarily trying to steer you away from a messenger bag. I just don't think it's the best option for most people. I think I would have been better off with a backpack originally, but I'm happy with my Chrome Metropolis, especially since I can no longer comfortably wear a backpack after fracturing my collarbone last summer.

If you do decide to get a messenger bag, then the Metropolis would definitely be a better size for you.
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Old 01-19-07, 03:04 AM   #9
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Go for the bigger bag

you will not regret it
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Old 01-19-07, 03:34 AM   #10
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I am 5'7", and my Metropolis looks goofily huge on me. I have a Mini-Metro for light days, and I break out the Metropolis when I need to carry several books, a change of clothing, a lunch, etc. I got the Mini-Metro because the full size was goofy looking and too big when empty.
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Old 01-19-07, 08:40 AM   #11
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I have had the metropolis for several years now. originally it was bought for actual messenger duty, for a good while now it has been used for the local job commute (im a teacher), groceries, a case (30 bottles) of guinness, etc. to me it doesnt look weird, it just looks like im a messenger, but if you dont have those in your area, it will make you a little out of place (at least no one will ask you to take the freight elivator)

I would say get the bigger bag, or get a real backpack with two straps. after years of wearing a messenger bag as a civilian I am thinking that my back is actually getting messed up. I have started having serious back pain only under the shoulder that carries the weight, and I am thinking its from this bag.
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Old 01-19-07, 08:41 AM   #12
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Do what Ken Wind sez & consider again your needs. If you're walking a bit between classes or walking everywhere beyond your commute to & fro you may regret having a mess bag for your loot. Weigh it, if your books & regular cargo approach or go over 20lbs & the only riding you'll be doing those days is the commute a messenger backpack would likely suit you better. Chrome & Reload both have those & look good besides.

If you find yourself in a situation where you'll be standing much of the day & with no place to stash your junk your shoulder(s) & neck will thank you for a backpack & curse you for a messenger bag. Messengers need the quick access & cargo capacity, but they average a minimum 4 hours in the saddle everyday, peppered with short walks, when not in an elevator or riding, you'll usually find them sitting if there is anything in the bag.
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Old 01-19-07, 08:55 AM   #13
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Get the larger bag, you will never regret it. If you feel like it is flapping around too much because it is empty just get some compression straps to tighten it up. BUT if you are going to do any kind of walking for periods of time or using the bag off the bike you will be much better off with a backpack. IMO Mess bags suck for walking with loads for any period of time.
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Old 01-19-07, 10:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHouston
Do what Ken Wind sez & consider again your needs. If you're walking a bit between classes or walking everywhere beyond your commute to & fro you may regret having a mess bag for your loot. Weigh it, if your books & regular cargo approach or go over 20lbs & the only riding you'll be doing those days is the commute a messenger backpack would likely suit you better. Chrome & Reload both have those & look good besides.

If you find yourself in a situation where you'll be standing much of the day & with no place to stash your junk your shoulder(s) & neck will thank you for a backpack & curse you for a messenger bag. Messengers need the quick access & cargo capacity, but they average a minimum 4 hours in the saddle everyday, peppered with short walks, when not in an elevator or riding, you'll usually find them sitting if there is anything in the bag.

this was a hard lesson for me to learn. I love messenger bags, but I ride fairly upright, and was wondering what the advantage of a messenger bag was. I'll use it for light loads, or quick errand running, but recently, I had to carry a few 6 packs and a few bottles of wine, So I had a Dakine backpack that I've never used, and I pulled it down to see if it would work better. It carried everything so easy; no load shifting, and it felt like 1/3 of the weight. I am almost a backpack convert; since I am not a messenger, and don't play one on TV, I don't need to get to my load quickly, and am generally carrying pretty heavy things.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:02 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies in just one night. It seems the overwhelming majority of replies (unanimous?) seem to favor the Metropolis; I was kind of leaning that way as well.

I hadn't considered that a messenger bag would be uncomfortable if walking for extended periods. However, I'll be walking very little.

My commute to school is about 3.5 miles, and will likely increase in May. Despite having one of the largest campuses in the nation, once I get to campus I do very little walking, because all my classes are clustered in 2 or 3 buildings in the engineering corner. I don't have to walk more than 50 yards between any of them; If I have to go much further, I just hop on my bike that's parked right outside and ride over to the next building. Heh, have you ever heard bike riding described as the lazy way of doing things before...

Mac
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Old 01-19-07, 11:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dijos
... So I had a Dakine backpack...
Heh, the backpack I'm replacing is a Dakine. I like it and plan on keeping it; it's just too small usually.

Mac
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Old 01-19-07, 11:11 AM   #17
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I have a Metropolis and love it. I thought about going smaller, but I am SO glad I didn't. All your stuff will fit, but not in the smaller one. I never have a hard time filling mine.
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Old 01-19-07, 12:42 PM   #18
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As long as you aren't carrying VERY heavy loads for long distances (groceries the other day sucked) messenger bags are pretty damn convenient...I love mine for class because of the easy access convenience.

I'd reccomend a bigger one though, definitely. Messenger bags are designed to fold in extra capacity until it's nearly invisible, unnoticable, and you'll probably never notice that extra few ounces of nylon. On the other hand, once they're full, things start getting mighty complicated and annoying.

If you do get a backpack, consider the centre-of-ballance issue. Backpacks work best when they're highest on your back (I've done an excessive amount of backpacking) and messenger bags are designed to sit low to accomodate better riding.

Or else there's always paniers.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August Spies
As long as you aren't carrying VERY heavy loads for long distances (groceries the other day sucked) messenger bags are pretty damn convenient...I love mine for class because of the easy access convenience.

I'd reccomend a bigger one though, definitely. Messenger bags are designed to fold in extra capacity until it's nearly invisible, unnoticable, and you'll probably never notice that extra few ounces of nylon. On the other hand, once they're full, things start getting mighty complicated and annoying.

If you do get a backpack, consider the centre-of-ballance issue. Backpacks work best when they're highest on your back (I've done an excessive amount of backpacking) and messenger bags are designed to sit low to accomodate better riding.

Or else there's always paniers.
For a well-thought out design that is intended to ride low, look to Push The Envelope, very nice bags. Most others are designed to ride tight & high.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by BoogerBike
I have a Metropolis and love it. I thought about going smaller, but I am SO glad I didn't. All your stuff will fit, but not in the smaller one. I never have a hard time filling mine
this is why I use a medium sized bag, I never get weighted down, I just carry only that which I need.
oh yea I don't messenger, just work commute and some light shopping.

Last edited by norskagent; 01-19-07 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:49 PM   #21
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i have a civilian and it works great 90% of the time. the other 10% though, i wish i'd gone with the metropolis. i have a bigger bag now (a r.e.load courier) and it's really too big (it's like the chrome kremlin).
the metropolis is a perfect size, and having used a few different bags,i have to say the chrome bags are hard to beat.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:56 PM   #22
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I bought a metropolis for messenger work and for school, and I wish I would have went for a bigger bag now. But my grandparents helped me out with that by ordering me a custom PAC ultimate for Xmas.
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Old 01-19-07, 02:37 PM   #23
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i have a metropolis and from what you have said it sounds like it should work fine.
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Old 01-19-07, 03:17 PM   #24
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i used a medium timbuk2 for my college adventures & found it to be just about right. however, my friend's metrolpolis could hold more beer which was clutch in many situations.
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Old 01-19-07, 07:02 PM   #25
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That dude in the pic is wearing his bag a little loose. tighten the shoulder strap and it won't look THAT big. You will have no problem filling the metropolis. If you get the kremlim, you'll end up leaving it at home because its TOO big, unless you're going on a beer run. I use my bailey works bag more since it is bigger and more comfortable. I need to get my chrome bag fixed. I've been slacking on that.
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