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Short review of Timbuk2 Especial Tres

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Short review of Timbuk2 Especial Tres

Old 10-07-17, 06:54 PM
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hackybiker
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Short review of Timbuk2 Especial Tres

I don't think about gear too deeply, but I did spend a lot of time shopping for a backpack recently. I thought I would write a short review of the Timbuk2 Especial Tres, which is what I ended up getting. I've had it for a month now, and have used it almost every day since purchasing it.

Especial Tres Cycling Backpack | Best Messenger Backpack, Work & Travel | Timbuk2

I was looking for an affordable cycling backpack that could hold a LOT: I use it for grocery shopping, commuting, and roaming around town. I also wanted it to look low key. This was a replacement for a Chrome Warsaw (the original one) that I gave away and wished I still had, so I found myself making comparisons to that a lot.

This backpack does everything I wanted. I bought it at a Timbuk2 store, and they had a 20% off promotion for trading in my old backpack, which they donate to good causes. That brought the price down from $209 to $168.

Pros:

- It can hold a LOT. This was my most important criteria. The website says it holds 40L, and if you unzip the side zippers and release the side straps, you get even more volume. I would say that, fully expanded, it holds just a bit less than the Warsaw. Attached is a pic with a 12 pack of toilet paper inside the backpack. There's still a bit of room on the sides and on the top. I'd say it could hold 2-3 plastic grocery bags' worth of stuff. It's nice than it has a laptop compartment too.

- When it's empty, the straps cinch everything down, so it doesn't look enormous, deflated, or otherwise weirdly shaped.

- It's comfortable. I like how the padding on the back sits on either side of your spine. When it's loaded up, the weight feels balanced and stable on my back.

- The construction is decent, typical of Timbuk2 stuff generally. Some of the inside panel material for the front compartment feels a bit flimsy, like a sharp pen might poke through and rip it, but it hasn't been a problem yet.

- The waist straps are removable. I rarely use them, so this is a nice feature to have.

Cons, mostly nitpicking:

- It's tall when unrolled, which means you have to set it on the ground or on the lowered loading shelf at the supermarket checkout, in order to put things in and get things out. There IS a side zipper to get into the main compartment of the bag, but that's more useful for quick access than loading/unloading.

- The bottom of the bag isn't perfectly square because of the angled corner reflective panels. This means it holds just a tiny bit less than it might otherwise (I think an earlier version of this bag had square corners). I'd prefer the normal corners and additional volume.

- The height, because of the rolltop, can make it hard to look over your shoulder when riding.

- I wish the lock holder was on the right side.

I also looked at a Warsaw II at the Chrome shop. It's super nice: it has a flap instead of a rolltop, a removable liner (so you can clean it), a laptop compartment (which the original didn't), it holds more than the Timbuk2, and it's ridiculously well built. However, it's also noticeably heavier when empty (almost 5 lbs, I think!), and it costs $280. This is the gold standard of backpacks, especially for messengers.

So far I'm very happy with the Tres. With the discount, it was a no-brainer. I hope it lasts 4-5 years.
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Old 10-08-17, 04:01 AM
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acidfast7
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Ouch on the price. Otherwise looks pretty decent.
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Old 10-08-17, 11:50 AM
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I like Timbuk2 stuff. I have a messenger bag for bikey things around the city, and the wife bought me a Tuck Pack for work and traveling (she did a custom design on it). Very different purposes, and I like both of them a lot! I use my Tuck Pack almost daily when I drive to work, and as carry on when I fly.

The messenger bag doesn't see a whole lot of use these days, but it is certainly big enough to take on an overnight trip somewhere. I had originally gotten it bc the wife used to work within biking distance of my work and I would often ride with her and bike over to my office. Those days are sadly over, and I would no longer call her office bikeable (I could still do it, but would save no time over just riding from the house).

I likely won't get different brands when it comes to backpacks and bags, I find their prices reflect their quality. I admit the straps on my Tuck Pack seem light, but there is also a lifetime warranty on all of their products.

Call me a fanboy if you will! The upside is that ever since The Better Half wandered into a Timbuk2 store on a business trip (none around me at all), she came home and said anytime I want or need a bag, as long as we aren't talking stupid expensive, the price is worth it

Glad you like yours so far!
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Old 10-09-17, 01:01 PM
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rumrunn6
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really like the brand. I have their "hunchback" rack trunk. super great quality. also holds a lot


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Old 10-09-17, 07:46 PM
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HerrKaLeun
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What makes this actually bike-specific? Looks like one could wear it walking.
(the sarcastic in me would say it cost $50 as a walker's backpack, and $200 if they call it bike pack)

It doesn't seem to have some back-ventilation. biggest annoyance with a backpack on the bike is that it keeps my back war, which makes me sweat more. Does this one have some solution for that? It didn't look like that.
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Old 10-11-17, 09:37 PM
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For a while, I used a cheap backpack from EMS that had a side pocket big enough for my u-lock. It worked fine!

That said, I do think there are a few things that make a good cycling backpack. The Especial Tres does have two padded areas that provide a bit of back ventilation. Another thing is how it sits: cycling backpacks tend to sit lower on the back for more stability and clearance (so you can look over your shoulder). My Warsaw was super comfortable to wear while riding, but it sat so low hat it was uncomfortable to walk around with for long periods of time. The Timbuk2 is actually a nice compromise, as it doesn't sit quite as low as the Warsaw. And there's size: it's hard to find a normal backpack that holds more than 30-35L or so. If you want larger, you have to look at backpacking gear, which is terrible for cycling--they're too bulky, and the weight distribution is wrong because it's optimized for hiking.
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Old 10-12-17, 09:59 AM
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Somehow I thought the thread title said Timbuk2 Especial Tires, not Timbuk2 Especial Tres.
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Old 04-07-19, 07:40 PM
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sheyn
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hey @hackybiker.
I love the design of this bag and looking to grab it. how did back of the bag fair so far? it looked bit flimsy when i saw it at the store, otherwise probably by far the best designed bag for daily commute.

many thanks

z
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Old 04-08-19, 01:26 AM
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@sheyn

A year and a half later, the bag is holding up just fine!

The back hasn't had any problems. It's not very stiff, so it doesn't have a solid flat shape, but it is sturdy and thick. The two padded ventilation supports on the back are also holding up perfectly well; they haven't turned mushy or anything.

The flimsiest part of the bag is actually the insides of the front compartment, where it's got pockets for pens and such. The material there is very thin. But to be fair, it hasn't actually been a problem.

I wrote this in my original message, but it's worth repeating: the biggest annoyance is how tall this thing is, when you unroll the top. You often have to put it on a chair or on the floor to load things into it; if it's on a table, it's too high to load and unload.

Hope that helps, and hope you find something that works for you!
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Old 04-08-19, 06:29 AM
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[QUOTE=hackybiker;20874537]@sheyn

A year and a half later, the bag is holding up just fine!
/QUOTE]
Thanks for the follow up! Having tough material that holds up is important to me. My current bag is a SwissGear Smart Scan something-or other (there are too many varieties) But if and when my current bag falls apart, I will consider this one. The size would be a plus. In the winter, I could use just a little more room for extra office clothes and extra biking layers.

My current bag is very robust, and I have found that is very important to me.
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Old 04-08-19, 08:02 AM
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sheyn
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@hackybiker

thanks so much sir.
im 6'8 so bag being tall is quite nice, i actually returned a rolltop recently just because of that reason, rolltop part was too short and it made the backpack feel so small.

will give it a go.
thanks again,safe pedaling
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Old 04-08-19, 03:34 PM
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They do make good stuff. I've been using their messenger bag for as long as I can remember. Had a crash once that took me to the hospital, but the messenger bag was barely scratched. They are tough and super well designed for usability. Not cheap, but I have used if for thousands of days and its still as good as new.
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Old 04-15-19, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
They do make good stuff. I've been using their messenger bag for as long as I can remember. Had a crash once that took me to the hospital, but the messenger bag was barely scratched. They are tough and super well designed for usability. Not cheap, but I have used if for thousands of days and its still as good as new.
Right? I took a pothole covered by rain right on the shoulder (and part of my eyebrow) my messenger was on, and the shoulder was in worse condition (separated) than the bag (a tiny scuff). Over the winter I picked up a Spire on deep discount and it's been perfect for the heavier gear haul I've had for cold weather riding. I'm looking forward to breaking out the messenger again soon for the warm weather.
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