Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Student's Dilemma: Messenger Bag vs. Arkel Bug

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Student's Dilemma: Messenger Bag vs. Arkel Bug

Old 09-08-09, 03:21 PM
  #1  
itsthewoo
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 392

Bikes: Trek SU100, Surly Cross Check

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Student's Dilemma: Messenger Bag vs. Arkel Bug

I'm a college student that commutes 4-5 miles (depending on how much time I have that day) to campus.

I am blessed with the ability to shower at my gym and change out of my attractively sweaty bike shorts and jersey (I live in Florida, so I kind of need them). I currently commute with a laptop pannier and a small laptop bag that I carry a change of clothes, bike stuff, and a book or two in.

However, I'm finding that bag to be quite small at times, and annoying when it occasionally decides to slide toward the front.

I have been toying with the idea of getting an Arkel Bug, the (in?)famous backpack pannier, or a messenger bag such as the Timbuk2. I could use your help in making my decision .
itsthewoo is offline  
Old 09-08-09, 03:29 PM
  #2  
lil brown bat
Senior Member
 
lil brown bat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Boston (sort of)
Posts: 3,878

Bikes: 1 road, 1 Urban Assault Vehicle

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd do it with one bag, myself -- a messenger bag would be my personal preference, but ymmv. 4-5 miles is a short commute, and given that you're in Florida, a change of clothes shouldn't take up that much room. I would not like to carry two bags, because I frequently stop to do errands, and I don't like lugging around a couple of bags.
lil brown bat is offline  
Old 09-08-09, 05:23 PM
  #3  
MrCrassic 
Senior Member
 
MrCrassic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 3,650

Bikes: 2008 Giant OCR1 (with panda bear on the back!)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Timbuk2 makes some very good bags, as does Crumpler (?). You can also check out some stuff from Brooklyn Industries, though they're quite pricey.
__________________
Ride more.

Code:
$ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
 $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces
MrCrassic is offline  
Old 09-08-09, 06:14 PM
  #4  
JimJimex
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
College Student here to. Proud owner of 2 Timbuk2 's.
Both look BRAND NEW after 2 years of use!
* The laptop messenger has a laptop compartment and therefore a better form to it than the classic messenger.
Classic messenger, on the other hand, do not come with the laptop compartment, and are more flexy.
JimJimex is offline  
Old 09-08-09, 06:31 PM
  #5  
lambo_vt
member. heh.
 
lambo_vt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Posts: 1,631
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've got a Chrome Metropolis; you should get one of those. My concern with the Timbuk2's was waterproofness, particularly around the corners... I've been in downpours with my Chrome bag and not a drop gets inside. Check their Backdoor Sale if you get sticker shock. Mine was $90 IIRC.
lambo_vt is offline  
Old 09-08-09, 09:31 PM
  #6  
jtwilson
Senior Member
 
jtwilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 750

Bikes: CAAD10

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've used the BUG since this Spring.

I think this is a much better option than a messenger bag primarily because you don't have to ride with it on your back! Especially in the sweaty florida weather, you definitely do not want all that stuff draped over your back. I use the BUG constantly as a grad student and substitute teacher, and couldn't be happier with it. This thing is marvelous.

While the BUG has resisted fairly decent showers, I got the raincover which has been just the ticket for absolute downpours - it cinches competely around the pack, goes on and off in seconds. The cover's hi-vis color is nice for inclement weather as well - I keep it tucked in the rearward outside mesh pocket for everyday visibility.

The BUG has proven to be great as a backpack, and I use it as my primary backpack when not riding/commuting. The deployment from pannier to backpack is a blink, and the rack attachment design is truly impressive. This will not be sliding around on you.

I think Arkel sells a laptop sleeve that mounts in the BUG too. I would start to be concerned about space if you want to tote your laptop and a full commuting load in it though. At my maximum commuting load, the BUG is 'packed': rain gear, shoes and clothes, notebook/folder, novel, fairly large lunch, and the typical pens, pencils and doodads.

Finally, and I have to say, that U-Lock pocket is so clever and incredibly useful - it is the sleeper killer feature of this bag. One u-lock, two u-locks, or a u-lock+cable - it will simplify your lock-carrying life tremendously.
jtwilson is offline  
Old 09-08-09, 09:45 PM
  #7  
Grim
Senior Member
 
Grim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,993

Bikes: Cannondale T700s and a few others

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I live in Atlanta and I HATE anything hanging on me in this summer heat. The Arkle is the way to go if you got the coin. It is a Pannier when riding and a Back pack when walking.

Nashbar has something with a similar concept that is often on sale for $50.
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...7_10000_201501

I have not talked with anybody that has one but I have never heard a bad thing about any Arkel product and I have run across a few people that have their products.

REI sells a laptop sleeve for some of their panniers that may work with either of the above.

Money no object I would be all over the Bug. I like the Helmet pocket and it seems to be very well thought out product.
Grim is offline  
Old 09-09-09, 10:22 AM
  #8  
dr_bovine
pothole dodger
 
dr_bovine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 123
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've done both messenger bags and panniers, and while I mostly use the panniers nowadays for my commute, I would probably go the messenger bag route for your situation, especially if you'll be off the bike for extended periods with the bag (and you have access to a shower).

Regarding Timbuk2s and their waterproofness, mine has literally been through a monsoon in Japan and through the hardest rainstorm I've ever seen in the States, and the insides (which included a laptop) stayed perfectly dry. They aren't the greatest messenger bags in the world, but perfectly serviceable, especially for the price.
dr_bovine is offline  
Old 09-10-09, 01:47 AM
  #9  
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,302
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 425 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Grim View Post
I live in Atlanta and I HATE anything hanging on me in this summer heat. The Arkle is the way to go if you got the coin. It is a Pannier when riding and a Back pack when walking.

Nashbar has something with a similar concept that is often on sale for $50.
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...7_10000_201501

I have not talked with anybody that has one but I have never heard a bad thing about any Arkel product and I have run across a few people that have their products.

REI sells a laptop sleeve for some of their panniers that may work with either of the above.

Money no object I would be all over the Bug. I like the Helmet pocket and it seems to be very well thought out product.
fyi, I've seen that same nashbar bag mentioned in another thread and at least 2 people said they bought it and it was terrible. One of the complaints was that it's "waterproofness" is based on a thing plastic liner inside the pack. I don't remember the other details, just that at least 2 people said they bought it and it didn't work at all.
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 09-10-09, 08:36 AM
  #10  
Grim
Senior Member
 
Grim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,993

Bikes: Cannondale T700s and a few others

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
fyi, I've seen that same nashbar bag mentioned in another thread and at least 2 people said they bought it and it was terrible. One of the complaints was that it's "waterproofness" is based on a thing plastic liner inside the pack. I don't remember the other details, just that at least 2 people said they bought it and it didn't work at all.
Does it hold up other wise? a Dry bag is not that expensive so that can bee addressed. The question is budget balanced with quality.

With the Arkel at over three times the price last longer and perform better to justify the price?
The Bug is NOT waterproof. It has an optional rain fly $20.
http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/bac...asp?fl=1&site=
http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/bac...ite=#rainCover

So with a rain fly we are not up to $200 and the Arkel laptop sleeve is $43.

I think the Arkel is a better quality with some great design features for sure! But at 4 times the price not counting the laptop sleeve....?

If money is no object yeah I would buy the bug.

Again, I live in the south and I know that this guy is going to have 3-4 months of 85+degree months of commuting often at 80% or higher humidity. I have done the back pack thing and it sucks when you are sopping wet all down your back from lack of air flow at 7am. I have three bikes I use for commuting and all three have racks because of this. Granted the Messenger bag can float where it sits on you but still it is going to be up against you somewhere.
Grim is offline  
Old 09-10-09, 08:55 AM
  #11  
mattp105
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Charleston,SC
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Eh, I just fill up a backpack and throw it on the rack. I hate riding my commute with something hanging on my shoulders. Gotta be sure it's strapped down tight though, don't wanna get a strap caught in the spokes.
mattp105 is offline  
Old 09-10-09, 09:00 AM
  #12  
Aeneas
Clyde that Rides
 
Aeneas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 311

Bikes: 2008 Jamis Aurora,1988 Specialized Hardrock, 1980? Kuwahara Carrera

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a Timbuk2 Large size commuter bag that I got on sale from REI last winter. I don't enjoy riding with it on my back, but it carries my lunch, laptop, odds and ends and an extra shirt quite nicely. It does have a padded laptop divider which provides some protection for the laptop. I can bungie it to my rack while riding but when I have to carry my laptop (a couple times a month) I either wear it on my back or drop it in a grocery pannier, as I want a bit more shock protection than is offered.
If I had to do it over again, I'd go with the Arkel Briefcase which if you watch the Arkel closeout listings or Ebay, you can find for about $160.
Another option I've read that some commuters employ is the Arkel Utility basket + laptop sleeve. Some reports indicate the The Bug is too small for some, and the UB is a more appropriate size for them...
Aeneas is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.