Since our humble beginnings at Bike Bag Shop we have focused on carrying brands that are geared towards the utility of cycling. Bike bags are, by nature and definition, products designed to increase the usability of your bike, whether it is for bike touring, bike commuting, or hauling groceries. The Bike Bag Shop has prided itself by carrying some of the best products available in those respective categories. Ortlieb, Jandd and Vaude are some of the best bike touring panniers on the market. Old Man Mountain and Tubus are known for their quality rack construction. One thing that many of these brands, and Bike Bag Shop as a whole, have in common is that their primary focus is in the function of their design, leaving fashion and lifestyle second. Obviously, if you are bike touring across Mongolia, function is going to be your only concern. You need your rack and bags to be sturdy, reliable and functional. But what if you could take utility and function and blend it with fashion and lifestyle. This has become one of our new focuses at the Bike Bag Shop and we are starting with Chrome.
Chrome began producing messenger bags in Boulder, CO, in 1996. Since that time the company has relocated to San Francisco, CA, a city with a large urban cycling scene. Chrome has become a well-known name in the cycling bag industry and has become more than just another manufacture of messenger bags. Their rise in popularity has seen parallels with the growing trend that, for lack of a better term, we will call the hipster/fixie/bike messenger scene. Now in no way do I use these descriptions in a derogatory manner; I just feel these terms are best to invoke the type of mental imagine that I am describing. Regardless of what the trend is, Chrome has become very successful and well known.
As far as Bike Bag Shop is concerned Chrome is new territory for us. We are excited to carry a brand that not only stands for quality but brings along with it a certain social appeal and fashion. I think, in a sense, we are hoping that bringing Chrome on board will somehow make as all a little cooler. I personally have picked up a Chrome Citizen messenger bag for some long-term testing and I have to say, so far so good, but the full review will have to wait until after Inter-bike.
Now all excitement aside lets talk about why we really do like Chrome. After all, if Chrome can’t make the employees of the Bike Bag Shop any cooler, at least we will still carry a great line of messenger bags and cycling backpacks. We originally brought Chrome on board to expand our commuter and daily cycling products. We wanted to get in some messenger bags, but felt that we needed to choose wisely as the market is already well saturated with messenger bags and backpacks. We liked that Chrome was a solid company with a good philosophy, and that their products are made in the U.S.A.
Chrome offers a good assortment of messenger bags. The Chrome Mini Metro, Citizen and Metropolis offer three sizes to the standard style shoulder sling messenger bag. The Padding is great on the shoulder strap and I like the Logo seat-belt buckle that is found on almost all the Chrome bags. The Chrome Vega and Soma are on the smaller side fitting into the “day pack” category. These bags are great for laptops and smaller items, such as things that would be kept in a purse. The Chrome Berlin Pro is the grand daddy of messenger bags. You probably could fit a small body into one of these, not that I recommend carrying a small body around, unless it’s your glamor pet. The Berlin is touted as the Pro Bike messenger bag with an additional shoulder harness that slings over the right shoulder in addition to the underarm left side sling that is standard on most of Chrome’s messenger bags. When all the straps are attached they from a kind of iron cross look across the chest of the wearer of the Berlin. It looks like the design helped decide the name.
Chrome offers some cool backpacks as well. The Chrome Dually, Ranchero and Backbone are the small, medium and large versions of Chrome’s basic backpack option. The Chrome Pawn and the Ivan take backpacks to a whole new level. The Ivan is the supersized version of the spawn and can hold just about everything. With their roll-top design and two external storage pockets, the Ivan and Pawn allow you to take the party with you. As with all Chrome Bags the Ivan and Pawn are constructed with an abrasion resistant Cordura outer and a treated waterproof urethane inner. Chrome uses quality YKK zippers on all their bags and packs. The Chrome Soyuz is the ultimate laptop bag. Perfect for anyone who commutes regularly with a laptop, designed for maxim computer protection and rider comfort. The Chrome Warsaw and Kirov are touted as the ultimate bike messenger backpacks with expandability and the ability to carry about as much as you can shoulder. Both the Warsaw and the Kirov come with a padded contoured foam backing for extra rider comfort.
I don’t know about you but I feel cooler already. Whether you are looking to add that perfect accent piece to your bike riding style, or just want a great bag for riding around town or commuting then Chrome has a bag or backpack that will fit you needs. From our shop’s perspective Chrome has met and exceeded our expectations and we are stoked to offer them on to you. Don’t forget to check some of the cool accessories that Chrome offers to compliment their bags and packs. Who knows? Maybe one day we will start carrying some of the Chrome clothing as well, but we don’t want to get to ahead of our selves. After all we are still adjusting to having a little style floating around the office.