Chrome Metropolis Messenger Bag
By Jon Sharp
The first time I wrapped a Chrome messenger bag around myself, I instantly understood what makes it so good. Messenger bags in general are pretty comfortable, especially when riding a bike. Having used a few throughout the years, I was surprised at how much more comfortable this one was than the competition. The shoulder pad is integrated with the strap and sits wide across the top of your shoulder. The fit is perfect and ergonomic--much more so than on any other bag I've used. There are a whole slew of reasons why Chrome makes a better bag, but this first impression was enough to sell me.
The second thing I noticed--or, rather, the second thing I figured out (it was the first thing I noticed)--was the large, chrome (the metal finish, not the company) seatbelt buckle closure right in the middle of the strap (situated right in the middle of your chest). They utilize an actual, old-school car seatbelt buckle for quick removal of the bag. The strap itself is made of the same material as a seatbelt, so it's thin, wide, and very strong. Not only is the bag easy to slip on and off (without having to hoist it over your head), but it is extremely easy to adjust. Instead of having to remove the bag to adjust the strap (like some bags), or having the adjustment located in an awkward place (like other bags), on a Chrome messenger bag, you can adjust it from the middle, right next to the buckle. It is as simple as pulling the strap to tighten, and pulling on a chrome d-ring to loosen the strap.
Chrome's messenger bag is built for a lifetime of abuse. Besides being constructed of tough 1000d Cordura for the shell, the inner liner is made from 18 oz. PVC truck tarp liner. Both parts (the shell and liner) are completely separate--connected only by Velcro. This design ensures that no matter what happens to the outside of the bag, the inside will stay cozy and dry. The opening of the bag was somewhat U-shaped. As a result, when the flap is folded over, the two ends seal with the fold to keep water and other elements out. If you've owned other messenger bags, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, just understand that when closed, this bag is sealed very well against the outside weather.
Besides the main compartment, there are three inside stash compartments, as well as a zippered pocket and some pen pockets. All are well-placed and useful for stashing the various odds and ends that you might need to transport with you. Additionally, Chrome sent me a nice, padded laptop sleeve that kept my laptop good and safe while riding my bike--although, I still don't recommend crashing with your laptop computer slung across your back. The cargo capacity depends on the model. The Kremlin holds a whopping 3000 cubic inches of cargo. If you're not into carrying everything you own with you on your bike, Chrome also offers the Metropolis (tested), Citizen, and Mini Metro with capacities of 2000, 1200 and 1000 cubic inches, respectively.
Summary: Chrome makes the finest messenger bags I've ever used. Quality of construction is superb, as are the materials themselves. The Metropolis (pictured) sells for $120. The laptop sleeve is an additional $15. For messenger bags, the price is about average. Compared to other messenger bags, though, this bag is more comfortable, easier to adjust, and tougher. In other words, if you're looking for the ultimate messenger bag (even if you're not a messenger), I've found it for you. Look no further than Chrome.
Jon Sharp is a Contributing Editor to GearReview.com specializing in mountain biking.
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