July 30, 2011
Timbuk2 — long a dominant force in the messenger-bag market — has finally entered the bicycle touring realm with their Shift Pannier Messenger bag.
The panniers are styled almost identically to their popular Classic Messenger bag, with the addition of aluminum pannier clips that attach to just about any rack, and will tuck out of the way when the bag transitions from your bike to your back. For carrying the bag off the bike, you'll find a removable shoulder strap to make things easier.
The material is a tough ballistic nylon that resists tearing very well; inside, you'll find a waterproof liner that helps keep your belongings dry on rainy days. The bag is also pretty good for those particular about organizing their belongings, with a 15-inch pocket for a laptop or books, in addition to three pockets that zip up for smaller items, such as toiletries, a phone, or other miscellaneous items you want to keep easily within reach.
For sizing, this bag is only available in medium, measuring about 14 inches wide, 10 inches tall, and 5 inches deep. It's a pretty good size for maintaining a proper heel clearance when pedaling. Unfortunately, there is not currently an option to customize the color scheme on these bags; for now, your choice is black or a red/gunmetal option.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.