A bag with a trick up its sleeve
If you’re looking for a decent everyday rucksack then you can't go wrong with a classic Eastpak. Despite making you initially look like a foreign exchange student, they're tough and last for years. But as soon as I get on a bike, my needs change.
I take a laptop to work most days. I used to wrap it up in a few placcy bags and hope that it wouldn't rain. Not a great look when heading into a meeting. Even if I had enough hole-ridden Tesco's bags to keep the water out, a soft canvas bag is not going to be much use in the case of an accident. Plenty of people have a hard case for their glasses, and seeing as my computer, iPad and phone are nearly worth as much as my bike I wanted something that would protect them in the event of a spill.
Boblbee hardshell backpacks were originally intended for outdoor lovers who didn't want the contents of their bag to get wet. Their Megalopolis Aero bag was apparently designed with motorcyclists in mind and it's certainly kept everything dry for me in the last two months. Admittedly I've not been caught in a complete downpour yet, but I'm confident I won't have to try and find shelter (or more plastic bags) as before.
Build quality has been faultless. On the inside there's a neat sleeve for laptops and other items to stop them rattling about. Storage space is listed as 20 - 25 litres with the hardshell exterior pivoting out for more room, although the hard plastic back means you may have pack carefully if you're intending to fill this up. There's a handy pocket on one of the front straps that can fit a phone, keys and cards.
Now the nights are sadly drawing in, it won't be long until you see lots of riders wearing fluo tabards on their commutes. These are all well and good if you want to be seen, but I'm always surprised why people bother with them when they then wear a bag over the top of them. It's like wearing a Global Hypercolour t-shirt under a jumper. An advantage with a hardshell bag is that at least any reflective stickers on it will be seen clearly. If you're into that sort of thing.
But when it comes to safety, it's the strange shape of the Boblbee bag that’s its ace. The lumber support isn't just for looks as the Megalopolis Aero has a built in Level 2 back protector in it, keeping you safe as well as your contents.
If you still have any spare change after purchasing this, then there are a whole host of accessories you can kit the backpack out with. Extra capacity can be gained with various side bag and accessory bags, and optional cargo nets include one specifically designed for crash helmets.
I went for an additional waist belt which helps keep the bag snug whilst on the move. I imagine that the back protector design will also work much better if the bag has an extra fastener to keep it in place but it goes without saying that I don't want to have to put that to the test.
Verdict The Boblbee Megalopolis Aero isn't cheap but if you value your cargo and back then it's well worth checking out.
Cost £235, velcro waist belt £34,
Colours Gloss black, matt black, silver, red, orange, neon yellow, white
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