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Every now and then, when I make a post about backpacks, I get a comment something along the lines of “urgh, backpack! Ride with a pannier bag!”
However, the trouble I found with most pannier bags is that while they’re very convenient to ride around with, they’re not always particularly comfortable or practical to carry off the bike.
So I went hunting for a pannier bag that was either a great messenger bag or backpack.
I found virtually no pannier backpacks, but I was quickly pointed in the direction of the most popular pannier messenger bags: the Ortlieb Twin-City QL2.1 Pannier Bag.
Ortlieb Twin-City Urban Pannier Bag
As its name suggests, the Twin-City Urban bag is a bag that has been designed for city commuters.
And as I was looking for – it is a stylish shoulder bag that can easily and securely hook on to a pannier rack.
There are two things in particular that I like about this bag:
- The top of the bag can be folded in either direction. One side it covers the side pocket (for when cycling), but when you arrive at your destination, you can fold it to the other side so that it covers the pannier hooks so that it doesn’t dig into your side or look strange.
- You can simply place your bag onto the pannier rack and it will securely attached to it with no chance of popping off. Removing the bag is equally easily, simply lift it by the main handle and it will release the mounting hooks immediately. Perfect execution.
Ortlieb Twin-City Features
But the cycling features of this bag don’t stop there. Indeed, one of the biggest reasons Ortlieb are so popular is that they make rugged waterproof bags and gear. Really waterproof.
This Ortlieb pannier shoulder bag has an IP53 rating, meaning it will protect your bag from water spray up to 60 degrees in any direction. Essentially, it will protect your contents on all rainy days, but don’t throw it in a lake.
It also has a couple of discreet reflective patches on either side of the bag to aid your visibility in low-light.
The interior of the bag is quite simple on the face of it. It is basically one large open area and one that has plenty of space for even the biggest of laptops (including the 16” Apple Macbook Pro). However, as the bag is pretty open plan inside, I would recommend making sure you have a laptop sleeve to protect it from scuffs and dirt.
That said, there are plenty of pockets inside this Ortlieb shoulder bag. On the front of the bag there is a surprisingly big (22x22cm) zipped pocket, with another similarly sized open pocked in front of it.
On the inside, you’ll find another open pocket on the left-hand side that can comfortable hold a phone, plus another pocket on the right side that also has a holder to fit in five pens. Finally there are two more open pockets (14x12cm) on the inside wall of the bag. It’s a shame there’s no more zipped pockets on the inside, but the large front pocket should provide you with enough space if a zipped pocket is important to you.
In-Summary: Ortlieb Twin-City Urban Shoulder Bag
If you’re looking for a good-looking bag that you can commute with, you won’t find many better than this.
It’s extremely easy to attach and remove from the rack and it’s also a very durable bag (and waterproof).’
The Ortlieb Twin City Urban Pannier Bag has a volume of is 30cm (11.8”) when closed, with a width of 39cm (15.4”) and a 12cm (14.7”) depth and weighs in at 666 grams.
Now, this kind of quality doesn’t come cheap and in this case that is £125 in the UK or $180 in the USA. It’s available in three nice understated colours: navy blue, grey and pine green.