Before you read the following review, please note that I am not an employee of Two Wheel Gear, nor am I receiving any form of financial compensation for this endorsement. My sole purpose of doing this is to share my experiences with other passionate bike commuters. Although I am a big fan of this brand, my review will be honest and objective.
It has now been almost two years since I purchased my first Two Wheel Gear Garment Bag. I have used it weekly, riding to rehearsals and concerts (I am a classical musician and wrinkle-free dress is not a luxury, but a necessity for me). The conclusions I made during this period are:
- This is the only bike garment bag on the market that actually does its job.
- The bag is extremely durable.
- It is waterproof.
- It is more spacious and easy to use than any of my previous garment bags.
This is how my bag looks now. Really, it still looks and works just like new! I’m sure it will serve me for decades! I couldn’t be happier with this bag, until……the friendly guys at Two Wheel Gear sent me their new product for a test. Here it is.
The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier
Do not be fooled by their similar appearance. You won’t find a single identical component in these two products. While keeping the best features of the previous model, the new Classic 2.0 is a product at a new qualitative level. If I were to compare these two products in two words, they would be: economy vs. prestige. To better demonstrate what I am implying, please have a look at my step-by-step review with pictures. (The upper photo will show the older model, while the new Classic 2.0 product will be on the bottom)
It may be a matter of taste but I find that the updated logo is much more attractive. More importantly, the logo is now made of reflective material. After all, you can never have excessive visibility!
I have nothing against the old sliders but those little ribbons looked somewhat slimsy and were sometimes not very easy to find and grab. However, look at those new rubber-ended sliders. They are a piece of art, not a zipper! All zippers on the new 2.0 bag are now of much higher quality and are easier to operate.
Buckles (shoulder strap and secure strap inside the bag)
Generic plastic buckles are now replaced with very durable and well designed ones named Woo Jin (Welcome back to Korea, right?). It’s a real joy to click them together!
The old bag has a strap. A simple strap, no more, no less. The strap on the 2.0, however, appears to have been designed with long non-bike travels in mind. The wide and cushioned anti-slip pad evenly distributes the weight of the bag on my shoulder. None of my Samsonite garment bags provide that level of comfort!
The old bag has the utility loop in the back of the top pocket which is a good idea since the panniers cover the seatpost/rack mounted light. Plus, you can take your mounted light off together with your bag – less actions!
The Classic 2.0 has the loops on both ends – front and rear. Although I am not really sure what the front one is for, I found it very comfortable to hold the loop with one hand while unzipping the top compartment with the other. I think I just answered my own question…
I hope the pictures below will show greater clarity to the “economy – prestige” idea.
The interior of the old bag is bare and simple, with only one compartment for the suit(s). As you can see, the naked plastic side walls provide no other options. Meanwhile, the interior space of the 2.0 provides 5 compartments! A high quality logoed material is used and no plastic parts/stitches are seen throughout. The small mesh pockets in the shoulder area are super convenient for toiletries, chargers, snacks, etc.
What used to be only secured by velcro in the old bag, your hanger(s) can now be securely fixed with both Velcro and a snap button.
The security strap (which holds your clothes in the middle) does not cause micro wrinkles on my suit’s/shirt’s sleeves. The new adjustable strap has a new wide design, which gently “embraces” my garments.
Because I normally don’t carry laptop/tablets, I use this padded laptop pocket for my E-reader, magazines, books and sheet music. It has a LOT of space!!!
There is one more “mesh” pocket which could be used for your extra shirts, lunch or even another laptop. Most of the time, I leave it empty because I do not have that much stuff to fill them. But how about wedding shoes?
I have experienced really heavy rain with the old Two Wheel Gear Bag and yes, THINGS INSIDE STAY DRY. Therefore, I am not sure whether I really need the extra rain cover which comes with the new Classic 2.0. However, it’s always good to have some extra protection. I would definitely throw one in for a bike tour (Yes, I would recommend this garment bag as light touring panniers!) The cover can be hung on the side of the panniers to save space inside and to improve visibility to those around you.
Another big improvement over the old bag is the carrying handles. Look at the pictures carefully. The handles of the old bag are not ideal for prolonged carrying because of its rough fibrous material. It simply hurts especially after 10 minutes when carrying heavier loads. The new ones are not only aesthetically pleasing, but much smoother and friendlier on the skin.
Part of being a musician requires performing in different places and changing in and out of concert clothing. As each performance venue differs, proper dressing rooms with hooks and hangers are not always available. Sometimes we have to improvise by changing in the washrooms, a shower booth, behind a curtain or even behind a friend! Ideally, the best solution for a garment bag would be some big hook on the top (bottom when folded) of the garment bag. However, a hook dangling next to the wheel spokes is surely not a good idea. J The Classic 2.0 has a wide handle/hanger which is a big improvement over the tiny loop on the old bag (I personally have never used it). You can now easily hold the bag with one hand while unpacking your suit with the other!
I like the reflectors on my old bag. They reflected the light nice and bright. Yet, the reflectors on the 2.0 are able to surpass that with a different design and a larger reflective surface area. The design is, again, aesthetically more attractive in my opinion.
I would say that the new mount system is the most dramatic improvement of the Classic 2.0 over the old panniers.
The old hook-ring-Velcro system is secure and reliable but it has its own drawbacks. This system is not easy to operate when wearing gloves and/or in the dark. The rack is easily scratched by the metal hooks and requires extensions at the bottom to fasten the D-rings. And lastly, you will need some adjustment time (a few weeks in my case) to practice loading/unloading your panniers on the rack before it becomes an instant procedure… Now look at this.
This is sheer simplicity and elegance! Loading/unloading is now as simple as 1, 2, and 3! Unfortunately, it is not as easy to demonstrate how easily it mounts to the rack just through photos. It’s as if those hooks find their perfect spots on the rack automatically. All you need is to place the bag on your rack, check that all hooks are in place and secure the bag with the little tabs with red cords by pulling or pushing them 90 degrees. It’s very easy! Although I am not familiar with the brand “Vario” (as labeled on these parts), I believe this system is genius. Please note however, that it has only been a few months since I got the Classic 2.0 and it may be too early to judge on the reliability of the mounting system. I will update this review after some thousands of kilometres and hundreds of load/unload cycles. For now, the advantages of this system are:
- Simplicity in its construction and ease of use.
- Does not make scratches on the rack.
- Made to fit any rear rack.
As demonstrated through my review, I feel that the Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Bag is the best bike garment bag on the market. I have tried many other options before I came to this conclusion. Those “other options” are now collecting dust under my bed. Two Wheel Gear is the ONLY bike pannier bag on the market which delivers your garments wrinkle-free.
The prefix “Bike” before “Garment bag” has always implied some sort of compromise. The guys at Two Wheel Gear were able to break this stereotype. I would describe the Classic 2.0 as “A Stylish, durable, waterproof and capacious TRAVEL GARMENT BAG made of high quality materials, which can easily and securely be attached to any bike rack”.