Designed for any type of rider on any type of bike
Why We created the Commute Backpack Kit
If you’ve been following our story over the years, you know that we’re dedicated to making high-quality panniers to make it easier for people to commute by bike, freeing themselves from traffic.
Doing this work, we’ve been lucky enough to gain a following of amazing customers all over the world. They inspire us to keep pushing the boundaries to make commuting even easier.
This year, things have started shifting. Our gear is getting noticed!
When Wirecutter (a NY Times company) named the Pannier Backpack Convertible the “best mobile office” in their Best Bike Panniers 2019 article, we were fired up.
Our stomachs were in knots wondering what the Bike Snob NYC was going to say after using his pannier briefcase for a few months. Spoiler…He dug it.
And we couldn’t be more excited for the year ahead! (See our last post for details on our recent partnership with REI)
But our commitment has always been to our customers. And here’s what we’ve learned over the years.
Not every commuter has a rack or wants to use panniers. We know because we talk to A LOT of them.
We’ve had so many people stop by our booth, tent, or office and tell us how much they loved our gear.
They loved what we are doing.
But then would say…”I just don’t want a bike rack, so I can’t use any any of it. They would tell us to ‘keep it up!’ and walk away….
We’ve been listening, and we’re excited to announce that: Every commuter can use Two Wheel Gear in 2020!
Introducing: The Commute Backpack
We’ve been scheming to make a commuting backpack FOR YEARS.
When Greg Bass took over as our lead designer in late 2018, we were finally able to create the perfect non-pannier, loaded with new functionality that nails our commuter-first design principles. It’s the bag we’re always being asked for, and can finally deliver.
Designed For Your ride
That sexy shape is no mistake. Have you ever gone to shoulder check and your backpack got in the way? Us too.
We designed the Commute Backpack with a slimmer side profile and tapered top, so it hugs your torso without bulking out too much off your body or sitting too high, so when you go to shoulder check, you can actually get a good look all around.
The slant and covered zippers keep everything flowing: less air drag on the bike, and rain rolls right off. Of course we made it with waterproof materials too, so you don’t have to worry when those fair-weather days turn wet.
The Backpack’s 26 liter volume fits a ton of daily gear and is a nice balanced size, slotting in right between our Pannier Backpack LITE (22 L) and Pannier Backpack PLUS (30 L). More to come on these in the next post.
And since Two Wheel Gear has always been about eliminating the sweaty back, we spared no expense when it came to the back paneling, and air mesh foam construction. It’s a channelled cooling system designed to keep things flowing, even if it’s a “shirts off” day (Call me old fashioned but I always chuckle when I see someone commuting hard downtown in no shirt).
A Bike Commuter’s Dream in Organization
At the top, there is a small covered quick access pocket with inside key attachment. Flip the full top lid and your face will illuminate in the new warm red liner.
Thats right, no more black interiors on Two Wheel Gear bags, except the Classic. I guess we were tired of getting battered by annoyed commuters that couldn’t find their USB memory sticks. Just kidding, we love (and need) the feedback, keep it coming. 😉
You can access everything through the top, and slip your 15.6 inch laptop into the padded laptop sleeve. Or you can flip the bag onto its side and use the full side zipper to quickly access your laptop and lower items.
Inside, there is a smallish zip pocket for a passport, pen organizers, secondary slip pocket and a mesh zip on the inside of the lid. There is a place for everything including additional storage for files/magazines behind the laptop sleeve.
Never Afraid of the weather
On the bottom of the bag, you’ll find the hidden rain cover pocket (or “secret” pocket). The rain cover provides a second layer of monsoon protection and increases your visibility for dark rides, complete with a reflective loop for a blinky light.
We’ve also flipped the material inside out on the bottom of all of our bags in 2020. This allows a quick dry, quick clean surface for commuting in all kinds of weather and grime.
The straps are ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort. There is a quick adjust sternum strap, and new adjustable waist belt that can be completely removed.
Subtle but powerful reflective elements are purposefully placed around the bag to keep you visible from all directions (see more of this on the full kickstarter).
We got it. We read a lot of reviews and customer emails. You don’t want your bag to scream TWO WHEEL GEAR. We appreciate that. So you’ll notice toned down branding this year. Just the small Two Wheel Gear logo on the small reflective strip for your light. And that goes for all 2020 gear. But we’ve decked out some seriously cool new inside details, that you’ll have to see when you get your hands on one.
Colors and Size
The Commute Backpack will be available in 3 colors in 2020. Black, Graphite and Tofino Blue (we’ll show you Tofino Blue as soon as we can, but it is deadly).
Now after all that….are you ready for more?
Good. We are actually just getting warmed up. And to truly get more, make sure you are on the Insider Email List and be the first to get the Early Bird Kickstarter Offers!
Introducing: The Modular Attachment System (M.A.S.)
A first in our space that combines on and off bike bags.
The M.A.S. idea started with Greg’s experience designing ski packs for The North Face. He told me about these cool hooks for lashing all kinds of technical ski gear to backcountry packs.
We’ve heard from a lot of our riders that the only thing missing on our pannier backpack was a good place to put their helmet. So we went to work.
But we didn’t want to just throw on a mesh pocket. The system had to integrate with the pack like it belonged. It had to serve multiple functions.
By simply threading in the triangle strap mounts of your helmet through the two hooks (or hooking them behind the hooked loops), you can quickly secure your helmet.
And while we were working on that, we were also designing a commuter specific seat pack and top tube pack.
One day, on a design call, we talked about the core philosophy of Two Wheel Gear. Our bags have always attached to your bike and are easy to carry off your bike. Small bags like Seat Packs and Top Tube bags are notoriously annoying to carry off the bike, and as a result often get left on the bike. And then get stolen.
We pondered for a minute and then thought….”What if the Seat Pack and Top Tube Bag could attach to your backpack when you’re not riding?”
On a development trip to Vietnam, we visited the Duraflex factory where we source the majority of our hardware and buckles.
The factory director pulled out a nifty new buckle he wanted to show us. Hot off the production mold, he called them “magic locks.”
Over the next eight months we started trialling the magic locks with our backpack and new smaller bags. The result was outstanding.
The Modular Attachment System is designed so you can stop worrying about theft, without taking up any much-needed space in your backpack. Take off your seat pack and top tube bag and quickly attach them to your main pack so you don’t leave anything on your bike to entice thieves.
The Commute Top Tube Bag and Seat Pack
The Commute Top Tube Bag and Seat Pack are designed for those riders who don’t want to attach any hardware to their bike.
The Seat Pack is larger than most on the market, so you can carry your mini pump, tube, levers, multi-tool, even a light rain jacket under your saddle.
It has a quick-access exterior pocket for items like a transit pass, and 4 internal mesh pockets with key clip for organization, because we all love pockets.
The Commute Backpack with M.A.S is designed as a set that can all be used together, or completely independently. Put your gloves, tools, snacks, and small gear in your top tube bag and seat pack and keep your main backpack or pannier backpack for your laptop, clothes and work items.
When does this launch?
The Commute Kit is NOW LIVE on Kickstarter December 3, 2019. Be sure to get there early to take advantage of the LIMITED EARLY BIRD OFFERS.
In our next blog we will cover all the new features added to the 2020 Pannier Backpack Convertibles. On Kickstarter, you will have the option to get the full Commute set with either the Commute Backpack or the Pannier Backpack LITE (22 L) or PLUS (30 L).
We are beyond excited to share these major new developments with you. Thank you for joining us and being part of this crazy ride! We really can’t do this without you!