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Pannier Backpack Convertible Review by Professional Musician, Anton Kang

Anton is a longtime Two Wheel Gear rider and early customer of our original Classic 1.0 Garment Pannier. Since then, he’s trusted our gear to carry his tuxedo on his bike and on the plane for performances around the world. Anton plays viola in the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. When we launched the Pannier Backpack Convertible, we wanted to see how it handled the busy streets of Seoul, South Korea. We are incredibly grateful to have Anton testing gear and representing Two Wheel Gear on the other side of the world. Please enjoy Anton’s latest guest review on the Pannier Backpack Convertible.

Hello again from Seoul! It was such a delight for me to know that my Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier review has inspired other fellow musicians around the world and helped them to find the best solution for carrying their clothes wrinkle-free!

Today, I’ll be reviewing another Two Wheel Gear product. Along with TWG Classic 1.0, Classic 2.0, and The Heath Messenger Bag (which is my absolute favorite!), this is already my fourth item by my favorite brand and it’s called the Pannier Backpack Convertible!

Like I’ve said in my previous review, it was always a challenge for me to carry stuff on the bike because I always have my viola on my back. On concert days when I have to carry my instrument, suit, dress shoes and other things, I go with my trusty Classic Garment Bag. However, I at least have 3 days a week when I don’t need to carry the whole concert getup, like when I commute to rehearsals or recordings. On those days I used to go with my slide-on Topeak rack bag. Although Topeak looks pretty sleek on the bike, I was never happy about its appearance off the bike (when carried on my shoulder or in my hand).

I’m the kind of guy who cares about what I wear and I like to look sharp. This is where the Two Wheel Gear Backpack comes in.

Personally, the best feature of my new backpack/pannier is its nice, clean, and stylish look. When I get off the bike, nobody can even tell that I came to work by bike that day.

Let’s have a closer look at the bag. At first sight, it makes an impression of a fancy, high-quality and expensive backpack… and it actually is! But unlike other backpacks, this one instantly transforms into a bike pannier! It takes mere seconds to do the transformation and these pictures, hopefully, will demonstrate it.

Very smart, yet simple! The pannier is equipped with my favorite “Vario” mounting system, the same one is used on my Classic 2.0 Garment bag. This system is time-tested: it mounts instantly and stays firm on the rack without scratching it. Perfect!

Pannier Backpack Vario Hooks.jpg

Just like the Classic 2.0 Garment Bag, the backpack features very durable zippers with awesome sliders – very easy to find and grab even in gloves! The only thing I found a bit inconvenient: the sliders of the main compartment are not going very smooth through the angles of the bag. It is caused by the rather square shape of the bag, massive zippers plus the rain guard which covers whole the zipper area. Though, turning this guard inside out makes zipping/unzipping much easier!

The backpack straps are padded and comfy and because there is a very rigid insert in the back of the bag, so the weight is evenly distributed on my back.

The main compartment is big enough to carry my daily items: sweater or cardigan, shirt, lunch or dinner box, snacks, my e-book, sheet music. There is a padded sleeve for laptop in the main compartment. I usually use it to carry sheet music to keep them crumple-free. But for this test, I put my 15.6″ laptop into the sleeve and it fits perfectly!

There are even pen/pencil compartments along with mesh pockets help to keep things organized.

There are also two outside pockets: the big “rain cover” pocket (which, of course, can be used for anything else) and my favorite small pocket for my kindle/phone/wallet. This one is also padded to protect devices and has a nice, soft lining so your smartphone or other device slides in/out very smoothly. It may seem like a small thing, but considering how many times a day we check our phones… it’s a good thing!

Mesh pockets on both sides are good for water bottles!

The backpack is highly visible, with plenty of reflective details. The one in the bottom is also a loop for a taillight. By the way, speaking of the quality… Just have a closer look at it. Seems like this loop is made to last forever!

Bulletproof Durability

The bag comes with a rain cover, which rather bulletproof than waterproof! Seriously, I have never seen a rain cover of that thickness before! I wish my viola was made with this material! J The cover is also equipped with two reflective elements, one of which is a tail light loop.

Bottom line

What I love the best about TWG guys is their honesty. Always thought-out design, always the best materials and build quality. You get what you pay for (forgive me this cliché) plus a little more. Despite my scepticism towards “2-in-1” products, Two Wheel Gear has created a great backpack/pannier. Just like the Classic Garment Pannier, the “pannier” feature does not affect the functionality of the bag at all.

Who would need this bag/pannier? Professionals like me, who commute by bike and whose back is occupied with their “professional stuff” (musical instruments, sporting equipment, sniper rifle, newborn baby, etc.) Or just people who don’t like to bulk their backs while riding. No more sweaty back in summer! If you are one of those, I highly recommend this product. Thank you for reading this review. I hope it was helpful! And thank you, Two Wheel Gear, for your conscientious work and thought-out, HONEST products!

By Anton Kang,

Member of Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra


Buy the bag here: Two Wheel Gear – Pannier Backpack Convertible

Two Wheel Gear - Bike To Work Guide

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