Review: Pcych Commuter Bag

Editorial-RL Policar: Jeremy Yang is a Correspondent on our Sister Site, MtnBikeRiders.com. I had asked him to test/review the Pcych Commuter Bag for BikeCommuters.com.

I’m a mountain biker at heart, but I have enjoyed commuting to work over the last couple of years. My single-speed commuter has a permanent rack mounted to the rear for my hand-me-down panniers. I have a love/hate relationship with my panniers: I love that they hold my stuff but I get a little frustrated when I can’t access something I need mid-ride. Also, my panniers have been known on occasion to fly off the rear of my bike into the middle of the street during my commute to work. Argh.


Pcych Commuter Bag

So, I was pretty psyched to have the opportunity to test out a new bag, the Pcych Commuter bag. The Pcych bag is different than front frame bags as they don’t fit into the front triangle. They actually hang over the top tube and are secured via a ratchet system to the headtube and seat tube along with a velcro strap the keeps the bottom connected.


Would my knees rub? Yes and No.

When I first saw the Pcych Commuter bag, my first concern was for my knees: would my knees rub the bag? The answer, yes and no. Yes, if I filled the Pcych bag to max capacity and release the gussets my knees rub and the bag quickly gets in the way of comfortable pedaling. No, if I was careful in packing the Pcych and did not expand the gussets the bag would only occasionally grace my knee. About the only time I had a lot of difficulty with knee rub was during the standing portions of my ride home. Being on a single-speed, whenever I hit the hills I had to stand and thats when the knees and bag met often.


I say keep the gussets zipped

My other concern with the Pcych Commuter bag was: would it damage my frame? The contact points being the headtube, top tube and seat tube were my main concern, but over the testing period, I realized no discernible rubbing. My paint was not scuffed because the parts of the Pcych bag that actually touched the frame were not abrasive. Over long periods of time, I could potentially see the finish being marred but I could see that with the use of any bag over time.


The contact points are not abrasive

I found the Pcych Commuter bag to be extremely easy to install and detach. The ratchet systems works quickly to tighten the bag to the frame and removing, after figuring out how its done, was quick as well. When I arrived at work, it took me a quick 10 seconds to remove the Pcych bag from the frame and the convenient handle allowed me to comfortably bring the bag into the office. With the panniers, there was never a good place to hold it and I was always holding them awkwardly as I entered and left the office.


Great handle for carrying the bag into and out of the office

Although I was already at this stage when using panniers, having the Pcych bag meant that I was not carrying any weight on my shoulders and back. This is always a plus as I am a sweat-er. The Pcych bag had another benefit in comparison to panniers: I could get rid of the “permanent” rack. The rack has always been the downside to the usefulness of panniers. They also kept me from keeping a rear brakes on the bike. Using the Pcych bag meant that I could remove the rear rack, which also happened to be quite ugly… I mean utilitarian.


Using the Pcych bag meant I could get rid of the rear rack

Putting the weight on the bike, even from the back of the back via panniers and moving it to the middle of the bike via the Pcych Commuter bag, does change the handling of the bike to a degree. For the most part, I was commuting with my 15″ laptop, a change of clothing, lunch and my wallet/keys/phone in the Pcych bag and although not much it did change the center of gravity. Not in a bad way, just a notice-able way.


Lots of pockets and it fit my 15″ laptop with ease. I would do away with a couple of the pen holders though (4 on this side, two more on the other).

I was very impressed by a couple of nice touches that I have not mentioned including the myriad of pockets within the bag and the two stretchy pockets on the outside. The pockets were very handy and the thoughtful water resistant pocket was a nice touch as it easily fit my oversized Palm Treo (about the size of a Blackberry but much girth-ier). One thing I didn’t need were 6 pen holders though. Two or three would be fine.


The shiny pocket on the right can be zipped up. The combination of being zipped up and the material make for a water resistant area in the bag.

The piping was reflective which is great for night time riding and the zippers were large and easy to access but did clang lightly during my ride. The straps that came vertically from the top of the inside of the bag did a great job securing my cargo within and the little vents found on the top left and top right of the bag are a nice touch aesthetically but I am concerned that when it rains during my commute my goodies inside will get wet as well.


With the Pcych Commuter bag, I enjoy the weight off my back and the back of the bike.

The Pcych Commuter bag is a well thought out small commuter bag. As such, I would recommend the Pcych because you do not have to purchase any other attachments to install the bag to your bike and you get to keep the weight off your shoulders thereby avoiding the dreaded sweaty back. The well thought out pockets and handle make for easy transport of your valuables both on and off the bike.

Traget Price: Around $100…give or take a few bucks.

If you’re interested in the PCYCH, you can email Lee Gomez at customerservice@pcych.com for more information.

Review Disclaimer


18 Comments

  1. Tad May 24, 2010 8:30 am 

    I can’t tell if this bag is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen or a truly genius idea. I wonder how much stuff you can put in it before you start chaffing your calves on it–like you said, you got knee rub. And how is the name pronounced? If it’s supposed to be “psych” then I don’t get it.

  2. jdmitch May 24, 2010 10:27 am 

    I have to agree with Tad, I also wonder whether I think this is genius or horrible. I’m sure some of it will depend on body type / bike fit… seems the gussets aren’t worth having… though I guess if you also had a seat pack (for tools) gussets would make it easy for popping off and into the bag for secure carry into your office.

  3. Graham May 24, 2010 11:49 am 

    This thing makes me wonder about bags for recumbents or CF designs where rear panniers might not be ideal. Anyone have either or those and want to satisfy my curiosity?

  4. Jack May 24, 2010 12:05 pm 

    I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt until I examined it in my Hand. It seems ideal for a Laptop Computer,I have known Computer Geeks on Bikes to stop on the Road and whip out their Computer and start sending E mails so this is ideal for them,instant access.

    So long as you dont overload it with a bulging Load it should be OK. They could have designed it with two stiff removable Boards in the Interior to keep the load from bulging with the option of taking out the Boards if you wished.

    The smaller version that was shown in the Video Clip on the previous post with that Man on his Mountain Bike looks very handy. for Touring Cyclists or Sportif or indeed Mtb.

    This Bag attached to the Crossbar is an Old Idea,it was used on Military Dispatch Bicycles for carrying Messages around for many Years in Europe and indeed in the US most likely. I would be interested in checking them out if they were sold in Ireland eventually. Dublin Ireland.

  5. Ghost Rider May 24, 2010 12:32 pm 

    This would make sense for unsupported long-range races like the Arrowhead 135 or Iditabike…frame-mounted bags are tremendously popular in those events.

    But, don’t fill it to capacity or you’ll strike your knees? Fail. Looks like the bag is well-made and reasonably well-thought-out, but that would be a deal breaker for me.

    And Jeremy — what’s up with only a front brake? Is that a fixed-gear or do you just like living dangerously? Surely there’s a way to get a rear brake and the rack to play together nicely.

  6. Rider May 24, 2010 5:25 pm 

    Looks like the gas tank on an old Honda 305!

  7. John the Monkey May 25, 2010 12:41 am 

    Interesting – I’m VERY jealous of that organiser pocket, but for me, it doesn’t look like this beats the Brooks + Carradice I currently use.

  8. Mike Myers May 25, 2010 4:04 am 

    I have to agree that being unable to fill it to capacity without sacrificing pedalling comfort is a FAIL.

    I guess it’s a nice product for someone who doesn’t want to mount a rack, or is afraid to leave panniers on a parked bike. There are easily removable panniers that snap together on the market, I believe.

    Panniers are the standard for a reason. They work.

  9. Joel May 31, 2010 2:18 pm 

    I’ve been riding the commuter bag for a couple of months. My commute is about a 20 mile round trip. Any contact your legs have with the bag is incidental. Due to the material the bag is made out of you don’t really notice it.

    I have the bag mounted on a 2009 Gary Fisher Marlin and I feel the bag fits well, but each bike and frame is different. I think you will find that the bag will fit on most bikes.

    I carry my laptop, dress slacks & shirt, and a couple of other misc items with me on most days without an issue. The bag allows enough space for the things that you need. Personally, I try to ride with the necessities and not everything I would take with me if I was in a car. But I haven’t had an issue with it. If you pay attention when you pack the bag you will find that it will carry everything you need comfortably.

    With the addition of the hands free device for the water bladder this bag makes my commute just another ride to enjoy and I don’t notice the weight I am carrying, like I do when it is in my back pack.

  10. Ben June 1, 2010 8:29 pm 

    Thanks for the review. A random question though — who makes that bike stand in the 7th photo?

  11. dynaryder June 4, 2010 12:35 pm 

    How big is it(dimensions)? Also,this wouldn’t work on my regular commuter do to to TT cable routing,but I might be willing to try one on another bike.

  12. flhandster June 10, 2010 9:56 pm 

    where can one buy and/or acquire the PCYCH products??? please help ASAP. thank you!

  13. Ghost Rider June 11, 2010 5:03 am 

    @flhandster — contact information for PCYCH is right at the bottom of the article.

  14. PuterGeek June 15, 2010 8:01 pm 

    I have sent emails twice to “PCYCH” with no reply :(

    I’d like to either buy a bag, or find out when they will become available – and no reply??

  15. RL June 15, 2010 9:11 pm 

    PuterGeek,

    I’ve contacted Pcych for you and told them about your concerns.

    RL

  16. PuterGeek June 16, 2010 8:47 am 

    To be fair, I got replies today from ‘PCYCH’ – and some info…

    Sorry about the missed response on your email last Friday. The bags are currently in production and should be available by the end of next month. The larger commuter bag price will be about $150. The smaller trial bag will be about $100. With your bike both bags should fit with no problems so it depends on what you will be using for. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thank you,
    Eric

    The release of the bag should be joined with the addition of a new page on the web-site for ordering. The individuals such as yourself that have contacted us will get email notification before this happens for the opportunity to purchase before the “official” release.

    Again I am very sorry for the missed email on Friday. But, thanks to you the problem has been identified and taken care of thank you.

    Thanks,
    Eric Jones
    Pcych Customer Service
    Pcych.com

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