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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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.