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Product Review: Velo Transit Edge 40 Backpack

Velo Transit Edge 40

For the past six weeks, I’ve been testing the Velo Transit (VT) Edge 40 backpack, as well as the Metro 20 Pannier (which I’ll review in my next post). My version of the Edge 40 was the men’s medium (it also comes in a men’s large and women’s small) and also included the add-on water bottle pocket. The pack itself retails for $225 and the bottle carrier is a $20 add-on.

The Edge 40 (the 40 stands for 40 liters, by the way) falls into Velo Transit’s “Urban” category of bags, and while I’m a little puzzled by their distinction of “urban” and “commuter” – to me those terms evoke similar needs – it makes a lot of sense as an everyday pack. It has a cavernous main pocket with a roll top and 4 zippered pockets on the back (front?) – two that bump out a little (VT calls it a “volumetric pocket”) to give some volume, and two flat pockets behind those – one half-length and one full-length. VT’s site says the flat pockets are for things like locks, wallets, computers, etc. and the “volumetric” ones are for tools and a “catch-all.” Unfortunately, I read that description AFTER using the product, so I ended up putting everything in what was apparently the wrong place… but thanks to this experience, I can reassure any hesitant buyers that the tools pocket will carry a wallet, the wallet/valuables pocket will carry tools, and the “catch-all” pocket will carry a lock.

Over all of those pockets goes a zip-down “storm shield” that also happens to be bright yellow and is very good for visibility. It can roll up into a small velcroed pocket at the top, but I generally thought visibility was a good idea and rode with it down – it also gave the pack a sleek look that I liked.

The Edge 40 is a highly adjustable pack – despite being sized – and I was able to get it to fit me very well. It also had enough adjustments to cinch down whatever I wanted to carry so it wasn’t banging around inside the generally larger-than-necessary main pocket. Speaking of which – the Edge 40 is probably larger than necessary for most commuters. I probably had room to bring two sets of clothes and two lunches in this pack with room left over. If I were to buy a pack from Velo Transit, I might go for the Edge 30 – it’s a little smaller but otherwise identical.

While I overall had a very positive experience, I do have a few nitpicks with the Edge 40:
– Because it is a fairly large pack, my visibility when glancing over my shoulder was compromised. I was able to adapt somewhat, but I could not see as well as I can with other packs or bags.
– There are a lot of straps. This is generally good, but the ends flap all over the place, sometimes hitting me in the back of the neck and making me think I had just gotten hit (or bitten) by a bug. Some type of retention would be nice.
– The price is pretty high. To be fair I think Velo Transit is providing high quality for that price, but it is higher than many similar products.

Although the waterproof claim is one of the high points of this pack, I never got to check it out on my commute during our test period (yes, I had to give it back!). In an effort to give full rigor to the test period, I did expose the pack to a prolonged watering period with my sprinkler – much to the amusement of my family and dog!

The slighlty strange pose is because I'm holding my 1-year-old, who wanted in on the fun

Inquisitive Canine

According to my very scientific tests, the Edge 40 main compartment passes the waterproof test after approximately 30 minutes under direct sprinkler. The “storm shield” proved to be slightly less effective – paper I placed directly underneath it still got slightly wet – but the contents of the outer pockets were still dry.

Still dry!

In the end I have to give a lot of credit to Velo Transit for the quality they provide – if you’re looking for a commuting backpack and the price doesn’t dissuade you, the Edge 40 is a very strong contender.

5 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    PLUS – I got one of their women-specific packs in review now too!

  2. Mir.I.Am

    Nice review Matt… I’m into the neon yellow color on the bag for high-visibility.

  3. Peter

    Dear Matt,
    Great review. Have you seen the phisical difference between the Edge 30 and 40? I am using the 25 litres back pack and it is chronical đŸ™‚
    I feel that the 40 one would be more suitable for me.
    Do you have any comment or your own feelings to this? Is this truly much bigger in size?
    Thanks in advance.
    Kind regards!

  4. Matt

    Peter –

    I haven’t used the Edge 30, so I can’t say for sure. I know that I usually had a fair amount of extra room in the Edge 40. Combined with the visibility issues (at least when on a road bike), I think I’d probably be OK with the 30. If you’re finding your 25-liter pack cramped though, you might find the 40 exactly what you need.

  5. Brad Roberts

    I spent a fair amount of time researching backpacks that would work for my daily bike commute, I finally decided on the Velotransit EDGE PRO 40; it had the design that I concluded would be best for me. I researched Timbuk2, Mission Workshop, Life Behind Bars (my second choice), Chrome, and a few others, and chose the Velotranist EDGE. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed.
    I ordered my pack on June 13th. I received my order on July 19th! Velotransit charged me on the day I ordered. I wanted the backpack so was willing to go with the long fulfillment time. Sadly, the backpack I received was the wrong one! Appropriately, Velotransit covered the return shipping and sent out the correct backpack quickly. When I received the replacement backpack (number 2), it was defective. So much for Velotransit’s claims of quality control, it failed twice!
    Additionally, Velotransit informed me that I had not shipped the first backpack correctly and it was damaged! Velotransit’s claim was that I had folded the backpack too sharply to fit it in the box resulting in a crease in the Evazote shoulder pads. For this Velotransit was going to charge me $40. I found this impossible to believe recalling that while I had bent the pack to fit it in the box, I had not folded it so sharply that the pads would be creased, or even the TPU material in back of the pack.
    I was so upset (and unbelieving) about their claim that I had damaged the backpack in returning it, I went out and obtained the materials that Velotransit said was damaged and tested them myself. I obtained the Evazote material used in Velotransit’s shoulder pads as well as the TPU material used as a frame in the back of their backpacks. I submitted the materials to the same conditions that I returned the backpack to them. I found that there was no damage! I even increased the rigors of my test and could not create the damage Velotransit claimed. My conclusion, and opinion, is that the company was not truthful about the damage, and was dishonestly recouping the extra shipping charges the company incurred due to their mistake of sending first an incorrect pack, then a defective one!
    I also doubt that Velotransit is viable as a going concern. To value $40 over a satisfied customer, a customer who is walking around with their backpack as advertisement and recommending the product suggests to me they are having serious cash flow problems. When $40 means more than a $230 SALE, and a satisfied customer, there are problems at the company.
    I am disappointed; I had a pack I liked over many others, unfortunately I cannot support a company with such poor customer service (30+ days to fulfill an order), extremely poor-quality control (twice receiving the wrong or defective pack) and finally such dishonest and disrespectful treatment of a customer.
    I now have a Life Behind Bars Peleton Asphalt backpack, and am very happy with it.

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