Products that are made with passion fit a need in the marketplace unlike those which are built to simply make money or be competitive. Bike aficionados are just the type of people who, determined to make better products for themselves and the betterment of their livelihoods, have established incredibly successful companies, with high quality goods, great warranties and great style. These companies have fought to create the best possible goods for the bike messenger in all of us.
Three out of four are based in San Francisco (
Banjo Brothers is the outlier; they’re from Minnesota), and all have an overwhelming sense of concern for their method of travel, their past time, often their job. Even if you’re not riding your Surly to your stockbroker gig, it’s hard to not respect these companies for the e-commerce empires they’ve built.
Ride On, With Style
In an ever growing eco-friendly world, we get places on our bicycles. These companies have fought to create the best possible goods for the bike messenger in all of us.
Banjo Brothers: Tough. Practical. Affordable. Bike Bags.
Banjo Brothers have one thing on the mind: bike bags. Or rather, a few things. Creating bike bags.. that are durable and won't break the bank. The brand has taken their passion for creating bike-specific goods and developed products that make a cyclist's life easier. How? They don't just make bags for you back. They make them for your
handlebars, your frame, your seat. Have a lot of stuff you have to more around a city on your two unmotorized wheels? Banjo Brothers has you taken care of.
Chrome is the iconic messenger bag making company whose logo you no doubt have encountered at the eccentric coffee shop, the stairs to the library, or in front of you at a stop light strapped to the back of a guy who is more fit and tattooed than you are.
The logo is a griffen. Black, red and white. Simple but bold.
Chrome was founded in 1995 in Boulder, Colorado. After establishing some success with the locals, the company moved to the bike messenger capital of the world: San Francisco, and has since remained there.
70% of the Chrome product is USA made, and manufactured with incredibly high standards, which has made them a favorite among cyclists globally.
Chrome has expanded from messenger bags and now offers an extensive collection of goods, all which feature that staple, iconic logo.
Mission Workshop, for some people, is viewed as the fancier version of Chrome. They are not as easy to get your hands on - with only a limited number of stores (2 in California), and some of their Advanced Projects sell out before you can say 'green light'.
The bags are completely weatherproof and made in the USA. The price tag will run you, at the low end, about $160, and on the high, $260.
What else sets Mission Workshop apart from the rest is their Arkiv modular systems. Sound like Greek? It means you can customize your bag to suit your needs, by essentially designing your own model.
Mission Workshop was founded by people who loved urban biking, and wanted to develop a product that fit their needs. They have evolved the brand to entail a large line of goods - including bags, apparel and even
shoes. Accolades to the team for building their vision.
Founded in 1989 in San Francisco,
Timbuk2 has stood the test of time. The brand was created by bike messenger Rob Honeycutt.
You may recall the original styles - Timbuk2 has long had a
design-your-own principal, where you could select your own colors, and they'd stitch up a custom version. All bags had the token Timbuk2 icon.
Now the brand has a comprehensive collection of messenger bags, backpacks, computer cases and more. And the vision has been refined and modernized - these are not the Timbuk2 cases of the late 80s, but are still just as (if not more) dependable and all come with a lifetime warranty.