Long Term Review – Velomacchi Speedway Roll-Top Backpack

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A few months back I gave you an initial look at Velomacchi’s Speedway Roll-Top Backpack. I promised that I would wear the bag as much as possible so I could give you some informed thoughts over months of experience – so here you go!

First, some perspective. I’ve worn this bag nearly every day for the last 6 months. It’s mostly served as a commuter bag but I’ve also taken it on a few long-ish trips both on and off road. My two daily bikes (BMW R1150GS and BMW K1200R) have saddlebags so I don’t really have a need for a backpack day to day, but whenever I get press loaners I usually need some sort of storage – this backpack and my Aerostich Messenger bag have been crucial.

photo by Brian Nelson

photo by Brian Nelson

In general, I still agree with everything I stated in my “First Look“, so I won’t waste your time rehashing it all here. With that said, if you don’t remember that review, I highly recommend you check it out because it goes into much more detail on certain aspects of the bag. Otherwise, here’s what I’ve discovered over the last half a year:

1. This bag gets a ton of attention.

Photo by Aaron Schasse

Photo by Aaron Schasse

I’ve taken it with me on two recent press launches (Yamaha SCR950 and BMW RnineT Scrambler) and both times I was approached by several executives and actual motorcycle journalists that wanted to know more. Even casual friends who don’t care about motorcycles comment on it when they see it for the first time. There’s something about how the front clasps come together that people can’t ignore.

2. The camera mount works beautifully.
When I initially reviewed the bag, I noted that “I just don’t do cool enough things on the day to day commute to justify utilizing it.” That is still true, but that hasn’t stopped from throwing a GoPro Session on it and using it as my version of a dash cam for the last few months. I don’t have anything fantastically entertaining to share because my mother knows how to drive – if you don’t know the reference, enjoy this video. She also lives on the other side of the country, but that ruins the already weak joke:

If you want an idea of the perspective of the chest mount, here’s a still pulled from a video I recorded with a Session on the Velomacchi:
Yamaha SCR950 - Dirt Slide Chest View

3. The sizing clasps occasionally open themselves up as you put the bag on.
This is a little nitpicky, but every once in a while I would end up opening a clasp as I put the bag on just because my jacket sleeve would catch it the wrong way. If I had to guess, it happens 1 out of every 30 times and it takes all of 1.5 seconds to get the clasp sorted again so it’s not a big deal. It just happened more than I expected, and I generally love this bag so I feel like I should share the ticky-tacky complaints, too.
velomacchi-clasp

4. The bag is waterproof, but some metal pieces start oxidizing way too quickly.
It’s hard for me to really test how waterproof this bag is considering I live in Los Angeles and it’s rained twice in the last 6 months (both times were in the last two weeks!) To help testing, I have hit the bag with a hose, and the internal contents stayed dry. With that said, I was disappointed with how quickly the ‘clavicle rings’ (my terminology) started to oxidize. It’s the one cheap point in an otherwise high quality bag.

UPDATE: Kevin Murray, the man behind Velomacchi, notes in a comment below that on the next round of Speedway bags, they’ve upgraded the finish of the key rings so this shouldn’t be a problem going forward.

velomacchi-clavicle-ring

5. It’s been holding up well.
I abuse my stuff, so this bag definitely shows some wear. There’s scratches on the superhero magnetic buckle and there’s a bit of dirt everywhere. I’ve done some off-roading with it and a little bit of dirt has found its way into the magnetic coupling system, but it was easy enough to brush out and it still works just fine.

Photo by Jaume Arranz

Photo by Jaume Arranz

Hell, I even lowsided with it at 25 miles per hour, and I swear you’d never be able to tell. The bag is just dirty because I don’t understand what the verb “to clean” means.

photo by Kevin Wing

photo by Kevin Wing

I ended my first post on this bag with: “Is it worth $299? If it holds up well over time, I’m thinking the answer is yes.” Well, it’s held up and I’ve been happy with it, so it’s now part of my rotation. In the words of Ferris Bueller, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

If you have any questions that I didn’t address, please check out the First Look and/or feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll let you know what I think!

Feature photo by Aaron Schasse.

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