By day, it looks like any ordinary cycling pack. By night it glows. Meet the Sutro pack from Rickshaw Bagworks.
Embedded 3M reflective yarn gives this USA-built cycling bag a unique angle — it looks clean and stylish in the daylight, but it glows brilliantly at night. When car headlights hit the bag the stripes ignite and glow in iridescent colors, adding significant visibility as you ride.
I bike-commuted with the Sutro for a few weeks — in the day and night — for a test.
Worth The Cost?
Rickshaw Bagworks makes its products in San Fransisco, and they are mucho expensive. Get ready for it… this bag costs $279. That, to me, is almost a game over right away. I can buy three Banjo Brothers bags for that price and still have beer money at the end.
But if you want made-in-the-USA (made in one of the world’s most expensive cities, no doubt), and you want style, and performance, including waterproof-ness, AND you want reflectivity that is cloaked during the day… well, then please read on.
With a 17-liter main compartment the pack was large enough to carry everyday essentials — enough room to hold a change of clothes, extra shoes, a laptop, and a few other odds and ends.
There is a smaller pocket on the front of the bag for quick access as well as a waterproof zipper on the side that gives you access to the main compartment.
The roll-top closure on top is secured by plastic buckles. The inside is fashioned from a waterproof sailcloth that ensured everything stayed dry even during heavy downpours.
The bag looked tiny on my 6’1”, broad-shouldered frame. I also found the straps constantly pulling out to the sides of my shoulders instead of staying put.
When I handed it over to another editor (who has a much smaller frame), he didn’t experience any of the same issues. It looked good on him, and it was comfortable.
If you’re a bigger person, avoid this pack.
Form Over Function?
The bag looks super clean and stylish. Despite the model in this article, a Minneapolis courier, this is more for your oxford shirt wearing commuter rather than the hard core, all weather rider.
But it lacked features that I’ve come to expect from a commuter bag. For one, the straps felt a little flimsy and didn’t have a lot of padding.
The small organizational pocket on the front didn’t offer a huge amount of room. The side access pocket was nice, although I used it almost exclusively to stash a U-lock, which would often drift to someplace else in the bag during my ride.
At $279 this is not a cheap bag. It is not a totally egregious price to throw down for a commuter backpack but it’s certainly getting close to that. From a bag with that price tag I would have liked to see a few more of the technical features mentioned above.
Look to the Sutro if you’re in the market for a stylish pack that’ll look as good in the office as it does on the bike, just be prepared to pay some serious cash for that (and the reflective-at-night) look.