No one but actual, honest-to-God bicycle messengers had the authority to wield a Timbuk2 messenger bag. If you were an iron-assed hard case living life on a bike, you’d probably earned the right; though you might still have found yourself the target of diluted messenger disgust.
That was the pervading vibe 15 years ago when I bought my first Timbuk2 bag, a Bolo (back then, each size had a name; the Bolo was the large version). Make no mistake, these were Messenger Bags: simple, voluminous, virtually indestructible black holes, able to swallow an inordinate amount of awkwardly dimensioned deliverables, specially stabilized for use on the bike exclusively. The only grudging nods to civility were a couple of pockets sown onto the outside of the bag and an optional padded shoulder strap.
And apart from a few minor changes, it’s stayed that way. Like the coelacanth, the Classic Messenger has remained a living fossil, unchanged, while other Timbuk2 species have evolved and developed around it. Until now.
We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again — simply because we enjoy repeating things: STM makes a %@$# great bag. And they’ve just unveiled a revamp of their flagship bags in the form of a new family of gear they’re calling the Velocity Collection. Which is actually pretty damn apt for this line of fast, light, grab-and-go bags.
The new Timbuk2 Command Messenger 2012 ($140) is nothing like the first Timbuk2 bag I ever owned, some 11 years and 20 pounds ago, back when I was heavily commited to the world of cycling. Timbuk2 called it the Bolo, and it was a real messenger bag — though messengers almost always opted for it’s larger sibling, the Tag Junkie — crafted from a single piece of vinyl and Cordura; just a massive main compartment with not much more than a small pocket sewn on the outer face for coins and maybe a patch kit.
Although it’s just about as tough, the Command Messenger is light years away from my Bolo (and is really as much a messenger bag as a Chevy pickup is an ox cart): It’s sophisticated, uses several advanced materials, has loads of pockets and a trick feature that makes air travel easier for laptop-toting jestsetters. My how you’ve grown, Timbuk2.
Bag-maker STM hails from dehn undah (if you think my Aussie impression sounds bad here, well, it’s even worse in person), where they’re apparently pretty huge. They’re less well-known here in the States — but that’ll likely change thanks to a big marketing push and bags like the fantastic STM Velo ($100), a designed laptop bag stuffed with unusually clever features.