Review: Chrome Rolltop Panniers 20L

Chrome Rolltop Panniers

San Fran’s Chrome Industries create portage and apparel for the daily rider without compromise on construction or quality. They recently released their Knurled Welded™ range of waterproof rolltops and, needing serious equipment for a serious commute, I was keen to test their mettle.

Chrome Rolltop Panniers

Cycle EXIF’s home base is just over 30 kilometres south of Sydney in the beachside suburb of Cronulla. I still work in the CBD of Sydney so, needless to say, it’s a good stretch for a commute, making up a 60kmh round trip. Thankfully, the tallest elevation is the Captain Cook Bridge.

Chrome Rolltop Panniers

When I lived closer to town I was happy to carry my gear in a messenger bag. When I moved south, Sasha at Pony Bikes sorted me out with some Ortlieb panniers and I haven’t looked back. Really wish I brought them along when I rode that damn On One il Pompino down to Melbourne.

Chrome Rolltop Panniers

The first thing that impressed me about Chrome’s Knurled Welded™ panniers was their construction. This is serious stuff. The fabric used is 600-denier nylon which is still going to hold together if it goes sliding down the road. The welds are tested to hold up to 25 kilos (55 lbs).

Chrome Rolltop Panniers

The main drawcard of the Knurled Welded™ panniers is that off the bike, they are hardware-free, meaning that they pass as executive holdalls and can be carried comfortably and stylishly after you’ve locked the bike up. That’s an advantage if you’ve got a meeting or are going out for dinner.

Chrome Rolltop Panniers

An additional shoulder strap is included and there’s an integrated padded sleeve for a 15″ laptop, which sold them for me. They’re a lot more slim than the Ortlieb bags. I could fit my camera bag inside there, which is a bulky unit, but I got a jacket in there as well as the usual kit.

Chrome Rolltop Panniers

The panniers are bundled with an additional frame for each bag that bolts onto your standard rack. It’s an extra bit of weight that I am prepared to carry for their stealthy looks (read: no reflective hits) around town, but I’ll leave them at home on a more serious tour.

10/10 for construction, looks and durability. Perfect for year-round urban commuting. For more information, head to the Chrome Industries website.

Chrome Rolltop Panniers

  • kevin__fullerton

    I’ve always used a backpack and never panniers and I’m wondering if your laptop takes a beating in a saddle bag?

    • Just as much as in a backpack. I was very impressed by the protection offered by the padded sleeves in these, which my Ortlieb panniers lacked. I carried my MacBook Pro with confidence!

  • Western Rapid

    Do you have to screw the frames to your racks, or do they clip on etc? Do the frames come with each bag?

    • Each pannier comes with a frame and a bag of 4 sets of bolts, washers and nuts. These are used to clip onto your rack so the frame stays on your bike when the pannier is removed.

  • Wakatel Lu’um

    I wonder how these would fare for long term touring in the bush as opposed to city commuting…?

  • Thanks for the review! Best non-promotional pictures I’ve seen of the thing. I haven’t seen any pictures of anyone using the shoulder strap, so I’m still waiting to see one in person. :3

    • Hi Jesse! I’ve been loving finding out about Chrome over the past few months, and their range of products. Their design and construction is impressive and specifically designed with riders in mind, which is refreshing. The portability of the whole Knurled Welded range is what sold me. I’ll get some shots of the straps in action and add them here. Cheers!

  • easyenough

    Nice review. Which pannier are you reviewing? The 20 L or the 37 L? I know I should be able to tell from the photos, but I can’t.

  • Evan

    Could you comment on how good the mounts are? Does the bag stay secure on the rack despite bumps and so forth?

    • Cycle EXIF Editor

      Hi Evan, the frames are mounted to your rack with a series of clips, bolts and Allen nuts. Once they’re on, they’re on. The bags then slip onto the frame at three points which I actually found to take longer than my Ortlieb bags, but just as secure. Unless you’re doing backflips as part of a mx freestyle team, they ain’t coming off either.