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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.