Motorcyclists love backpacks, but the average, stylish bag isn't always built for riding. Two-strap bags slide off shoulders when buffeted by wind. Extra lengths of strap that are innocuous when walking around becoming ass-smacking annoyances at speed. And thinner material can deform a pack out of shape at 80 mph.
Upstart motorcycle accessory maker Velomacchi, co-founded by a former bag designer for The North Face and a motorcycle racer, aims to alleviate those shortcomings in its new Speedway Pack ($300). Its most standout feature might be its magnetic sternum coupler that snaps together when the two sides are held in close proximity, putting a shiny, metal disc front-and-center on your chest, giving the whole system a decidedly future-warrior vibe. (A quick turn of the coupler unlatches the bag for a quick release.)
A water-tight main compartment with a roll-top keeps out rainstorms, and a patented four-point harness design keeps the bag high and secure on the top of the back instead of sliding down to a rider's waist. Abrasion-resistant fabric is folded to keep its shape in the wind, with aluminum toggles for helmet storage, and outer pockets keep cargo secure. (You wear the helmet while on the bike of course.) Pouches for a tire pressure gauge, medical documents, and a hydration bladder are tucked into the straps and bag.
While it might be overkill for the average bicyclist, the strap and couplers will definitely get a few people asking you about the bag. The stiff material and relatively small size won't make it a good solution for anything longer than an overnight, and no integrated laptop sleeve might steer a power-commuter toward another solution—although there's plenty of space for a laptop in the main pouch, and Velomacchi sells a matching sleeve for $60—but for riders who like an aggressive commute, the Speedway Pack is one to consider.