This is a follow up to the original STM Velo review, which can be found here.
After about two months of getting dragged back and forth between my home and office, I figured it was time to revisit the Velo, and see how it’s held up in real-world use, as the initial review was based on about five days with it.
Happily, not much has changed. Despite being thrown around quite a bit, and dropped more than once, (with a small laptop inside) there are no major marks or abrasions. Usually, we’ll find some stitching coming undone after extensive rough use, but that’s not the case here. What did surprise me is the crossover appeal. While it’s clearly designed as a messenger style bag, aimed squarely at cyclists, especially single speed and fixed gear riders, I’ve had executives and programmers ask about it. Which reminds me of one possible shortcoming that I noticed. There’s no reflective material, and there’s not really a dedicated place to hang your blinky light. Although the lack of reflective stripes or piping might make sense for a non-cyclist, a little loop on the flap would be a welcome addition. Any resourceful bicyclist is going to find a way to make themselves visible though, so it’s not really a huge issue.
It’s easy to tell who has never commuted by bus or train, when they undo the buckles and see the zippers concealing the main compartments. While some mentioned that it seemed almost overkill, anyone who’s used public transportation, or just worn this style bag in a crowded place, immediately appreciates the extra security. Your cargo, be it school books or electronic devices, isn’t going to fall out. And it’s much harder for someone to quickly reach in and take off with your valuables. Without the zippers, it would be much less secure. Without the flap, it would be a much less attractive bag. Synergy in a messenger bag.
With all the stuff I have to lug around each day, it’s nice to do it in comfort. And true to STM’s mission, the STM Velo screams neither “geek” nor “office drone”, just understated style and good taste.