The first time I picked this thing up, I knew I had a piece of pure engineering in my hands. The Chrome Bravo from Rushfaster is tough, tough, tough. Heavy duty material, solid stitching, metal buckles (not plastic!), everything about this bag positively reeks of quality and durability.
The walk-through: the first thing I noticed is the rolltop. OK, interesting, we’ll see. Main compartment seems roomy, lots of sub-compartments and pockets. Handy so you can put your phone & wallet in one and keys in another and not have to go fishing about in a single compartment for everything. Strap adjusters are great, chest clip in metal too. What a satisfying feel and sound as you clip it into place! Nice foam back with channels for potentially releasing heat and wicking – a hot, wet back is always the bane of the backpack user.
In use: very comfortable to get on and off, the straps don’t seem to suffer as much from the usual problem of twisting as you put it on, and then you have to un-twist. The main compartment is tapered top to bottom, and even though it’s designed for a 15″ MacBook pro, because I already had my MacBook in a padded sleeve, it wouldn’t go all the way to the bottom of the bag. I wasn’t comfortable putting my precious MacBook in there without it’s security blanket. While this bag is really tough, it isn’t padded and the edges of my MacBook wouldn’t take kindly to being dropped. Some padding in the bottom of the main compartment would alleviate this concern.
After half an hour of riding, the bag was still feeling pretty comfortable, the wide straps and setup make it sit well on the back. One small issue was the webbing between the back straps rubbing against my neck, which I think is related to my body shape, as I have fairly broad shoulders.
Everything else about the bag is great. So many small details, like the loops on the ends of the shoulder straps are loose enough to hook your chin strap through when you’re off the bike. The Cordura material is very strong, I have had some other products with similar materials and they really take a beating. If you’re like me and tend to deal out the rough treatment, then you’ll be well pleased with this bag. I’ve been in tussles with cars and my backpack is the one that usually comes off worst, and I can’t see that happening with this bag. The fire-engine red back panel also improves your visibility.
Towards the end of my ride it started to rain, and this is usually a worry when it comes to riding with a laptop and phone in your backpack. I found the Bravo to be totally waterproof, everything remained snug and dry. In particular the roll-top makes it impossible for water to get in from the top. On the way home, I also stopped at the supermarket to get some supplies for dinner. My helmet attached nicely to the loop at the end of the shoulder strap, no need to carry it. The rolltop also came in very handy. It rolls out and creates another entire bag worth of volume to fill up with stuff. So in went my groceries and I was on my way again.
TL;DR Great bag! Tough as nails, versatile, waterproof, comfortable.
Compared to all other bags: 9.5/10. Compared to how good it could be: 8/10.