Chrome Buran laptop messenger bag review

Reading through the messages in the last Comment Friday it seems there’s a lot of love for bike panniers. Personally, I can’t help being drawn to messenger bags. The capacity, the quick access when you swing the bag around and the comfortable position on my back have always worked well for me.

Therefore, when Chrome offered the Chrome Buran messenger bag for review I jumped at the offer. The separate compartment for my laptop that I often carry with me to meetings combined with the refined, comfortable and waterproof design were something that I could easily see myself getting plenty of use out of.

The video review is below.

Taking my first look at the professional looking Chrome Buran bag I set myself a small challenge. To fill the bag up. It wasn’t as easy as I thought and ended up cramming quite a few books in there before it couldn’t take any more. There’s truly more capacity here than most would need. In the past month alone I’ve used it extensively for everything from carrying my repair kit and lock to the pub to bringing a new frame home.

Chrome Buran laptop messenger bag holding a red raleigh frame

Although admittedly, I wouldn’t recommend it for the later and unfortunately, probably not even for the former.

Let me explain.

If all you are carrying on a daily basis is your bike lock, a cycling jacket, a book and your repair kit then you really don’t need the Chrome Buran bag. It’s simply far too big and will only serve the purpose of knocking over people’s drinks when you arrive at the pub.

If however, you are carrying more. Maybe a laptop, camera, a couple of books and still have a little space for some supermarket shopping on the way home then you’ll love the Chrome Buran.

Chrome Buran showing the inside capacity with a 15" laptop and camera

The things to love about Chrome Bags

From the comfortable padded shoulder strap to the reliable waterproofing – Chrome bags have a lot going for them. The Buran is no exception.

Let’s start at comfort. The Chrome Buran has the laptop compartment located at the rear of the bag (the part nearest your back). A couple of reviews mention that this is on the front causing your back to feel uncomfortable when you have books in there. This must have been revised in later designs and now couldn’t feel more comfortable.

The bag stays steadily in place even without attaching the additional strap that runs beneath your arm. After riding with the bag filled to the brim on more than just a couple of occasions I found the shoulder strap provided excellent padding and the bag remained comfortable. Of course, over a sustained period of riding with a very full bag you eventually do start to feel the weight on your shoulder. Although, you’d report the same issue with any bag that fits onto your back.

Chrome Buran bag on my shoulders

Moving onto ease of use. The seat belt style locking mechanism allows you to remove the Chrome bag instantly. Quick adjustment is also possible when carrying varying amounts of loads using the strap near the belt clip.

The only downside I could find is that the Velcro could be a little firmer. I found that without clipping the top flap into place I was worried my contents would go sliding out.

As with all Chrome bags there is also strong Velcro placed on the shoulder part for attaching additional mounts.


Inside the bag you’ve got a lot of separate compartments. I’d personally say a little too many. There’s a zipped compartment at the back, a pocket for fitting a 17” laptop, a large main pocket, another pocket with a zipped compartment and then finally two big pockets at the front. Personally, I prefer the approach of the Timbuk2 classic messenger bag that just has the two compartments. However, if you like splitting up your bag contents then you’ll really like the plentiful pockets of the Chrome Buran Messenger bag.

(See also: A new bag that can carry your suit into work)

The good.

  • Very comfortable on the back with plenty of padding around the shoulder
  • Quick release design that stays firmly in place without swinging around
  • Lots of capacity
  • Excellent waterproof design
  • Looks sleek

The bad.

  • Lots of capacity! Perhaps a little too big for most general purposes
  • Velcro could be a little more sticky so you don’t always have to clip in
  • A little overboard with compartmentalisation – there’s just a few too many pockets here that would have removed some of the bulk and made the bag feel a little lighter

The bottom line.

The Chrome Buran Laptop Messenger Bag is a cracking bag! It’s comfortable, spacious, waterproof and looks really professional.

The reason you’ll want it is if you want to get your laptop and clothes into work and still have space on the way home to stop via the supermarket to fit some shopping inside. The only reason you’ll want to stay away from it is if you are looking for something a little lighter with less capacity.

It costs £116.99 from Wiggle

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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8 Responses to Chrome Buran laptop messenger bag review

  1. Northsider 05/04/2011 at 9:56 am #

    Nice review, thanks. I use a Crumpler messenger bag, and the one quibble I have is that it has too few compartments, so this one might suit me better.

    A bit pricey mind.

    • Andreas 05/04/2011 at 10:16 am #

      Those bags look very cool but I’m thinking the Chrome would have far more capacity

  2. bored 05/04/2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Is this bag so great that you needed to tweet about this review 3 times (or was it more)?

    • Andreas 05/04/2011 at 7:55 pm #

      Haha – I tweet most stuff 3 times during the day (people log on to twitter at different times) but you are welcome to stop following if that annoys you (maybe RSS feeds may suit you better?)

  3. Angi 05/04/2011 at 8:00 pm #

    I quite like having lots of compartments. My bigger bike bag has lots of compartments and I love it.
    Anyway, one problem I see with this bag is that, although the seatbelt style clip looks good, if you’re female, it may cause you some pain at the front.

  4. Ashleigh 06/04/2011 at 11:33 am #

    Great review. I’d be really keen to see some waterproof messenger bags that’d suit girls! A lot of the ones out there are super tough and technical-looking. Which is all well and good, and I’m sure they do the job, but I wouldn’t mind something a bit less boyish, e.g. something I can nip down to the shops with as well.

  5. John90 07/04/2011 at 10:28 pm #

    I’ve had bikes cheaper than that! It does look nice and does what I want from a bag but nothing I can’t achieve with my North Face bag at around half the cost.

  6. leslie 11/04/2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Ashleigh why not design your own at, you won’t regret it 🙂

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