One of the advantages to living semi-close to work is that biking to and from the office becomes a real bonus opportunity. Not having to worry about gas or car maintenance is a nice feeling. The only real issues that have come up during my time commuting by bike are weather related and finding a good backpack to lug work materials to and from the office. Since I cannot do anything about the weather, I have concentrated on the backpack element of my commute.
When I first started asking around about a good biking backpack, a friend recommended the MotoCentric Mototrek Backpack. Stupidly, my first response was to dismiss the suggestion because the backpack is sold as a backpack for motorcycle riders and I’m not riding, nor do I own, a motorcycle. Well, my friend gave my brain a few seconds to catch up to my mouth dismissing a backpack because of its marketing spin. Suffice it to say this bit of stupidity on my part won’t be lived down anytime soon.
After purchasing the Mototrek, I gave it my customary inspection to see if this would be a good business backpack and if it would work out as my preferred commuting backpack.
• Size – The pack is a nice size for use during my bike commute. With a 27 liter capacity, I was not worried about space issues. I figured that all I would need it for is moving my work clothes, work files and maybe lunch if I was feeling ambitious enough to make it every morning. Since I don’t transport my work laptop, I wasn’t worried about anything too large going in the bag. However, for those looking for laptop storage, the bag does have a padded compartment for laptops up to 15”. (click here for more backpacks like this)
• Construction – The manufacturer (Motocentric) claims the backpack is made from 1680D Maxtura™ ballistic materials. Now, when I see the word ballistic my mind pictures CSI, bullets and guns. I’m going to guess in this case this Maxtura material just means the bag is made of strong material. The buckles are made from something called Duraflex® and they have proven to be durable in field tests.
• Reflect-A-Light™ reflective piping – This is a nice touch. When riding at night, the bag has detailing on it to keep it reflective. As someone who gets stuck at work until after dark sometimes, this is a much appreciated feature.
• Extra storage – The pack has a few smaller compartments for smaller sized items like a phone, MP3 player, wallet, etc. These compartments are easy to access so are a nice touch of the pack’s design.
• Helmet hood – No doubt made for a motorcycle helmet, this extra section is perfect for a bike helmet. Best of all, this area has no effect on storage capacity. So even if you keep your helmet in this compartment, you will not take a hit on the main storage capacity. Nice.
The Mototrek is a nice, sleek looking backpack. The black version I got is perfect because it doesn’t stand out in my corporate office and I can actually use it as an executive backpack going into meetings. At my current job nobody really cares who carries what around. But I have worked in places where the senior staff seemed to spend more time looking at each other’s business accessories than actually working. Nothing kills your climb up the corporate ladder faster than having a superficial CEO make fun of your beat up backpack that you used since college. After that day I couldn’t get out of that company fast enough. Though, I did buy a new backpack because of that idiot. So, a win-win, I’d say.
I’ve have had the Mototrek for a few months now and can honestly say I have been very happy with it. The bag is comfortable to wear thanks to the adjustable straps. I’m one of those finicky types who will spend a long time getting the comfort level just right. I figure if I’m riding a half hour to work, I’m not going to want to be complaining the whole way. I do wish the shoulder straps had a bit more padding in them. That would make them perfect.
When you ride a bike long enough the inevitable is going to happen and you are going to take a spill. Since owning the Mototrek, I’ve had a few spills that put the pack’s durability to the test. Well, I can report that my backpack has held up with just some scuffing and one scratched buckle. Since I was carrying nothing but paper files and clothes at the time of sudden disembarkation I cannot comment on the packs full protection capability. I can say the clothes and files were absolutely fine. So there is that.
Now Motocentric does not claim the Mototrek is a waterproof motorcycle backpack (or at least I haven’t seen the claims), but the few rain showers I’ve been caught in have not damaged the pack or its contents. Of course, since I generally carry files and clothes, water would be a natural enemy. So far, so good in this regard.
I start heading back to college this fall and I plan on making this my primary book bag. The pack’s carrying capacity should be more than enough for my books and the built in laptop compartment is nice to have so I don’t have to go out and by a new laptop compatible backpack.
I am not one of those types who normally do a cost analysis breakdown regarding my purchases. However, in this case, I can safely say the Mototrek has been a great investment. This pack can be had for a great price (less than $100) so if you have the opportunity to pick one up when you are shopping for a new backpack go ahead and spring for the Mototrek. Even if you are not a biker, this is a great, sleek looking backpack that can be used in different work and social environments.