Friday, September 05, 2014

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag 2014 Review

Timbuk2 has just updated its classic messenger bag this year with the release of the 2014 Edition Classic Messengers Bag.

I have had a ‘few’ Timbuk2 bags for a while (and also selling a bunch) that I just had to share what’s new and different between this new 2014 versions versus the old 2013 models. For those who are like TL;DR, I have also made a video showing of the new Timbuk2 2014 Dark Brown / Black Messenger Bag :)

I’m selling this bag along with other Timbuk2 bags so this post was as unbiased as I can be. Timbuk2 is not a sponsor in any way. To the buyer – to each his/her own.

Check out the photos and commentaries below.

This is the new Timbuk2 2014 Classic Messenger Bag. Size is small and the new Cordura fabric feels more like canvas than an alternative to a ballistic nylon material. The iconic swirl logo is replaced by a Timbuk2 badge with the logo and name.

This is my own custom made bag. It’s a canvas dark oak with a black tarpulin material in the middle. The customizable swirl ‘bike wheel’ logo is still visible.

Straps and Buckles

Quick differences that you can see is that the stealth clip buckles on the new ones are hidden under the flap. It depends on your taste, but I still find having the clips outside to be a bit convenient and easy to access.

The new straps and clips are slightly narrower than the original version. Notice the same Timbuk2 reflectors on both.

While the 2013 models have either an option for compression straps beneath, enabling you to cinch the bag to fit the contents, the new 2014 models have it already integrated and built-in in all new bags. This was possible since the the straps are now underneath the flaps. So that’s a premium that now comes as standard.

Another premium before that is now standard on all bags is the inclusion of the top handle strap. Custom 2013 model bags has this top strap option as well but it was a padded and thicker strap, so some cutbacks on those here.

The new straps are thinner and narrower plus it’s shorter. I don’t know what Timbuk2 was thinking but I like the quality and heft of the old ones. It felt durable and really hugs the chest nicely. Women in particular might like this new 2014 version since the strap has a more ‘velvety’ feel and is much narrower.

Another con for me are the new adjustable straps. They have removed the quick release buckle feature which allows you to take the bag off with ease, specially with bike helmets on, without readjusting the strap length.

On the upside, the new strap buckle system does clean up the ‘hanging loop’ that every old Timbuk2 messenger bag has when you tighten the fit.


This is the 2014 front pockets. Only 3. one front pocket, pocket and a napoleon side pocket. They really went minimal on this one.

On the 2013 models, Timbuk2 has 5 pockets. 3 front pockets, 1 top pocket and 1 napoleon side pocket. Notice also the presence of the Timbuk2 name on the bike light clip strap.

The n2014 model has lesser and simpler pockets. There are only 4 pockets available. 2 of them are for pens and smaller items. An addition however would be the 2 mesh pockets on opposite sides for shades, water bottles, hard drive etc... These are nice additions though I think that accessing the water bottle compartment can be a minor hassle as opposed to just having them outside.

The 2013 models have a padded Velcro compartment for small items as well as trio slots for pens. There are also 2 extra pockets for other stuff. Both bags have dedicated laptop/tablet compartment at the back.

Pockets are now gone in the zippered compartment of the 2014 model.  So if you have keys or other small items, expect them to move around here.

Lots of pockets adorn the 2013 model. Perfect for keys, hand sanitizers, pepper spray (yes), mint candies, external battery, cards, etc..

A look at the Velcro (soft side) of the 2014 (bottom) and 2013 (top)


While there have been a few new additions to the classic line like hidden buckles, standard straps, bottle holders – the bag doesn’t feel like a real upgrade for us already used to using the old models.

The new Cordura fabric material which I have used on the Especial, is quite nice but it’s too soft for my taste. The straps are too thin and short and the lack of pockets on these new ones are a major let down. I mean pockets, who doesn’t like more pockets?!

Amidst the changes and ‘improvements’ made to the 2014 Timbuk2 Classic messenger bag. I would still buy the 2013 models since I think that the new ones are more of a spin-off of the classic line and not a replacement of it. I’m not sure if these bags are still being made in parallel with these new ones so I already got a few ones for my own. Hopefully they sell both and let the market decide who has the better design.

With all these said, new Timbuk2 owners will surely be pleased with this bag as it’s nicely built. I just don’t think that the ones who previously own the older models would have this as an upgrade.

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