Chrome has got city and mountain bikers covered to the point of being battle ready, with the Bravo Night backpack and Vanya Knickers. The backpack is like something you would see on military personnel, because it is extremely durable, waterproof, and can handle a ton of strap on attachments. The hardcore look of the bag is nicely softened with Vanya Knickers, riding capris for women, making for a killer combo for any regular biker.
The Bravo Night backpack is a roll-top extension pack. So this gives you the option to use it as a spry 20L pack, or to stuff it till it bursts at 40L with the expandable roll top. The pack’s interior is waterproof once the roll-top is secured in place with a Velcro panel. The heavy duty interior is made out of Cordura fabric with a ripstop nylon extension, so you can transport your electronic valuables in here with peace of mind.
The front pocket is large and can house a large laptop in it. Chrome says that it is designed for a 15” laptop, but my 17” MacBook Pro fits great, and is very secure in the pocket. Just on the other side of the laptop sleeve are pen pockets and such, plus enough room to put a folded jacket in, or even some lengthy cords. The exterior of that pocket has a zippered pocket with plenty of space for chargers, headphones, and more cords. It is perfectly safe there from rain exposure, since it is a water resistant material and closed up with a Velcro hooking flap. Even more impressive is the cross compression straps that can haul just about anything you can fit on there, like a sleeping bag, bike stuff, or more likely in Williamsburg, a guitar or banjo. The straps are easy to adjust to put an object in, and even easier to tighten for transport.
Wearing the Bravo Night backpack is very comfortable due to the padded ergonomic straps, as well as the EVA foam back panel. EVA stands for Ethylene vinyl acetate. It is a high end foamy material often called “foam rubber.” It is über lightweight, molds gloriously to your back, while maintaining enough structure to allow for air flow through spacing lines. On the straps there is yet more options to strap items into the straps. On top of each shoulder strap there is a seatbelt-like nylon strap that secures with a Velcro enclosure and can be adjusted to fit in whatever you need. I like it for keeping headphones in place, as well as for using it as an easy access hair tie.
Once you have the straps in place, adjusting the pack is easy, Just pull down on the lower straps until it is comfortable. Then, click in the sternum strap and adjust until it distributes the weight more evenly across the front of your body, relieving some of the weight off the back, and looking great in the process. On its own, the pack weighs just under 4lbs and measures 13.75” wide, 20.25” high, 5.5” deep. That is a fantastic weight for all that functional utility. To top it off, the front panel is a 3M Reflective material that will let drivers spot you at night from a great distance, which an awesome safety feature to include. Also, I love that it is reflective without being obvious. During the day it simply appears as a smooth charcoal.
Pair that with the Ladies Vanya Knickers on your next ride. These Knickers are super comfortable, sporty, and cute. Rather than just looking sporty, they live up to their description by being highly usable. To that effect, they are water resistant, moisture wicking, and extra breathable. The “4-way Stretch” fabric means you can really move in these without fear of permanent stretching or harm. These move with you, not restricting your movement.
As you peddle around, these pants won’t rub, because they have articulated knees, meaning they have left room for movement in that area. Chrome has managed to accomplish this without the pants becoming baggy, but instead they offer a “slim fit.” This is a great design in comparison to so many other biking pants that is on the market these days. Many times biking pants are either so tight they rival yoga pants, or so baggy that they look like men’s clothing. Vanya has struck a fine, attractive balance cutely tying the design element together with a slight upward taper at the calves, emphasizing the nice feminine curve of the leg.
Another perk of these knickers are the zip secured side leg pocket, perfect for an iPhone, or the like. I love how easy these are to wash and dry. They dry super fast! There is also a lightweight integrated cycling chamois. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that terminology, that means there is a thin section of padding about the crotch area meant for bikers to make the seat more comfortable while preventing sweat from soaking through the pants, while still maintaining breathability. This feature gives you the power to do a hard bike ride across town, sweat a little and still go out to eat with friends, without worrying about sweat showing down there. However, this also means that you probably don’t want to just wear these around town for the fun of it, as you may find the chamois a tad uncomfortable.
Overall, Chrome never fails to provide incredibly well thought out products that suit specific needs almost perfectly. Bikers out there, especially city commuters, will love the Bravo Night Backpack, Vanya Knickers combo. Wearing these almost feels like it was designed just for your needs, and that is what we love in a product. The Vanya Knickers are currently on sale in the Blue Steel color as pictured for $72, off the original $120 price. The Bravo Night pack comes in at a well deserved $180.
The Good: Both products are expertly designed, highly useful, and extremely durable and long lasting
The Bad: Both products are highly specific to the kind of use they’d get.