When I got my first Rickshaw Zero, I asked, "where are the straps". The owner/designer explained to me that most people used Timbuk2 bags (he ran it for a while a few years back) with one strap buckled, the other unbuckled, for quick access by tearing up a corner of the flap.
In practice, I have discovered that the cleverly modified "single Velcro" strip attachment on all the Rickshaw Zeros is very handy, and quite secure. The scratchy Velcro is on the flap, and isn't too long. The safer, soft Velcro is a LONG strip on the exterior front panel. It's easy to hit the right spot and seal the bag shut just as tight or loose as you need; the "soft" Velcro on the exterior won't snag everything it contacts, or pick up and hold all sorts of crud (the flap side Velcro is less "dangerous" in this regard since it is out of the way).
So why do I recommend accessory straps on the Large? Simply because the front panel area is much wider, but mainly because I will be using my Large as a carryon bag, and want the extra security. Of course this means the straps have the potential to dangle and catch on things, one of the reasons I like Rickshaw's LACK of straps, but in this case the use points to straps not just Velcro.
This is NOT a large bag for carryon luggage, at least if you are used to carrying on a 22" wheelie. You can shove your 3-1-1 TSA pouch in the main compartment, or in a front slot for quicker access, and other toiletries in an Eagle Creek pouch, utility sack, or just plain Ziploc and carry in the main compartment, and fold up some underwear, socks, and maybe spare tee shirt in an oversize Ziploc etc. or bundle roll them, but since I personally also need room for a neck pillow, sweater, netbook, etc., AND I want to keep the weight down, I'm not going to be stuffing spare shoes or thick denim jeans in there as well, anytime soon.
On the other hand, this WILL stow under a seat, or even in the small regional jet overhead compartments, and it WON'T break your back while checking in or through or walking terminals. You won't have to drag a wheelie around or up or down stairs, and unlike a daypack carried single shoulder style, the Zerio won't slide off your shoulder; but at a ticket counter or transit point, you can swing it around to the front for access.
Although this is the "wimp" of "large" category messenger bags, compared to other makers, that means it isn't too big to use as a day bag at destination, and since it has thinner buckles and a thinner (not narrower) cross-body strap, and thinner Cordura as the liner instead of tarp, it can also easily be stuffed into a checked bag on an outbound flight, then pulled out for the return flight to carry back souvenirs and shopping booty, or to offload some clothing from luggage to allow shopping storage there. Not to mention the Large Zero IS an ideal side for an overnight side trip out of town, while leaving heavier luggage at the hotel.
I once thought about taking a SMALL T2 bag in my checked 22" wheelie for destination use. Even a SMALL was so bulky I gave up on the idea. This LARGE Zero is much smaller and lighter, and I can easily stow it in my checked wheelie.
Sometimes "less," well executed, is "more".
Finally, unlike my other ultralight solutions - principally items from Patagonia's excellent "Lightweight" line like their Tote and Duffle - the Zeros aren't questionably thin translucent/transparent Silnylon, but robust double layered Cordura.
A note on the construction of my bag:
I have a Small Zero, reviewed separately, which has XPac on the outside for ease in keeping it clean. For this Large version, I used XPac on the INTERIOR since sometimes I will be using this as a gym bag, and wanted a slick, non-absorbent material for the inside that won't pick up moisture and odors. I used Cordura on the outside for a more conventional travel appearance. So my bag is "inside out" and Rickshaw was happy to reverse the usual materials location to accomodate my request.
Rickshaw Zeros are ten-speeds in a mountain bike messenger bag world. More like the classic Bridgestone CB-0 though, and sometimes "less", cleverly done, is "more."
Audric Kim – Verified Buyer
I have nothing but positive things to say about my customized large zero messenger! I purchased the X-Pac Yellow bag and it is absolutely fabulous in wet weather. I use this to carry everything from my laptop to and from work, my iPad2, clothes, and even my DSLR! I can't wait to pick out my next Rickshaw bag. Thanks guys!
Mike Daniels – Verified Buyer
It's great. I love it and it fits snugly round the body - I like the way the shoulder strap joins the bag at the sides rather than a buckle on top :)
Aireanne Hjelle – Verified Buyer
I love this bag and use it everyday--my one complaint is that there has been some wear and tear on the outside corners.
ChiTown Triathlete – Verified Buyer
I ordered the Large Zero a few months ago and wanted to give it a real world test commuting on the train and bike to/from work, home and the gym before writing my review.
I bought the bag for commuting to work and the gym and I'm a triathlete with A LOT of gear to haul. I'm 5'2" so I was a bit concerned that the bag would overwhelm me but that's not the case at all. I can pack it to the gills with (get ready for this): enough gym gear for my 2-a-day workouts (bras, tops, pants, socks), office clothes, lunch, work files, glasses case, large wallet, phone, ipod, large sport watch, flip-flops, running shoes, dress shoes (both 6.5m women's), jewelry and some other odds and ends. I've even crammed my bike helmet in there with ear muffs, gloves and a scarf. It really holds that much! And, it's still comfortable to ride to work -- I bought the extra cross strap so it doesn't shift at all. Even with it fully packed, I kinda forget it's there on my ride into work. I should note that the extra buckles on the front flap are the saving grace for stuffing it that full.
Sometimes the padded shoulder strap moves too far to the end of the shoulder strap but that's probably because I'm on the shorter side so the shoulder strap has to be adjusted close to the shortest option and the buckle pushes the padded thing to the end -- nothing new for me there and I'm sure I can readjust the padded thing over the buckle once I find the perfect sweet spot for the shoulder strap length.
The bag itself is extremely well constructed and really sharp looking. I got the grey waterproof sailing cloth for the external and a bright pink for the internal. I opted to not get the waterproof lining due to the waterproofed external fabric although I bike in all kinds of cruddy Chicago weather. So far, the bag has kept everything as dry as a bone even in a bad storm. I ordered a reflective patch from anther vendor and had it shipped direct to Rickshaw. They did a great job sewing it on and I'm so happy to have one more bit of safety/visibility for my night rides home. Also, the bag looks brand new even after several months of hard use.
The staff is super friendly and really helpful. I had a bunch of questions while customizing my bag and Rachel responded to my emails really quickly and actually had some great tips and suggestions that steered me away from what would have been less-than-optimal choices for my purposes and suggested some materials that worked out beautifully. The packaging with the bag was pretty cute, too.
Only suggestions: (1) put the key lanyard in the deluxe drop pocket on the outside of the zipper pouch or the end of the pouch so the key can hang out while the pouch is still zipped closed -- it's kind of a pain to get to) and (2) consider a top handle so I can grab and go without using the shoulder strap.
Thanks for a great product and great service, Rickshaw!