I realized I hadn't reviewed my Zero medium, yet... and I've had it for about a year now! LOVE this bag. It is showing no signs of wear, after a year of almost daily use that included bike commuting in inclement weather, sunshine, being thrown on many floors, and travel in cars, planes, and trains. I really does look brand new.
I *strongly* recommend messaging the staff directly about special needs. They were perfectly happy to have waterproof liner and a blinky light strap added (before these were regular offerings). It's lightweight, yet I have never had a problem fitting my entire load. In fact, if I ever load it so full it's uncomfortable to carry, it's a sign to me that it's not the right day to bike commute. I do NOT have the extra straps. I find I don't miss them- if the bag is so full it can't be held by the velcro, it's probably not the day to bike. Perhaps I would add them if I got another one, if I could have the SHHH! option.
When bike commuting, I can load:
-lunch in a tiffin or Mr. Bento lunchbox,
-my bike lock and cable which fit perfectly in the front pocket,
-my work calendar
-an extra shirt and sweater
-my wallet and a little girlie bag
-a Kindle touch
-(not every day) my macbook in its sleeve.
-I also keep the deluxe drop pocket in there all the time.
I did a grey exterior with purple piping and turquoise interior. I love the pops of color. I've taken it as my "personal item" on several flights. Because it's small and squshy, it's never been challenged.
All in all, the big drawback is that it's so well made that I have no opportunity to buy another one. So I'm looking at the folios and will probably have a custom folio made soon!
I wish the Market Tote would come back. I didn't like the image, but if a plain tote came out, I'd love that for the weekly Farmer's Market ride. Currently, I empty out my Zero to take shopping.
I have a review posted of the Small edition which is my go-to, EDC bag. In that review, basically, I extolled the well-designed "simplicity" of the Zero line of bags - the fact that they don't have secret compartments, pouches, zipper slots up the wazoo like that "other" messenger bag maker (T2, if you must know). I especially like the fact that since the Rickshaw organizing accessory pouches attach by Velcro, I can own more than one Rickshaw bag and moving my junk from one bag to another isn't that hard - the slots are all in the same place, and the accessory pouch just rips out and easily relocates to the other bag (including another Zero in a different size!).
If you get a Zero with XPac as the exterior material, you never have to worry about collecting dust or smudges, or footprints from your kidlings dangling their feet on it, because it doesn't soak up dust or dirt and readily wipes down with a damp cloth. Also, the XPac is superlight! My XPac version in Small is my favorite.
But I also like black cordura exterior on steel (very dark gray) interior with black edges - call me old fashioned, but I like any color so long as it is black, and I like monochrome matching, not brightly contrasting, interiors. That is one of the reason you almost always want to order one of these online, instead of purchasing a pre-made bag, just so you can customize it, at NO SURCHARGE, to your heart's content.
Keep in mind that if you use T2 bags as a reference point, each bag in the Rickshaw line is CURRENTLY about 1/2 size down from the corresponding T2 bag - the "Small" Zero is more comparable to the Extra Small T2, the "Medium" to the Small T2. However, when I transferred contents from my Extra Small T2 to my Small Zero, I actually had some space left over, so while the Small is smaller based on eyeball and measurements, it is laid out differently and seems to hold more.
Also keep in mind that the Medium feels like a "size" larger than the Small, but the Large feels like only a HALF size larger than the Medium - that's because the bags are based on the fabric roll sizes - 15", 20", and 23", and the jump from Small to Medium is proportionately greater than from Medium to Large.
Thanks to the lack of built-in flaps, pockets, etc. and the use of a Cordura instead of tarp liner and the use of thinner (not narrower!) body straps and lighter buckles, the Rickshaw bags are THE lightweight champs of the messenger world. This is better for my shoulder and back, BUT if you plan on carrying a quart Sigg bottle or a six-pack AND a 15" or 17" laptop - and some books! - you might be better served with a Chrome messenger bag, which although it probably weighs twice as much as the Zero just by itself, has that huge shoulder strap with tons of padding. Mean, I've learned how to go lighter and simpler, the iPod Touch is MY iPad AND my reading library AND my netbook; and I use Platypus pinter bottles for water, so my needs are lighter and different. I'm not being paid to haul someone else's junk around in a commercial bike messenger bag, why should my messenger bag be overbuilt like theirs?
So why did I get one in Small and one in Medium for EDC? Simply for seasonal adjustment. The Small is my summer/cool season bag, and the Medium is my rainy/cold season bag - the contents are identical, but the Medium will hold a puff jacket, compressed down, or a fleece. Is the Medium big enough for a gym bag? Maybe, if you don't carry all the EDC junk I do. Otherwise, look to the Large for a gym bag or slick carryon luggage piece.
A note on the strap: Props to the designer for having the guts to use a thinner, easier to "clamp buckle adjust" strap than the massive, stiff, heavy straps used on other messenger bags. At first I had my doubts, but now I really like the buckle system.
A note on buckles: if you intend to use your Rickshaw as carryon luggage, I strongly recommend the accessory strap/buckle system on at least the Large version.
Two suggestions to Rickshaw:
1. Change the brown, fabric patterned background on the reviews - makes them very hard to read.
2. Start a "lending library" program where customers can "borrow and try" some bags to make sure they are getting the right size - maybe take a credit card and charge a flat $10 shipping and let customers have them for a couple of weeks to try them out. What you are doing, in terms of bag design, is so different that buying them blind is a tough call.
Brian in Boston – Verified Buyer
I wanted a smaller bag for riding on my bike, when I'm not carrying my laptop. This is that bag!
Combined with the cross strap, this thing sits solidly on my back while I'm hopping curbs around town.
The solid materials, build quality, and excellent design make this a great functional bag for on the bike or over the shoulder for a train commute. I am looking forward to picking up a larger Ricshaw bag for everyday laptop carry to replace my Bihn, which is starting to fray around the edges.
And check out that orange line--it's a perfect highlight on the solid black.
It's a little too small for my 15" Macbook Pro, but would probably fit your Macbook Air just fine.
Geoffrey Stein – Verified Buyer
I ended up buying a large to haul stuff. The med. was just to small for a computer, gym stuff and lunch ...
What about adding a newspaper sleeve to the back?
Randy Harris – Verified Buyer
FANTASTIC Customer Support! Bag is perfect and I am blown away by how much it will hold. Medium bag will hold all of my Linux programming books, 13" laptop, notebooks, moleskine, portable hard drives...... . Excellent value! I thought about a competing messenger, but they were all made in China. American made, world class customer service and top of the line quality. How can you beat that!