You'll probably know Abus as the German lock-meisters but the Dryve is part of their march into the world of bags and helmets.
The Dryve seems to be designed with the British cyclist in mind, made as it is from waterproof sturdy and durable 1000D Kodra, with waterproof seams, waterproof external zips and with a drawstring baffle over the main compartment to further keep the elements from the cargo, although the last feature can get in the way of swift contents access.
The Dryve's 16 Litre capacity means it's not the most capacious courier-bag around, there's room in the main compartment for a few A4 files, or a laptop and D-lock, plus extra layers of clothing and the usual cycling nik-naks but not too much more. A divider separates the main compartment; that's a useful feature if you need to keep that precious laptop away from other scratchy and denty stuff or the mayo in your sandwich away from those monthly figures reports, although Sod's Law often dictates that the desired item is always on the other side of the divider to that which you're rummaging in, luckily the divider is flexible enough to be shoved to the front or the back of the bag to turn the insides into one simple hole. The overall lack of internal space means if you're the type to stop off on the commute home for some milk and cat-food you might find the Dryve quickly overawed by random accumulation, so definitely steer clear of the BOGOFs.
Quite often the bag would baulk at the day to day cargo that other courier-bags have taken in their stride, although its lack of hefty carriage ability seems to be an integrated design trait as it doesn't deal with weight very well. The Dryve comes with a waist-strap to prevent the bag from swinging about, but this doesn't really work as a stability aid as the bag still wants to rotate around your waist when subjected to on-bike body movement, especially when forced to deal with the centripetal forces of a hefty load attached to a jiggling cyclist, and doing the waist-strap up tighter to minimise this does little but dig uncomfortably into your stomach, the bag-corner to shoulder-strap routing of other courier bags' stability-straps is a far more preferable and secure option. Almost as an apology for this the free end of the waist strap clips into a buckle on the shoulder-pad to prevent annoying danglage when not in use.
The adjuster for the main strap, although incredibly secure, requires both hands to change the length of the strap, making it less simple to fiddle with on the move to get a comfy fit than some other courier bag straps. Slipped onto it is a large padded shoulder pad that can get sweaty when the weather is warm and alongside it is a removable mobile phone/music player pouch with clear window to see who's calling and a cat's-bum headphone hole.
There's a large zipped pocket on the outside of the bag along the spine that's really convenient for storing frequently needed items such as wallets and keys, although the nagging paranoid voice whispers that it's easily pick-pocketed and valuables should be put deep inside the bag, so there's another similar sized pocket on the outside that's protected by the main flap for the paranoid.
Continuing with the pockets theme, there are two mesh ones on the inside wall of the Dryve for the random paraphernalia that inhabits courier-bags and there's a detachable organiser file on the main compartment divider containing a zipped pocket perfect for a selection of pens and some lipsticks, two Velcro flapped pockets that are just the right size for travel and library cards and two pen-sized sleeves in the middle; as it's poppered onto the divider the whole organiser can be quickly taken out like a handy nomadic pencil-case. Should you be an Abus bag junkie this detachable file also fits into the other Dryve bags and into the single pannier bags of the Urban Exclusive line. The downside to such a plethora of separate storage areas is that it can get confusing trying to remember where specific items have been hidden.
The rear of the bag has an extra padded patch of material sewn onto it that not only aids courier back comfort but is also a "Trolley Sleeve" allowing the Dryve to be slipped over the extending handle of a luggage trolley, a clever travellers detail, and useful if you're a cycling air-hostess, maybe.
The Abus logos are reflective as are the little tags on the buckles and the lime/green colourway shown here is quite visible too, luckily if you're not a fan of Hi-Viz Snot as a shade it comes in several other colour variants.
The Abus Dryve is a good little bag, and we'll use the word 'little' deliberately. We were frequently thwarted by its small size as we tried to cram stuff into it, and then annoyed by its insecure waist-strap. For a bike-to-work person that just requires a bag for their computer, paperwork and the odd bit of clothing it should be fine, as long as they don't need to buy anything for supper on the cycle home.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Abus Dryve messenger bag
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Abus Dryve is an all-weather messenger bag with a 16 litre stowing capacity, it's not really up to the job of a messenger bag, but as a to-and-from-the-office bag it does quite well.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Waterproof durable material 1000D Kodra fabric with waterproof seams and waterproof zippers.
Size - 50cms x 21cms x 38cms
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Up to a capacity it performed okay, but go beyond a certain weight and size of payload and it would refuse to swallow and come over all insecure.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Um, er, all the pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lack of capacity and the waist strap. The colour was a bit off for us as well.
Did you enjoy using the product? No, it was frequently frustrating.
Would you consider buying the product? Not really, there's better out there.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Ermmmmmmmmno, unless they just needed a specific bag for unencumbered commuting carriage.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he’s not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he’s not doing either of those he’s pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he’s agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours doesn’t. He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.