The Boblbee Megalopolis is, I grant you, not a very catchy name for a backpack. It’s not primarily intended for cyclists, but this piece of kit is safety accredited as TUV/CE as a back protection device and it can provide a valuable service to road riders, especially those of us that do battle with the traffic or need extra back protection.
First impressions then. The Megalopolis has a very hard, very bright moulded outer shell available in a range of colours. The construction and visibility combine with high quality materials to create a tough backpack which is great for added confidence when out riding. I have a back injury and knowing that this pack has TUV/CE accreditation safety award does wonders for my state of mind. I don't want to have to use it but it's good to know that should a spill ever occur the bag will help dampen any impact.
Internal space is provided by one large section with strategically placed dividers and liners to keep, papers, laptops and the like still. The hard shell means that the space isn't quite as flexible, but there's plenty of room inside. Externally there is a well positioned top pocket which is watertight due to its rubbery material and taped seams. The clip on webbing that will grip virtually anything you place in there and restrain it firmly in place against the moulded outer shell of this pack is an excellent option. Unfortunately it is just that: an option with a cost of around £20
The construction of the Megalopolis is certainly based around strong engineering principles. The high visibility fluorescent yellow outer shell is screwed onto a reinforced plastic plate on either side by a series of 8 Allen bolts. This plate sandwiches a layer of durable rip-stop fabric between itself and the high-viz shell to allow the internal compartment to expand for larger loads. The pack uses quality materials, very well put together.
The back plate features high quality foam padding with raised, double layer sections strategically positioned to allow your back to be fully supported and encased should the worst happen. For the base of your spine the materials change and a synthetic leather-like material replaces the meshed surface of the foam, this new section follows the waist strap part way around your hips offering enhanced grip, comfort and protection. It's not a light bag but it is supremely comfortable to wear.
Other small but well thought out features include the padded, waterproof mobile phone pouch (again an option), this could be just as well suited to a GPS unit or an mp3 player.
The pack is finished off with heavy duty, chunky buckles and straps that only serve to reinforce the message that you can rely on the Megalopolis in an accident – it really is a tough cookie. Whether you need to spend this much on this kind of protection is your decision. I have a bad back and a city commute and felt a lot safer wearing this pack, but it's a lot to pay if you don't need the extra safety net.
I think it is a strong product – in all senses of the word – and I'm suprised that they don't target cyclists more: we are a large and growing sector of the market. The Boblbee Megalopolis is a strong, durable and visible addition to the cyclist, especially useful for those who encounter busy roads on a daily basis and have to carry valuable and vulnerable cargo.
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Make and model: Boblbee Megalopolis Aero
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?
This product has been conceived for motorcyclists and those who ski, however it has uses for road cyclists too. Boblbee say that they combine the need for a versatile backpack with the benefits of a back protection unit then. It certainly looks different and it serves its functions very well indeed.
Tell us some more about the techincal aspects of the product?
It is CE and TUV approved as a back protector. The coloured outer shell is made of impact resistant ABS which is perfect for making lightweight, strong, formed shapes. This pack has been designed from scratch to provide exceptional ergonomic benefits and to be honest it works, when riding this pack doesnt get in the way, it just fits the shape of the rider neatly.
Very well made but I found one thing a little annoying, the test bag developed a squeak. It sounded like I had trapped a small, furry animal in the bag. Try as I might to find the source of the noise I couldnt, tightening every screw and bolt didnt solve the crisis either. When walking with my bike through Bristol centre I can only imagine what passers by must have thought I had brought with me.
Obviously I didnt have to put the main feature of the bag into practice but every other aspect performed superbly and I have no doubt that the protection offered by the design would stand up to a lot.
No problems at all during testing, the Megalopolis is built to last and all parts are replaceable
This is the downside of all of the protection, technology and capacity. The bag is quite a weighty piece of work. This isnt the end of the world if you're going to fill it up with books, laptops, folders and clothes though. Look at it as better fitness training on climbs.
I barely knew I had it on. Whether empty or full it didn't move about when I was out of the saddle and the shoulder straps and waist belt didn't cut into me as cheaper backpacks would.
Difficult to rate as it depends on whether you need the extra protection it affords. For most road cyclists it's probably a bit over the top but some will welcome it.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a bag it performed well, it held a good load and didnt move about at all when riding. The rigid shell means it doesn't hold quite as much as you might think. Its other main feature, the back protection side of its design, thankfully, wasn't tested.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Personally I found the fit to be the most positive aspect of this backpack, it was secure without being intrusive. The pack didn't get in my way at all and I found it exceptionally comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The squeak! Also, that the cargo net on the outside is an optional extra. It is very useful if you have odd shaped items or things you want to get at quickly to be able to just stuff them under the net and be on your way, for £150+ I would want that to be included.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes very much so
Would you consider buying the product? Yes I would as it offers impact protection and high visibility
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Your overall verdict of the product taking everything into account
Age: 24 Height: 5ft 10 Weight: 66kg
I usually ride: at the moment my Orbea Ora tri/tt bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb, triathlon