Test ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

Review: ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban, the Incognito Pannier

Barbara 16. July 2019

Pannier mounts and clean looks don’t mix well. With the Twin-City Urban, ORTLIEB has developed a bag that can do both.

There’s gotta be a hook somewhere. Actually, there has to be two. Without them, a pannier just won’t attach to a rack. The only problem is, those hooks are still there when you’re not using them. And that is when they start to bother. Either, you can feel the hooks jamming into your own body, or those around you are the ones feeling them. ORTLIEB - known for their patents and inventions when it comes to waterproof cycling - have found a way to keep the hooks from bothering anyone. The result - the new Twin-City Urban!

The flap – it flips!

In short, the Twin-City Urban is a downtown shoulder bag that uses the proven QL2.1 mounting system (for more about the QL2.1 see our Back-Roller Urban post) to attach to a rack and become a bicycle pannier. Sure, ORTLIEB has developed bags similar to this e.g. the Commuter-Bag 2 or the Office-Bag. However, what the Twin-City Urban has (and something you won’t find on other panniers) is an opening constructed to allow the flap to flip both ways. On the wide side the self-closing QL2.1 hooks and on the other an elegant, robust aluminium clasp. The ideas is, when you’re biking the flap is attached to the non-hook side and the shoulder strap is stored in an outside pocket to prevent it from getting into the spokes. When you shoulder the bag, the flap is flipped to the other side to cover up the hooks. Like this, others won’t even notice you were on the bike.

Handling ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

Park your bike, remove the Twin-City from the rack by pulling on the handle

Handling ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

flip the flap over the hooks

Handling ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

take the shoulder strap out of the pocket and clip the aluminium clasp

Handling ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

and voilá you've got a waterproof shoulder bag

An elegant cover

The material - like all products from the ORTLIEB Urban line - is a joy to look at, has clean, stylish looks, and feels great in the hand. The textile feel of the Cordura cotton mixed fabric has a lot of people asking, ‘Is it really waterproof?’ For those who love facts: it has a IP 53 protection rating, which means it is protected from spray coming from a 60° to vertical angle and is close to dustproof. The textile outer surface of the Twin-City Urban is outfitted with a polyurethane (PU) coating on the inside. This makes the material completely waterproof - so much that a 100 metre water column (100,000 mm) is needed to bring the water repellent to its knees. The outer surface is also impregnated to prevent it from soaking up tons of water. The Cordura part - an extremely robust and abrasion-resistant composite - gives the material an abrasion, tear and UV resistance that at first glance one would certainly not expect. However: The products of the Urban line are made to last many, many seasons.

Triple protection

The main opening into the inner workings and thus the contents of the bag are basically triple secured: 1. By flipping the flap. 2. Through a continuous zipper at the opening. 3. By a push button on the buckle flap, which prevents unintentional opening of the zipper. Apropos bag contents: Several small storage compartments accommodate smartphones, wallets, pens & co. Okay, with a volume of nine litres, the Twin-City Urban is no cargo bag, but to be honest: in smaller bags you take less with you. ORTLIEB did not add a separate laptop or tablet compartment (although up to 15-inch laptops fit into it), as the Twin-City Urban is clearly a city bag. If you are looking for the complete office or university package and still want to travel without a hook, you might want to switch to the bigger brother Commuter-Bag 2 with the QL3.1 fastening system. And if you're planning on going grocery shopping after work, you should simply go for two Back-Rollers (also available in an Urban version to match the Twin-City).

ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

The contents are secure with a zipper plus a button,

ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

and a large aluminium clasp for the flap.

ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

The shoulder strap is stored away in the pocket

ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban

so it doesn't get in the way of the spokes

ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban Test

When riding the Twin-City Urban is securely connected via the QL2.1 system.

ORTLIEB Twin-City Urban Test

Form and function unite!

The Twin-City Urban takes the hook out of the catch. A secure, weatherproof bike bag with a simple and functional cover solution for the fastening system when not in use.

ORTLIEB Twin-City Fact Check:

  • Material: "PS55C", cotton blend fabric (Cordura), PU-coated, PVC-free
  • QL2.1 mount system
  • Volume: 9 litres
  • Weight: 666 g
  • Dimensions: 30 cm height, 39 cm width, 12 cm depth
  • Protection class IP 53, i.e. almost dustproof and protected against water spray at an angle of up to 60 degrees to vertical
  • Height-adjustable closure
  • Shoulder strap
  • Various interior compartments
  • Can be attached to both sides of the bicycle
  • Zip outer pocket (not waterproof)
  • Two side reflectors
  • PVC-free
  • Made in Germany
  • 5 year guarantee
  • Colours: ink, pine, pepper