Ortlieb Commuter Daypack City Lightning Review

I own a pair of Ortlieb panniers for my townie which is great for slow, gear (or grocery) laden rides but purchased this to have something waterproof for longer high-speed commutes on my road bike.

The initial build quality is excellent just as I had expected and the fit is absolutely perfect. The little foam pads conform to the shape of your back and the bag is rigid and tight enough not to flop around when you’re out of the saddle. It is built with the minimum of seams and padding (which can absorb water) yet does not seem to sacrifice comfort.

I like that it closes with a metal hook which won’t break like a plastic clip nor come loose when wet like velcro.

Ortlieb keeps the water out the same way they do with their other products: There is a semi-flexible plastic squeegee-like strip that you fold the bag around. Two or three folds, a hook, and you’re tight.

The engineers really pared this thing down to the bare minimum size for what it needs to do. I can fit a change of clothes (size 10.5 shoes with the heels at the bottom of the bag), a repair kit and a computer with about 5″ of remaining space which would allow for some computer accessories and a puffer coat/rain coat.

The pack will fit a change of clothes (with size 10.5 shoes, heels down), a 15″ computer and a repair kit with ~5″ of space remaining for computer accessories and a puffer coat/rain jacket.
Foam pads conform to the shape of your back without sacrificing rigidity.
The rubberized fabric is pretty stiff so the listed dimensions should be treated as a hard limit.

For what this is I’d be hard pressed to offer succestions for improvement. One thing I’d like to see added is the ability to adjust the vertical positioning of the waist belt for taller folks.

Otherwise, El Niño, the Madden Julian Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation: I see you!

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Aaron Deutsch

About Aaron Deutsch

Aaron has always felt a passion for, if not a gravitational pull from, racing. Since being lured from the basketball court onto the track in 1993 he set 7 track & field records and medaled six times at the state level of competition.

He moved to the mountain bike in the late 1990s and won the Penn Cycle Buck Hill race series in 2000 in the sport class. He also placed 4th in the Subaru Cup XC race that year.

After moving to New York Aaron took up road racing and rode unattached for the first year and medaled in 2 races including a 1st place finish in the Kissena Race Series in 2007. In 2008 the Brooklyn Arches Cycling Club was formed and the results were immediate and consistent including winning the Cadence Cup Race Series in Brooklyn. He currently races with the Major Taylor Iron Riders Development Team