Fuse, Urban, Techno, Swift
For most people who use PowerBooks, carrying them around is a worry. Will your bag keep your pride and joy safe? Will it be obvious to thieves that you have a £2,000 computer on your shoulder? Will you look cool enough? Axio has the answer to all these questions in its range of hardpack backpacks.
The range is made from a tough polycarbonate shell that is remarkably light (3.8lbs; 1.7kg). This is no heavier than most normal backpacks, but it’s a lot sturdier. The bags were designed to be used on motorcycles and bicycles, though they work just as well with plain old legs. The fit is excellent – very comfortable with wide straps – and the case is well padded and matches the curves of the body. This means that the inside of the case is curved too, so the PowerBook doesn’t sit flush to the sides of the case. Instead, the pocket for the PowerBook angles diagonally through the bag, which increases protection.
While the bags are quite compact, there’s enough room for all the cables and plenty of paperwork. There is a pocket suspended from the top of the case interior, designed for your iPod, close to a rubber sealed hole at the top of the bag for headphones to come out. There is also a mobile phone pocket on the strap, which I have been using as my iPod pocket because I don’t have the remote control cable.
The whole design is well thought through, and the build quality is outstanding. The tags on the zips are big and chunky, so even gloved hands will be able to get to grips with them. The curvature of the back of the bag sits comfortably whether you’re crouched over a motorcycle or hiking across the moors. There are enough pockets inside to keep things separate, but not so many that you will lose things. I would go so far as to say it is a design masterpiece, with just the right balance of everything you could want in a bag.
The designer behind the range is a guy called Bob Haro. He may not be familiar to most, but anybody who ever rode a BMX should know of him. In the 1970s he pretty much single-handedly invented freestyle BMX riding – he even did the trick riding in ET. Since injuries forced Bob’s retirement he has been designing bikes and accessories, and the Axio range is his latest.
There are four models available in a number of finishes. The Tekno and the Urban are similar designs; one is slightly more squat than the other and they come in different colours. My favourite, and one that makes me wish I still rode a motorbike, is the Swift. It has that speed hump that you see built into racers’ leathers for aerodynamics. Whether it actually does anything except make you look cool is debateable. But if you ride a bike, there’s no better bag to protect your PowerBook. It would be bad enough to throw your Ducati down the street, but breaking your PowerBook as well would be tragic. These bags seem like you could slide down the road on your back with no damage to them. Whether that’s true, I’m unwilling to test. But I can’t think of anything safer for your Mac. It’s like a pannier for sports-bike riders. It’s also the only one that comes in the carbon-fibre effect.
The Fuse is the most discreet of the range, being made of fabric-covered polyurethane. It has slightly more capacity than the others, and comes in black only. It’s quite smart looking, and could be work with business attire without looking too freaky.
For PowerBook users that are active, any of these backpacks are great for keeping things safe. If your PowerBook is likely to drop off a mountain or hit the road at 70 miles per hour, it needs to be in an Axio bag. The build quality and finish are outstanding, with glossy colours and tough parts. The overall effect is quite minimalist, yet I can’t think of anything extra that would add to the appeal of the bags. A design classic.