- Product Review (submitted on April 26, 2013):
I'm a huge Chrome Industries fan. I'm always impressed at the simplicity, beauty and practicality of their designs. Their Cobra Hoodie and either the Dually backpack or Citizen buckle bag are with me all the time.
Being pretty unsatisfied with the wallets out there, I'd always hoped that Chrome would give the world a wallet (or two) so I couldn't have been happier than when I saw that the Rook wallet was being intro'd.
First though, I should talk about wallets. Wallets are a really tough accessory to get right. They have to look good, be unobtrusive, hold lots of stuff without being uncomfortable, fit in the pocket, endure being sat on everyday, and probably a few other things that I'm not thinking of.
The Rook succeeds on a few of these and, not so much on a few of the others.
First the good:
*The rook looks great. It's definitely a chrome product and with the patch of colored vinyl reminds the user of the bags, with their flap of contrasting vinyl.
*They are made of excess material so are nice and environmentally friendly.
*They have plenty of pockets and compartments and can hold all sorts of good stuff.
*Like the bags, the wallets are made with a whole rainbow of colors on the front flap so each wallet is distinctive.
Now, for the not so good:
*While the material feels very nice and light when the wallet is empty, when the wallet is full of cards and bills, it becomes very stiff, especially since it's very hard and thick at the edges. This means that it's not so comfortable to sit on.
*The material isn't flexible and doesn't mold to you the way that leather or a softer material might.
*The wallet is well-made but the top of it is a bit unfinished so it keeps fraying. It's made from a polyester material so the fraying can be stopped with a lighter, but, a user shouldn't necessarily have to apply fire to their wallet in order to finish it.
The Rook Wallet is a cool, nicely designed wallet and better than a lot of the stuff out there. It's got plenty of space for whatever you carry around and isn't made with animal product so, besides looking good, it's vegan friendly.
I would be really happy to see Chrome take things further. Cordura, their signature fabric might be a more flexible material for a wallet. And if they were to experiment with a design that rounded some of the corners and sealed either with some of their heavyweight velcro or with a small version of their ykk zipper (another SF bag company, that will remain nameless uses a zipper on their wallet and manages to achieve a low profile), it might make for a wallet that's more comfortable in the pocket, both on and off the bike.
Yeah, am I asking for a pocket Dually? Maybe so, but I love the big one, why not have one to fit in my pocket?
Just the same, it's a great wallet. I'm probably just nitpicking...