I received my new ID recently and love it. (ID review forthcoming).
I decided to go with the Q-AM Shoulder Strap. This was a departure from the Absolute Shoulder Strap I've grown to love that I ordered with my Empire Builder over a year ago.
Being used to the Absolute Strap, I made the mistake of walking out to car on my first day with the ID casually hanging off my right shoulder (same side as ID). I leaned over to put something in the car and wham! my bag slipped right off my shoulder and fell to the ground. This never would have happened with the Absolute Strap, I said to myself.
I began to think about returning the Q-AM. I was worried about the material used in the shoulder padding - it's pretty slick, and slides easily along your shoulder/over clothing. What's the point in having this cool bag if it's always falling on the ground?
Ahh... but then I actually followed directions. When I started wearing the Q-AM the way it was designed (cross body, over left shoulder, bag on right), it all made sense. The "slick" material makes it easy to maneuver the bag around and get to its contents. And cinching up the strap, pulling the ID close to my back makes it as comfortable as a backpack.
Because the material on the shoulder pad *doesn't* grab like the Absolute Strap, it makes adjustments very easy - even while walking. It's also easy on the clothes. My only complaint is that I haven't yet mastered the one-handed adjustment technique. To cinch the bag up, I have to use one hand to hold the bag and the other to pull the strap. I suspect this may be a practice/technique issue that I should be able to master in the coming months.
So now that I'm doing it right, I have to say the Q-AM is a great strap for a messenger bag. I'd probably still go with an Absolute Strap with an Empire Builder, but for any kind of messenger-style bags, the Q-AM is a great choice. It's definitely the one that offers the most flexibility.
I use it with both the waist strap and additional stabilizer straps removed. If I were riding a bike or motorcycle, I might use the stabilizer strap, but with the Q-AM cinched up tight, the ID remains pretty steady for just walking. The bag and strap work fine without the stabilizer. And it's super comfortable. The long padding means that your shoulder and neck are covered with the bag in any position. I love the Q-AM - it's the perfect compliment to an outstanding bag.