Monday, August 13, 2012
Carradice Bike Bureau Review
I've now had the Carradice Bike Bureau for a while and thought it was about time for a review. Overall I think it's a great bag which hits the mark for my uses.
I was basically looking for a pannier that would function well off the bike as a shoulder bag, plus look good. I also needed it to hold a fair bit of stuff.
Mine is actually a second from the factory store in England (a friend brought it back for me - thanks Graham!) so it doesn't have the laptop sleeve, but I was intending to use my own anyway.
Firstly, the looks:
Off the bike, you peel back the uppermost flap (which then covers the hardware) and it reveals a pretty classic looking satchel. The Leather straps are yellow-y and great quality. What's really nice is that they are decorative - you use clip-locks to do the actual closing - much easier! I wish the nylon shoulder strap had a leather pad on it, but it looks fine.
Under the main flap there is this zipper pocket, plus a pocket right behind it, presumably for a U lock as it fits mine well. It does, however, depend on how much you put in the zippered compartment. If you've loaded it up with your Constanza-wallet, keys and phone, then your lock won't fit in. This brings us onto the size.
It's humongous. Deceivingly so. It's very hard to capture, but here is a helmet in the bag. I could easily stash four big helmets in here with no worries. There is a drawstring thingy at the top of the satchel which also means you can overstuff. The leather straps on the flap can be adjusted to assist the overstuffing.
The fabric is very stiff waxed canvas and all of the thinner nylon parts have some sort of waterproofing applied to them. It all seems very sturdy.
Here's the hardware. Note that it is on an angle to avoid heel-strike. It's a big, big pannier and I have big feet. I've never hit it with my heel. Each bag is side-specific, so if you're buying a pair, be aware (I'm a poet). The system of attachments is very simple to use. I don't know if I'm doing it 'correctly' but it works fine and fast. There's probably some way to do it with one hand in a single movement but I haven't quite figured that one out yet!
Overall, this is a really great pannier. It's huge and would be great for work, school, shopping etc. It's a bit of a behemoth to carry as a bag, but it's a big bag. It holds a lot of stuff. I totally recommend getting one!