Thursday, 29 October 2009

Brompton bag vs Timbuk2

It’s been a busy week on and off the bike. After my recent post on the rack and front bags I got out my zip top Brompton front bag and used it on a recent journey to Dagenham.

I know why I don’t use this more often.

  • It is not big enough for all the stuff I like to carry around. It is like packing a suitcase that you don’t want to open more than once. I lost my first iPhone when I unpacked the Brompton bag to get out my purse and I left it behind. When I went back it was gone.
  • The Brompton bag has a dark interior means I can’t just look in and see where anything thing is. This a minor but important design point. The bigger the bag the more important the interior is a bright colour, especially if you are looking for things like keys. The Brompton zip top doesn’t have a key holder like my Timbuk2 bag.
  • I can’t get anything else into the bag should I stop off to do some shopping. With the Timbuk2 I can always get more in and expand the straps to everything hold in. As demonstrated yesterday when I had to get a t-shirt from H&M, stop off to get printer inks and then pop in to get lunch from M&S. All got thrown into the ever expanding Timbuk2 which was already carrying the bike lock, papers and my Asus Netbook.
  • All Brompton bags come with a frame that allows the bag to sit on the front block. It is a great idea, but in practice it is not comfortable when you have the bag slung across your back when the bike is folded. This is because it is not really designed to be used in this way so I can’t really complain. But the discomfort is enough to put me off using it.
  • All Brompton bag straps are too narrow!! Big no no. Even if you are not using the bag as a messenger bag at some point you do have to carry the bag because you are folding the bike and the strap just cuts into your shoulder. Brompton should have provided wider straps like those with my Ortlieb and Timbuk2. In fact the Ortlieb comes with a detachable pad for the shoulder strap which I use on my Brompton bags. I don’t need it for the Ortlieb which is nice and wide.
I am now so used to either carrying my bags on my back or strapping them on the back of the bike that I don’t find it easier to hook a bag on the front any more.

1.  Me with my second iPhone and M&S leather boots
2. The Brompton zip top front bag and frame.
3.  The Timbuk2, now approaching it's second winter


Tim said...

Hi there! I'm a Brompton owner and fan (and work for a Brompton dealer in the USA), and I wanted to chime in on your bag thoughts.

I'm in full agreement with you on the "Cloth Pannier" that you describe as the zip top bag. Not a very useful item at all. But you should check out the C-Bag that replaced it in 2009... much nicer on all counts. It has a nice wide padded strap and bright yellow interior, and is roomier as well. To top it all off, it uses quick release buckles and velcro to close, much like your Timbuk2 bag. It does still have the aluminum frame, but it's removable if you're going to be using the bag as a shoulder bag for extended periods.

Rumor has it the Touring Pannier is getting a facelift too, and getting the bright interior, which would help that bag immensely. I like mine, but find myself searching more than I like. My C-Bag gets a lot more use because of that.

Suede Shoe said...

I have seen the C-bag on the Brompton website but I will go and take a closer look. Thanks!

Olha Pryymak said...

So the C-Bag does not need the extra special lock to get it in place?

Suede Shoe said...

All front Brompton bags need the bag block to hold the bag to the bike. There is a picture of it above in post about lights (11.11.09) It is that square shape in the top left hand corner of the pic.

Andrew said...

Great blog! Do you have a link to the C-bag mentioned in these comments please?


Suede Shoe said...

Here is a link to the Brompton page with the list of their current bags including the C Bag