Brompton have released the new 2020 bag range, further adding to the choices for riders, or the confusion if you want to look at it another way.
The new range (seen here) features a number of 100% waterproof bags showing they’ve broken from their partnership with Ortlieb and branched off into their own direction. Featuring more subtle colours, very British, I imagine they are hoping to capture their domestic market as well as the international market for all things “British”, especially the Chinese and Japanese markets where Brompton’s are very popular.
They’re back to offering Navy and Olive options, which will appeal to the Barbour wearers, as well as blacks and greys which will appeal to anyone in a city smart context. It’s a wise move, but it does move away from visibility and reflective finishes as seen in the Ortlieb partnered ranges such as the O and mini O bags.
As you know from my previous post, I have three bags already, and although I’ve been hankering for tote for a while, I didn’t splurge the cash because they weren’t waterproof and didn’t have a good closure. I am not a fan of the waterproof cover.
Since writing my post on the options that I own, I have refined my view: The O bag is staying; it has lots of dividers and sections, including a laptop sleeve, and I have now attached a water bottle holder to the rear making it perfect for longer trips. It is big enough for all my possible work related needs, and I can even get my helmet in it when I arrive at my destination if I need to. The downside is that being so big it does act as a wind block, which in a headwind does make pedalling noticeably harder, specially if you’ve got a decent amount of weight in it.
The Barbour Brompton Tarras? In all honesty, I’ve only used it twice which is a lot less than I had expected. It been used only once on the bike, and then once off it as a weekday carry. I’m afraid it’s just not for me. There is nothing wrong with it, I like it astectically, but I just don’t use it and can’t see myself using it. Although I have several Barbour jackets, the problems with car drivers in the city mean that I feel to camouflaged wearing mine on the bike. I wish it wasn’t so, I wish we were like the Dutch and could wear normal clothes on our bikes, but we simply don’t have the same level of acceptance of cycling in this country. It is sad, but true.
If I need the room of the Tarras then I’d go to the O bag anyway, and if I need anything for a quick trip I was using the Mini O instead. My biggest problem with it was the lack of pockets for a medium bag. It just isn’t getting used, so it will be up for sale on eBay when this Covid19 thing is over and postal options settle to the new normal. They have become desirable since they are not longer produced, especially in the more popular Olive colour, so I should have no problems recouping my money.
So that would have left me with the Mini O and the O bag. However, I have an issue with my mini O. It’s the colour. I know that’s really sad, but it detracts from the nice purple metallic of my bike, clashes with my wardrobe, and I don’t find it quite tall enough for my big water bottle. I also can’t get my Microsoft Surface Go in it, which means I can’t use it when I carry that.
Therefore the new offerings from Brompton have tempted more spending. Oh, Brompton, why do you do this to me!?! You know I can’t afford it right now. But the credit card has come out and I have gone for the Borough Waterproof Small Navy (currently the only colour it comes in).
It is of a similar size to the Mini O* bag at 30cm x 28cm (H) x 11cm (D), but being just a fraction larger is 9l capacity compared to the Mini O’s 7l. Having a roll top also means that you should be able to adjust the capacity which prevents things rolling about inside and allows for the odd extra, conversely. It is also more deformable so will take some more interestingly shaped contents and combinations than the harder framed Mini O. Of course, that may compromise the protection offered, but we will have to see.
I am hoping the colour doesn’t clash again, why they can’t just offer the grey/black options in every design I don’t know. Preferably the grey and black, rather than just black, because the black really shows up the dirt.
I am expecting to receive it in the next few days (COVID19 permitting) and look forward to reviewing here for you. It would be nice if Brompton sponsored my reviews as a try before you buy, but hey ho, I splashed the cash because it looks like it could be my go too bag for anything that doesn’t require the large carry capacity of the O bag.
If I am right, then my Mini O will end up on eBay as well as my Brompton Barbour Tarras in due course. At least then I could pay back the expense on my poor credit card…
Thanks Brompton, you made me skint, again.
*Mini O dimensions are: 28cm x 27cm (H) x 18cm (D). I question the 18cm (D) because it depends on where you measure it from. At the base its a lot less (around 11cm).