Unfortunately Wiggle were out of stock and I was simply too impatient to wait for another fortnight. One cannot be sure of the new stock prices but Wiggle were asking much less than any other supplier. As well as offering free postage to Europe! An easy saving of £12-15 over Carradice or the other online outlets.
The postage is only added by follow up email after one has entered all one's personal details. Including one's bank card. I do not think this is remotely acceptable for any online trader! Least of all one with a very limited range of stock items.
I do not accept that they are unable to weigh and work out the postage price for every bag regardless of destination. The postage world is neatly broken down into zones and has been for years. They know the dispatch weight of all their goods. Or certainly should by now! A little extra code on their website is all it takes.
Perhaps this is why I was 'punished' with a full price but "seconds" undersized bag? For having had the temerity to question Carradice's 'traditional' business methods? Perhaps the quality you will see below is the standard which they set themselves for all of their customers? Who knows?
Tragically for those who drool at the mere mention of traditional cycling goods manufacturers I owe no particular loyalty to Brooks or Carradice. I bought their products in good faith as an ordinary customer. If they failed to provide what they claim then I will mention it here. I will clearly show the problems in my own photos. A picture is worth thousand words. "Handmade" is just ever more desperate sales hype if machines can do far better. Judge for yourself:
As there will be so many images involved I shall keep them modest in size out of respect for those on a slow Internet connection. We can't have people waiting all day for the page to download just because their government doesn't give a shit about their nation's Internet speeds! Click on any image for an enlargement.
First I must freely confess to having pinched the idea of a crossbar support from Alan. My fellow English tricyclist. Who is also living in exile here in Denmark. He used a wooden dowel and his existing, rack fixing, screw bosses to hold his bag in place. I had no rack fixing points. So had to use clips. I also prefer alloy tubing as I have tons of old aerials lying in a pile from another hobby. Besides I know that any untreated wood quickly goes black in my bike shed.
I shall use dome headed, stainless steel screws and Nyloc nuts once I am satisfied with the set-up.
My wife reiterated my tragic pedantry in having recorded the packaging for posterity. I told her it is for my doting blog audience. And, that she should be very grateful I didn't make a 20 minute HD video with dialogue and background music! :-)
The honey straps lift the décor from the olive drab fabric.
The reflecting safety patch may sit rather high to be useful when the bag is well packed. Though the Carradice alloy label is shiny enough to catch car headlights from behind. While the black strap is provided for hanging lights in winter. Its final angle will depend on how much is packed into the bag.
Is this the standard by which Carradice has become almost legendary in conservative, cycle touring circles worldwide?
The side pockets are larger than I am used to. They swallowed a lot of useful stuff compared with the previous pink bag. Leaving the main bag totally free of its former detritus.
After careful measurement I will agree with Carradice's front and back surface dimensions. (only just) However, the depth is well short of their 23cm claim. In fact it is only 16cm deep inside if a true box shape is demanded. Well-stuffed the bag might well stretch to 23cm in the middle. But that is not the true, box dimension. Carradice cut the sides to make a bag 16cm deep but advertise it as 23cm? How does that work with the local Trading Standards Officer? It is nearly 3" short of the claimed front to back depth! That's an awful lot of useful volume in any saddle bag! My wife asked if I had been sent the wrong model! I just felt even more cheated by Carradice.
Three loose straps are provided. Two for hanging the bag and one for securing the bag to the seat post. The perforations in the straps are all well formed. Allowing easy penetration by the buckle pin at all points. All the straps are of consistently high quality leather. With no sign of weaknesses or roughness anywhere. I believe they are sourced from a Belgian tannery.
The bag feels very resistant to sideways movement. I tipped the trike right on its side without the bag moving from its place. Though ironically the top fitted, D-rings would have been perfect for strapping to the seat stays or any tricycle rack had they been fitted at the bottom. I doubt they'd be interested in hearing my constructive suggestions after this review!
Carradice's clever "seamstress" has signed the inside bag label to continue the 'handmade" theme. The label is fitted just below the very badly offset, leather reinforcing strip for the hanging straps! Fully 3/4" or 18mm off-centre!! That'll be the "handmade quality" again, I suppose?
The double D-rings fixed to the leather straps, on top, are for adding rolled-up gear.
The stitching on this one is a bit untidy/offset/wonky but just acceptable.
Considering this is right on top of the bag, and always highly visible, I don't think this other side is acceptable at all.
Carradice claim 6-18 months of training before their "highly skilled" seamstresses are good enough for production.
Should have gone to Specsavers?
Main flap, hold-down strap stitching.
Almost rectangular but still not a pretty sight!
The other matching flap hold-down strap on the left. Even worse!
The same manufacturing and quality control problems as elsewhere. Must have been a Friday afternoon. After the annual factory party and during a fire drill!
"Handmade" is just empty sales hype when machines can do far better.
One is judged by ones deeds. Words are cheap. Unless you actually pay someone to make up all your commercial hype.
Thank goodness the old blue, rucksack frame has finally gone! It used to catch the backs of my thighs sometimes. Particularly when hanging well off the trike on sharp corners. Nor could I straighten my legs completely when trying to stretch tight calf muscles on a long ride.
My first ride, tomorrow, will tell whether I need a secure bottom fixing for the bag. I might use zip ties for greater security against casual theft. Why make life easy for the scum of the earth? It saddens me that nobody offers a security device which permanently maims bicycle thieves. I'd happily pay for one. If I could still afford it.