31 May, 2006

Bag and Pannier News

After a long wait it looks like we'll be able to import Ostrich bags from Japan. These are traditional cotton canvas bags and and panniers. The handlebar bag has been made for over 50 years. The quality and design is very good.

Here are photos of the three bags we'll stock initially. I won't have final pricing until we arrange shipping and figure out if there are any duties to pay, but they should be considerably less than certain French bags. As with all thing shipped from Japan, it may be a couple of months before we see them arrive.

The handlebar bag is 260mm, wide 220mm tall, and 200mm deep with a capacity of 12.4 lt. This is big bag, with more capacity than a large size Berthoud bag.

The panniers mesure 130mm deep (may be more expanded, but not sure) 350mm long and 300mm tall and 13 lt each

The saddle bag is 280mm wide, 240mm deep, and 140mm tall. Capacity is 8.2 lt.

In addition to the Ostrich bags, we're working on having our own version of the TA bag made. They will be sewn right here in the US, but will look tres French.

We will aso have a new small saddle bag, ala banana bag, and a large Velo Orange saddle bag. Eventually we hope to have small panniers that can be used with a front rack or with our constracteur rear rack.
The Velo Orange baggage will be made in heavy brown waxed canvas. Does anybody hate, or love, the color of the Ostrich bags?

Finally, we've decided to stock some inexpensive black nylon European type shopping panniers. Though you may not think they are in keeping with the high-end constucteur style items we carry, they are eminently useful. You can pop them on any rack, go to the farmers market, library, or beer store, and bring home a week's supplies. At $19.50 each, they are cheap enough that you won't think twice about owning large panniers, even if you never camp-tour. And you won't cry if they get nicked. I'll put them in the Velo Orange store later today. We'll also add both wicker and steel mesh baskets for shopping and city bikes.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Regarding colors. The Ostrich bag colors reminds me of the Army surplus stuff I would buy as a kid. The Berthoud bag colors are much more appealing to me.

Cheers,
Mar

Byron said...

I agree about the colors. I'm not a big fan of green bags. Either black or tan. If anything, the Carradice green looks better than the Ostrich, though both will probably look better after a few years of wear.

patrick said...

hi, this is interesting timing for me because I am in full research mode for a new handlebar bag.

I like the color of the Ostrich. I know the web is not exact but it doesn't look military to me. By a shade.

some questions:

What is the mounting system used for the Ostrich handlebar bag?

What is the capacity (are there several sizes?)

Does it have a shoulder strap for carrying off the bike and is it sensibly designed for such use?

Have you used one before? What's your experience with the company and their design in general?

Thanks!

patrick

john p. said...

I like the color of the Ostrich bags myself. Sets them off from Gilles Berthoud and the old TAs.

To my eyes they don't look like military green (but could be all in the moniter rendering). They have a nice "Country bike" look to them.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The bags are all traditional mount; that is to say: rack, decaleur, straps. I've added the sizes and capacities to the post. The handlebar bag does have a shoulder strap. I have no experiance with the company, but they are old and well regarded in Japan. I have seen, but not used the bag. Fed Ex is rushing samples to me and I will put them on my bike the moment they arrive and report back.

Chris

patrick said...

thanks for your responses. i did some noodling around at Classic Rendezvous and realized that the Ostrich handlebar bag looks a lot like the old TA. Very beautifully designed...

thbonamici said...

hurrah! the bags look terrific. i'd be partial to a dark brown, kind of like the new baggins bags color. the green looks... i don't know. it doesn't work for me.

any idea on what the pricing will be?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Pricing? Here's the formula: Find the price of the equivalent Berthoud bag, divide by 2, and your answer is probably just a little less than the price of the Ostrich.

Of course this assumes shipping and duties are not too high.

Chris

david_nj said...

These are similar if not identical to the bags sold by Andrew Muzi at Yellow Jersey. Andrew charges a huge markup for them, such that they're in the realm of the Berthoud bags. But in any case I don't find the color suitable. Everything else about them -- including the fact that they include a shoulder strap -- seems good. (Also: personally I prefer the bar bag top a couple of inches below the handlebar, just so there's more room for one's hands. This is probably why Berthoud offers 3 sizes.)

Chris Kulczycki said...

David,

This isn't the same model that Yellow Jersey sells. I like this design better. But it is, as you noticed, similar in some ways

The bag in the photo is on a very small frame. On my frame the bag would be below the bars, which I also prefer. And with a proper front rack that sits just on the fender and not above it, as the M12 does for example, the bag will also sit lower. Since this bag is deeper than the Berthoud large bag it holds more, yet it is not as tall. Again, I agree that lower is better.

We plan to offer the Velo Orange TA-style bag in more than one size, but it will be more expensive and have less capacity. But it won't be green and it should have the best design features of the TA and of the Berthoud.

Anonymous said...

i *love* the color. i'm going to buy one of the handlebar bags as soon as you get them over here -- perfect. i ride 68cm frames, so for me having the bag sit too high isn't a problem!

regards

art

Andrew Karre said...

Excellent news that there will be more bags on the market.

Color is less of a concern for me than the design. What's with the top flap? It opens toward the rider, and so it will be rather difficult to get at the contents of the main compartment while riding. This would be a dealer killer for me, since the whole reason I like my handlebar bags (currently a small Berthoud with a VO decaleur and an Ortlieb Classic) is because I can get at things while riding.

Also, although I'm all for competative pricing and lots of options, I don't think Berthoud bags are over-priced, considering they're handmade and designed to work as well as they look.

david_nj said...

BTW, one thing that would be awesome for VO to sell is some sort of D-ring/strap kits for handlebar bags that don't have 'em. I'd love to have a strap on my Berthoud bag, I just don't know where to source the parts!

Anonymous said...

I have seen the panniers in person when I was in Japan. They are top quality products and I am very happy to see you carry them. Ron

C said...

I like the color - it's different from the black and gray bags without being too flashy and it would match my vintage Filson jacket. I know Ostrich does other colors besides green. The set I saw in person was a nice navy color.

Not crazy about the rear opening flap on the bar bag though I see Berthoud is starting to do bags this way as well. Maybe they know something I don't?

The Berthoud bags are nice but too expensive. Justifying it by saying they're hand made is false. Even the basic nylon bags sold be Supergo or REI are made by hand. Some of those Asian hands are extremely good at what they do (assuming you source the right factory!)

Anonymous said...

Is there a way of mounting these handlebar bags using just the decaleur and perhaps some internal stiffeners? Or must one employ the front rack as well?

Chris Kulczycki said...

You can hang a bag from the bars with the included straps, but I think that puts the weight too high. A front rack, even without a decaleur, is best.

Anonymous said...

what's the status of the VO handlebar bag?

is there something still in the works?

if so, when can we expect it?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Every shop says the handlebar bag is too hard to make. Right now I'm waiting to hear if a company in Japan can make them. We'll find the right manufacturer sooner or later.