23 January, 2008

Dutch Panniers and VO Handlebar Bag


I've been waiting a long time to get these. They are top-of-the-line Dutch style shopping/commuting panniers from Basil.

This is from the Basil site:

KAVAN II NATURAL, double rear bag, strength.,strong and water-repellent canvas w. leather,no interference heels/bag through rounded sides, cover 'Soft Filling',reflective str.on all sides,topside two leather bands for LED/straps/child's seat.

Dimension: each bag is 37*17*35; 45L
I am very impressed with them. One immediately notices that they are rugged, very large, and rather heavy, but obviously made to last for a very long time and withstand the rainy Northern European climate. The workmanship and materials are very nice. As with many natural materials, I suspect that the canvas and leather will wear for ages and develop a beautiful patina as it does.

As for the down side, well they will be too big and heavy for some. Unless you really shop on your bike or need to carry a fair amount on your commute, they may be overkill. The two bags are linked by a the central straps that go over the rear rack, so cannot be used separately. And they are not cheap.

We'll be getting a few more Basil products soon, but the supply of these panniers is very limited. We probably won't get another case of them until Spring.

The second photo is of the latest VO handlebar bag prototype. It still needs some work, but it's getting there; one more prototype round should do it.

32 comments:

Tony Rocha said...

I wish I were more patient and waited for this new handlebar bag, it seems to have all the features I would have suggested the former was missing. Good thing I have more than one set of handlebars which needs a bag... i suppose.

Anonymous said...

Chris,
The VO handlebar bag pictures appears to show that the top openning faces forward instead of back towards the driver. I hope the final prodcut will open like traditional Berthoud bags.

C.

Anonymous said...

Will the handlebar bag have map case?

Chris Kulczycki said...

The VO bag does open toward the rider; the photo shows the back of the bag. And there will be a map pocket.

Michael S said...

Chris,
Will the final color scheme be TA-like tan and brown, or the colors shown in the prototype?

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy that the VO bag will open the "right" way. I hope you'll make it nice and deep front-to-back like the Ostrich. I don't like how short the TA bags are front to back, especially the tall ones. Will there be a choice of sizes? Bigger the better, I say!!

Ryan

Phillip Franklin said...

I find your bike bags and handlebar bags most interesting, however, I'm one of those guys who prefer to use a backpack while carrying my stuff while riding. And I do so for many reasons. The first is that I generally ride or commute with several different bicycles and putting the bags on and off of each bicycle would be too cumbersome. Secondly I would not want to leave my bicycle parked with stuff in the bags. And it is just easier to use the backpack for security reasons.

So what I'm requesting is a custom designed bicycle commuter's backpack that looks really classy and has the right features. I carry most everything in the pack as opposed to attaching things to the bicycle. This includes a small hand pump. Some tools, tubes and even the Klean Kanteen metal water bottle. I even have some ideas as to how to incorporate some cable and u-locks into the design of this pack.

Does anyone else share my thoughts on this?

Annette said...

Phillip,

Now you've done it.

A few months ago, Chris was musing over a backpack for bikes, and I said "really, who'd want that?" Oops.

Anonymous said...

Centre of Gravity aside, LL Bean makes a lovely waxed cotton & leather strapped back pack just the right size with little pockets. They also make a far less expensive khaki/olive trim version which is also lighter.

lamplightsg said...

Great looking panniers, and the handlebar bag looks just right. I'm in the market for a handlebar bag and am having some trouble at the momment. I love Berthoud bags but they are just too expensive for me right now, and I've never completely warmed up to the Ostrich, at least not for this particular bike. I really like the Inujirushi bags from Jitensha, but it seems they are having difficulty getting the shipment in.

Phillip Franklin said...

Ok, getting back to my idea of a bicycling back pack ... first it needs to be designed for the bicyclist in mind and to date I have not found the perfect bicycle pack. It certainly needs compartments or pockets for things like tools, water bottles and locks. It doesn't need to be too large because one is riding a bike not climbing Mt. Everest. And it should be designed to hang on blinky lights and thing like that. And it should look classy like some of those high quality bags. I have a Dakine pack that I believe was designed for skateboarders which so far works to some degree ... but not nearly good enough. It does fit the body well and allow for good movement.

It should be able to carry one days supply of groceries or a change of clothes.

I don't need to carry things that aren't essential for a nice day of riding. Just the basics. Oh and a special compartment for a U-Lock and cable would be essential.

Yann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yann said...

a bit off topic,

but what is the status of the constructeur racks with a built in decaleur.

The head tube on my frame is very very long, much too long to hang a handlebar bag from the stem to a bag resting on a front rack.

AB said...

Unrelated, but interesting: can someone explain this Toei?

the ill postino said...

I would love to see two color schemes for the handlebar bag:

1) a black and white leather trim version that would match most vintage karrimor and brooks and most current and vintage carradice saddle bags, and

2) a tan/canvas with natural leather trim that would match most old and current rivendell / duluth bags / velo orange saddle bags, and vintage t.a. bags.

I realize what gets lost there is the black/tan of berthoud bags among others, but berthoud seems like the most prohibitively expensive of all current options, and it seems like with smartly chosen shades of 1 and 2 you would give a lot of people the chance to make a decent (albeit never perfect) match with current equipment.

Anyway, looking forward to the handlebar bag coming out. Any plans for a large VO saddlebag?

And +1 on the vote for bigger is better -- I'm all for a handlebar bag that could fit a small laptop.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes there are items which are perfect and well worth to spend the premium, such as a Berthoud bag.

James said...

Instead of a handlebar bag that fits a laptop how about a lap top friendly shoulder bag that could be mounted to a small front rack. It would require a bit more in the way of mounting hardware and a re-enforced side but there would be nothing else like it. It would be a way of turning a front loading light duty randonneur into a commuter.

BG said...

These days I'm a happy non-camper with my single Carradice saddlebag. It holds a sandwich, pear, cellphone and tube repair items just fine. I like crisp, clean sheets and firm mattresses in nice motels/hotels after a day of riding. Sold my super- duper set of Bob Beckman panniers/Bruce Gordon racks back in 1991 and don't miss them at all.

Mike said...

Chris - do you think the velo orange bags will be ready by the last week in march?

I'm planning to ride from Philadelphia to my folks house near Clarksville, MD and would like to make the comparatively short 40 mile trip to your store to see them in person.

Joel said...

Phillip: Back packs by design interfere with riding posture.

I commute and shop via bike and find a well designed pack with easy mount and dismount features far preferable to back packs. It has a handle making it easy to carry.

At least one manufacturer makes a pannier that may be worn as a back pack when you reach your destination.

Charlotte Gainsbourg said...

Is the bottom of the VO chaincase open? Could it be used with a rear derailleur?

velonoir said...

Chris,
The VO bag looks great! BTW, how is the VO brake levers coming along?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Michael, the factory says they can get several colors of canvas. Tan would be my first choice.

Yann, we should have first batch of constructeur-decaleur racks in a week or two.

AB, That Toei has a guide to keep the chain from jumping off the chainring.

Mike, I have no idea when they will be ready. They once said a couple of month after the prototype if right, but who knows?

Charlotte, The chaincase can be used only with a single ring, but the bottom is open.

Velonoir, The brake lever project has, unfortunately, hit a dead end. The mold costs and minimum order are just too high. When I'm in Taiwan in March I'll see if I can find some way to re-start it.

James said...

I noticed that the soma levers in the store are less attractive than the ones in the first photo you posted. The hinge appears to be anodized, whereas the ones we were first shown were all polished aluminium. Does this mean we are to take them apart and polish them ourselves? Also how long is the lever?

hey dude said...

Chris, do you know how much the VO front bag will cost? Also are you aware most people don't read french? or maybe it is just me!!

Anonymous said...

I don't read French either, but I like the fact that I had to do a little research and learn some French words in order to navigate the VO site. Learning another language is never a bad idea!

yankee_dollar said...

lookin' good Chris. good luck with all the fussy fashionistas. however, it's nice to know that parts are still made in something other than Carbon Fiber and Blast-Black finishes. maybe I can order some goodies after tax season.

rinjin said...

chris,

any updates on the timetable for the handlebar bag? it looks great and i'm pretty sure i need one when they're ready.

Richard Gould said...

Yeah, traveling with an expresso machine. That's the way to do it!

Chris Kulczycki said...

I still don't know how much they will cost, probably under $100. And I don't know when they will be ready for production. Not knowing is part of developing products in the mysterious East. We must accept it.

lynnef said...

I definitely know I need the VO handlebar bag.

Any updates on arrival?

bmike said...

Any news on the front (handlebar) bag? And will it be available in black / tan and / or black / white to match the new seat bags or my current Carradice?

Looking good... and I'm currently shopping - so if its coming soon I'll wait.