I’ve been looking for a new Brompton cover and saddlebag, and discovered that Brompton have changed the design – not for the better, in my opinion.
My old bag was stolen from the bike about a year ago – ever since I’ve done without, getting by on the odd bus trip by pleading with the driver to let me on without one. After all, I can’t see why a Brompton is any more of a dirt hazard than a wheelchair, buggy, shoe… especially if your chainwheel is smaller and not protruding enough from the fold to come in contact with anything. And you don’t need a bag for the train!
But the old bag (above) is useful – flexibility on public transport, and a bit of spare carrying capacity – on warm summer days when you’ve no coat or pockets, and you want to spin along unencumbered by bags of any sort, the old-style saddle-bag (or sack, more accurately) can hold a water bottle, a beer, or rolled-up newspaper. The only slight hassle is the velcro strip – on folding the bike this rides up the seatpost. If like me you have a longer seatpost that doesn’t go all the way down, this is OK, and you don’t have to undo the velcro each time.
I haven’t set eyes on the new cover, but the useful sack has gone. What looks worse is that the bag and cover are integrated – you can’t quickly whip out the cover at the bus-stop; you have to undo 2 straps, which, if they are like the straps on the old model, they are fiddly to get back on. I can’t see much to recommend, apart from a saving of about 70g – about the weight of one swig from your water-bottle!
I have managed to find one of the old model – I think I must have got almost the last one in Britain. It appears to be for sale online, but when you call the shop, it’s the new one they’re selling – so don’t be fooled by out-of-date images. One shop owner said he felt the new model was ‘a retrograde step’ by Brompton. I’d agree. But then I haven’t seen the new one in action. I wonder if anyone who has used the new one would like to comment?