I’ve now had a C-bag for a month so here’s an update to my review of the C-Bag vs the S-Bag for anybody thinking of buying one.
I’m very pleased with it, it’s substantially bigger than the S-Bag because it has an open “throat” so you can overfill it quite easily. It’s become my everyday bag for several reasons:
Yellow lining – brilliant, I can see what’s in there and an antidote to the dreary blackness which has ruled almost every area of design since the 1980s.
Subdivision – good improvement, there’s a good sized zip-pocket in there for documents and it creates two spaces, behind it is enough space to slip in a small computer or books with space in front for more bulky stuff. If you don’t use the two smaller spaces the pocket just lies flat against the back of the bag leaving the whole interior free for clothing, shopping etc. For a day trip I’ve packed a sweater or jacket, laptop, power supply, books, snacks and an assortment of other stuff with no difficulty and room to spare, unlike the S-Bag which struggles with more than a minimum.
Room for shopping, I can carry my everyday work stuff and have room to call at the supermarket for a reasonable amount of shopping, eg I’ve packed a bottle of wine, some lettuce, mushrooms and tomatoes and a packet of biscuits without difficulty and space for more.
Good for a briefcase or flight bag it’s a bit easier and smarter than the touring pannier to carry around and small enough for a cabin bag. I’ve just sold my S-Bag on Ebay for around 40 quid. I haven’t tried the saddlebag method that I’ve used with the S-bag but I don’t see why it shouldn’t work. (PS, done that now, worked fine, photo here (scroll down when the page opens).
Better external pockets, three good zipped pockets and a mesh one that I use for hat, trouser bands, compact waterproof etc or it will take a bottle of water. There’s also a good-sized pocket on the front flap which would take A4 documents (much bigger and better access than the S-bag because the waterproof zip is at the top), I tend to use it for the waterproof cover and anything I want to have easy to hand.
Aerodynamics seem to be good
it has a good shape with a rounded sloping front that should be efficient whether it’s full or empty. The touring pannier is aerodynamically good when it’s reasonably full (rounded shape), but when empty it’s concave at the front and probably a nasty turbulence inducer. Even if you like the retro styling and larger size of the Carradice alternative to the C-bag, it’s boxy so the aerodynamics will be less good and probably heavier.
So it feels like a good buy. I’ll continue to use the touring pannier for overnight trips or day trips where the weather is chancy and I want a change of clothes but the C-Bag is a very good, smart-looking, practical day bag and large briefcase. I trust Brompton are thinking about a new version of the touring pannier which will build in some additional functionality, the C-Bag is certainly a step forward from the S-Bag, regardless of size.
The waterproof cover is necessary, finally, I have no reason to believe the C-bag is any more waterproof than any other Brompton bag, but the rain cover (included in the price) works very well once you are used to slipping it on and, in Britain’s uncertain weather, ready to decide to use it. The danger is that you’ll say , “it’s only a shower and I want to get home,” then a minute later you are in a downpour and the bag is leaking, possibly onto the dry clothes you will be changing into)
One criticism is that, if you want to use the shoulder strap, there is no easy way to detach/attach it, You can remove it by laboriously unbuckling it which requires quite a lot of feeding straps through awkward plastic tensioners but it would be much easier if you could just clip it on and off at each end, especially as it’s quite bulky with a heavily padded shoulder pad. Personally I don’t use the strap so I removed it and cut off the buckles from the bag to reduce clutter.
I bought mine from Cycle Heaven in York, good service and they usually have the full range of bags in stock, including the Carradice. If you are in Yorkshire it’s a reasonable train ride to York from most places and a short ride from the station round the city walls. Nice to visit a city where there are enough cyclists that the bike shops treat ordinary people like real consumers rather than idiots.