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Wednesday 30 November 2011

Luxury Luggage 2

Back in February when I purchased the Brompton, I also invested in a luggage block and a Brompton C-bag. Whilst the price of the C-bag was enough to make me wince, it is a high-quality product and has served me well since then. However, circumstances change and I now find myself in need of more carrying capacity when using the Brompton, so I took the plunge and purchased a T-bag. 

The T-bag was formerly known as the Touring Pannier and its recent name change brings it in-line with the rest of Brompton's luggage range and also shows that they still don't take themselves too seriously. It uses the same carrier frame as the C-bag but boasts a considerably increased capacity. The downside of this is that it is a bit more unwieldy and less pleasant to carry around when off the bike. The strap lacks the padded sleeve of the C-bag making it less suited to extended stretches of being carried over-the-shoulder.

The T-bag (completely unrolled) next to the C-bag. The difference in capacity is quite startling. The inside of the T-bag is lined with yellow fabric, as is the C-bag, in order to facilitate finding stuff rattling around the bottom. It's the kind of small touch which can help rationalise purchasing luxury luggage such as this.

The zipped pocket contains a fluorescent yellow rain cover much like the one which comes with the C-bag (book not included).

Unlike the C-bag, the carry strap can be removed if preferred, which can be useful to prevent it flapping around when riding. The top of the bag has two strips of velcro to pair the edges of the bag together before the top is rolled down. As a nice extra touch, the bag includes two identical strips of velcro which can be used as 'blanking strips' if you do not wish to use the velcro fastening.

The rider-facing part of the bag contains two pockets, the left one is identical to the pockets on the C-bag, the right is a draw-string affair which permits over-stuffing and would be particularly useful as a bottle holder. After looking it over, I decided to put the bag's capacity to the test:

Much like the C-bag, the T-bag has a reflective rectangle on the front in order to prevent flash photography and possibly also to aid being seen.

This is the T-bag in its over-stuffed state (although I should add that there is still some room in the front mesh pocket). In this state the bag slightly interferes with the steering, but not enough to cause a problem when riding, only when manoeuvring the bike through doorways etc. In this state, the bag is sufficiently large to accommodate the entirety of Star Trek.

After removing the four Enterprise box sets, the bag can be properly rolled-closed and clipped into the sides where the yellow and blue boxes are.

The contents of the bag emptied out for scale: Three The Original Series box sets, the The Animated Series, seven The Next Generation box sets, seven Deep Space Nine box sets, seven Voyager box sets, four Enterprise box sets, the first 10 films box set, a separate copy of The Voyage Home and the most recent film on Blu-ray. 

Whichever way you look at it, the Brompton T-bag has an impressive capacity. It would be ideal for carrying a significant amount of grocery shopping, lending further credibility to my assertion that if I could only have a single bike for all purposes, it would be a Brompton.


  1. Oh I so want a Brompton but the OH has said no more bikes (i'll try again next year!) :-(

    Very impressed with your Trek collection. Maybe the T-bag is a bit like a Tardis? Now which Trek series was that in? ;-)

  2. The whole "what to do with it when off the bike" is one of my biggest frustrations with bike luggage. Most panniers are awkward to carry around, strap or no. That's one of the reasons why I got a convertible pannier/backpack, great on the bike, good off the bike as well.

    Have you ever thought of using the "tote bag" that Brompton makes? I used it when I borrowed a friend's Brompton a few years ago. Basically I would put whatever easily transportable bag I was using inside the tote, and left the tote on the bike.

    As for the Tardis, wonder if the T-Bag could hold the entirety of Doctor Who... ;-)

  3. Thanks for posting this info. I realise that I could fit this sort of luggage to the front of my family Circe tandem, so you've given me a few ideas. I'd love a Brompton as well, but MAC isn't the only one whose partner would object!

    I'm also impressed with your Star Trek collection. I wonder how long it would take to watch the entire lot in one sitting?!!

  4. Why are panniers awkward to carry around?

    They all have handles, and when filled with normal stuff they are very protable using that handle.

    I can imagine needing a shoulder strap if I was in the business of using them to transport gold bullion, but for groceries etc they are not heavy.

    In any case I've never had to carry bike luggage around much because my bike can always get me very near to any destination.

  5. @MiddleAgeCyclist,

    They're only small, perhaps you could have a 'secret' Brompton, or perhaps we could arrange for you to 'win' one.


    I haven't used the tote, it seems like I good idea but I seldom leave the Brompton locked up anywhere for separable luggage to be worthwhile.

    As for Dr Who, I expect you could squeeze it all in there, provided the boxes weren't fancy special editions.


    There must be more than a month of material there, quite shocking when you consider it in those terms.

    I like the Circe Helios, the Brompton luggage compatibility is a nice extra feature too. I think a T-bag and a larger Carradice saddlebag would be enough to do some basic two-person camping.


    It depends on personal preference, but I dislike carrying bags by hand, I prefer to distribute the weight across my shoulders if possible. Plus a lot of panniers tend to adopt off positions when carried by the handles (when packed), either interfering with your legs or sticking out and bothering other people. It's probably down to the fact that I tend to have weighty items in my bags.

  6. Ooohh. Yes please. Where do I enter?

  7. @MiddleAgeCyclist,

    Its £790 enter, with a 1 in 1 chance of winning a red or black Brompton M3L

  8. Aaww. An entry fee? I can buy a new ML3 for under £600.00. Had my hopes up there you did.

  9. Pete, consider yourself lucky if you never have to carry panniers far. I can think of several situations where I've had to carry panniers a distance:
    -checking into a hostel where your room is on the 3rd floor and they don't allow you to use an elevator
    -crossing a train station
    -going into a rather large building where the bike parking is near the entrance but where you need to go is clear on the other side, maybe 100m away
    -any situation where you have to be off your bike for an extended period of time yet have a bunch of stuff in panniers and there is no place to store said panniers and going home isn't an option

    Yes, panniers have handles. If your bag is heavy enough and you have to travel far enough it feels like those handles are cutting into your hands.

    Like Mr. C, I tend to have weighty things in my panniers. I haven't tried gold bullion yet, I'll use my cargo bike for that one. I'll just stick with groceries and other possessions.

  10. Bet that looks rum on the bike!

    Found the C-bag handy when I had a go. The T-bag (fnarr-fnarr!) looks v.useful.

  11. I'm fairly sure a lot of the usual suspects (Crumpler, Timbuk2, Bag-a-boo) offer after market pads for shoulder straps that will work, if you don't fancy making your own.


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