After being flagellated for 3 months by a clever-by-halves Basil pannier (don’t get me started!) I finally decided to gamble, that AUD$350 might buy me something that actually works. With my fourth recent order from Chain Reaction Cycles, I included the left-hand-side Brooks Devon Pannier pictured below (I saw a few hours later they were then sold out of left-hand-side Brooks Devon Panniers, from which, I might deduce, few people take the same gamble that I did). Okay, so maybe they could be a bit cheaper, like maybe $200. And maybe for $350 they could be made in England, not China. However, I doubt there is a much better pannier for stylish office commuting in the ye olde manner I have going on with my Velorbis, than this one by Brooks.
The water-proof zip affords ready access to every inch of the bag, without removal. The sturdy carcass of canvas appears sure to age gracefully. For those especially precipitous days when 99% water resistance may not suffice, Brooks provide a bright orange shower cap: oh I can’t wait! The positive trade off though is that canvas is breathable, something Dr. Behooving discovered when swapping the dome tent of his impoverished youth for a canvas one, to never wake in a lather of condensed breath again—if you must know, I hunt moose, and there are no 5 star lodgings in places with moose.
The greatest thing about my new pannier though, is the way it ingeniously hooks to my rack, in an instant, and sticks fast like a woman in love. The elegant cam system exposes those pseudo lockable fastening systems (as found on Basil panniers that shall remain nameless), as the point of sale gimmicks they are.
Other thoughtful details are the flip-top leather hoods on the side pouches: a mobile phone can be kept dry, yet able to be reached before she stops ringing. An elastic strap holds shirts in the manner of a suitcase; in fact the whole pannier can be unhooked and laid out like a suitcase, as though you have actually arrived some place special when in fact you have just ridden to work. The pearl finished alloy fasteners, the woven handle, and the hide thick leather throughout, all have an air of distinction to belie those regrettable words "made in China". But yay for China, I say. Yay for that Mandarin opera that plays for free in the street there. May it always be so suitably priced!
Summary: world’s best bag but too dear.