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  1. #1
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    Ortlieb Downtown pannier versus Ortlieb Office bag, large

    I checked the specs:
    Downtown:
    14.2 x 14.2 x 5.5 in
    volume: 1,098 cu in.
    gear capacity: 18 liters
    weight: 3lbs 8 oz.

    Office bag, large:
    15.7 x 11.8 x 6.7 in
    volume: 1,282 cu in
    gear capacity: 21 liters
    weight: 3lbs 8 oz.


    Do you have either or both?

    For those with both, which do you prefer?

    Are there major differences between them besides styling?

    Do they have any internal compartments to organize stuff?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I can't speak to the Office Bag, but I have the Downtown and love it. It is easy to take on and off. It is very water resistant. I keep all my stuff in it, and on the days I have to drive, I carry it like a briefcase.

  3. #3
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    I have the office bag QL3. It's very easy to put on and off. I can fit my clothes for the day, personal junk and my laptop OR a lunch in it. The laptop divider takes up too much internal space when filled to permit the lunch and clothes. I just bungee my lunch to the rack.

    Decent number of internal little pockets for keeping my phones, ID badge, wallet, etc organized. I have found it to be pretty much completely waterproof. Got caught in a downpour with my laptop, no danger at all.

    The mounting configuration allows for a lot of different positions. I ended up having to mount mine in such a way upper bar on the QL3 extends about 4 inches past the end of my rack, moving the bag back enough to avoid heel strike. You can also mount it at an angle, but my rack's stays didn't provide a good position. Installation was easy, took me about half an hour to get it mounted and dialed in right to avoid heel strike.

    I will add that if you intend to carry a laptop, get a sleeve. The laptop divider is completely unpadded.

    Edit: I can take a few pictures later, if you want.
    Last edited by Zrane; 10-28-11 at 08:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Lurking Under a Rock
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    i have the office bag and I love it. I picked mine up in jan during the best buy debacle/ortleib fire sale for like $60-$70. I ended up loving it so much, I went and bought a second one. About to buy another one b/c the one I am currently using got scratched up in my little fender bender and the insurance company is trying to screw me...

    When I used to carry everything back and forth, I could still fit everything in the office bag, lunch, laptop and shoes included. It was tight with the laptop, but it worked. Tons of pockets, almost too many. Totally waterproof. Only complaint is there is no outside pocket, but that is common and you can probably do some modification...but my jandd panniers have outside pockets, and they leak water like a sieve. When I have business meetings, I bring the ortlieb bag with me. It always makes for an interesting conversation piece.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zrane View Post
    I have the office bag QL3. It's very easy to put on and off. I can fit my clothes for the day, personal junk and my laptop OR a lunch in it. The laptop divider takes up too much internal space when filled to permit the lunch and clothes. I just bungee my lunch to the rack.

    Decent number of internal little pockets for keeping my phones, ID badge, wallet, etc organized. I have found it to be pretty much completely waterproof. Got caught in a downpour with my laptop, no danger at all.

    The mounting configuration allows for a lot of different positions. I ended up having to mount mine in such a way upper bar on the QL3 extends about 4 inches past the end of my rack, moving the bag back enough to avoid heel strike. You can also mount it at an angle, but my rack's stays didn't provide a good position. Installation was easy, took me about half an hour to get it mounted and dialed in right to avoid heel strike.

    I will add that if you intend to carry a laptop, get a sleeve. The laptop divider is completely unpadded.

    Edit: I can take a few pictures later, if you want.
    Photos would be great, especially the interior. Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by quazimodo View Post
    I can't speak to the Office Bag, but I have the Downtown and love it. It is easy to take on and off. It is very water resistant. I keep all my stuff in it, and on the days I have to drive, I carry it like a briefcase.
    I read a review of the Downtown that said the hook and loop closure was a pain. Do you find it difficult to use?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy Peasy View Post
    Photos would be great, especially the interior. Thanks!
    Okay, my good camera is on loan so you get ****ty phone pictures in bad light. Forgive the spot-nature of the light, no flash so I used my bike's headlight.


    The interior is mostly just open space. Here's the "organizer" side. I tend to shove my wallet and badge in here as well as some business cards(taken out for privacy).


    The other side has two small pockets on front of a large pocket suitable for folders or papers. My Blackberry Bold in holster is in the pocket to provide a sense of scale.


    Two liter bottle of soda for scale on the main interior area.


    Laptop in the pocket. That's my junky old 15" Gateway without a sleeve. My work notebook is a 15.6" widescreen and fits fine, the sleeve adds some more bulk and reduces the interior space some(Always use a sleeve. There is NO padding in that compartment).


    Another shot with laptop to give an idea of how much space it takes up.


    This is most of what I took home on friday. The weather was nice, so I just rode in my street clothes. Contents are: Pair of athletic shorts, lightweight jacket, pair of thermal tights, a shirt, a hand towel, gloves, socks, skull cap and laptop. I didn't take the laptop with me, just left it in for an idea on space.

    I can comfortably fit pants, dress shirt, underwear, socks, my "daily carry stuff"(Two cell phones, wallet, keys, work badge and a few other items), an apple and a banana in there with some room to space without the laptop. Can usually shoe horn in whatever personal hygiene item at work needs replacing. I will add that I'm a pretty big guy, so my clothes are larger and take up more space than a small person's do.





    Exterior rolled up with 2-liter for scale.


    Mounting bracket on my cargo rack. Sorry for the poor light, my garage is dark and it was pretty cold outside. Didn't feel like opening the door.

    The light V-shaped steel are the stays for the holder, which uses a flange to keep the base of the bag from wobbling around. I have considered wrapping that flange in some old innertube as it will rattle a bit if the bag isn't heavily loaded.

    The two bars at the top are bolted onto the rack and slid backwards some to avoid heel strike. I wear a size 13 shoe, so you may not have to go through such lengths. A different rack would allow mounting at different angles, but my cheap Blackburn TR-1 did not.

    All in all, I'm very happy with the purchase. I do wish they had a small, exterior pocket for a rain shell or, in my case, my building access badge. I put it on the top of the pile, but it usually gets shaken under some stuff.

  8. #8
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    Zrane,

    The interior photos and showing a sense of scale are very helpful. Thank you! It looks like a really nice commuting bag.
    Last edited by Easy Peasy; 10-29-11 at 08:19 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy Peasy View Post
    Zrane,

    The interior photos and showing a sense of scale are very helpful. Thank you! It looks like a really nice commuting bag.
    Lack of scale, or unrealistically over-stuffed always seems to be a problem with pictures of bags. I figured they'd be handy.

    All in all, I'm very happy with it as a commuting bag. It's not a great general purpose bag because of the stiff sides, but I feel it was a solid buy. The reflector patches are also big and very visible, which is a nice touch.

  10. #10
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    I received my Ortlieb large, classic office bag today. It's a nice replacement for my brief bag that I had carried in my pannier. Now I just dump the contents of my brief bag into the Ortlieb, and there's room for bike stuff, including my lock, miscellaneous stuff, and some clothes. Thanks to Zrane I knew it wasn't enormous, so I also bought an Ortlieb shopper bag for overflow. Photos to follow.

  11. #11
    dazed and confused newkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zrane View Post
    Okay, my good camera is on loan so you get ****ty phone pictures in bad light. Forgive the spot-nature of the light, no flash so I used my bike's headlight.
    Thanks a million Zrane for all the photos!! I've been thinking about these two panniers for 1.5 years and this gave me the best idea as to the internal space.

    I would really really appreciate if the owner of a Downtown could do likewise!

    Actually found this which gives a pretty good view on the Downtown: http://www.ecovelo.info/2010/05/22/o...cle-briefcase/ and http://www.commutebybike.com/2011/06...shop-com-sale/
    Last edited by newkie; 11-14-11 at 08:52 AM. Reason: found additional info

  12. #12
    dazed and confused newkie's Avatar
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    Pulled the trigger yesterday on the Downtown. Price was good and couldn't resist replacing my Knog. Really looking forward to the QL3 system as I have to tug and reposition the Knog to get it to let go.

    One big thing that swayed me to the Downtown was that you can leave the shoulder strap on all the time. I read you have to remove it on the Office Bag.

    Will post pictures to this thread when it arrives.

  13. #13
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    I don't remove the shoulder strap on my Office bag. No reason too. I just tuck it under the handles to keep it out of the spokes.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  14. #14
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    A few photos of my large Office bag and Shopper -






  15. #15
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    How do you like the ortlieb shopper? I am getting tired of using a milk crate for grocery shopping and was looking to upgrade.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by floridaty View Post
    How do you like the ortlieb shopper? I am getting tired of using a milk crate for grocery shopping and was looking to upgrade.
    I really like it. It's basically a non-rigid bag with a ziplock type closing system (rather than roll down). No inner compartments, but has a small zippered squarish inner bag that velcros to the inside of the bag. I carry my overflow layers on the commute home, shopping, and recycling. It's light and has a decent shoulder strap.

  17. #17
    dazed and confused newkie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pics Easy Peasy. I almost pulled the trigger on the shopper but realised afterwards it didn't fold flat. Typically I have my knog pannier with my office junk and inside I take a flat folded shopping pannier if I know I'm going shopping. Then I can walk around the shop with just one bag slung over my back. However, after I cancelled the order I thought about it and maybe I'm being daft as I guess the idea is instead of taking a cart or basket in the shop you can just fill up the Shopper pannier. I'd be curious to know how you get on shopping with both panniers... is it a bit awkward or whatnot.

  18. #18
    dazed and confused newkie's Avatar
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    So this seemed to deserve a separate reply. Based on this thread I got all excited and ordered a Downtown. My parcel arrived today but they sent me a QL3 OfficeBag by mistake.

    I was really on the line between the two and unforunately no lbs carries these bags. This is actually a really good opportunity to reconsider the officebag as I can finally see it in person. The shop is on the hook for the return shipping and the sale price I got is locked which means I can take a day or two think about it.

    It's still a little difficult as I can't see the Downtown in person to see then side by side. But mainly what concerns me about the office bag is the shoulder stap can't be tucked away when I ride and it doesn't look as comfy to sling over your back, messenger style, while shopping or off the bike.

  19. #19
    dazed and confused newkie's Avatar
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    Just an update on my dilema above, I've decided to send it back and get the Downtown. I just can't reconcile how to carry the Office Bag messenger style when I'm shopping. It just seems like the shoulder straps were an afterthought. They don't attach to the sides of the bag but rather to the briefcase handles. Also, while I could tuck the shoulder strap under the bungee on my rack it seems like it would get all wet and isn't as neat as the Downtown whose shoulder strap is properly attached to the sides of the bag, can tuck the shoulder strap inside when riding, and is less awkward and boxy to carry about when shopping with it. I can just picture wearing the Downtown messenger style and being hands free when off the bike. I just don't see it with the Office Bag. Please tell me I'm wrong and/or post pics on how you carry it!

    One thing I will say, boy, is it roomy! I had often bemoaned my 17l knog as being a too small, but it has a built in laptop sleeve i never use plus its formfactor is upright so stuff at the bottom is under more crap. I'm hopeful with the Ortlieb footprint and no laptop sleeve sewn in it will seem a bit bigger and I won't regret sending back the huge 21l Office Bag.

  20. #20
    Patient Malthusian axel's Avatar
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    I have the Downtown QL3 in purple. I like that it's 1.2 inches narrower than the Office bag. The Downtown is plenty wide enough. Look at how wide the Office bag looks in the 3rd picture of Easy Peasy's last post above ^. That's a ton of wind resistance and it you're not always riding with another bag on the other side, you're more likely to feel a weight imbalance to one side as well.

    Did you get your Downtown yet newkie? I hope you like it. I got a free balaklava when I order mine from the bike bag shop. Happy utility cycling!

  21. #21
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    Newkie,

    I love the Office bag as a briefcase and don't use it for shopping. I don't think the Downtown bag is designed for shopping either For shopping I use the Shopper.

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Shopper seems like a Back Roller with the zip closure , it's got a stiff standup base?

    pair of BR works for me. they do pack inside each other, FR packs inside of them.

    But then again I aint got an IT cubicle to go to.

  23. #23
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    Additional info for the record:

    --------------
    question:

    I have a question about the ortlieb downtown black 'n white.

    The icon on this webpage says its IP64:

    ortlieb.com/_prod.php?lang=en&produkt=downtown_bnw&biketoy=rear

    but the attached tech specs says its IP53:

    ortlieb.com/_pdf_en/downtown_bnwql3.pdf

    whats true?


    ----------
    answer:

    thank you very much for your message and the hint.

    All our Downtown-Bags have IP 53 and not 64.

    This is due to the flap - otherwise it would be much more waterproof - but because of this closing we have to decrease the IP rate to 53
    On all other Downtown versions are displayed correctly.

    We will update this page asap!

    Thanks again and have a nice weekend

    Ortlieb


    (update done)

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