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Old 06-27-07, 02:32 PM   #1
philosoraptor
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experience with Ostrich bags?

I'm looking at the Ostrich handlebar bag as a less expensive equivalent to the bags made by Berthoud. Also, I want a bag that rests on a front rack, not one that attaches to the handlebars, which is another reason that I'm drawn to the Ostrich.

Those of you who have had the Ostrich: do the grid lines that are part of the map make it hard to read the maps? Do the bag and the map holder do a decent job of keeping rainwater out? Is the bag sturdy?
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Old 06-28-07, 10:34 AM   #2
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I have the Ostrich saddle bag. The canvas is about the same weight as the canvas Berthoud uses, and it comes with plastic stiffeners to keep the sides rigid. The handlebar bag does too. (When I ordered the saddlebag, I was initially sent the handlebar bag by mistake.)

I also have a Berthoud handlebar bag -- it has leather-reinforced seams, a leather-reinforced bottom, and an interior metal bracket, all of which end up making it sturdier than the Ostrich.

Even so, I find the Ostrich saddlebag plenty sturdy, and the one time I used it during an extended period of heavy rain (about five hours worth), the interior remained dry. I also really like the elastic straps the Ostrich bags use -- a lot more convenient than leather straps and buckles.

The main thing I didn't like about the Ostrich handlebar bag was the lack of a rack strap on the back. Otherwise I might have gotten one of them too.

These bags, also made in Japan and quite similar in appearance to the Ostrich, have a rack strap and a clear map case. So you might consider them, but they are a little more expensive than the Ostrich (though not as expensive as the Berthouds). I haven't seen them in person, but the photos look pretty nice...
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Old 06-29-07, 07:04 PM   #3
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Have you checked out the arkel bag?

http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/hb_...asp?fl=1&site=
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Old 06-29-07, 11:01 PM   #4
philosoraptor
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Originally Posted by rodrigaj
Have you checked out the arkel bag?

http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/hb_...asp?fl=1&site=

No, because "Also, I want a bag that rests on a front rack, not one that attaches to the handlebars".

But thanks for the link -- I hadn't seen that bag. I have some Arkel panniers and think highly of them.
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Old 05-25-09, 10:34 AM   #5
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I like mine a lot - there aren't any gridelines on the map case any more btw.





And look at all the crap you can fit in it! It really is big, be warned:



and mine also has a strap on the rear for a rack.
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Old 08-28-10, 10:35 PM   #6
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I'm very pleased with mine. I have a Surly LHT and am using a second short stem as a "gadget bar" - and it happens to work with the Ostrich straps and the Surly front rack perfectly. The bottom strap goes around the rails on the rack and the whole thing is rock solid. I did have to punch a few extra holes in the straps to get things nice and tight, but otherwise, it works beautifully. Here's a picture, if that helps...
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Old 08-30-10, 10:40 AM   #7
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Have you checked out the arkel bag?

http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/hb_...asp?fl=1&site=

Jan Heine's review of it was that it was rather heavy, in addition to only attaching to the handlebars, without significant modifications.
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Old 08-30-10, 12:41 PM   #8
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I bought an Ostrich bar bag when I refurbished my '84 Trek 520 about 2 years ago, and I am moderately satisfied with the bag. When I rebuilt my 520, I used only top shelf components for my purposes, and this bag was the only compromise that I made (solely because of the price of the Berthoud bags).

The bag is acceptable in form and function... but it is NOT the equivalent to a Berthoud bag. Don't fool yourself in that respect.

The Ostrich bar bag is:
  • Not even remotely waterproof... it is barely what I'd rate as water resistant. If you buy this bag then you'd be well advised to buy the rain cover too. I think that it's just the cloth that they use on the Ostrich bags, because my Carradice bags (I own 3 of them) are also made of cotton duck and they're remarkably water resistant in all but the most prolonged showers. The map pocket on top has no gridlines and is wide open on the full length of both sides, so it provides absolutely no water protection for your maps. I carry extra ziplock bags to put my maps into when it begins to rain.
  • Flops around like a dead cat despite using a sturdy decaleur and rack. Not nearly enough support built into the bag.
  • Difficult to access while riding. The top flap opens the wrong way and it's awkward to get things out while riding.

I don't dislike the bag enough to get rid of it... but I do wish that I'd just bitten the bullet and spent the cash on a Berthoud.

Last edited by Hydrated; 08-30-10 at 12:52 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old 08-30-10, 03:30 PM   #9
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Wow... I just went and looked at the current prices of the Ostrich and Berthoud bags. I was shocked at how much the price on the Ostrich bag has climbed since I bought mine. Approaching double the price that I paid two years ago, while the Berthoud price has pretty much held steady.

That makes the price difference between the two bags less than $100. That would be a no contest decision for me. I'd buy the Berthoud.
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Old 08-31-10, 03:29 AM   #10
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You carry a coffee maker with you? I just stop and buy mine........



Quote:
Originally Posted by mattm View Post
I like mine a lot - there aren't any gridelines on the map case any more btw.





And look at all the crap you can fit in it! It really is big, be warned:



and mine also has a strap on the rear for a rack.
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Old 08-31-10, 09:11 AM   #11
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You carry a coffee maker with you? I just stop and buy mine........
and a power strip!
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Old 08-31-10, 09:35 AM   #12
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You carry a coffee maker with you? I just stop and buy mine........
You don't know how much restraint it took for me not to say that myself!
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Old 08-31-10, 12:45 PM   #13
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Yes, it's heavy. It's also just about the biggest handlebar bag out there. As to comments about the bag flopping around; my Ostrich bag came with hard plastic inserts to put in the sides. Do Berthoud bags have a better design without adding weight? A bag maker can't do everything for us, a little ingenuity in securely fastening it to your own bike is required.

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Old 08-31-10, 12:56 PM   #14
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and a power strip!
You don't expect to be able to plug a coffee maker in just anywhere, do you?
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Old 08-31-10, 03:09 PM   #15
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Yes, it's heavy. It's also just about the biggest handlebar bag out there. As to comments about the bag flopping around; my Ostrich bag came with hard plastic inserts to put in the sides. Do Berthoud bags have a better design without adding weight? A bag maker can't do everything for us, a little ingenuity in securely fastening it to your own bike is required.
The answer is YES... Berthoud does use a better design. To be more accurate, Berthoud uses a better implementation of the same design concept. Both the Ostrich and Berthoud bags use side panel stiffeners to keep the bag from collapsing, but any bag built this way will tend to collapse sideways... sort of like a squashed parallelogram. My Ostrich bag is nice and square at the rear of the bag where it is supported by the decaleur, but it sags sideways at the front of the bag... and it looks like crap on my bike. The Berthoud bags don't sag and collapse as badly.

The Ostrich bag's stiffeners slide into pockets sewn into the bags side walls, but these pockets are open on the top and bottom. This allows the stiffener panels to move and the bag to collapse and sag.

Berthoud also uses side panel stiffeners, but they slide into pockets that are closed at the top by velcro closures. This holds the stiffeners more securely in place and greatly reduces sagging. It still sags... but not nearly as badly as the Ostrich bag.

Now as for your ingenuity remark: I'm an engineer. Coming up with solutions is what we do. I can fix the sagging ailment on either bag and here's why I would choose the Berthoud bag every time.

I can add a single internal brace to the Berthoud bag and have the nice square bag that I want. No sagging or sloppy movement. The brace consists of a single piece of aluminum with two bends in it. If you plan ahead and drill it properly, you can even use the screws that already hold the decaleur to also bolt the brace in place. The velcro closures that hold the stiffeners also hold the brace arms.

Can't do that with the Ostrich. The only way to stiffen this bag is to build a much more elaborate internal frame. And then you must find a way to secure the frame inside the bag... this is already built into the Berthoud. And the Ostrich bag is much more prone to wear at the corners of the bag... the Berthoud has leather reinforcing at the corners of the bag. I'm afraid that installing an internal frame will wear holes in my Ostrich bag pretty quickly unless I am very careful to minimize friction.

So yeah... I bought an Ostrich bag because at the time they cost about a third of what a similar sized Berthoud would set you back. And I regret buying it. I love my Trek 520... I bought her new in 1983. And when I refurbished her I spent $2200 just in parts to get her just like I wanted. She looks fantastic... except for that bar bag on the front... that saggy bag looks like someone threw it on there as an afterthought.

As a matter of fact... I'm going to order a Berthoud bag to go on that bike.
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Old 09-02-10, 08:10 PM   #16
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I love mine. Definitely the best bar bag I've used. The main pocket is just about waterproof because of the nylon pouches for the stiffeners, but the snack pockets leak for sure.

Yes the map case leaks - cue sheets go in a ziplock first, problem solved. With a properly set up decaleur, mine doesn't flop or move one bit. It doesn't sag or anything either - not sure why it would for some people.

Keep the shoulder strap on it and wrap it around the decaleur to keep the bag from bouncing off over bumps - no rack strap needed.

but if you want a rack strap, the new version has it, and also lacks the annoying grids on the map case. Available at Velo Orange, as you're probably aware.
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