Hopkinson England must have heard that we’ve been vintage bike shopping for the upcoming Eroica Britannia as they asked us to review their ‘Louis Bag’, a leather cycling bag with a classic look and simplistic design. Good thing too - It looks great on my new 1970s Bianchi road bike.
This is a really high end product with a price tag to match, retailing at £195. Before you wince at that, let me tell you that just unpacking this item from the box was a pleasure in itself as the waft of rich leather emanated from the fancy box it came in, reminding me of the wonderful R.E.W. Reynolds leather cycling shoes that I’m still hankering after. It has a beautiful high-end finish, and opening it up revealed a plush, luxury soft 'suedeine' yellow interior.
It’s a great looking saddle bag and versatile too. You can fit it to the back of your saddle, on your cross bar, handle bar, or in your bottle cage. It even has a coordinated belt strap to be worn over your shoulder when you’ve parked the bike. Yup you wouldn’t want to leave 200 quid’s worth of bag in the street now, would you?
I attached it to the cross bar of my 1970’s Bianchi and it looked pretty fine. I plan to change my bar tape and saddle to a similar tan leather which will be even better as they’ll match beautifully. This is just the sort of luxury item that would do the job for the Tweed Run and L’Eroica, of course. It belongs on a skinny steel framed vintage bike like mine with what, Mrs Ride Velo refers to as, the elegant shape of a super model but the weight of Sophie Dahl.
The bag itself is big enough for the tools you need for emergency repairs like a spare inner tube, tyre levers, small tool set, a puncture repair kit and a small pump. A word of warning here – my small Lezyne pump was just a fraction too long which was a bit frustrating! I suppose if you had more than one of these bags you could stuff a bottle of beer in the spare, although it might be easier to just make a pub stop to be honest. The guy in the publicity shots had 3 of them, meaning that his saddle bags are worth more than his bike itself. Which doesn’t seem to be quite the right ratio to be honest.
Rather sweetly, this bag is named after the Hopkinson family pet, Louis the lurcher, and you can be safe in the knowledge that all their bags are British made. As Dean Hopkinson says, “People love buying British and love investing in quality…we felt there was a niche for a new British luxury label specialising in high–end handmade leather British cycling products for people who are looking for something special.”
They’re new company who launched at the London Bike Show last month, and I hope that their plans to launch more ranges with interesting brand collaborations comes off so that they can establish themselves in a market dominated by Brooks at the moment. With everyone going vintage at the moment, they could well be on to something here.
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