Sometimes it’s worth sacrificing a little functionality in the name of style and form.
Most bike panniers look like they came from some sort of fanny pack transplant program. Nylon, synthetic materials, all begging you to over-stuff and bulge it out like your drunk uncle’s warm up pants on Thanksgiving.
Sidenote: Only thing more relaxed than warm up pants on Thanksgiving, are Zubaz on Thanksgiving.
The Linus Bicycle company, who also makes pretty smart looking bikes, has easily one of the top solutions. Their “Office Bag” is simple, just rigid enough, and specifically designed to protect a laptop. Description says it’ll fit 13″ laptops, but my 14.1″ HP sneaks in there just fine.
There’s not a ton of width to each bag, just enough for a few smaller items like a cordless mouse, a bike lock, gloves, etc… and although they send along a shoulder strap with the intent of being able to detach it from the bike rack and take it with you, that’s damn near impossible. The leather straps and brass buckles look great, but if you want to secure it tightly to make sure it’s not bouncing around, you gotta cinch those suckers down. That’s no problem, but sneaking your fingers under that rack to unbuckle is a pain. It’s best just left on the bike.
To prevent thefts it comes with brass D-rings which allow you to padlock or zip tie the bag to your rack.
Not for everyone and not for long distance journeys. But if you can travel light and need some good looking extra cargo space for getting around town? They’re a great choice.