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Altura Urban Dryline Briefcase 15



Sturdy protection for your computer, but not much space for anything else

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Altura's Urban Dryline Briefcase 15 is a sturdy piece of luggage that offers excellent protection from the elements but has limited storage space and doesn't fit all laptops.

The Briefcase is part of Altura's Dryline range which is made from impressively rugged and waterproof fabric. I confirmed this with a highly scientific experiment, namely filling it with old back issues of Cycling Plus and leaving the briefcase outside overnight in the rain.

Joyously, the news that Lance Armstrong had secured his fifth Tour victory was still perfectly dry and legible.

The Briefcase is well padded and has thick bumpers on the bottom, so your precious gadgets are protected from the rough and tumble of commuting. That padding does mean the Briefcase is rather smaller inside than appearances suggest.

There's no give in the fabric either, so this isn't a piece of luggage that you can cheat more space from by stuffing it until it bulges.

That's the biggest problem I have with the Briefcase, it's just too damn small. The Briefcase comes with a padded laptop sleeve (too short for my laptop, which stuck out of the top like a partially unwrapped choc ice) and by the time you've slid that into the main compartment there's precious little space for anything else. Maybe a lock and a few papers, but that's your lot.

There is a small outer pocket with an organiser for pens, USB sticks etc but even that fills up quickly. If you need a way of safely transporting your laptop to meetings across town then it's fine, but if your commuting needs are more extensive (sandwiches, clean pants, pint of milk, handcuffs, gaffa tape etc) then you're probably better off buying something else, like the Dryline 17 that Shaun tested a few years ago.

To be entirely fair, the 15 in the name refers to the size of laptop that the case is designed for. I have no idea what size mine is, but it's obviously bigger than 15 inches. It's not a huge problem but even with a less wide laptop space in the Briefcase would be limited.

Externally the Briefcase is all business, finished in black and one shade of grey with a swoosh of reflective piping to break up the seriousness. The fittings are standard Rixen & Kaul KlickFix with an adjustable retaining clip to fit most racks. You also get a carry strap and a protective flap to stop road filth from rubbing off on your smart work clothes.

Overall the Briefcase is a quality item but rather limited in what it offers.


Sturdy protection for your computer, but not much space for anything else

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Make and model: Altura Urban Dryline 15

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Distressing lack of blurb from Altura, but it's obviously a commuter special.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Again, very little hard info from Altura. The outer looks to be tough cordura and the inner lining is a waterproof ripstop fabric.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Looks tough as old boots.

Rate the product for performance:

Performs its primary function very well, but isn't exactly flexible.

Rate the product for durability:

Hard to imagine it breaking or failing.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

All that padding adds weight, but that's not an issue.

Rate the product for value:

There's no doubting the quality, but I would need a second bag for extra bits and bobs.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Strictly as a laptop carrier it's excellent but as a commuter I would want more flexibility and space.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Waterproof and tough.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

No space for other stuff.

Did you enjoy using the product? It's not something that I'd ever use in real life.

Would you consider buying the product? No.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only if it fitted their exact needs.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Great at what it does, but limited by lack of space.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 5' 8  Weight: er....85kg

I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa  My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides


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