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Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel



A good looking, high quality messenger bag that is likely to last for years

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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The Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel brings together a classic look with modern considerations. It also has impressive waterproofing and the styling suits use both on and off the bike.

Many cycling-specific bags today fall into the form over function category, but Carradice is one of a handful of brands continuing to create luggage that performs well on the bike as well as looking great too.

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The Kelbrook looks great, deliberately old school with no plastic clips or rollovers anywhere to be found. Instead, Carradice has opted for leather straps, waxed cotton, and metal poppers. It really works, looking like an expensive satchel that you could imagine somebody using 50 years ago. The only way to tell that it's specifically for cyclists is through a couple of subtle nods.

Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel - inside.jpg

One is the small leather tag on the flap – designed to hold a backlight for cycling in low light conditions. The other is the one additional strap that stops the bag from sliding around while riding but can be kept out of the way if necessary. This essentially works by connecting the bottom right corner of the bag to the shoulder strap through a leather tab and two poppers. It's a simple design, but it works really effectively, stopping the bag from sliding on my shoulder.

Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel - waist strap.jpg

It has some well thought out features too, such as the waterproofing. On the day I received the pack it was 24 hours of rain bouncing off the pavement outside, so a cloth satchel with a flap that had no zip had me a little concerned that I would end up with a load of soggy work clothes by the time I got in. However, it was incredibly waterproof, keeping everything dry inside even in apocalyptic downpours. That said, one element I would change is the straps, because although the bag itself sheds water well, the straps soak it up. So after a day at work having commuted in in the rain, the bag was dry but the straps were still wet.

Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel - strap detail.jpg

The bag itself has a capacity of 17L, which was more than adequate for everything I needed for the day. It also comes with a removal laptop sleeve that is simply added or removed through two poppers and two straps. It also has an internal zipped pocket and a popper pocket on the rear and front of the bag. It meant I could keep everything separated and easy to find, not being forced to put my phone and keys in the same pocket only to open up the bag and find that they'd had a battle mid-ride.

Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel - laptop sleeve.jpg

The closure system is in the form of two straps with buckles and five holes on one end and a larger hole at the other. These dictate the length (so if you want it to have a tighter hold you shorten the straps) and the larger hole fits over a stud on the flap of the bag to keep everything in place. Initially, they were difficult to use, but after around 10 uses the leather had softened up and it was considerably easier to open/close.

Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel - buckle.jpg

All of this quality does come with a bit of a weight penalty, with it weighing in at 1,440g. It means it is very much a commuter bag and not the kind of thing you would want to be lugging around on longer, hillier rides.

> Buyer's Guide: Best casual cycling clothes for commuting

Its RRP of £130 may sound steep, but given the quality of materials used I think it is actually a fairly good price. The bag is handmade – by Emma in Nelson, England, I can see thanks to the handwritten label. Every buckle and strap is leather or metal, and the materials are thick and robust. So although it's a big investment, I can see this bag lasting for a very long time.

Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel - tag.jpg

Overall, the design of the Kelbrook is testament to the team at Carradice who have managed to create a cycling-specific bag that doesn't look out of place whether you're heading to a board meeting or a track session. It looks great, is incredibly well made, and performs admirably too.


A good looking, high quality messenger bag that is likely to last for years test report

Make and model: Carradice City Classics Kelbrook Satchel

Size tested: Capacity: 17 Litres Dimensions: 39cm wide x 32cm high x 12cm deep

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?

It's a classical looking, high-quality durable messenger bag designed for commuting.

Carradice says: 'This bag is perfect for the commute to work with enough room to fit daily essentials and like all Carradice bags, they're made out of our waxed waterproof Cotton Duck which means everything will be dry when you get to work.'

It is waterproof, it fitted everything in that I needed and it looks good. So this is fairly accurate.

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

Carradice lists these features:

100% waterproof

Handcrafted using high quality materials and fixings.

Thick vegetable tan leather straps

Military spec cotton webbing shoulder strap included

Padded laptop pouch (37cm x 4cm x 28cm) makes it the perfect for the commute to work.

Leather protective base

Timeless design


Rate the product for quality of construction:

No corners have been cut in the quality of the bag, with strong stitching, thick metal used for all buckles, and strong leather for all straps.

Rate the product for performance:

Performed well, fitted in everything I needed with minimal fuss.

Rate the product for durability:

I can see this lasting for years.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)

Sits comfortably on the shoulder.

Rate the product for value:

It's expensive, but then again it's unlikely to rip and will last for a long time.

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

Very well, comfortable on the shoulder, fitted everything in that I needed, and looks good too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Quality of construction is fantastic – this thing is likely to last for years.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The straps soak up water, it would be good if they were waterproof or at least quicker drying.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

It's a very good high quality bag that fits in everything I need on a commute and looks good both on and off the bike.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 29  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

George is the host of the podcast and has been writing for since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between. 

Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.

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turnerc99 | 7 years ago

Something like this might do the job - do your own research though!

ped | 7 years ago

Looks really nice.

I wonder if you could treat the webbing strap to stop it absorbing water?

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