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The Agu Attache Bag Quorum Platinum 660 has an imposing name for a briefcase pannier. It looks pretty good too. But in a market where you can get a QL2 version of Ortlieb's Office Bag for a tenner more, or an Altura Urban Dryline 15 Briefcase Pannier for a hefty £40 less, this bike briefcase's performance and value are both left wanting.
Any briefcase that purports to carry a laptop has to be waterproof for all-year UK use. This isn't. Granted, there is a rain cover. Rain covers are fine in showery conditions and they do keep the bag clean. But they're not as effective in persistent heavy rain or bouncing-off-the-tarmac cloudbursts, and they're more hassle to use: you have to stop, get the cover out, and put it on. If your pannier is waterproof, like the Ortlieb and Altura ones mentioned above, you just keep going.
The other thing briefcase panniers need to factor in is heel clearance. They have a non-tapered shape so that you can fit in a rectangular laptop and A4 documents without jamming them in or making the corners battered or dog-eared. Most briefcase bags have the rack hooks on a diagonal relative to the top of the bag, so that it sits at an angle, titled upwards at front. Agu's Attache Bag doesn't, and it sits on the rack in 'portrait' rather than 'landscape' mode too, so the leading corner is uncomfortably close to the pedals.
I set the Attache Bag as far back as it would go on my bike's rear rack. My heel just cleared it. That's not a great solution, as it gives a tail-wags-dog feeling when heavily loaded. In fairness, the chainstays on my day-to-day bike are not long, at 420mm. Then again, my feet aren't very large either (Euro 42). If you've got a touring bike or something else with long chainstays, you should be okay. Otherwise, look out.
Aside from these two problems, which the premium price makes hard to swallow, the Attache Bag is actually pretty good. It's well made from nylon and Kodra, the Korean equivalent of DuPont's Cordura; a tough material with a nice, non-shiny feel.
There's a laptop pocket inside with a velcro strap to keep your computer in place. It's padded, but less so than I'd like. There's a separate main compartment inside, as well as three pockets outside (one zipped). Total capacity is 13 litres, in a boxy shape that will suit office essentials. Closure is by buckled flap. There's a carrying handle on top and a clip on shoulder strap. A couple of reflective patches give some night time conspicuity.
The pannier hooks are revealed under a zip-down panel that tucks into the base of the bag. Zipping that back up again should keep road dirt off your office trousers when you're lugging the bike around by hand.
The Rixen & Kaul 'Modul Rail' top hooks themselves are the Attache Bag's best feature. The retention latches are sprung so that they press up towards the hooks, which enables the hooks to fit securely – without inserts – on any rack rail from 8 to 16mm in diameter. The hooks open and close easily and can be set anywhere along their support rail. At the bottom, you get the usual plastic cleat. If only these quality fittings had been fixed to the bag at an angle of 30 degrees or so!
Let down by lack of rain resistance, heel clearance, and value
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Make and model: Agu Attache Bag Quorum Platinum 660
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?
Agu say: Laptop/cycling bag. Padding gives protection to laptop. Fitted with slit pocket address label key holder and organizer. With hand grip and elastic shoulder strap for more comfort. Mounting by KLICK fix Module system. Rain/mud cover included.
I say: not my laptop.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
It's made from 500 denier Kodra and 210 denier nylon. There's a water repellent coating, but it's not waterproof.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Adequately, in the dry, once I stopped kicking it with my heels.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tough fabric. Good hooks.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not waterproof. Lack of heel clearance. Expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? No. I nearly crashed, because that's what happens when you jam your heel into a pannier corner and you're riding fixed wheel.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Age: 42 Height: 1.78m Weight: 65kg
I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track (with front brake)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,