For more than 100 years Brooks has made fantastic bike saddles. More recently they introduced different models of backpack for bike riders.
With Brooks being so strongly associated with their comfortable leather bike saddles, the initial reaction to hearing about the Discovery Collection from Brooks was the backpack for bike commuters would also be in leather – as is, for example, the Pickwick model in vegetable tanned leather.
But when you see that the new Sparkhill backpack for bike is almost exactly half the price of the Pickwick, you realise that it’s not going to be in leather. Is that a reason to be disappointed? Or pleased that you can get a quality Brooks product for £145 rather than £298 for the Pickwick?
There are important features if you are going to invest in a Brooks backpack for bike use, the main one of which surely has to be the waterproof and coated Nylon and Cordura material and waterproof zips. Both the Sparkhill and Pitfield backpack models are equipped with a padded laptop compartment. The lining is made from Cyclepet, which is made from recycled PET bottles – far better than plastic bottles ending up in the oceans!
The 15 Litre capacity Sparkhill model has a water bottle pocket (hopefully you are using a refillable bottle!) as well as a bicycle helmet attachment. The backpack has a padded and ventilated back panel and shoulder straps.
The larger Pitfield (25 / 2 litre capacity) goes one step further and has a stretchable compartment for your helmet (and other items). This model comes in at 1300 g compared with 1000 g for the Sparkhill. (The leather Pickwick is between the two at 1210.)
Having a Brooks saddle, I am convinced of the quality of this brand. But sufficiently convinced to pay the premium price when a quick web search shows products from Rapha at £90-130 and Ortlieb (whose name has to be synonymous with “waterproof”) for under £80?
You can take a look online and make your own decision.