After waiting 2 weeks, my Brooks Brick Lane panniers have arrived.
So first impressions: ambivalent.
I bought it because of form rather than substance so the substance test will be at tomorrow's commute. My current panniers are ultra modern with reflector stripes and lots of pockets for the little stuff eg keys, bits of paper, coins etc. With the Brooks you've got 2 big cavities to fill in. That means planning. I'm going to set one big cavity aside for bike related stuff - bike cover, bike gear etc; and for the other big cavity with the work related stuff. I've realised I can fit in a big bowler handbag and this actually makes me look decent as I can put a handbag in and out.
The big downside I can see is that it's not easy to get off the rear rack. With my other panniers I've only had to take off a couple of attachments and it's free. Here, there are 4 fiddly straps and for reasons of time it doesn't make sense to take them on and off when I park the bike. Ok they'll add around 5 minutes to the before and after work grooming. So there's going to be some issues there for me if I leave them on the bike and then next thing I know they'll be gone
The roll-ups are a nice touch but I believe in balancing the rear rack so I won't be using the magnetic straps or roll function much though I'm sure that's part of the appeal for some. The panniers came in a nice cardboard wrapper that have a printed page from their old catalogue showing other Brooks panniers such as one that looks like a briefcase unrolled (as it rolls up too). Really I wonder why they don't have that available today.
Overall, I'll see how the function side works but on form they look nicer than my ultra modern pannier
So my search for the perfect double pannier is still on going. Really, I'd like something made out of roo leather (light), waterproof, easy to attach/detach, has pockets and looks good out on the commute but also won't look out of place in a meeting.
Pros: looks good, heaps of space, well-manufactured as it has lining inside.
Cons: Not easy to attach/detach from rear rack, needs little pockets for things and should have been in leather instead of cotton - but that's just me.