Zimbale is a small company in Korea making traditional canvas and leather bicycle bags. The founders are long-time bag and furniture industry people who also happen to be bicycle enthusiasts. Like a number of other new companies making old-timey bike bags, they’ve taken inspiration from Carradice, Brooks, and others. Zimbale makes their bags in small quantities for direct sale to dealers and distributors; in other words, these are not re-branded, mass-produced economy bags.
Zimbale recently sent me a few bags to try out, included among them the Leather and Canvas 11 Liter Saddle Bag. I’ve had this bag for about a month now.
Like Zimbale’s other bags, the 11 Liter is made with waterproof cotton canvas that is treated with wax on the outside and breathable polyurethane on the inside. The canvas has a nice feel; not overly stiff, but substantial enough that it should withstand years of daily abuse. The external straps and fittings are tanned leather and brass with nice detailing and clean construction.
The 11 Liter is similar to the Carridice Pendle but with a “longflap” that can be extended to carry bulky loads. It also has extra D-rings on the top, and quick release buckles on the main flap for easy access. The flap extension is held closed by internal snaps when not in use. The bag is held in place with the usual 3-point leather strap method and includes an internal wooden dowel to improve stability. The main compartment has a retractable nylon skirt to prevent water from sneaking in under the top flap. A pair of plastic D-rings under the top flap accept an optional shoulder strap. The overall design is well thought out and the attention to detail is impressive.
Knowing that I carry a camera with me on the bike, Zimbale sent along their optional Camera Protect Case (we’ll call it the CPC) insert. The CPC is a foam and velcro insert available in two sizes to fit their 11 or 18 Liter bags. Its construction is similar to the inserts typically found in camera bags and photographer’s backpacks. Sliding the CPC into the 11 Liter Saddle Bag turns a regular saddle bag into a good looking, saddle-mounted camera case with enough capacity to carry a prosumer-grade DSLR, an extra lens, and a strobe. This is a super option for people who want easy access to a large camera while on their bike, but prefer not to carry the weight on their back.
I’m impressed with Zimbale Bags. The construction methods and materials used in their manufacture are top notch. While not inexpensive, they successfully combine a traditional look and feel with high quality construction and updated details such as quick-release buckles and camera inserts. Highly recommended.
Size: 18cm x 15cm x 30cm
Capacity: 11 Liter
Colors: Olive, Black
Retail Price: $109
Optional Camera Protect Case: $29.95
Disclosure: Zimbale provided the bag for this review. You can view our review policy here.