The Deuter Bike Essential Briefcase is my favorite bike pannier. It looks and behaves exactly like a briefcase, but it can be easily attached to your bike rack, thanks to an Ortlieb Quick-Lock system attached to one side. It is very useful for traveling to meetings where you need to take your laptop. Also, it is useful if you want to transport documents or books and don’t want them banging around in a regular pannier. The Deuter Bike Briefcase is also perfect if you commute to work every day and just need a briefcase to transport your wallet, papers and perhaps your lunch.
Things I Like about the Deuter Bike Briefcase
You can quickly adjust the Deuter Bike Essential Briefcase to fit whatever bike rack you have, using a standard bike tool or alum key. And once it’s on, it stays on. I have never had any problem with it falling off.
Quick on and off
The Ortlieb Quick-Lock system enables you to put the briefcase onto your bike quickly, and to release it instantly! Once you reach your destination, the Deuter Bike Essential Briefcase has a small handle that you pull in order to instantly unclip the bag from your bike rack – handy if you are running late. And the ability to instantly, effortlessly unclip your briefcase makes you look cool, calm and collected, even if you are sweating like a race horse from your commute. (Or so I tell myself, anyway.)
The entire system is tucked under a flap, so if you need to look sharp, you can zip up the flap and it looks like you are carrying a regular briefcase. This is what it looks like when the flap is not zipped up.
The Deuter Bike Essential Briefcase has all the little pockets you would expect on a regular briefcase, including pockets for papers, pens, business cards, keys and wallets. This aspect is extremely comprehensive and well thought out. It enables you to organize your stuff and avoid the swearing and sweating that tends to occur when you have to rifle through a ton of stuff in a regular pannier, searching for your keys/wallet/bike lock/banana.
Waterproof Bike Briefcase
One of the little zips on the Deuter Bike Essential Briefcase conceals a bright yellow, waterproof bag that you can quickly pull out and wrap around the briefcase, should you be caught in a downpour. Even without the yellow bag this briefcase is pretty water-resistant, but with the bag it is 100% waterproof, keeping your laptop and documents dry regardless of the weather. Plus the bright yellow color helps you to be visible in the rain.
Quibbles about the Deuter Bike Briefcase
The zipper for concealing the clipping-on hardware does not work very well on my bag. And it only fits a very small laptop. As I happen to have a very small laptop, this is fine, but it would be too small for most laptops.
Bottom Line on the Deuter Bike Briefcase
If you need a briefcase that you can easily transport on your bike, buy the Deuter Bike Essential Briefcase. It’s great! But only if you have a very small laptop, or if you don’t plan to use it to transport a laptop. If you need to transport a laptop, take your laptop along and check before you buy.
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