26 August 2012

Product Review: Basil 'Elements' Shoulder Bag

A small company in the Netherlands who make their products from recycled materials, Basil specialise in "fashionable, functional and fun" bicycle bags and accessories. Their latest product is the 'Elements' Bag, which at first glance doesn't look much like a traditional Pannier at all. As you know, here on VCG, I quite drawn to panniers that break away from the norm, so when Basil sent me the Elements Bag for review*, it fitted right in...

The design is certainly a nod to the "fashionable" philosophy of their products: it's essentially a shoulder bag which attaches to your bike. Their Hook-On system (which includes a surprisingly strong Velcro strap) will work with most rear luggage racks and is a secure fit. This is easily hidden away when off the bike, using the small zip-pocket compartment it's housed in.
It's important to bear in mind the dimensions of the bag especially in regards to what you want to use it for. Measuring at 40 x 29 x 14 cm and with a 17 litre capacity, this isn't the kind of Bag that I would take on my grocery/shopping runs, but is fantastic as an over sized handbag. Carrying around my usual daily essentials (phone, purse, moleskine, pencil case, bike locks etc) wasn't an issue with the Basil at all.
Additional carry space comes with the two outer pockets on each side of the bag and the inner-zip pocket. If like me you have a larger sized laptop (15") it's not going to accommodate it (which was a bit of a shame) but it's ideal for a Tablet device or Netbook in a protective sleeve / case.

From an aesthetic point of view, the Basil Elements bag is rather neat. The water repellent recycled sailcloth with reflective detailing looks good, and the inner lining of the bag is rather nifty too. Artificial leather is used for the handles and the zip-pulls, which is quite long wearing.
The one thing that did disappoint me was the keyring/bling attachment: sadly this broke on the 1st use of the bag, with most of the ribbon and baubles falling off...
It's not essential to the bag at all as it just attaches to the main zipper as an additional accessory, but it was a shame when it started to come away.

Basil have put a twist on the traditional pannier with this one, with it really being a shoulder bag that fits on a bike. If you are after a bag with a high volume capacity and lots of space for shopping, you will need to go for something bigger than this.... however, if you're in the market for a stylish everyday handbag for casual use (from going to the office, heading to college etc) this could be right up your path.

Details on stockists of the Basil Elements Shoulder Bag can be found on their website.

All photography by Ian James. 
*This bag was kindly gifted to VCG by Basil for a review. 


Roo Paprika said...

It may be a love of form over function, but I love the idea of pannier bags that double up as a stylish shoulder bag. The recycled material appeal to the green in me as well.

I've only recently discovered your blog and am really enjoying the mix of fashion and bikes - you can look fabulous while cycling!

Unknown said...

That bag is fine but you've convinced me that I need to get those tropical TOMS!

Lady Vélo said...

@Roo Paprika: Nice to know you're enjoying VCG - Thank you! I've been using it quite a bit as a shoulder bag even when I'm not on my bike... it's certainly a functional piece that looks good too.

@Julie H: Haha! I love these TOMS so damned much! x

L said...

I just bought the bag today and my husband was the first to try the zipper. He pulled off the decorative bling before getting the zipper 1/3 of the way across! So clearly there's an issue with that...

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous bag! Are the shoulder straps comfy?
I have a similar style bag from New Looxs but the shoulder straps are like iron bars and not at all comfy to wear off the bike so Im considering treating myself to this one for autumn/winter.

Anonymous said...

Looks awesome, have been on the lookout for something similar for a while! The Mirte ones are a bit rigid for me.... Darn it why is Christmas so far away?

Mitten and Makings said...

Hi! Just found your blog. I love Basil products - I currently have a Basil Dutch Shopper which is great for work and shopping and I've just ordered the Elements bag you've reviewed to transport my gym kit in. Can't wait for it to arrive :)

Sez said...

Thanks for your fantastic review (gorgeous pix and everything).

Curious if once the hooks are zipped away whether they are noticeable against your body? I was considering a Koki but the reviews say the hooks did into your hip, regardless of zipped away area. Do you have any similar problems with the Basil Elements?

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