The canvas is very heavy duty, and was disconcertingly stiff at first. They have limbered up a bit after some use. The leather trim is nice and heavy, and has a nice feel to it.
The natural canvas "cream" color is very attractive on Gilbert with his cream tires and brown leather trim.
While Gilbert was "down" and I was riding Minerva every day for transportation, I grew quite fond of using a pair of "Fast rider" Dutch style double saddlebags. Those saddlebags hold an enormous amount, but they're too long to fit comfortably on Gilberrt's smaller rack and shorter wheelbase. The Linus panniers are shorter and more vertical, and they fit nicely on Gilbert's rack. I also appreciate the shoulder strap, which is convenient for taking them into the store to fill with groceries. I might leave them attached to the bike for a short time, but I'm not comfortable leaving them on for extended periods as the Dutch do. They come with a small brass padlock which you could use to secure them to the rack if you were going to leave them on all the time.
Sunday NYTimes, cheese, cream cheese, 2 pounds of ground meat, and a package of pork chops, can of chopped clams, vice grips, 2 liter soda, box of pasta, package of mushrooms, bag of red peppers, dryer sheets, dog food, two packages of salad mix
Some small details: there's a set of snaps to close them, but there's additionally a magnetic closure that will keep them mostly closed without a full load, which is nice when you don't want to deal with the snaps. Unfortunately there are no pockets for cell phone or keys etc. That's not what I expect from a "shopper" style pannier like this or the Fastriders. If I really wanted them, I could sew a cotton pocket inside to hold small things safe, but I don't anticipate doing that.
As I mentioned last week, I put reflective patches on them for added visibility. They don't seem to have a "front" or a "back" so I put the patches on both sides.
Fortunately the straps at the struts of the rack are much bigger and fit around fine, although it's a bit fiddly and clumsy to open and close them with gloves on. The leather and brass is very classy and retro, but perhaps velcro would have been faster. It wouldn't make much difference if you were going to leave the panniers on all the time though.
The only real problem I have is that the solid top piece interferes with using my rack straps, which is where I normally put my lock. I can slide the lock under the solid fabric top, but if I need to use the rack straps, I have to detach them at the axle (simple enough) and bring them across the top of the rack diagonally, which works OK. If I were going to leave them on all the time, I'd probably reinforce the top with leather, and make a slit for the straps to fit through on each side.
I don't think that they're waterproof, and I'm a little concerned about how the light color will wear. As you can see in the above photo, they're already showing a bit of black scuff- possibly from (a tiny bit of ) heel strike, or being leaned up against something dirty. I could Scotch-guard them I suppose. The other approach would be to wax them or treat them with a rub-on waterproofing somehow- I looked at the Barbour waterproofing stuff, but I don't know how chemical-y it is. Has anyone out there done any DIY waxing of cotton? Without treatment, I think that they could be hand-washed, or even maybe machine washed if you treated the leather immediately after. In any case, I'm not riding with them in the slush mess that the roads have been in the thaw after last weekend's storm. That's made a bit of a mess of my leather bag, but at least it can be wiped down and oiled.
In sum: these seem like a great set of "Saturday errands" or CSA pickup panniers for Gilbert. They're not super easy on and off, or great to carry into a meeting, or for carrying a lot of small stuff like my phone or camera. But to leave them on the bike, adding stuff at each stop, they'll work very well. They hold an awful lot, look handsome on the bike, and are easy to carry into a store. I suppose it's a weakness of mine that I have a bag for every occasion. On one hand, I have a lot of very useful bike bags. On the other, I'm constantly realizing that my lipstick or my hand sanitizer is in my "other" bag. The perils of too much choice!