Since Gilbert's "appointments" (grips, basket, saddle) are brown, I've been on the hunt for a brown leather bag to turn into a daily pannier. After a lot of ebay trolling, I finally found what I was looking for- a dark brown leather bag with a handle, a shoulder strap and a pair of outside pockets.
Varying from my usual MO, I decided to try the "Klick-fix" hardware from Rixen & Kaul. The advantage of this hardware is that it has a bar on which the hooks are mounted, allowing them to slide back and forth to accommodate different racks and chainstay lengths. Ortlieb offers a similar system, which is actually simpler, but it's only available as part of an Ortlieb bag, not as a stand-alone part. the Klickfix is actually a bit simpler than the Ortlieb to adjust to a variety of tubing diameters with a spring loaded system, and accommodates the very oversized tubing of my two Steco racks.
As I did with my previous bag, I added a 12" brass stabilizer bar inside the bag instead of just using the provided two washers to help distribute the weight and keep the bag from cupping inward.
As you can see, the bag has two large outer pockets, a small inner zip pocket, and a large main compartment. There is an open pocket on the "wheel side" which might be a good place to slip a rain jacket. I may add an interior button and elastic strap to keep the inner pocket a little more closed even if the top flaps aren't buckled down.
The Klick-fix system is a little more complicated to mount on the rack than the Ortlieb (or maybe I'm just still getting the hang of it. you have to pivot the red tabs out, freeing the black hooks, and then lower it onto the rack.
Once the black hooks are seated on the tube of the rack, you push down (and slightly in) on the red tabs, which are spring loaded. Once you get them down far enough, they pop under the bottom of the tube, where they are held in place by the springs.
Unlike the Ortlieb, removing the bag isn't just a matter of lifting up, but is the reverse of the mounting process, although it is a little simpler because you don't have to be as finicky about pivoting the red tabs out of the way. Basically, you push down, and a bit out on the red tabs, and once they clear the tube, they pop up and away.
I adjusted the pannier hooks based on pretty low heeled shoes, and I think I'm going to have to adjust them a tiny bit more to eliminate heel strike when wearing higher heels.
Adjustment is simple- but does require a screwdriver. You loosen the two screws on each hook, and then they slide along the bar as needed, then tighten them back up again.
I put this together over the weekend, and have now used it a couple of days this week. I'm getting a bit better with the Klick-fix, although it's still not quite as smooth as the Ortlieb. Unfortunately the first day I rode in, one of the toggles that hold the top flap to the pockets broke off somewhere along the road. I'll go to the shoe repair store this weekend and see if they have anything that might replace it- otherwise I'm going to have to create a button-type closure for that side. The pockets are very deep though, and I haven't had any fear that things might fall out of the pockets, even when unsecured- it's mainly that the bag tends to gap open in the middle if left completely unfastened.