Traditional transverse style bicycle saddlebag. Attaches to the loops on the rear of the touring saddle by means of two leather straps which also wrap around an interior wooden dowel, adding support and helping the bag maintain it's shape. A nylon shroud is sewn into the main body of the bag and by use of a drawstring keeps the contents secure. The top flap unfolds and provides additional attachment points, allowing for a bulkier load. The omega type metal buttons provide a convenient, quick-release for the top cover. Two side pockets add to the overall capacity and provide a place to put items which need to be readily accessible. Metal d-rings sewn into the reinforced top straps for strapping additional items...like a jacket or sweater. Two d-rings allow for use with optional shoulder strap.
Strengths: Very well constructed, constructed of very heavy canvas, waterproof, extra long flap closure, reinforced bottom, easy to adjust leather closure straps, large side pockets, D rings for shoulder strap, leather saddle and seat post attachment straps are included.
Weaknesses: Depending on the bike, and amount of cargo, may need a support rack like the Carradice Bagman. Uses leather straps to attach to underside of saddle, which is slow to install or remove unless you buy a quick release device. Nowhere to attach a tail light.
This bag is patterned after the classic Carradice designs but has a couple of differences that could be considered improvements. Like the Carradice bags, Zimbale's bag is made of very heavy duck canvas that is waterproof and the stitching is strong and sturdy. Also both bags are attached to the saddle with included leather straps from the top of the bag, as well as a strap on the back of the bag to stabilize on the seat post. The Zimbale bag also has side pockets but unlike Carradice's bags the covers for the side pockets are slightly longer. The Zimbale bags are all equipped with extra long flap closure similar to the Carradice Camper and Nelson Long Flap. This feature is possibly the best part, in that with the flap unfolded, you can increase the bag's capacity by as much as 1/3 (my own estimate). The leather flap straps are designed so they can easily be switched from one closure point to another in seconds, with no effort, but without any worry that the bag will come open at an inopportue moment. There are two well placed D rings for a shoulder strap (not included) which is something NOT included on Carradice bags. Both Carradice and Zimbale's are attached to the rear uderside of the saddle by threading two leather straps through the top of the bag and around a hardwood dowel riveted to the inside of the bag, while I'm not sure about Carradice, on the Zimbales bag, the dowel can be removed/replaced if needed.
Cost wise this bag is on par with Carradice, except without the (in some cases VERY) long wait on back order. This was the largest bag offered by Zimbale at the time of purchase at 18L, and falls neatly between the Carradice Nelson at 15L and the Camper at 23L. Often described as a Carradice knock-off, the zimbale bag, in my opinion is an excellent saddle bag. The side pockets are large enough, and deep enough for my multi-tools, patch kit, extra chain lube, a rag, mini flashlight, with room to spare and the covers are long enough so there's no worry of accidental loss after hitting a bump no matter how big. The top of the main compartment has a nylon fringe that can be drawn closed with a drawstring which ensures the weather stays out while your gear stays in. Along with the extra capacity of the long flap, there are also attachment points on the outside of the cover flap so you could strap on a jacket or what have you.
If you use the bag by itself (both Carradice AND Zimbale) there may be a problem with the bag rubbing on the rear wheel or the back of your legs depending on the length of seat post and the design of your frame. To fix this, Carradice makes and sells the Bagman rack that supports the bag above the rear tire and holds it back away from your legs. The bags are designed for use with saddles with strap loops built on them. They aren't strictly necessary but makes life much easier but if you don't have a saddle with them strap loops can be bought and bolted on. The leather straps are a little slow to work with compared to rack/bag systems like Topeak has, but quick release systems are also available from Carradice. Only real down side is there is no good place to attach a tail light onto the bag. The leather tag branded with Zimbale's logo could be used to clip a light onto, but it would leave the light pointing upwards, rendering it useless (the light).
Overall this is an outstanding piece of gear that is well made and reasonably priced. It fits a niche for those who want a classic looking bag whether for your vintage get around, modern commuter, or slightly older bike-packing rig which with a shoulder strap you could take anywhere comfotably.