peter By: peter

Sologne vs Berthoud ***WARNING HOT TOPIC!!!***

Special order Berthoud GB-1488's, not to be confused with the short GB-799's.


  • jmedclay 4y

    Perhaps a gentle note to Berthoud would get the last 5%.

    I think they would sell more if they picked up on these details. When looking at current Berthoud pics some time back, I was left cold even though I knew they'd be wonderful. I didn't realize why. Now I do, and when ready to purchase I'd pay the difference.
  • jchallows 4y

    Sure nice things are nice, but if VO is putting decent looking stuff on the road and that means more people are cycling instead of driving, I say bring on the 95%, 85%...even the 65% stuff and leave the luxury goods to the super models and celebrities who'll ditch it when the fad fades. I know I can't and won't be able to afford a $350 bag anytime soon. Unless, the champions of "quality" want to help me out, I'm afraid it's going to be VO for me.
  • peter PRO 4y

    Decent "looking" and decent performing aren't nearly the same.

    Trust me, I'm on a budget also, but buying rugged,stable and durable
    bags is not a fashion statement imo.

    You can beef up a poorly supported bag as I did with an old TA, it works well now but took some time and playing around to get it right.
    If you're willing to do this with a lesser bag you'll be all set.

    If you just want it to be decent "looking", then there's no need to beef it up,, then it is merely just a fashion statement.
  • Mitch Pryor 4y

    I think where a manufacturer places the bar says something about their individual values despite what the market will bear. It says something about this point in time that a company like VO can thrive. Maybe the point here is that many will try and still miss the point. The last 5% isn't concerned about the market or the clock. It's right that you pay for the extra 35%, but the last 5%? How can you put a price on that?
  • jchallows 4y

    jp - good call on 'decent looking' vs. performance (sloppy wording on my part). I guess just I wonder how much we pursue a sense of authenticity or legitimacy (motivated by a fear of appearing as poseurs) when the actual difference in quality for the no. 2 brand is often negligible. I think I was being harsh because I feel myself getting sucked in.

    One of my favorite sets on here is of a couple guys in California who went camping with beat up old bikes, improvised wooden racks, wald baskets and sneakers. they reminded me that it's about riding, where you ride, and who you ride with.

    I really don't want to knock your pursuit of quality. It's actually something I think is very important and I appreciate your post(s).
  • peter PRO 4y

    bethellodge, I respect your position, and I also wouldn't want anyone to feel they needed to cave to peer pressure and buy something they didn't need.
    As I mentioned earlier, I was dismayed that this thread took the tact that it did, and was probably my fault for using the vs in the description, I didn't mean it to be a knock of the newer bag.

    I have great respect for the Berthoud products and have had many carefree miles using them. They were engineered to do the job well, and look good while doing it.

    When I think of "quality" here (I'm) not fussing over a stitching detail, but more importantly the structural details, like the heavy leather bottoms on the h'bar bag, and their stable inner reinforcements. Those are important factors when carrying a heavy load on a rough surface. I have learned to appreciate these "qualities" out on the road.

    If your no.2 brand bag is the VO, then the difference is pretty great imo.
    Their bag has a lot going for it,,, at the price, but some important structural features have been left out,,,,, for the sake of price.
    As delivered it will never be as stable or secure on the bike in challanging conditions. There really is a difference and I feel it important the viewer's realize that.

    You could improve it (as I did with my old floppy TA bag), and I have great respect for anyone that is willing to work with their hands and their minds to improve things, rather than just thrown down their wallet. Your Calif. tourists are great examples of that.

    I'll find time to photo my home made improvements, and inner reinforcements (from recycled material) on my TA bag. I'm sure some of this has been done before, and probably better than I did it, but so far it has worked pretty well. I do know that the TA bag won't last as long as my trusty Berthoud as it was lighter built when made.

    Thanks for chiming in, like wise,I appreciate your comments.
  • Mark DiNucci 4y

    if i had to choose one of these bags to use i would take the new one because the pockets are better sealed. the old one looks far better but the pocket needs to be of a better design.
  • P. Lynn Miller 4y


    This quote... "Mafac canti's and Raid brakes were probably worth more as scrap metal, than retail items on ebay"... is so true... I was early to the party... I bought a nifty little Fuji 650b touring bike upon my arrival in Sydney in 2001 as my first Australian bike... cost me $65AUD at an auction... Honjo fenders... the works...

    Then I bought my Peugeot for $4AUD at the same auction when auctioneer threatened to throw it in the scrap bin because nobody would bid on it... when I decided to convert it to 650b... I have to pay Velocity to roll 400 rims to get 36h 650b rims... and that was the beginning of my involvement in the 650b scene... Mafac Raid brakes... I bought a NOS lot from some guy in Cyprus for $50 for 6 pairs... I think... Simplex derailleurs and shifters... I got them mail as donations... TA and Stronglight cranks were maybe $25 a set... Brooks saddles... I had to get them from the US as there was no supplier in Australia... etc and etc...

    I was shell-shocked when I went to get some stuff for another bike recently... everything has appreciated by 500%... should have taken all my money in the stock-market and bought all the French parts I could get my hands on... and the stuff that I threw out... and gave away...

    Sigh... I hate when I become part of the majority... maybe this phase will wear off and things will get back to normal... until then I will just keep riding my old Peugeot...

    Oh... my vote goes to Sologne as well...
  • Peter Scott 4y

    Well that was fun!
  • J. Woodward | iconoco 4y

    Craft wins for me.
  • pimadude 4y

    I owned a pair of the traditional Sologne panniers some years ago. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line they were sold (I don't remember when). In my opinion, the modern Berthoud bags are much better made with superior materials and quality. (I own a set of the smaller GB799 bags).

    The older Sologne panniers had a nasty hook suspension method at the bottom, you certainly would not want to have that spring back into your finger. In addition the back of the bag was pretty much nothing but a piece of cardboard. The quality of the leather on my Sologne bags was also fairly poor (in my opinion).

    If you wanted something closer to the traditional Sologne bag, you can get one from Gran Bois Cycles, with a nice leather strap attachment for the rack. Here's a link to their site:

    The Gran Bois panniers, at this point, would be less expensive than trying to purchase a set of the Sologne bags on eBay. One set, described as having a strong mildew odor (sounds great, huh?) sold on eBay recently for $547.73.

    To each their own, but I'm not pining for a set of Sologne panniers.
  • Ruthworks SF 4y

    On the back of the Gran Bois panniers, what is stamped on the leather?
    Is it Berthoud? Did they make the panniers for them?
    Very nice design.
  • Ruthworks SF 4y

    Shoichi Watanabe posted this:
    IMGP5923 by guuwatanabe
  • peter PRO 4y

  • spoke sniffer 4y

    Should we forward this thread to the buyer?
  • 3y

    I like the Berthoud better since they match my other bags!
  • elmarjazz1 3y

    I just got back from a 60kms round trip ride up to I's Bicycle here in Kyoto and came back with a set of their small Grand Bois (Berthoud) panniers as mentioned and linked by 'pimadude' above. (… yes, that's a 'Gilles Berthoud' stamped into the leather support at the top on the back)

    The last set I saw of original Sologne panniers in this style in fair condition (unlike the nice set pictured here) went for close to $600. Nice for a 'collector' to finish that restoration job on a Herse or Singer, but I need something to use everyday, don't need to worry about, and is not on its downside of use for my new Grand Bois Porteur bike.

    The Grand Bois (Berthoud) panniers I got have the leather straps/buckle for mounting, a spring tension system, a maroon color [synthetic] leather back, and the back stiffener is plastic. Looking over the stitching on the leather trim I can't complain, it looks well done and they are solid well made bags. I like the gray color on my black bike - they smell 'new' good ;-)

    I understand from talking to Ikou the owner of I's Bicycle these were a special order - custom made - for his shop awhile back, and not sure if they will be available in the future. So for me I appreciate the old Sologne panniers for what they are, but for what I need I am very happy to have a new set in the same size, look great, and will serve me well for years to come.
  • elmarjazz1 3y

    BTW: The Shoichi Watanabe bags in a similar size look beautiful and very well made, that 5% [or more] that has been talked about?, but shows that you do pay for that extra care (about 20-25% higher priced than the GB), for actual 'performance' not sure it matters. The Grand Bois 'Berthoud' panniers are not cheap, but I think are reasonably priced. Now if I could find a set of NOS Sologne panniers that are the GB price… :-)
  • peter PRO 2y

    white flag up,,,

  • S.E. Gøss 1mo

    I've just stumbled upon this thread while gathering info on a pair of Sologne panniers I'm selling. Unsure if anyone is still reading this, and I certainly hope I'm not out of line, but if anyone is interested...
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Taken on April 6, 2011
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