DThis reader’s comment was really fun the other day. For one thing, he received professional attention with the headline “Ortlieb? Once and never again! ”It is in this style that people like to get ridiculously negative reviews on the Internet. Here, however, the hymn to the indestructibility of the bike bags was sung by market leader Ortlieb. Tenor: The things last so long that the hardworking cyclist is not allowed to buy a new one because Mutti said that the old one is still good.

But now the fairy tale of the total indestructibility of the waterproof luggage bags is exactly this: a fairy tale. If it were the sheer truth that Ortlieb bags, pouches and backpacks simply cannot be broken, the company based in Heilsbronn in Middle Franconia would hardly have been at its headquarters for almost 40 years and now also in the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Switzerland maintain its own repair service. He is by no means shamefully entrusted with the discreet settlement of complaints, but is aggressively presented with the message: Even after the guarantee period of five years, the equipment can be given a second, third or fourth life by repairing and modernizing.

It actually took some time before this service could be tried out. And that did not happen in the best of times: the season was already in full swing, and the demand was growing pandemically. Ortlieb sales can be heard saying that you can’t sew, glue, screw and weld as much as the customers tear out of your hands. And market observers with a little overview stated that Ortlieb benefited from its consistent “Made in Germany” in times of broken supply chains – in contrast to others in the bicycle industry.

The new, waterproof basket from Ortlieb.

With three bags that broke in quick succession, everything was done as recommended by the Ortlieb website. The trusted dealer sent the bags in and reported ten days later that the repaired items were back. All in all, it costs around ten euros, and you also got a franking voucher for the next mailing. For the customer, there were a few extra sweets and a calculation with something like a brain teaser: Why was only one of the three repairs liable to pay the costs? One screw was replaced in two cases to guarantee it. Because the same screw had loosened on both back roller pockets and had been lost, one could have guessed that there was an incorrect operation.

In fact, however, the moveable carrying strap is not screwed so cleverly that it remains to be seen how soon a screw will loosen and disappear again. However, the bottom of the third bag, which was worn through less than four weeks after the purchase, had to be paid for. Apparently, the transport of an e-bike battery, which was to blame, does not fall under the category of intended use. Or the few euros for the hole, which is neatly sealed with a patch that is welded on, are to be understood as a reminder to finally buy an “E-Mate” bag: the novelty with the speaking name has a padded battery compartment, but costs a tidy sum of twelve Patch, say around 120 euros. Speaking of innovations: As is not uncommon in the breast tone of the innovator, who is actually more of a perfectionist, the Ortlieb advertising 2020 announces “New Basket in Town”. So far, anyone who wanted to hang a basket of market purchases in front of the handlebars had to resort to a soft, oval bag by Rixen and Kaul (“Klickfix”). She not only clicked firmly on her own adapter with the red button, but also on Ortlieb’s holder.

The market leader no longer includes this in his handlebar bags. On the one hand, this beautifulens the prices, but it makes sense: the demands on the handlebar shape of the carrier have become too different due to displays and more cables, especially for electric bikes. Ortlieb has expanded its core competence, water resistance, to the shopping basket. The result is a shopping basket with brackets instead of handles, internal stiffening and a cover that is sealed all around with a rubber lip. Nevertheless, the novelty looks quite similar to the shopper from Rixen and Kaul, and there was already a rain roof for that too. “Up-Town”, as Ortlieb’s shopping basket is called, is available in different versions for between around 70 and 90 euros. “Mustard” is the fashion color of this year. Noteworthy: The basket requires a holder with a stronger wire rope. It is enclosed in gray instead of black, and the question remains to be answered empirically: Can the previously compatible Klickfix adapters cope with the novelty?