Super Ego + Brain cell
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I ended up ordering a bright red Super Ego bag with a Brain Cell padded insert which doubles as a lightweight laptop carrying case, which I've had for about 6 weeks now. The ordering and shipping process was easy and flawless... the bag arrived in my office two days after I ordered it. I've made eight flights with the bag and laptop so far (yeah, its been a busy month), and I have to say that I like it a whole lot. First and foremost, the Brain Cell insert really does the job of protecting the laptop. I have no concerns banging the bag around on the airplane or in the car. The bag itself is built like a NASCAR roll cage... it is really well put together. Heavy material, thorough and neat stitching, everything taped the way it should be. The main zipper is a Uretek-coated YKK #8 that is absolutely water and snag proof, so there's no way the laptop is going to get wet in there. The pocket arrangement took a little while to get used to, but it works out well, and I've revised my security dance to accomodate them. The big front pocket could use a little more room, but everything I normally carry fits ok. There's even a little clip-on strap to hang my Bose headset case on, something the Brookstone bag doesn't have.
There are only two things I don't like about the bag. The first one is a minor issue... the back pocket covers the whole back side of the bag and is basically flat. It is designed to hold a file folder or a couple of magazines, which it does just fine. But I really want to put a couple of books in there, and the flat pocket doesn't accomodate them very well. I'd love to see the back pocket be expandable to an inch or two. My Brookstone bag has the same problem, by the way.
The other thing is more problematic. The shoulder strap is not very comfortable. First off, it doesn't have an elastic suspension like my Brookstone bag has. I didn't realize how nice it was for the strap to give a little when you throw it over your shouder until I hefted my fully-packed Bihn bag. I could feel the 20 pounds dropping on my shoulder all the way down in my lower back. And although the pad on the Tom Bihn strap is pretty thick, it's covered in some sort of high friction non skid material that will strip the skin off your shoulder before it will slide over it. I may have to resort to some goofy lambskin pad or something. And for some reason, I manage to get the strap twisted up in the pad (the pad slides over the strap with a simple sleeve) at least once a day, which requires some fiddling to undo.
Redesign of shoulder straps for ID and Super Ego
Hi Gil, welcome to the forums. It looks as though the strap options are being redesigned. At least, the ID bag, which uses a similarly designed strap to the Super Ego, has just come out with a new version. Here's a brief summary giving links to the most relevant discussion posts. You'll want to read the surrounding posts that discuss these points in each thread, and do the same for the embedded post links within each of these posts.
Originally Posted by gkirkpatri
Here's a brief overview and a few extracted quotes from those links to get you started. There have been a number of requests to be able to use the Absolute Strap (in particular) with these bags. Till now the problem has been the different strap widths (2" for ID; 1 1/2" for Absolute and Terra Grip straps) and lack of manufactured components for the smaller width. The strap issue came up in the Carry-On Traveller's Bag thread (design inputs for the current Aeronaut):
For a picture of the ID bag's straight padded strap, see this link posted in another forum thread. Scroll to the bottom; check the 3rd set of images from the bottom. Here is a picture of the Super Ego's shoulder pad form the Flickr group photos. The larger size (loaded weight) of the Super Ego probably makes the design of the default strap more of an issue than for the ID bag.
Originally Posted by moriond
For the recent new ID bag design, Darcy posted:
We're still waiting for the detailed pictures of the newly redesigned ID bag. From Zephyrnoid's preliminary bag review, the new strap option sounds successful. It sounds as though this design will be incorporated into the new Ego, and that a redesign of the Super Ego will follow.
Originally Posted by Darcy
Last edited by moriond; 12-04-2006 at 10:30 PM.
Reason: Added link to Super Ego image from Tom Bihn Flickr Group
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