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Thread: Cafe Bag Strap Changes?

  1. #1
    Ken
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    Question Cafe Bag Strap Changes?

    I just recently purchased a SCB to use in addition to the MCB that I picked up last year. The strap on the new bag, however, is woven differently from my older bag, and I was wondering if there was a reason for the change, and if there is any possibility of changing back to the old fabric. My MCB's strap, which can be identified by its linear "grain" pattern is softer and has more ply, making it much more comfortable when worn. The new strap, which does not have the "grain" pattern, is much stiffer, and this is a bit of a comfort issue, especially with the smaller and lighter SCB. I am hoping that the new strap softens up over time, as it is not nearly as comfortable as the older fabric. Any insight for the change in fabric?

    Thanks,

    --Ken

  2. #2
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    You are not alone! I observed (and was disappointed by) the strap change, and I got quite a few votes of agreement on this thread: Cafe Bag strap change?

    I'm sure the new strap will soften over time, but I still doubt it would be as soft as an aged old style strap. I returned the Dyneema SCB and got a Plum/Wasabi with the old style strap instead.

  3. #3
    Ken
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    Thank you for the link to the other post. It's a shame that nobody at TB seemed to understand the comfort issue with these different fabrics, especially on the SCB where the strap really needs to be supple as it is almost too wide for the bag. There was no mention of the older fabric not performing well, so I am not sure if this change counts at "new and improved". I will be heading to the showroom tomorrow, but I suspect that all of their limited supply of SCB's will have the newer strap.

    My wife has a couple of non-TB bags, and her biggest complaints about them usually revolve around their straps. It seems like a small and unimportant detail until it starts cutting into your neck. Let's hope the new fabric will soften up over time.

    --Ken

  4. #4
    Registered User Ms. Ferret's Avatar
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    Maybe the strap on the SCB should be switchable, like the strap on the LCB?

    I have old and new SCBs and prefer the new strap material (I find that the shoulder pad stays in place better on the stiffer webbing), so just switching back to the old version wouldn't please everyone either. Interchangeable straps would let everyone use their favorite.

  5. #5
    Ken
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms. Ferret View Post
    Maybe the strap on the SCB should be switchable, like the strap on the LCB?

    I have old and new SCBs and prefer the new strap material (I find that the shoulder pad stays in place better on the stiffer webbing), so just switching back to the old version wouldn't please everyone either. Interchangeable straps would let everyone use their favorite.
    Very true. Did your strap soften up after use?

    --Ken

  6. #6
    Registered User Ms. Ferret's Avatar
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    Maybe a little -- but it's still much stiffer than the old webbing.

  7. #7
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    I don't have an older SCB for comparison, but the strap is comparable to the bag that was replaced by my SCB. What I have found is the strap seems to have warped a bit. By that, I mean the strap is a bit wavy, suggesting that one side of the strap is stretching a bit more than the other.

  8. #8
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Eeek! I'm sad to hear that it might seem like we don't care about this issue.. we do care, and here's the deal:

    We happily used the older, softer webbing until one day (a while ago, now) we received a shipment of it and found that this latest batch had some problems... it was thinner and lacked the body that we felt such a strap needed, and in general, it lacked the quality of the previous batches. We investigated to determine if that batch was just a bad batch, but it turned out to just be the way the webbing would be from then on, and that wasn't acceptable to us. We researched alternatives and chose the current, stiffer webbing because we felt it was the best of all of the options. And we have also received feedback from folks who prefer the stiffer webbing. So, those two things (that the stiffer webbing was our best option and that it seemed to come down to personal preference as to whether folks preferred the softer or stiffer webbing) led us to choose to stay with the current, stiffer webbing as-is.

    We could've responded sooner to explain all of that, and in teresapoet's thread as well.

    All that said, you've inspired us to once again search for a softer (yet just as nice) webbing, and I'll let you know what we find. I don't know if this makes sense, but it's tough sometimes to make the "right" choice about something like this when some people prefer option A and others prefer option B. And that's always our goal: to find something that works for everyone, or at least most folks.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  9. #9
    Ken
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    Explanations like this help greatly, Darcy. While they do not change the stiffness of the webbing, they do let us know that you did not just change the fabric out on a whim. Sorry to hear that your supplier could not maintain a quality product. Good luck finding a possible replacement.

    Thanks,

    --Ken

  10. #10
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    I have many Bihn bags (Western Flyer, Cadet, Co-Pilot, Side Effect...okay, perhaps that's few compared to others here but it's a lot to me) and I resisted getting a Cafe Bag for a while...and then I just decided yes, it too has a use case that justifies yet another purchase!

    I definitely concur that this is the first bag where I thought, hmm, there's something I don't like about this, and it is the stiff shoulder strap. It is less comfortable than the softer straps I have on my Co-Pilot & Cadet.. As for this stiffer strap having better grip on the shoulder pad - I cut the shoulder pad off, as I did with my Cadet & Co-Pilot, as it just seems like another thing to futz with, just simpler without it as I always use shoulder straps cross body.

    However it does seem like there are at least a couple advantages to the stiffness of the strap. Because it's stiff, it has a kind of shape memory. That's what I don't like about it, but it does have two effects: 1. It makes it easier to get the bag on and off my body because the strap kind of holds itself open, and 2. when the strap is not in use, although it looks weird kind of holding its shape in space, it also is less likely to get tangled up or in the way.

    To sum up: the strap's stiffness makes it stubborn, but stubbornness has its advantages just as flexibility does.

  11. #11
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Update! We talked with our webbing folks and came up with a solution: going forward, Small and Medium Cafe bags will be made with a softer, more playable webbing, much (pretty much the same, actually) like the original webbing everyone here is fonder of. Small and Medium Cafe Bags in the new 420d HT nylon Classic Parapack color combinations already have the new/old softer webbing.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the update, Darcy! I thought that the strap in the pictured Navy 420d Small Cafe Bag looked like the softer older webbing, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. I have no need for a new Cafe Bag, but now I'm quite tempted.

  13. #13
    Ken
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Update! We talked with our webbing folks and came up with a solution: going forward, Small and Medium Cafe bags will be made with a softer, more playable webbing, much (pretty much the same, actually) like the original webbing everyone here is fonder of. Small and Medium Cafe Bags in the new 420d HT nylon Classic Parapack color combinations already have the new/old softer webbing.
    Great to hear, Darcy! Too bad my recent SCBs cannot be retrofitted. That strap is just so stiff for such a small bag that it negates some of the bag's compactness.

    --Ken

  14. #14
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Darcy, this is such great news. The pliable strap was a much better fit for the SCB and MCB imho.
    I really, really like TB Bags!


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