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Thread: New bag buckles?

  1. #1
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    New bag buckles?

    Has Tom ever considered offering an alternative to the plastic side-release buckles now in use? Een as a custom order?

    The side-release ones are sturdy and practical, but not very elegant. (I hear this from my partner a lot).

    Any thoughts?

    bb

  2. #2
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    Durability is a factor too

    I've had at least two of those black plastic buckles break on me so far, one on an Empire Builder and one on an ID. I think one broke on my Cafe Bag as well, and I'm not hard on them at all. I now carry a spare all the time. They just seem to wear out at their thinnest point, much as you can break a piece of wire by bending it back and forth.

    I never understood why someone would choose a seat belt buckle on the Ego, but now I do.

    If there's a weak link in the Tom Bihn chain it's these plastic buckles.

    The good news is that there's very easy to replace on the fly — takes maybe 10 seconds and no skill or effort.

    Anything more durable that would match the overall durability of the bag would be a real gift.

  3. #3
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    Interesting. I guess I have not had this happen to me so far. I have the Imago and the Medium Cafe Bag and use them all the time. But yes: better buckles would go a great way to improved aesthetics as well as durability I suppose. I do love the RedOxx and Waterfield ones--but they do add immensely to weight!

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    Interesting indeed....

    I have never had a plastic buckle break on me either, but I can see it happening.
    Any pointers where to find replacement male parts on line?
    Seat buckle on Ego is great, but its noise made me switch to plastic.

    Cheers,

    do15

  5. #5
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    The buckles we use are the highest quality buckles available - they're pretty much the industry standard. We do get requests for replacement buckles, but it's fairly rare. The buckles are more prone to breaking if they're subjected to extreme temperatures or temperature changes.

    I don't think customers in general need to worry about their buckles breaking. And, if their buckles do break, we send replacements at no charge.

    Tom's always ordering samples of new buckles, but we do really like the look, functionality, durability, light weight, ease of use, and relative silence of the Duraflex Warrior buckles we use now, and we don't have plans to change them.
    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

  6. #6
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    This owner took his Brain Bag to Kilimanjaro via Tanzania.
    http://www.tombihn.com/blog/node/98

    This other owner took her Brain Bag to Antartica
    http://www.tombihn.com/blog/node/106

    Each Brain Bag has 4 compression straps each with a buckle.

    Since 2006, 2 Brain Bags and 2 Large Cafe Bags have been used on rotation, or together, when we travel as a family.

    That's 10 buckles, used to travel via air or car, tossed around in all kind of weather, well... not in Antartica or alpine mountains but they did endure last January, Washington D.C "Snowmagedon".

    The buckles work just fine.
    Last edited by backpack; 10-07-2010 at 12:45 AM.

  7. #7
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    I agree that the buckles aren't elegant. But there's a limit as to how elegant a Cordura bag can be. I think that the buckles match the look of the bags quite well. Frankly, when I need to look uber-professional, I go with a leather tote-style purse. But my Tom Bihn bags are my everyday bags, and the buckles suit them just fine.
    snowbot likes this.
    Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.

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    I like the buckles.
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  9. #9
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    Hi, Just thought I'd revive this thread.

    I have a first-generation Buzz. I've been using it almost daily since June, 2005. I love it; in fact, I tried the current model and returned it: my 13" MacBook Pro just floated around in there, and I found the rest of the bag too big for my taste as well.

    But the Achilles' heal is those plastic buckles. I've gone through 3 of the "male" parts and 2 of the "female" parts since I've had the bag. Tom Bihn has always been kind enough to send replacements, but replacing them is a bit of a pain, due to the heavy-duty sewing involved, and it's annoying when one goes out on a trip.

    Part of the problem is probably that for the Buzz, the buckle is a weight-bearing part, and the weight is borne by just one buckle. The entire weight of the bag and contents probably never exceeds 10 pounds at the most, even with the laptop, but still....

    It would be great if the bags could be supplied with better buckles -- ones equal in quality to the rest of the bag. Maybe metal. (?)

    -P.

  10. #10
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    We can send you an acetal buckle to test with your Buzz, shenkin. Email me: darcy@tombihn.com We don't use acetal buckles because they're noisy and they tend to pinch people's fingers more than the nylon buckles that we do use.

    And for those thinking a metal buckle might be the solution: there's really no reasonable metal buckle alternative. What we said back in 2010 still goes: The buckles we use are the highest quality buckles available - they're pretty much the industry standard. We do really like the look, functionality, durability, light weight, ease of use, and relative silence of the Duraflex Warrior buckles we use now, and we don't have plans to change them.
    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

  11. #11
    dlg
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    I'll bite. What's an "acetal buckle," Darcy? How does it differ from what's being used today?

  12. #12
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Acetal buckles are made from acetal material; they're less prone to breaking, but they are also noisy, a little more difficult to operate because they're stiffer, and can pinch one's fingers. The buckles we currently use are made of nylon. We've considered switching to acetal buckles over the years, and might do that one day, but for now, our bags have nylon buckles.
    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

  13. #13
    dlg
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    Oh, okay. So my Timbuk2 has giant clacky buckles and are probably "acetal" then? My vote is for nylon. I love how quiet the Ristretto's buckle is.

  14. #14
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    Hi, Darcy,

    Thanks. I've written you separately and look forward to trying the acetal buckle.

    You wrote: "What we said back in 2010 still goes: The buckles we use are the highest quality buckles available - they're pretty much the industry standard. We do really like the look, functionality, durability,..."

    A few comments. They are the industry standard, but Tom Bihn bags are not industry-standard bags. They are much better and last a lot longer.

    I'm sure they are durable in non-weight-bearing applications, like holding down the flap of a messenger bag. But on the Buzz, a substantial fraction of the weight of the bag is borne by the catch. And there's a dynamic load in addition, because the bag bounces a bit as you walk.

    It's not only your bags whose nylon buckles have this problem. There's a harness I like for my dog, and it has nylon buckles which are built the exact same way sa the Buzz buckles. The harness also bears a load when my dog pulls. I've gone through two of these so far, and the buckles break in exactly the same way that the Buzz buckles break: on the male part, a prong breaks off, and then, later, the other prong; on the female part, a crack develops on the edge, next to where the prongs are inserted.

    So I do not think it reasonable to assert that these buckles are durable in a stress-bearing application. They break -- often.

    Having said that, I am sympathetic to your main point: there may not be many alternatives, and those alternatives carry their own disadvantages.

    -P.

  15. #15
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    Darcy, what do I need to do to get a replacement buckle for a medium cafe bag? My wife has used it for over a year as a purse and the half that is sewn in as replaceable broke last month (one of the prongs)? I can tell you that buckle opens and closes at least 20 times every day.

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