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  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Broomfield, CO

    15"/13" Black-Iberian Cadet w/ Synapse and Super Ego comparison

    Just got my Black-Iberian Cadet today and I like it so far. There are a few design niggles that I have upon first impression but they are minor compared to all the things right with this classic laptop bag.

    With the synapse on the left and Super Ego on the right
    15"/13" Black-Iberian Cadet w/ Synapse and Super Ego comparison-photo-5-jpg

    A size comparison to the iPad and the interior of the front pocket
    15"/13" Black-Iberian Cadet w/ Synapse and Super Ego comparison-photo-6-jpg

    It is also small enough to easily fit into the main pocket of the Super Ego
    15"/13" Black-Iberian Cadet w/ Synapse and Super Ego comparison-photo-7-jpg

    I can fit everything I carry daily in the Synapse in the Cadet. I'll be using it for a while to see if it works as a commuter bag for me as well as the Synapse does.

    As to the few niggles (not problems), here goes:

    1. Inside the front flap the Ultrasuede and ballistic backing is showing where the other thirds of the flap are backed in dyneema, yet the middle third looks unfinished with the non seam taped stitching as well as the brown from the Ultrasuede.

    2. The front, bottom and back are padded of the main pocket but the sides are not. I knew this going into the purchase but I hit the sides of my bag more on things than the back. It appears that the foam could have been extended up the sides to offer more protection to the pocket. ( I know most folks will have all fragile items in padded sleeves in this pocket)

    3. The stock zipper pulls on the front pocket are small and the zippers are stiff. This makes it difficult to open the pocket combined with a sharp complex curve to the zipper. I am going to add extended pulls to these for sure (the cord zipper pulls are linked in the description, they should be a drop down option on the order form). The zippers pulls being metal cause a bit of jangling and noise but the extenders I am adding will silence that.

    That being said the Standard Tom Bihn build quality is amazing. The ballistic nylon is a rich black and not flat or inconsistent. I do love me some dyneema and the grid pattern is straight and matched throughout.
    What does strike me after loading it up is the lack of pockets coming from the Synapse. I have gone back to a more organizer pouch based approach that I use with the Super Ego even though the Super ego has more pockets than the Cadet.
    The Cadet is a great middle ground when it comes to carrying my 14-15" laptops. The Super Ego drowns them and I can't get a 15" laptop into the Synapse.

    Thanks for getting the bag to me so fast, I was very surprised to have a shipping notification later the same day I ordered!

    Bravo Tom Bihn and crew, I really think you have a winner on your hands.

    (Sorry about the marginal photo quality, compressed iphone photo's are ugly it seems. I'll try and recreate and post better ones in brighter light with a real camera. I was in a hurry to share my thoughts :) )

  2. #2
    I work at TOM BIHN Katy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Pacific Northwet
    Cool! I love the size comparison shots :).
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  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Thanks for the comparisons and the pics.

    I think you hit something here about the pockets in a Synapse and the basic style or organization compared with other bags.

    I have been considering writing a little review now that I have had my Synapse a while and you pretty much summed up where I was going to go with it!

    The Synapse works for me so well because it has organizer pouches already built-in I think. In addition more can be easily rotated in and out as needed but I can never get enough organization.

    I know it is more labor intensive and adds bulk to build in more pockets but this is the one feature I always seem to come up wanting in a bag. The SE has several pockets too and they hold a lot more than it may seem but they are not as readily accessable as the Synapse to me.

    Anyway thanks again for the observations,I like the look of the Black one too.

    Last edited by AVService; 11-09-2011 at 03:23 AM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Really appreciate those photos with points of comparison as well as your assessment. Good work, thax. I'll be curious to hear how the Cadet works out for you as you use it!

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Broomfield, CO


    I have had the Cadet for about 2 weeks now and it works better every day.

    The Cadet has been coming to work with me and I really like the form factor. It travels well from the house to the car and from the parking garage the few blocks walk to the office. The ballistic material is divine, it just doesn't hold onto dirt or fuzz like the cordura does on the Synapse (not that that is an issue).

    I also corded up the zipper pulls, negating the issue #3 I had in my first post. They are now silent and very easy to grasp and operate.

    On the large Zippers I used 3mm accessory cord in blue.
    15"/13" Black-Iberian Cadet w/ Synapse and Super Ego comparison-cadet_pull2-jpg

    For the smaller zippers I had some shock cord that feels good and has a little stretch but enough weight not to swing around.
    15"/13" Black-Iberian Cadet w/ Synapse and Super Ego comparison-cadet_pull1-jpg

    That's it for now, more updates as I think of reasons.

  6. #6
    Forum Member snowbot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Washington DC-ish
    Thanks for the zipper pull hint. I have to order some of that utility cord.

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