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Will the Empire fall?

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    Will the Empire fall?

    Are there any plans for a cooler version of the Empire Builder? I certainly see the value of a bag like that -- high-organizational capabilities with a more conservative look for corporate-minded clientelle -- but I'm having a tough time committing to it. I'm a creative professional by trade. I want a bit of personallity. I would really love a bag that has the organizational functionality of the EB, but is closer in cool/hip factor to your other bags. (If something is in the works, and it's super top-secret, perhaps you could just tell me whether I should use the Brain Cell or Monolith in my interim bag. That way I'll be prepared for the forthcoming switch out.)

    By the way, I haven't bought a Tom Bihn bag yet, or any bag for that matter. I'm about to buy my first and I'm definitely buying from you. I just seem to like obsessing over my choices.


    I can't recommend the EB highly enough. The black/steel exterior isn't as hip as it could be - but it is hipper than solid black (I've got a black/black/blue and a black/steel/red EB).

    The wow factor as clients watch you pull item after item out of the bag in a precise, orderly fashion creates a bit of coolness all on its own.
    Jim Hall
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    My TB bags: 2 - Empire Builder 1 - Checkpoint Flyer


      Well, the organization is what I'm looking for, but the exterior is just a bit too professional for me I think. I'm a writer. I usually work in jeans, a t-shirt and a pair of Converse all-stars. Dressing up means a Guayabera. Having something with a slightly looser feel and that doesn't scream "important and expensive stuff inside," while offering the same organizational benefits (file deviders are way cool) would be great. Within that, it would still be nice to retain a "just" clean enough look to carry into those rare meetings I have with humans who determine my fate. Messenger bags are closer to the comfortable feel I like, they just don't offer the same organizational benefits. Maybe it's a simple widening of color schemes on the EB exterior. I don't know. I mean, I'd also like to put an end to superficial world perspectives as well as our general lack of social tolerance -- but enacting the former perpetuates the latter. Don't know if it's possible to have cakes and eat them too.
      Last edited by hyphenate; 04-12-2005, 12:11 PM.


        FYI: The bag that really caught my eye aesthetically was the Large Café Bag. It just doesn't do what I need it to do.


          Adding organization

          Why not put a Freudian slip in a brain bag?
          If you don't love your computer, you need Different Computers.
          [email protected]


            It's on the option list. Damn, I hate making decisions. I thought I would make mine today, but now I feel I have another few restless nights before me. Taxes being due doesn't help.
            Last edited by hyphenate; 04-12-2005, 01:04 PM.


              Hey, as an aside, I saw the Pantone chip for "Steel" last night. It was actually a kind of green. I thought the number was a typo then I saw someone else post a similar take on the color after receiving their EB. Is that the case?


                Steel tends to look like gunmetal grey, a slightly greenish hue to the grey. That color tone was very popular with German cars in the 80's and 90's (think BMW and VW). It certainly beats flat gray and is different from black. Tom and the folks have a good eye on the color combinations. My ID is red/black with a gray interior and I have grown quite fond of the combination. True, there are many other combinations I would like equally, but at some point you have to make a decision.

                Remember, if you were visiting a distant place and only saw the bags there, you would only have a few moments to decide what color you liked best. Its good to trust your instincts every now and then, otherwise you could spend the rest of your life second guessing yourself.



                  Just my nature. It's even harder for me to make a decision when I can't touch to get a feel for it's make, size or true color (Though being removed by the net does make it easier for me to spend the money.)

                  Interestingly, I'm not one to obsess about bags as a general rule. I just want to buy the best I can get, that does exactly what I want, so I can forget about it once it arrives and obsess about other things.

                  I fear I've wandered off the forum's intent though. To bring it back to my original question, are there any soon-to-be-released bags that will fill the bill? If not, it would be nice to see it considered.
                  Last edited by hyphenate; 04-12-2005, 10:19 PM.


                    It my nature as well! I research, obsess, decide and then get back to my regular life.

                    FWIW, I work by their Seattle store and I picked my bag in person, but I cannot say that the decision was any easier, or harder. I liked lots of the color combos, but the red was my initial instinct.

                    Regarding the EB design, I think much of its style comes from the design and zipper/buckle placement as it does from color. Its design in a subtle manner. I know, one person's subtle is another boring. All the best in whatever you choose.


                      Thanks Ken,

                      I know what you mean regarding design. I think the shape of the EB is certainly a product of its functionality.

                      Knowing the steel color leans slightly toward green does help me look at the EB a bit closer. I still haven't made a decision though (except that I'm definitely buying Bihn.)

                      Basically, whichever bag I choose, I'll be working three careers out of it. I quess I just want a bag that doesn't remind me that I'm working my ass off. A great laptop briefcase that doesn't feel like one.

                      I take it you bought the Empire Builder. Did you consider other bags as well? What did you like most about which? What cemented the decision?
                      Last edited by hyphenate; 04-12-2005, 05:08 PM.


                        I actually purchased an ID bag to use for travel. I looked at many bags and probably could have kept looking as form always follows function for me. But, I really like Tom's business pholosophy and his wife Sunga is just a pleasure to work with. In the end, I stopped my search at the ID bag because it just gave me a good feeling to buy local, support a small business, and one that has similar politics to mine. Good Karma I guess.

                        BTW, my daily bag is an older North Face brief case that is solid black. I love the design, and have used the bag for travel in the past, but it was a bit big and I also wanted a bag with some more style as well as function. The ID fills the bill very well. I could have kept looking, but too much obsession is definitely not a good thing.

                        Tom's bags will join many of the older North Face and Domke bags for their timeless designs and high quality of construction. Its a shame that this level of quality (construction and design) used to be the norm and is now considered top tier. My how our expectations have changed. I better stop before I start sounding like a grumpy old man!

                        Take care,



                          No worries. If it wasn't for the fact that Andy Rooney was still alive, I'd swear I was his reincarnation.


                            GOOD GOD JUST WHAT IN THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE?!!

                            i'm kidding. i happen to work at TB and i believe i spoke with mr. "hyphenate" on the custserv line first thing this morning. i have to say that i found him quite disarming and after only a couple of minutes of conversation found myself personally identifying with his quandary. he's obviously seeking the organizational functionality of the EB married with the "death to conformity" attitude of the anarchic and highly-customizable new SUPER EGO. i totally respect that. i'm only sorry that i couldn't have been of more help in my pre-caffinated state. trust me, hyphenate is a very patient and forgiving guy.

                            anyhow, if there's one good thing that i can say about tom (and i could say many) it is that he is always very open to suggestion, both from staff and from customers. are there many of you out there who would like to see the EMPIRE BUILDER offered in "unconventional" colors? i/we obviously can't promise anything at this point, but tom defintely does care very much about what customers think.

                            i have to say that reading hyphenate's posts has affected my mood. i was just about to pop in a dvd entitled KUNG FU FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE, but have instead opted for an umpteenth viewing of THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD. take that for what it's worth.

                            the title of this thread is totally hilarious btw...
                            Last edited by Guest; 04-12-2005, 09:14 PM.


                              Jeez, Mike, I guess I'll have to rent the Saddest Music in the World to find out if that's a good or bad thing.

                              Don't worry about the pre-caffeinated state. I was in the same place (Put a few cups in me, however, and it seems I'm soon unleashing myself on unsuspecting forums.)

                              At any rate, you helped more than you think. I'm just one of those people who likes to feel certain. I'm sure I'll be making my purchase soon (have to protect the hell out of this new PowerBook I bought) and I'm sure I'll be making that destined purchase over the phone. Do you guys get commission? I'd like it to go to you if so. Just don't call me "mr" hyphenate when it happens. Hyph or hyphee will do.
                              Last edited by hyphenate; 04-12-2005, 10:28 PM.