One of the most loved contemporary pieces in the blogsphere as of late has been the Loeffler Randall Rider Satchel. Last year, I saw this beaut grace Jean’s bag collection (extrapetite) and I was instantly hooked on its structure and boyish charm. In my last Five Under $500 post, I also mentioned that the tan version would make a perfect transitional pick for this spring. Needless to say, I’ve had my eye on this bag for a while. So when I saw an amazing deal for the full-sized Rider in black nappa leather, I grabbed it without hesitation.
The Rider Satchel by Loeffler Randall is an expandable bag comprised of two large compartments and countless slots and pockets. It features a top handle, a pushlock closure, two back straps (although I’m still not sure what to do with these), and an adjustable shoulder strap all in the same buttery leather.
For someone like me who rarely babies her bags, I was very hesitant to purchase the Rider in soft, smooth nappa leather. I could already envision the many dents and scratches that it would pick up in its lifetime. However, I was only interested in buying this bag in the all black color, so I thought the potential scuffing may be a little less noticeable. The nappa leather version has also been very tough to find; even the Loeffler Randall website only sells the satchel in ‘natural’ (vachetta I think), embossed, and tumbled leather. The website also no longer features this ‘large’ size that I’m reviewing – the biggest size available is the medium. I will leave the link to the stockist that has the full-sized all black nappa Rider at the bottom of this post.
As always, I wrote this review after a few weeks of usage in order to get a better understanding of the bag (…and also because it takes that long for the initial excitement to wear off). All categories are rated out of 5 stars – I deducted half/whole stars based on whether or not the bag fulfilled all my needs in that category.
When I first opened the dustbag, I felt a huge wave of disappointment. The satchel looked tiny compared to its photos online! Because the Rider was made to be expandable by filling it with your things, the body was so flat when there was no paper stuffing to keep its shape. My first thought was: what in the world could I possibly even fit into this bag? Thankfully, my first impressions were wrong. This bag exceeds expectations in terms of functionality.
During the first few days of use, I kept it simple with a few pouches, my wallet, a tissue pack, and some random knick knacks here and there. Those all fit spectacularly so I tried to push its boundaries – the second week I started putting my giant overnight oats jar in the last compartment. That fit along with a chunky laptop charger and everything else I had in there from the previous week! Obviously this wouldn’t fit a laptop but this bag was not designed to be a carry-all. I am, however, deducting a full star because of the way I have to arrange my items inside the bag so they fit. It’s a bit like playing real-life tetris to make sure everything is organized right so the lock can snap shut. This is definitely inconvenient for someone trying to get a phone or wallet in and out of the bag quickly.
There are so many color choices for the Rider which makes it tough to settle on the perfect one. But since I wanted something more timeless, I went with the black nappa version. The black pebbled leather would probably be more durable but I loved how chic and streamlined the satchel looked in smooth leather. Either way, both black versions come with black hardware -which I love! I find that this little detail gives the bag a little more edginess than if it had silver hardware.
The top handle and shoulder strap also make this bag more versatile to wear. While I typically carry this bag with its shoulder strap, using the top handle can make my entire look a bit dressier. The adjustable shoulder strap also means you can also carry it as a shoulder bag, but I don’t like the way it looks at all when the strap is shortened.
I’m deducting half a star for what the sides of the bag looks like when I fill it with objects that aren’t flat or super small in width. The sides bulge out when I stuff it full, but I don’t mind it too much because I know that won’t be an everyday occurrence.
To my untrained and amateurish eye, the bag looks like it is made of several pieces of leather that have been stitched neatly and then fused together with a rubber edge lining. I might be wrong, but either way it looks like the body’s build is pretty solid. The interior is also lined with the signature Loeffler Randall polka-dot fabric.
I really have no problems with the general construction of this bag, but I am deducting half a star for an interesting issue I encountered the other day. Whenever I am carrying the satchel using the top handle, I can’t get the pushlock to unclasp. I am no where close to an engineer (in fact I am very, very bad with science), but it seems to me that holding the handle causes the lock to tug upwards. This causes the lock to get stuck and makes the clasp harder to release because both the lock and handle are situated on the same front flap.
The Rider loses another half star for the sharpness of its hardware. The top handle features two blocks of metal that keep the handle in place – these chunks are extremely sharp at its points. Typically, this is not an issue, but I have somehow cut myself (albeit just on the surface of my skin) from accidentally scraping my arm and hand against these edges.
Like with most designer purchases, you are paying for quality. The Rider is no exception – I found the leather to be smooth and unblemished and every stitch meticulously in place. In fact, the only real imperfections on this bag were made by me clumsily trying to get the clasp to lock together. Even with all my heavy and oddly shaped objects banging around on the inside, this satchel never showed any sign of distress. But perhaps this category would be better evaluated in a few months so I can observe the bag’s performance over time.
The full sized Rider retails at $525 and is on the higher end of the contemporary designer spectrum. But I rectify the price point by looking at the timelessness of the bag. I’ve already worn this bag 8 days out of the past 2 weeks and I can see myself constantly reaching for it because of its color, structure, and size. In terms of price per wear, this bag will most definitely pay off. Additionally, all the major stockists include the Rider in their friends & family sales (ranging between 20% – 30% off)! If that doesn’t cut it for your wallet, the medium ($475), mini ($395), and baby Riders ($295) are also incredibly cute.
If you have a Rider (in any size!), please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts below. Questions are always welcome
Details: the full-sized/’large’ Rider measures 11.5″ x 8.5″ x 2″ (length x height x depth) and is available at Saks Fifth Avenue ($525).
Loeffler Randall’s official website includes other color options but only for the medium, mini, and baby sizes. I am under the impression that the full-sized satchel is getting phased out. Here are older pre-loved full-sized Riders: Colorblock ($220), Studded ($245), Tan ($225).