The Philosophy Intrans is a traditional satchel design that will look familiar to all. I asked for the brown and tan model, but there are several other colour schemes to choose from as well. Its dimensions 14.5x12x6", the Intrans will fit a full sized laptop and more.
To my eye the Intrans looks most "at home" on a large, classic, upright bicycle - but this is a matter of personal taste.
Philosophy Burnside is a more unusual pannier. Narrower and longer than the Intrans, its outside dimensions are 11.5x14x6". The narrower design makes it ideal for bicycles with short chainstays and small racks.
Both the Intrans and the Burnside panniers have a number of distinct and appealing features. The US-made 23oz tri-ply cotton is water resistant, oil resistant, and breathable. The leather is vegetable tanned and likewise made in the USA. Buckles and D-rings are stainless steel.
Philosophy panniers feature the Rixen & Kaul Klickfix mounting system - a well-tested system that is also used by Berthoud and Carradice. Having tried several other pannier mounting systems previously, this is my favourite one so far. It took me a few minutes to understand how to operate the hooks so that they close around the rack tubing, but once I got it they were simple and quick to use.
It took me several weeks to take all the pictures used in this review and to test both panniers, and during all this time I have been trying to come up with something critical, but not having much success. As far as functionality goes, I can't really think of anything substantial. One point to note, is that when I wore the Burnside over my chest "messenger style" off the bike, the lower (supplementary) sliding hook got caught on some of my clothing - namely the hems of cardigans. This only happens when the bag is in some positions, not others, and it does not happen when the bag is worn over one shoulder. I'd prefer it if the Burnside had a leather handle and I could simply carry it in my hand - and as mentioned earlier, Philosophy informs me that this is now an option. My only other suggestion would be to possibly reconsider the colour of the interior and the shoulder strap: The off-white is attractive, but a darker colour would hide stains and age better. Other than that, I honestly cannot think of anything. These panniers are exactly what I wanted in the sense that they are classic, roomy, and can fit all of my bikes without heel strike or rack compatibility issues.
The Co-Habitant will be returning the black Burnside, because he does not feel comfortable with the hooks' tight fit over his Pashley's rack. And as much as I love both the Intrans and the Burnside, I will keep just one pannier, as I neither need nor can afford both of them. It's a tough call. The Intrans is a more traditional satchel design and feels somewhat better balanced in my hands. The Burnside fits all of my bikes in such a way that the hooks don't need to be adjusted from one bike to another, which makes it more convenient for multiple-bike use. I think that this feature may end up winning, and I will keep the Burnside while tearfully returning the Intrans. Or maybe not! Either way, Philosophy panniers are high quality, well though-out, versatile and classic products that are well worth their price and are unlikely to disappoint. Best of luck to this new company.