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Altura Arc are a pair of 20-litre lightweight panniers, well suited to commuting, club riding, audax, weekend touring and even moderate mountain biking thanks to waterproof construction and pressure fit Rixen Kaul attachments. These ensure they stay firmly put tackling bridle path at full-pelt, yet slip off in seconds at the shops. However, I would’ve preferred the mesh pockets integrated into the lids and heavy-duty nylon/TPU types are better choices if you’re habitually hauling the proverbial elephant, or riding in the foulest weathers.
Brimming with the features you’d expect at this end of the market including draw cord hood, simple closures and copious reflectives, clever construction separates the Altura Arc from comparable designs. Low weight and water-repellence is courtesy of Duratec- basically a 450denier polyester shell with a waterproof inner coating. Ultrasonically welded seams allow the usefully rounded profile that moulds perfectly around relatively bulky loads such as sleeping bags or clothing.
Large internal zipped mesh pockets make good use of available space, although integrating them inside the hoods would be more efficient and despite the relatively sturdy bases, I’d still shy away from tossing ultra heavy duty chain locks or tinned supermarket goods in to them without lining the bottoms with an old towel first. Time will tell as to the fabrics' longevity, although it seems unaffected by the usual everyday carelessness and several weeks' regular exposure to agressive foliage has made little impression.
Rixen Kaul attachments enable a genuinely universal fit to carriers at the turn of some Phillips screws and have been the most secure I’ve used in a very long time whether thundering across bridle path at 23mph or riding roughshod over the usual urban obstacles without a hint of sway. Despite this, they literally clip on and off in seconds and useful carry straps keep them manageable when off the bike.
With the closures fully battened and draw-cords pulled tight, they’ve passed my garden hose-test with flying colours, clothing, snacks and other creature comforts remaining bone dry after five minutes torture. Similarly, long, wet rides haven’t revealed any obvious weaknesses but placing valuables inside bin liners costs pennies and gives extra peace of mind-especially on tour.
Good panniers for light touring and general riding.
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Make and model: Altura Arc pannier (pair)
Size tested: 40L
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Constructed in a contoured design using lightweight durable fabrics, Arc welded panniers are a modern classic, great for all-round use". A fair description and one I'd agree with.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Duratec 450 denier waterproof Polyester with ultrasonically welded seams, 20 litres each, Rixen Kaul fittings, draw string internal storm closures.
Generally very good-especially given their relatively light weight.
So far unaffected by weeks of hard use - they look like they should stand the test of time, but of course only time will tell
720g each 1440pr
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Arc are a very likeable pannier that meet their design brief and despite lightweight construction, seem remarkably hardy with a perfect complement of characteristics ideally suited to light (weekend) touring and general everyday riding. Rixen Kaul fittings provide superior purchase on most diameters of rack tubing and will stay put through spirited singletrack/bridle path riding while the fabric kept the elements firmly at bay-even when a jet of water was aimed at them for several minutes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice, lightweight design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, although integrating mesh pockets inside the lids would've made better use of space.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for light touring and general riding
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)