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The Dutch know a thing or two about utility cycling and Agu’s 130 could be an ideal no-frills pannier for commuters in a hurry. However, it feels a little quaint and it's pricey considering what else is on offer for this kind of money.
Designed for rear use only, the twelve-litre capacity consists of a large main compartment with a drawstring rain/snow cover, front zippered pocket and relatively capacious mesh webbing to catch keys, cartons of milk and other overspill. The PU coated outer feels very thin and that feeling is amplified by omission of a solid internal base. However, brushes with brickwork and other casual neglect have made little impact, and the Agu has coped admirably with the weight of my New York chain and Evo disc lock, spare clothes, shoes, a family of plastic aliens, Lego and the other paraphernalia my six year old insists accompanies us on our tag-along outings.
Tested with and without bin liner, I am pleased to report the material resists fairly persistent showers but I wouldn’t describe it as waterproof. The smaller capacity provides excellent heel clearance and is a boon around town, especially when negotiating tight gaps in traffic. Vario hooks have the advantage of being faster on and off the bike than Klick Fix but lack the outright dependability-a consideration should your commute include bumpy towpaths. The reflective striping, whilst arguably effective in low light, has a slightly old fashioned flavour; the mandatory LED tab provides greater nocturnal security.
There’s a lot in the Ventura’s favour- it’s light, durable and user friendly. But considering that £45 can buy a twenty litre PU coated nylon unit with rigid base, welded, waterproof seams and ultra secure Klick Fix hardware, it's not the greatest in terms of value.
Lovely to use but starting to show its age when compared with some of the latest models featuring waterproofing and welded seams for the same money.
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Make and model: Agu Ventura 130 Pannier
Size tested: n/a
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?
Agu's Ventura is aimed at the commuter cyclist wanting a spacious, easy on/off pannier. Fulfills the design brief and is much better than some in terms of heel clearance and bulk.
Tell us some more about the techincal aspects of the product?
PU coated outer features draw-string snow/rain closure, 12 litre capacity, simple, yet robust nylon vario hooks gives a secure attachment to most racks.
Material feels flimsy due to the lack of solid liner but pretty durable, even under heavy loads.
Nice and easy to use-quick and simple around town. Secure when riding heavily laden at speed. not 100% waterproof so benefits from being lined.
Feels lighter than 675g would suggest.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Ventura performs very well for moderately laden commutes with excellent retention, is surprisingly sturdy and with plenty of commuter friendly features.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of use- securely on and yet readily removed in seconds, understated looks, convinient pockets and carry points.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Feels slightly dated and the base in particular would benefit from greater rigidity-especially with heavier loads.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 35 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)