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The Dutch know a thing or two about utility cycling and Basil’s Forrest waterproof single pannier is one of the most innovative and stylish I’ve used in a long time.
Made from PU coated nylon, construction seems generally excellent with welded, tapered seams promising to keep the contents bone dry. Organisation is better than I’ve come to expect from bags of this type with a zippered, internal soft case taking care of mobile phones, compact cameras and other valuables.
A second pocket, integral to the lid, is useful for keys and other nick-knacks needing to be within easy reach. Elsewhere, there’s a slightly Spartan, rubberised carry handle but a much nicer shoulder strap making for a very stylish bag sans bike.
Fitting is the standard hook type which means it mounts and detaches in a flash but supplemented by a bevy of clever shims providing a tailored, secure fit to any rack with rods between 6 and 16mm thick-anything from a minimalist spring clip design through to ultra beefy expedition models. Two minutes and I’d achieved the perfect fit. This coupled with a curious looking retention wheel attached to the lower carrier frame and mated with a nylon track bolted to the pannier bottom eliminates annoying sway, even with spirited bridle path antics and equally enthusiastic loading.
There’s even an integral padlock securing the pannier to the carrier frame which is ideal for those two-minute hops to the library/supermarket/post office etc, although I wouldn’t risk leaving it unattended for longer periods.
Weatherproofing is excellent, riding through a torrential storm and localised flooding made negligible impression upon the fabric and the contents. River riding revealed some traces of damp but lining with refuse sacks kept clothes and valuables dry. A rigid bottom would add greater shape and in turn improved heel clearance but the forest is a solid, wallet friendly option for anyone needing a smart, competitively priced pannier for commuting or general riding.
Well designed all weather commuting pannier
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Make and model: Basil Forest 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?
The curiously named Forest is a single sided all weather utility pannier which is good enough for day riding and at a push even a spot of light weekend touring.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PU coated nylon,tapered and welded nylon seams,670g each. Features an integral lock for increased security while sensible internal compartments keep things organised and understated yet stylish silver livery and nice shouler strap look stylishly civillian sans bike.
Robust construction should mean it lasts a few seasons.
Generally good but might catch the heels used on bikes with sportier chainstay lengths.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Forest performed very, very well in all contexts-even off road but needs lining if you're prone to river crossings and similar antics.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good standards of design and manufacture, understated looks, retetion and locking systems are a boon through both town and trail.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Carry strap could've been more refined.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
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)