In a nutshell:
Although the XM-45’s will behave on any type of bikes, they were designed with one thing in mind : “offroad” mountain biking. The taller, narrower, hooded, top loading design allows greater heel clearance and maximum compression for swift single track trips or those serious wilderness adventurers who want the most incredibly solid panniers on the market! The XM series offers riders three layers of waterproof protection. For more details see Arkel's waterproof facts.
Add another layer of waterproof protection, increase visibility, keep grime off your bags with an Arkel rain cover.
Cycling adventures do not only take place on the road. A whole lot more can be found off the beaten track and in with the new bikepacking craze, we find that more and more cyclists are combining the joys of both on-road and off-road touring. Thus, touring with gravel bikes or mountain bikes is becoming increasingly popular. And so we’ve adapted the XM-45’s to the physical characteristics of these type of bikes. The XM-45’s offer ample heel clearance which is essential for adventure/gravel bikes and mountain bikes. And the fully loaded overall width of the pair of XM-45’s on a bike rack corresponds to the width of standard handlebars so that if your handlebar can squeeze between those tight spots and turns, your panniers are sure to follow.
Top Loading Bag
The XM-45’s are essentially top-loading bags (as opposed to front loading on typical touring panniers) Open the hood and stuff all your things in the huge main compartment, you will be amazed how much those bags will gobble up. Notice the extension skirt that allows for increased carrying volume. The drawstring closure will help stabilize the inside content when you’re only carrying partial loads.
Waterproof Zippered Liner
The main compartment is equipped with an internal zippered liner that keeps its content totally dry, and separate from any wet or dirty stuff you may need to carry in the main compartment.
Access by the top
Top-loaders are loaded from the top, right? Which precludes neat organization of the content such as well-folded clothes. Well, not in our XM-45's, where we placed a zipper that actually slices the bag in two, from top to bottom, effectively allowing you to lay flat items and organize the content like no other top-loaders will allow.
Access from the bottom
Access to small items deep under the pile is made easy with the dual zipper sliders. Notice the size of the zipper and slider, they are #10 YKK zippers that will withstand just about any kind of use and abuse!
Many manufactures build their hoods like a pillow, barely covering the main bag at best. We build our hood with a box cut shape, ensuring a consistent, deep coverage over the main body of the pannier. Better still, the hood is lined with a waterproof fabric so the top opening is completely protected.
Side rear pocket
Fuel bottle, water bottle, gloves, shoes. You will find a zillion uses for this well stabilized, wide access rear pocket with our “smiley” zipper opening.
“Smiley opening” top pocket
This quick access top pocket may well be the one you use most often. Keys, wallet, maps, glasses, gloves and more Our “Smiley opening” zipper path allows full access to the inside of the pocket. Yet, if you forget to close the zipper, chances are that your belongings will safely stay inside the pocket and not spill on the road. Our clever pocket design has saved the day more than once, believe us!!!
Inside liner back pocket
A liner that covers the backplate allows for the stowage of flat objects like magazines, maps, books, passport, files etc.
Although the carrying volume is considerable, the XM-45’s have a profile much slimmer than regular touring bags. Also, the back-plate cut-out and adjustable hooks allow for exceptional heel clearance. In fact, we have very rarely heard of heel clearance problems with our XM pannier series.
Nexus to center the load
For years we’ve crossed our straps in an “X” pattern; this allows the "pick-up" of the opposite bottom corners and lifts them upward and inward, dramatically improving heel clearance and centering the load inside the pannier. The nexus is here, at these two webbing stabilizers. They distribute the stress over a wide area and keep the webbing from falling down when unclipped.
Straps won’t fall down
All straps are configured so that they will not dangle dangerously close to the spokes or touch the ground when left unbuckled. Safety, like we always say, has no price!
Made In Canada
Small details, but the XM-45's are entirely made in North America, and are not imported or “designed in America” like some companies proclaim and lead you to believe they’re made here. Incidentally, the fabric is the real McCoy. It’s Dupont 1000 deniers CORDURA® nylon manufactured in North Carolina by Huber Textiles.
# 10 YKK zippers
Off road touring and extended expeditions in harsh conditions may take their take their toll on the bags’ zippers and sliders. We use the oversized, #10 YKK zippers that will withstand just about any kind of use, and abuse! Trust us!
Handle for easy carrying
Every Arkel pannier has a handle for off the bike convenience. The handle is long enough for a good grip but never so long that it will flap down and rub on the bike wheel. We make sure that this is never an option, as safety has no price. To learn more about the Cam-Lock® attachment system click here.
The XM’s can also be carried with a shoulder strap (optional). With the bags placed back to back, you will easily carry the pair of panniers with the one shoulder strap.
Lots of reflectors
Safety first! Be seen left, right and center, not to forget front and back!
The wrap-around compression strap is ideal to hook-up a blinking light. A blinker can also easily be installed at the front.
Some prefer top-loading panniers even when touring. Simplicity is the key. A rear and front combo, XM-45 and XM-28, makes for a very effective and elegant set. Whether you're in the city or in the country, the XM-45's have it all and that's why they are one of our most popular models among both men and women!
8 customer reviews
5 years oldBy Chris September 05, 2014
I just wanted to say that I have had my XM-45 panniers 5 years this month and they look as good as the day that they came out of the box.
I do not have a loose thread, nothing looks frayed, and I have never even washed them, although I do live in England so they get a lot of rain. These panniers are on my primary bike, I use them to commute to work so they get used at least 5 days a week, but I don't recall a day that I haven't used them in the last two years.
I cram everything into these puppies, and they take a whole lot of punishment, but they you wouldn't know it to look at them. They are well built, and I wish that everything that I owned would take this kind of punishment, and still look this good. I cannot praise them enough, and they were a great purchase, and I still love them.
absolutely delighted with both products from ArkelBy John McCabe August 15, 2013
Hello Old Man Mountain and Arkel, I just finished mountain biking the Divide Trail and I was absolutely delighted with both products from Arkel and Old Man Mountain. I purchased the Old Man Mountain Pioneer Rack through Arkel and I used the XM-45 panniers with tail bag and Handel bar bag from Arkel. I carried about 40 pounds on the trip and the rack never budged and the panniers stayed where they should throughout the entire trip! My friend used a cheaper rack and it snapped in half near the top of Lava Mountain in Montana................... I will let everyone in the biking world know how great your homegrown products are!
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very nice bagsBy ludovic November 16, 2012
The arkels xm-45 have the right amount of strength & weight; they really are built like a tank, so that you can put them on and sort of forget about them. PROS: They are large (obviously 45 liters). There seems to always be room for “something else”. When travelling light, they compress nicely, with all sorts of safety features. Setup is easy. Those back pockets are just amazing – huge. They are very watertight; adding the rain cover seems only necessary for piece of mind during huge storms. Rain cover is very visible. They fit my 29-inch bike very well, but are more at-home on my 26 inch MTB. CONS / FUTURE RECOMMENDATIONS: The rain cover is too bright. I can’t wait to get them dirty. They could be 5 or 6 inches longer on my 29er and I wouldn’t know the difference. Two to four added tie down straps (top and rear of bag) would have been a great addition. OVERALL: Fantastic bags that I use mostly on my 29er. It’s set up to tour Norway next year, on a 3-month self-contained trip. Organization is near perfect for my needs. Coupled with the XM-28, I am a happy camper. These bags have been used on and off trails without even a worry about the bags. They still offer so much clearance for off-road that I think you’ll be really surprised.
These bags are truly in a class of their own.By Steve Hughes November 23, 2011
I bought the XM45s for use on multi-day mountain biking trips. Here in the southern UK we have hundreds of miles of overgrown muddy singletrack. This effectively rules out bike trailers to carry camping gear and big rucksacks are a liability on mountain bike trails. Conventional panniers usually present heel clearance issues on the short chainstays of mountain bikes and often snag on the undergrowth making them impractical for extended trips on 'proper' trails. I read a review of the XM45s and they seemed perfect. I baulked slightly at the price, not helped by the dreadful exchange rate, but the alleged high quality and Made in Canada label convinced me to buy. When you see them in the flesh you can absolutely see where your money has gone. Arkel don't ship their bags inside layers of protective polythene and tissue paper. They arrive with a few labels attached and that's it. Good for the enviroment and shows just how much faith Arkel have in their products. They are built to be used, hard. The finish of my yellow bags was pleasantly muted and didn't shout new and shiny. They'll probably look the same in ten years time. The attention to detail on the bags is excellent made of super tough water resistant cordura with an easily accessible inner dry bag with a shaped waterproof hood which fits well regardless of whether the bag is filled to bursting or half empty. It is exactly this sort of design detail which makes these bags so expensive to make in the first place, but so invaluable out there in the wilds. I have read on numerous forums of the relative merits of sealed waterproof panniers against breathable ones. Having toured a lot in wet Northern European countries I am firmly in the latter camp. The fact is a lot of your kit eventually gets wet from wearing it or camping in the rain. Using waterproof luggage one of your panniers has to be relegated to a 'wet store' and eveything in it becomes sodden and unpleasant. With the Arkel system your essentials i.e. sleeping bag, tent inner, dry clothes can be kept in the inner waterproof section whereas everthing else can remain in the main section. Your wet stuff won't exactly dry out but it won't become too fuggy either. For really foul weather you can use the waterproof covers too but I have never found them necessary. Anyway I was desperate to try them and used their arrival as an excuse to disappear into the woods for a couple of days. I opted to take my Salsa Fargo with an OMM Cold Springs rear rack. The panniers swallowed all my camping gear, food, water and spares. They would have taken a weeks worth, no problem. Attachment to the rack was a doddle. It almost seemed to have been designed with these panniers in mind. The aluminium cam lock was a revelation and the bungee hook was simple but highly effective at keeping the bags still even on the bumpiest tracks. Eventually I gave up looking behind me to see if they were still attached, a habit learnt from previous experiences of other panniers. The panniers sit high and relatively far back. There was no hint of heel strike even on technical descents with weight well back over the rear wheel and horizontal cranks. These are the only panniers I have found that do not impede weight transfer on a bike.I also found the weight of the luggage to be relatively unobtrusive even on tight singletrack. The Arkels survived unscathed two days of brutal,wet, technical mountain biking.I dragged them through thorny undergrowth, bounced them sideways down a muddy slope and even snagged one on a barbed wire fence. I don't know of any other pannier which would have survived such a beating. I wiped them down with a wet cloth and they are as good as new ready for our next adventure. These bags are truly in a class of their own.
5 StarsBy Tom French July 18, 2011
Got the XM-45's from my 2 Y/O Granddaughter for Christmas 2 years ago, I guess I have used them enough to rate now. All I can really say is WOW!! first rate bomb proof build & design. Use them on both a MTB & Surly LHT in the rear for work commute, errands, and the dreaded Wal-Mart experience. Flawless, craftsmanship is first rate, as with anything there are trade offs zipper placement, side pouch size etc.. I feel these bags are the best all around compromise out there. I plan on scoring the XM-28's here shortly as well. You will not be disappointed if you buy them.