- very nice bags Review by ludovic
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.
(Posted on 11/16/12)
- These bags are truly in a class of their own. Review by Steve Hughes
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.
(Posted on 11/23/11)
- 5 Stars Review by Tom French
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.
(Posted on 7/18/11)
- Great Review by OceanMon
I bought these panniers 4 years ago for a tour in Japan. I have used them to commute to and from work for the past couple years here in Vancouver. I bike through the woods so they take quite a bit of abuse from grit and rain....and they're still going strong! Waterproof! Solid construction.
(Posted on 3/31/11)
- We loved the XM-45 panniers! Review by Trent
Dear Arkel, My mate Craig and I recently cycled from London to Venice to raise funds for charity, with Craig carrying on solo all the way to Athens. Just wanted to let you know how much we loved the XM-45 panniers! The full length zip makes it so easy to access all your gear and the rain covers worked a treat. They are such a quality pannier and we would happily recommend them to anyone!
(Posted on 3/18/11)
- Excellent flexibility Review by Peter
I've been using my XM-45s for touring and and commuting for a couple years now and I love the build quality and how flexible the volume is. It expands enough that I was able to pack for a 4 day camping tour with two of these and a trunk with space left over, but I can still tighten it enough to keep from flopping even when it's practically empty.
(Posted on 5/6/10)