- excellent, spacious, durable Review by flip
My primary transportation is by bike, and I'm moving all manner of things as a vegetable grower: clean/dirty/bulky etc.... Pros of bag: * substantial storage space * ease of open pocket for quick use * great craftsmanship * fast to put on and remove, yet tight and stable when on rack * inside surface is wipe-able and simple to keep clean. cons: * Would like to see a more substantial handle for off rack carrying. * The top velcro is great 90% of the time, but when I've brought the bags into work/public space, it's a bit loud and conspicuous to open the main compartment.
(Posted on 4/25/12)
- great water proof bags Review by Brandon
Arkel has a wide variety of panniers, and they sent us a pair of their Dolphin 48 Panniers to put to the test on our tour this summer, living out of them for about a week. Knowing we were going to be gone awhile, I wanted something water-proof. I didn't want to mess around with rain covers- they'd just be two more things to keep track of, and I already lose my hat among other things a couple times a day as it is & it'll be somewhere I've already looked 5 times... so yeah, waterproof was the way to go for me. Last year was my first year touring by bicycle, and I only had one pannier (also an Arkel!). One pannier that's way over packed for a few days isn't ideal. It got the job done, but this time around I got a pair for the rear and it made traveling so much easier when the weight of your gear is distributed properly. Cole also let me use an extra pair of front panniers that he had (non Arkel), so I was really good to go- not to mentioned relieved. The Dolphin's performed great, & still look new after 300 miles of limestone, dirt, gravel, and paved trails, dirt roads, highways and byways later. From the city of Chicago to the small town of Frankfort in northwest Michigan. Arkel states on their site that "If you tour or commute and are willing to sacrifice some of the features that our regular touring and urban series bags have to offer in favor of protection of the elements, then the Dolphin's are what you want." Honestly, I don't feel like I sacrificed that much if anything at all. Michigan weather can be very unpredictable and I wanted to be prepared. I don't know what more you could really ask for in a pannier. Granted, I haven’t tried the other models besides their Utility pannier, but these were just what I needed. They're lightweight, weighing in at 5 lbs. for the pair with a volume of 48l / 2930cu. inches. Basically they hold a lot! They feature Arkel's patented Cam-Lock hook system that locks them to your rack when on the bike. They also have a molded plate on the back to reduce wear on the pannier. When off the bike they have a handle and d-rings for a shoulder strap. The Dolphin has a roll top velcro closure (more of a fold over than a roll) at the top for the main compartment that folds down and has clip-lock compression straps to keep things tight. Then there's a smaller zip pocket on the front with a weather flap for easier access to your valuables, meds, and smaller things that you might want to get at frequently. Behind that is an open "stuff" pocket- stuff it in and it's there- this pocket has a mesh bottom so anything wet can go in there while keeping everything else dry. They're also nice for locks and hats! Although I did lose my hat, looked through both panniers several times each, and found it in a stuff pocket right where I put it. Both sides have mesh pockets that pull and lock snugly for whatever you need. These also have reflective strips and piping as an added safety measure, which is always nice when you're carrying 50+ pounds of gear long distances or even across town. You never know when you're going to end up in traffic and those strips and piping could potentially save your life, but hopefully you're rocking lights too! I even used one for a carry-on bag on the train and packed everything else in the box with my bike...worked like a charm! I had plenty of room with room to spare. It's also a great price on a great pannier. The tent I took this time around had no spare room whatsoever, so I HAD to leave them outside at night. There was a thunderstorm one night, and it continued to rain on and off the next day. Nothing got wet except me and the outside of the pannier- everything inside was dry as a bone. These are top notch panniers in my opinion and are everything I need. They won't pop off of your rack, and they barely bounce- if at all. They're a totally secure, weatherproof, yet simple pannier at an affordable price. Two thumbs up...I'd feel comfortable traveling anywhere in these, and if I had my way they'd be my go to panniers on many a trip!
(Posted on 4/5/12)
- Fantastic bags! Review by Swervy
I've had a pair of Dolphin 32 and Dolphin 48 bags and consider them the nicest set of bags I've ever owned. After using most of the other top brands on the market , I gravitated towards the Arkel bags because their mounting system is simple and secure. They are much more resistant to bouncing around on your rack, and I have yet to see them pop loose from the rack over many miles of dirt touring. In addition to the mounting system, the dry bag material keeps everything dry without the need for additional liners. These bags are very well thought out and constructed. Despite my desire to see a true roll-top enclosure, these are simply the best bags on the market for wet conditions, for people who love simplicity and durability, and for anybody needing a pannier to mount securely to a rack.
(Posted on 4/21/10)