The Arkel Cam-Lock® hook system is foolproof, simple and dependable.
Foolproof: On and off in seconds, no rivets, serviceable with standard bike tool.
Simple: Pull up the handle, it opens the cams. Release the handle and the cams firmly lock on the rack tubing. No need for special inserts. The Cam-Lock® will automatically fit rack tubing of 8mm to 15mm diameter. Covers the vast majority of racks on the market.
Dependable: The hooks and rail are made of super strong aluminum (No plastic hooks to crack or break). The hooks are lined with a nylon insert to protect rack finish. Thermoplastic insert inside cams firmly grip to the rack tubing and prevent any creep or rattling.
The Arkel Cam-Lock® attachment system: Foolproof, Simple, and Dependable!
Step 1: Engage the bottom wire-hook of the pannier to any part of the rear rack near the wheel axle.
Step 2: Lift the carry handle to open the cams and hook the pannier on your rack. When releasing the handle, the cams will lock onto your rack.
Make sure that the hooks are well seated and that the cams firmly close underneath the tubing.
Step 3: Go ride!!
2 – Adjusting the hooks
It is possible to adjust the hooks to custom fit your rack. You may want to do so to give more heel clearance for the panniers when you pedal, or to match the spacing of the struts on your rack. It's simple to do and the customization is infinite!
Step 1: Using a 3 mm Allen key, loosen the set screw at the base of the aluminum hook.
Step 2: Slide the hook to the desired position (it can sometimes be done directly on the rack).
Step 3: Re-tighten the set screw. Voilà !!
Slotted hook retention system: Why? There are 3 positions for the wire hook that will allow you to optimize rack fit and provide you with the best heel clearance. This option is not available and necessary on certain smaller models (GT-18, Bug etc.). The first sign that the wire hook needs to be relocated is that the panniers will be pulled back towards the center; when this happens simply relocate the wire hook to a different slot. The wire hook is free floating on the bungee cord, meaning it will slide either forward or back depending on your bike and rack. This is really great for adjustability.
3 – A few set-up examples
This is the most common set-up. The widely spaced hooks offer lots of stability and are easy to hook on the rack.
Sometimes we may need all the heel clearance we can get (bike with short chainstays, rack with a short platform, crankset with long arms or simply big shoes!). When necessary it's possible to slide the panniers w-a-y back. Do not overdo it unless necessary as too much weight far back is hard on the rear wheel and can be felt in the bike handling.
4 – An aluminum track
Channelled 3D extrusion: Why? At the very base of the Arkel hook system is the aluminum track on which everything attaches. We designed our own extrusion with rigidity and strength in mind. The track has built-in channels to save weight, yet the design is not unlike steel I-Beams used in high-rise buildings. Finally the triangular shape of the channels maximizes torsion stiffness, all the while providing a nicely sloped entrance towards the hooks.
30 degrees end cut: Why? Each end of the track is cut at 30 degrees and hand polished on a rotary steel brush to remove any sharp edges. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the reason why we do that: it's safer (and looks cool to boot, showing off the details of the extrusion!).
Big screw and washer: Why? First and foremost, a screw is a better idea than a rivet as rivets cannot be repaired in any way on the road. A screw can, so the choice was easy for us, even if screws are more expensive. Second, Allen screws are the standard type on any bike meaning that any bike tool kit has what it needs to work with our system. That screw is a meaty M6 with a 4 mm button head from the inside of the pannier. Not only is it soft and won't damage your gear, the big washer will make sure that it never pulls out no matter the load.
Square nut in channel: Why? We wanted a system that can be disassembled without a wrench (a wrench is not exactly a standard bike tool…). The square nut fits snugly in the center channel of the track, foregoing the need for a wrench. Of course, as you'd expect from Arkel, once the system is assembled the screw ends flush with the nut!
5 – The aluminum hooks and Cams
"OverDesigned" Hooks: Why? Just like with the track (above), we designed our own hooks with one thing in mind: to be the strongest yet lightest available. They are bar none the strongest hooks on the market. The channeled design, where the hook meets the track, adds an unsurpassed margin of strength right where most hooks fail. A nylon liner is inserted on the inside of the aluminum hooks to protect the rack finish so we combine the strength of aluminum with the smoothness of nylon.
The essence of the Arkel Cam-Lock® attachment system lies in the twin mirror cams that firmly grip on the rack tubing when the handle is released. Because of the opposing force of the cams that rotate in opposite directions, the pannier is locked in place and cannot move forward nor backward. Moreover, the geometry of the rotating cams relative to the aluminum hook portion is such that the same incredible retaining strength is achieved within the full range of rack tubing, thereby eliminating the need for any spacers or shims. And to ensure the absolute firmest grip of the cam to the rack tubing, a softer TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is incorporated into the cams at the rack tubing contact point. Finally, the cam surface has a concave shape that further confines the rack tubing so that no movement is possible. As for the cams themselves, they are made of a special blend of nylon, the type that snowboard bindings are made of. So you can ride in the cold of Siberian winters just as well as in the heat of Death Valley. As for the sealed spring that actuates the cams, stainless steel, of course.
6 – The bungee cord
A bungee: Why? The Arkel system can work with the bungee alone or with the cams alone, but both together make the system rock solid. The bungee keeps the panniers from vibrating over rough surfaces, plus it is highly adaptable to any rack on the market.
Nylon casing cut on a hot blade: Why? The casing of the elastic is made of nylon which is much more resistant to UV rays than regular polyester. Plus it protects the elastic against abrasion better than any other stuff. It makes sense, that's all. To keep the nylon casing from unravelling, we cut each and every piece with a hot blade thus instantly cauterizing the edges.
Nylon webbing pierced with a hot tip: Why? The bungee is attached to nylon webbing, the strongest available: a 6.6 grade which is incredibly resistant to UV rays. We stay away from polypropylene webbing like the plague. To make a hole and keep it from unravelling, we hand pierce each webbing with a red hot needle, instantly cauterizing the nylon by melting the edges.
A simple knot: Why? Reason #1: Reliability. A knot may not win beauty contests, but it sure will not break! If you ever tied a knot in a rubber band you know that the more you pull on it, the tighter it gets; so the knot undoing by itself is practically impossible.
Reason #2: Adjustability. By the same token, a knot is something that needs no tool to adjust, so you can undo it anywhere you want should you want to.