Converts from pannier to backpack in seconds. Made in Canada. Position: Rear Weight: 1.2 kg / 2.6 lbs (unit) Volume: 25 l. / 1650 cu. in. (unit) Detailed Measurements
Easy to use Pannier/Backpack combo. Converts from pannier to backpack in seconds.
Ok, there’s a lovely sun-fade of the red hemisphere top-flap to orange, adding a fourth color to yellow and black of this, the original Arkel Bug. I just turned two Allen bolts to remove the handle and backplate, and tossed the whole Bug on a front load tumble washer . 12 years of of dust and dirt from daily use removed , the black Cordura is blacker, and my Bug is a bright beetle again. Flawless zippers and operation, this has also been my heavy duty grocery hauler, whether clipped easily to a Bruce Gordon bike rack, or returned to my back for a comfortable 2km walk back home.
I’ve been using this bag for about three years now. Most of the components are holding up well. The fabric on the inside of the main compartment is really light. After three years, the stitching on the inside pocket is fraying, on one side so I don’t unzip down that side.
The helmet pocket is a good idea but if the pack is fully stuffed, things naturally settle to the bottom which makes putting the helmet in quite tedious.
It’s a pricy bag but so far lasting over three years with me taking it out everyday, everywhere. So for the price, it’s worth it.
It does need some improvements per my comments above.
I am a health Coach and Mobility/Fitness trainer often carrying a projector, my MAC, a portable table with me among other things. At first it can feel clumsy to put it on and off the bike. I bike daily and after just 1 week it has become easy. It feels really secure and safe on there. Also it fits my helmet in the front expandable pouch. This was my New Year’s resolution so now I will not lose my helmet like I have done in the past. This bag is well thought out, sturdy and of high value. I looked at all of the backpack panniers I could find. I am thrilled with my choice and want to let others know!
I’ve been using a Bug I bought in 2011. It held up well, but finally the zipper sliders on one compartment became undone. The fabric and Styrofoam (or similar?) backing also wore through where the bag rubbed against my tire’s quick release handle for years, but that had no affect on the bag’s functionality. All in all, I think it held up pretty well relative to the punishment I gave it.
This is an excellent pannier. With the extra hook, it stays very secure to the bike even over rough bumps. It is a decidedly mediocre backpack. The straps are slightly wider than I’d like (6′ tall man with average broadness shoulders), the stiff backing is somewhat comfortable, and the hook sometimes ends up in my back. However, its imperfect backpack form is far superior to no backpack form at all, and all of its backpack imperfections are due to pannier strengths. It’s very quick and easy to hide or release the backpack straps. It’s great for walking the rest of the way from the bike rack to wherever I’m headed. It’s just not something I’d take for a hike or on a flight.
Excellent, highly durable bag that works well I both capacities: comfortable straps as a backpack, solid, easy to hook on and remove as a panier. Good array of compartments and excellent capacity (I tend to carry a lot). The construction is solid throughout, with zippers and mechanisms that have been working flawlessly for three years now.
My one complaint/caveat is that the main bike frame hook (not the cam-locks) can slip off the loop too easily when not hooked to a bike frame (i.e. when in backpack mode), so you have to be careful not to lose it, and I wish there were a better option for securing it in backpack mode than the tuck-away method (see the pictures above).
Otherwise a superb and reliable bag for commuting.
Worth every penny. Quality is superior. Getting it on and off bike is incredibly quick easy. Conversion to backpack is no big deal. Helmet carrier can be repurposed in all kinds of creative ways. All materials and zippers are super super solid.
This is the perfect pannier for “Multi-Modal” Bike+Bus Commuting. When you do a “multi-modal” bike+bus commute, it’s so wonderful to have such a flexible, well designed, well organized, and well built bag to quickly switch between “bike commuter” and “bus/public-transit commuter” modes. Of course, when you are cycling it is so wonderful to have your stuff in a pannier rather than in a hot, sweaty backpack. But when it is time to load your bike into a bus bike rack, you need both hands free, so having a pannier that quickly changes into a backpack, and which also has well designed pockets for all your bike commuting gear is wonderful!!! Of course, when you are making the switch between the two commuting modes, you need to quickly have a good place to transfer your helmet, water bottles, gloves, & other items to your back pack, and also quickly find & get your bus pass out of your pannier, so you don’t take too long to load your bike into the bus bike rack and get on the bus. This extremely well designed bag is perfect for making that transition between the two commuting modes quick and easy. I’ve been using mine for 3 years of bike (6 miles each way) + bus (11 miles) commuting now, and absolutely love it. It is the perfect pannier/backpack for “multi-modal” commutes!
Had this bag for 2 years now and my wife has had it for 4 years. We both commuter daily and have used it from -30 and blizzard to 100+ and sun, and all that in between. This is the perfect commuting bag from school to work. It is durable andt waterproof. I have tested it and haven’t had a leak on my 5 mile one way commute, but I’m sure you die hard may want a shell. The bag can’t be beat and although it could use a laptop sleeve or pen holders in the front pockets. The complaints a nothing and no other bag even compares. If your looking for a sweet bag look no further.
Bought this bag four years ago after commuting around town with a regular pannier. I needed a more flexible solution that could be a laptop bag, pannier, and backpack allowing me to hit a coffee shop or grocery store on my way into the office.
Pros: * Build quality * Speed of transition between backpack to pannier * Lifetime warranty * Waterproof (I haven’t had it leak and I don’t have the rain cover) * Pairs well with my Axiom rack
Cons: * Helmet pouch is best suited for a road helmet and even that can be awkward when wandering through the aisles of a store
I’ve had my Bug for 8 years now, having bought it back in 2008. 8 years and 1000’s of km later and it’s still going strong! I have over-stuffed it with groceries, shopping, and all manner of things with barely any issues. Have a look at what’s on offer from the competition and you’ll see that the Bug is the best design going for on-and-off the bike urban riding. The critical parts of the bag such as the zips and seams have held up exceptionally well. The only failure I’ve had has been a broken spring in one of the camlock mechanisms. This is understandable as it’s a mechanical moving part and moving parts have a lifespan. The good news is that I was able to order a set of replacement camlocks from Arkel for a fraction of the cost of a new bag. They only took a few minutes to install and my Bug is now back on the road, hopefully for many more years of service.
This is a great quality bag. I use mine all the time for commuting. Pros Clips on well to bike Durable Well Made love that it’s a backpack – very practical
Things that could be improved Laptop section is very tight – it’s hard to get the laptop out of the pouch, and I have a thin Mac Air! Might be nicer if big pouch was divided into two sections so that didn’t have to dig for things so much For the price I wish a waterproof cover came with it
All that being said it’s a great bag!
This is the bag that I’ve always wanted and I finally found it! What I like: Easy on/easy off Secure when attached to bike Easy to convert to backpack and back to pannier Spacious High quality materials/durable Convenient helmet pocket/U-Lock pocket Nice mesh pockets on side for water bottle
What could be improved: The shoulder straps on backpack tend to slide back on shoulders so I recommend that Arkel add a sternum strap. I added one to my pack with a buckle and it now works great!
I also think, as somebody else mentioned in this forum, that the pockets are too deep (the main and secondary pockets) and it is hard to get things out that have slide down deep inside. I realize that the larger pocket is probably designed to accommodate laptop storage but I personally would prefer that the pockets be divided into more pockets to divide the space and make things inside easier to access. It is a pain to have to take everything out to get the one item that might have slide down to the bottom.
That being said, I am very happy with this bag and with my newly added sternum strap, I’m loving it. It makes bicycle commuting and errand running a joy!!
I use the bug for carrying my laptop and work clothes / shoes to the office each day. When I first purchased the Bug, I actually purchased a pair thinking I would need both to carry my clothes and laptop. However, I found that I could fit everything in one bag. I didn’t purchase the Arkel laptop sleeve that suspends in the bag; however, I do use padded sleeve to protect my laptop in transit.
I also do several weekend tours (150+ miles) for BikeMS and can carry all my overnight supplies between the two bags.
So far, I have had the bags for over about 16 months and they are still going strong. The rain cover has also seen considerable use and I haven’t had any issues with anything getting wet in the bag. I think these will last quite some time.
I have used this backpack/pannier for two months and I am very pleased with it so far.
Pros: -It really is what it says– a pannier and a backpack in one. -When it’s correctly affixed to your bike, it doesn’t come off until you take it off. -Taking it off your bike is super easy. -Zipper for the large compartment goes most of the way around the bag making it easy to access items on the bottom of the bag. -The quality of the materials and construction seems high. -It has lots of useful smaller compartments.
Cons -It’s smaller than my old backpack, so I can’t fit as much. -The straps aren’t as comfortable as my old backpack, so I wouldn’t want to wear it for very long. -The conversion process from backpack to pannier is a little time consuming, but it does get easier the more you do it. -Putting the pannier on your bike can be a little tricky, but it also gets easier the more you do it.
Overall, it’s currently the best of its type on the market, IMO.
My Arkel front and rear panniers have been rock solid on really tough bike tours (Ecuador, Peru, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Romania and more) but I had a problem with the Bug some time ago and have not used it much since: The back-pack arm strap stitching became undone so that the arm straps came away at the top. Arkel offered to repair them, but that would have involved shipping the bag, to someone they used in the US, from the UK, and it wasn’t worth it for me. The mesh pockets on the outside were not that tough either and not durable enough to hold a U-lock for every-day commuting. The fixing points for the rack hooks were on the inside of the pack and bare so that anything in the bag rubbing against them could be scratched. The bag is not waterproof and the problem with the cover is that it won’t cover the bag entirely when on the rack, because the points where it hooks onto the rack need to be exposed (their better panniers have an internal waterproof cover stitched in that works well). They may have improved on these features recently, but it is not possible to tell from the video and photo’s. Arkel make really good, well designed panniers, but this is the one I wish they did better because it is hard to find a good waterproof pannier that works well on and off the bike.
Wish it had one or two more pockets–zip that aren’t so deep.
I used the Bug for years when I commuted to work on a daily basis (about a 20 mile round trip when I included an exercise ride after work). It's easy-on/easy-off feature, plus easy to use backpack straps made it perfect for both cycling to work and, on bad weather days, for walking to work. But due to the rack mounting system, it's sort of a heavy bag so used empty it's not so efficient, which is what it is much of the time now that I'm retired. But still, even though I occasionally use a backpack or messsenger bag, the Bug is what I come back to when I've got a lot of stuff to carry around on a regular basis (e.g., yoga mat, books, music for jam sessions, etc.). You won't go wrong with this high quality pannier/backack. It served me well for many years when I was working and continues to get a lot of use now that I'm retired. Carl PS Retirement is to be highly recommended!
So I did a ton of research on panniers before I bought the Bug. The bug is the best backpack pannier on the market. Every other one I found has a cumbersome pannier-backpack conversion. The quality of the product is top notch. It has a REAL lifetime warranty which I think makes it worth the asking price. The attachment system is so fast and easy. There's no way its going to just pop off. I bought the bag and my rack at the same time so I could test it for heel clearance and rack fit – The bag doesn't work with all racks so I would make sure it fits first or change rack if it doesn't (it's worth changing rack to be able to use this amazing bag). It takes about 15 seconds to convert it from pannier to backpack. If I'm just going into somewhere for a minute I just pop one backpack strap out and carry it on one shoulder. The only thing I would have liked is some small pockets on the inside to store my wallet, phone and other small items – I can easily deal without it though. I'm really happy I paid a little more for this pannier, it's just so convenient and I'm 100% confident on the construction and material quality. If your looking for a pannier that easily converts into a laptop there is nothing that even comes close to the Bug.
Hello! I've been looking for a pannier that could be used as a backpack for quite a long time, and after quite a bit of research and agonizing I finally took the plunge and bought a Bug this last Spring. I simply can't tell you how pleased I am. The bag simply hits on all points — the mounting system is both extremely clever and practical, the materials are first-rate, the design emphasis on using components that are field-maintainable is truly inspired, the carrying capacity of the bag is substantial, and the fact that the bags are constructed on this continent is very welcome. Your bags are perhaps on the expensive side of the pannier continuum, however it is a really wonderful change of pace to actually receive a product whose quality is commensurate with the price. After my experience with the Bug I just bought one of your Utility Baskets, and I am just as excited about this pannier. It really helps with local shopping trips. In any event, I just wanted to drop you a line to tell you how pleased I am with my purchases. Thank you for the fine panniers! Hannes.
I recently got the new Bug because my old one finally wore out at the zipper after 10 great years of use. While the new design is slightly larger, I miss some of the handy features of the old bag: the small pocket on the front was great for keys, lip balm, etc., the easy-to-adjust straps with quick release on the sides of the helmet holder made it easy to load the bag or tighten down when empty, and the zippered interior pocket was great for your wallet and other small items that needed easy access. Really miss these three features on the new bag. The large pocket in front is too big to easily find your keys or cellphone and there's no interior pocket. Otherwise, i still love the bag and it's amazingly durable and useful!!
I am a personal trainer and cycling coach and commute to work at least 3 days a week, year round. Since I office at home, I carry everything with me including client files, calculator, tablet, tape measure, pens, pencils, business cards, lunch, changes of clothes, etc. I live out of my backpack. I like everything about this pannier/backpack, except for the following two things: 1. There were no pen/pencil pockets, mesh pockets or other ways to organize school/work tools. I purchased an insert which really did not work very well. 2. It was too large for a smaller person (lady or younger student) to carry as a backpack. I recommend that you produce a smaller version, use the red and black fabrics, include organizer pockets in the middle area and call it the LADYBUG! I recently sold my Bug on Ebay, but would definitely try a smaller version if Arkel had one. My all time favorite backpack is the Isabella by NorthFace. Since I still have it, I have gone back to sliding it in a grocerybag pannier to commute to work. P.S. As touring cyclists, my husband and I have always used Arkel panniers and absolutely love them! Thanks Arkel for helping to make our journeys successful.
I purchased this in 2006 as a gift for my wife. It was sort of like when Fred Flintstone got his wife a bowling ball for her birthday. She almost never used it, but I took it on a ride across the state, and have used it for my daily commute ever since. Like all Arkel bags, this is a quality-made product that will last forever. It has held up completely. I love how it attaches to my rack, and gives me flexibility in locating it. I have big feet, and heel strike can be a problem. However, I got the Red Rock rack from Arkel, and I can easily mount this bag far enough back to eliminate that problem. It mounts so securely that I have on occasion forgotten to lock the cam thing, and I arrive home to find the bag hasn't budged at all. I have the laptop bag, but I have found I really don't need it because the Bug keeps my laptop very secure. I am a big fan of Arkel, but I think I have all of the commuting necessities I need now, and these bags last forever, so they probably won't ever see another dime from me. I do, however, constantly recommend them to friends.
I've used the Bug for well over a year. It's a great commuter bag. Large main compartment for your tool pouch, spare tubes, etc. Still plenty of room for your lunch, extra clothes. It has an outside U-Lock pocket that makes it very easy to access your U-[lock, stuff your gloves inside, stuff your water bottle in a side mesh pocket, your light, blinky, speedo in the other pocket and your good to go. Can carry by the padded handle or easily use the backpack straps. Also has D-hooks for a shoulder strap. Very nice commuting/errand bag. Bill.
I love this bag. It's not quite perfect, but Arkel have gone a long way towards it. Large, well designed and quality build I've got a more detailed review at: http://bit.ly/ryNqjs http://bit.ly/trv7Ad http://bit.ly/tLcNMq http://bit.ly/sER4LV (all link to individual posts at swiftexperience.posterous.com)
Pros: I use this for daily commute, and throughout the day (20-35 miles per day). As an all day bag, I find it can hold everything I need to lug around with me. It is sturdy and durable. The zips are really good, and I'm really happy with the backpack conversion which I use a lot. The cam system is really easy to use and secures the pannier well to the rack. I have no problem with foot clearance as I have size 5's (uk) Cons: I can't help but wonder why Arkel got rid of the handy front pocket on the last bug model. I can never find my keys/ wallet/ change / phone when they are dropped into the front compartment (I don't have the laptop pouch). Also the lock compartment on the previous model was much easier to use. I have a chain rather than a d-lock and find the new compartment doesn't fit it so well. Helmet section is a great idea, but my bag always seems too full to be able to fit it in there :/
This bag is easy to use and attach to your bike, holds a lot, converts to a backpack easily, looks nice, and is very well-made and durable!! I've used it everyday riding to and from work since 2003, for long leisure rides and for grocery-shopping! It is still going strong and has needed no repairs!! Amazingly well-made and practical bag that looks cute, too!!
After Arkel's sales rep answered my questions – promptly and by email – about the Bug and about the order process, I ordered the Bug and it arrived from Canada within 5 working days from when it was dispatched. It's a nice bag, light and well made and the backpack straps tuck away very easily behind the velcro flaps – much simpler than another well-known German manufacturers bag. As others have described, it has a main compartment which is easy to load, with a front pocket for bits and pieces, and a helmet holder at the front of the bag. There are also mesh side-pockets at either side though with heel-clearance issues, one of those would never get used by me. The cam-lock system ensures that the bug doesn't move up and down on your rack's tube (as I find with my current pannier bag) and is quick and easy to mount on your rack. My main gripe with the Bug is that it has no internal "organiser" pockets for things that you don't want to fall to the bottom of the bag; granted you can buy a laptop pouch which I think has some organiser pockets but this is at extra cost on top of an already expensive bag (in the UK at least). A few (mesh) pockets near the top of the outside compartment would have been most welcome, perhaps this could be considered as a product improvement suggestion? The other issues I had with the Bug relate to my particular rack and my size 13 (UK) feet: the Bug's elasticated lower hook must be hooked to the rack to keep the bag steady, so if the bag is mounted directly above a suitable fixing point on your rack, then great, but in my case I had to move the Bug quite far back on the rack to avoid heel-strike and so couldn't hook the bag to a lower part of the rack. If I had a rack with a long "dog-leg" then there would be no issue but as it was, I couldn't get the Bug to work for me, so I returned it for a full refund, which was processed very quickly. I think the Bug is a great bag, but for those of you with big feet and bikes with short-ish chainstays (~440mm), you need to choose your rack very carefully for the Bug to work for you. A few other bike-bag manufacturers allow you to angle the mounting system so as to provide greater heel-clearance so I ended up going for one of those, so perhaps Arkel could design a similar feature into the next generation Bug? Also, replacing the elasticted strap/hook with a moveable plastic "hook" mounted at the bottom of the bag would work better for a wider range of racks and rider's foot size. I really wanted to use the Bug on my bike/rack but I just couldn't get it to work for me, but this doesn't mean the Bug is a poor bag, like many bags it's designed for the average foot-sized rider and a suitable rack and if you fit that profile, then I strongly recommend it. One last thing – it'd be nice if an integrated stowable rain cover was included or was at least an option, rather than the optional separate rain-cover that Arkel offer.
I bought the Bug with the computer sleeve and have been using it for 8 months in my daily commute of about 35 miles per week. I typically carry from 15 to 30 pounds of stuff in the Bug. I use the bug on my Specialized Sirrus Expert with a Blackburn rack. I use platform pedals and my foot size is 10-1/2. There is no problem with heel clearance, unless I put stuff in the forward mesh pocket. With shoe clearance, I do find that your foot quickly learns where the bag is, and adjusts the angle so as to clear the bag. I am very pleased with the Bug. All of the features are clearly and honestly explained on the videos available on this website. It is of the highest quality. A lot of thought went into its creation. I particularly like the pocket for a U-Lock or chain, and the helmet flap. The Bug is so well done, that I purchased two more Arkel bags for different uses: the Briefcase; and the Utility Basket, that I use as a large shopping bag. Those bags are also very well done.
Pros: Excellent built (zippers, straps, cam-lock, reinforced cloth) Plenty of pockets Versatility of use (bag and backpack) Cam-lock system (easy and practical) Cons: The weight Extra price for the laptop pouch Overall: If you are looking for a bag that can serve as a bag to carry on the back pannier of your bike and a backpack to carry around as soon as you leave your bike, the Bug might just be what you are looking for. I bought the Bug, because I need a way to transport my laptop for work and school plus have enough room to carry a fresh exchange of clothes. It was essential to find a bag that would be easy to carry on the pannier and that would swiftly exchange, to serve as a backpack as soon as I leave the bike parked. Although, Arkel has the Commute and the Briefcase models that are designed to carry laptops, none of these is designed to be carried as a backpack once on foot. This was the main reason I chose the Bug. The Bug is designed to have an Arkel laptop pouch (bought separately) attached to it, via a Velcro strip that has to be firmly secured to the bag (with screws). The Velcro strip is fairly easy to attach, and once that is done, you can attach or detach the pouch easily. The pouch has to be bought separately and it can carry laptops up to 15'6 inches, making the Bug the second most expensive Arkel’s bag for the urban segment, only topped by the Briefcase. The Bug has a helmet pocket to strap it. This is a very useful pocket and easy to use. The Bug has pockets for you to put whatever you need on an urban commute. The main pocket is where you can carry the laptop on its pouch, leaving you with enough room to add an extra pair of pants and a t-shirt if needed. The zippers for the main pocket open all the way, making it easy to have full access to the interior of this pocket. There is a front pocket with great accessibility to carry your wallet, your keys, your cellphone (the essentials). On both sides you have an expandable mesh to carry a bottle for instance. Arkel’s cam-lock system is very easy to use. Starting from down to up, it takes you less than 5 seconds to put it on your bike’s pannier and another 5 seconds to take it of the bike. The bug can be easily converted to a backpack by opening the Velcro protections on the back, which will release the straps. Once on your back you don’t feel the cam-lock system. As soon as you need to get the backpack on your bike, you can easily close the straps again and be on your away. Overall the bag is very well built, with excellent materials. The most difficult task I had was to attach the Velcro strip for the laptop pouch. It took me about 10 minutes, and you only have to do that once if you acquire the pouch. Due to the solid interior, the bag is a little bit heavier than I thought (1,18 Kg), but I guess it makes sense to have an solid structure in the interior to make the Bug more robust. On a final note: I am very pleased with the Arkel’s customer service. I live in Portugal, and from ordering and paying via Pay-Pal, it took less than a week to get this bag in my hands. I was very pleased with the follow-up and didn’t mind paying the extra money for the delivery.
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