We build panniers better than you could ever imagine. Our guarantee reflects that. They will outlast any other panniers you may have ever owned, yet, just like our frail human body, they will grow old and be more susceptible to mishaps. Here are some types of possible damage and how to take care of them.
Problem: Nicks, rips and holes in the fabric.
Solution: The type of Cordura we’re using is the absolute best. Don’t be fooled by believing that all Cordura are created equal. They’re not. Yet it is possible to tear the fabric giving the right conditions.
The fabric could be damaged by either a crash or sheer abrasion. Crashes and falls may damage the panniers at many points, but the most common places are the lower parts of the sides and the bottom. Abrasion is usually found between the panniers and the rear rack or at the bottom. Abrasion spots are easy to pinpoint and should be taken care of as quickly as possible. The main problems are typically protruding rear rack screws or sharp edges or too long rear quick releases. Replace the parts as soon as possible for more appropriate pieces.
Small nicks or holes (half an inch) may be left untouched. If the fabric seems to fray on the edges you can melt them with a match. Bigger rips (1/2” to 1 1/2”)must be taken care of. On the road repair may consist of nylon self-adhesive patches or a piece of fabric glued in place with epoxy glue or equivalent. If well done, these repairs may last a lifetime. Major rips (2 inches and over) must be repaired with a piece of fabric and stitching. On the road, repair with a needle and thread. Find a suitable shop to make a permanent repair when possible.
Problem: Broken zippers
Solution: We use the strongest zippers ever on any panniers. It is rare to ever break one. Yet extreme wear or accidents may damage them. For the longest possible life expectancy, treat them well (see “Caring for Your Panniers”). Don’t force a zipper closed when overloading a pannier. Use compression straps whenever possible first. Don’t buy zippers without a full metal pull-tab on the slider that helps direct your pull-force in the right direction. Always use BOTH zipper sliders each way from the upper middle center of the pannier, thus cutting wear in half for both of them.
If you notice that a zipper is not closing when you activate the slider, stop using the slider immediately. The zipper is still functional - only the slider has to be replaced (a $3 job). But if you continue trying to use it, it will permanently damage the zipper requiring a full replacement, which will cost noticeably more. (Our EX-R models come with spare sliders waiting, parked inside).
If the zipper is damaged after a crash it will need inspection. Contact a knowledgeable sewing shop nearby to assess the proper course of action, or simply return the pannier to us for inspection. On the road action may consist in restricting the path of the sliders to the damaged section by pinning a safety pin before it.
Problem: Broken backplate
Solution: Breaking one of our backplates is a miracle in itself. This should never happen to you with Arkel backplates as we use the strongest material commercially available. But in some very, very extreme cases, we suppose it could happen, and we stand behind our product. While we will replace them freely at the earliest convenience, there are ways to do a repair on the road in an emergency.
If the backplate cracks at one of the aluminum hook holes, use a very large washer on each side of the plate to squeeze and stabilize the crack. If the backplate cracks partially anywhere else, use a stick or piece of wood that you tape transversally with duct tape, until we can ship you another one.