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Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 16 Dec 2015, 10:00pm
by bikes4two
> I'm off on a gentle tour of EV5 in June '16 and am looking to reduce weight where it's cost effective to do so and am seriously considering these Arkel panniers here.
> There was a well discussed thread in 2014 on this topic (here) and at that time willem jongman had just got some (how are they doing Willem?)
> In the meantime Altura have lightweight panniers too (Wiggle link here although better prices are available elsewhere!), but I really don't think the Altura ones look up to much :cry:
> Any experiences with the Arkel Dry Lites or other similar products?

PS - I'm not looking for a bikepacking style bag solution either, just in case you were wondering, as front bar packs would not sit well between my 'drops' and over the canti-brake cable.

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 16 Dec 2015, 11:01pm
by mnichols
Tried them both. Tried the altura ones twice, sent them all back. Tried various other light weight options as well, but in the end I opted for ortileb front city rollers. They are a bit heavier but a class apart. In the end I decided to go for robustness rather than weight, even though I am a real weight weenie. I just couldn't bring myself to trust the fixings on the altura and the arkels were a faff. I even bought two pairs of altura at one point to avoid the way they fasten together and so they would both be fixed to the rack. I used the ortileb for a 1 month tour of America in summer and they were excellent

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 8:45am
by bikes4two
mnichols wrote:... opted for ortileb front city rollers. They are a bit heavier but a class apart.


Yes, I'm tempted by the quality, weight (1.21Kg a pr) and reputation of the Ortleib but before I do, I really need to get the Arkel option out of my mind :?

You say the Arkels were a faff - I can see from the description that the attachment system is not as easy as the Ortleib clip system, but in what way were they a faff?

I can understand that if you were using the Arkels as a commuting pannier, then the repeated attaching/detaching would be frustrating, but I'm cycle/camping and I often don't even remove the panniers at night (just the contents).

Did you actually use the Arkels with a load and if so what sort of load and how did the panniers 'sit/carry' on the bike rack? For me I'd only be packing light clothing, sleeping bag etc: no solid edge stuff like cooking kit etc.

And what did you think of the build quality of the Arkels (accepting of course that they are a lighter weight - 1/3rd the weight of the Ortleibs)?

Thanks, in anticipation :D

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 6:43pm
by willem jongman
I have used the Arkel panniers, and I think their biggest disadvantage is their small size. Originally they were supposed to be 32 litres, and that would have put them somewhere in between the Ortlieb frontrollers and the backrollers,and that would have been perfect. They are now listed as 28 litres, but even so they are smaller than the nominally 25 litre Ortlieb frontrollers. For me that makes them too small for anything other than hotel touring or a long weekend of camping. I have very compact gear (PHD bag, Exped synmat ul), but I just cannot fit my stuff inside for a two week tour. The tent goes on top of the rack, so it does not come into the equation, and my small stuff is in a handlebar bag.
Beyond the size I had no complaints. I think with careful use they are sturdy enough, and the fixing, though a bit awkward, was a price I was quite willing to pay.

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 9:19pm
by mnichols
bikes4two wrote: but in what way were they a faff?


I like to be able to take my panniers off, and this couldn't be simpler with the Ortileb, whereas the Arkels were more like doing a Rubik's puzzle with one hand

My advice would be order both from somewhere with a no quibble, free returns policy, open the packing carefully knowing you will be returning one and try them

Weight is a factor, but so is robustness, usability and aero dynamics. On my last tour I managed to average 20mph on many days for 80 to 100 miles, had a top speed of 45mph, and did a flat 100 miles in 4 hours with the Ortilebs. I don't think I would have been any faster with the Arkels or Altura, but probably could have got under 4 hours with a rack pack

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 9:40pm
by bobzeller
I bought T28 Arkel panniers in 2007. They have been really good. Well designed for their purpose, really watertight and, for me, the right size. As well,t he company has an excellent reputation for its after sale support. Returning from France this past summer, I had a problem with one of the cam locks. I called the company in Canada and they arranged to send me new ones for both bags free of any changes and then, apologised because it would have to be me who would have to change the old ones over to the new ones. Service doesn't get better than that and next time I need new bags, they will be Arkels. Mind you, these ones, with their new cam locks won't need changing for some time.

I also have a set of Alturas (model unknown) which I used for commuting. Within two years, the stitching had gone on the draw string closure on one. 'Nuff said!

Cheers

Bob

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 9:50pm
by willem jongman
To be honest, the DryLites are much more fragile than the very sturdy and heavy traditional Arkel bags.

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 11:07pm
by PH
There's also the DIY option. This thread is worth a look at if you haven't already seen it;
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=99472&hilit=diy+pannier#p927457

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 18 Dec 2015, 9:10pm
by mnichols
The arkels were better than the altura

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 19 Dec 2015, 8:06am
by aquilo
Hi
I've used the Dry Lites on a couple of trips, St Malo to Nice and A very wet JOGLE, camping both times. No issues with robustness or water tightness or getting them on or off the bike. Very strong webbing across the rack means you will not get any broken plastic Rack attachment system failures. Used in conjunction with a bar bag and dry bag on top of the rack there is plenty of room for kit and camping gear with probably half the weight of Ortliebs (something to think about on those long alpine climbs)

Cheers

Re: Arkel Dry Lite panniers - anyone tried them

Posted: 19 Dec 2015, 8:53pm
by manybikes
It doesn't look like a gentle trip to me having seen your projected daily mileage.