Arkel Signature V Urban Pannier ReviewNovember 3, 2016
- Padded laptop compartment
- Secure mounting system
- Waterproof liner
- Shoulder strap
- Uncomfortable carry handle
- Minimalistic organization
The Arkel Signature V is a high-volume, high-quality pannier that is made in Quebec, Canada and contains its makers signature on an inside label. Its Cam-Lock® mounting system is the best of all the panniers in the test and its TPU- laminated nylon liner with fully-taped seams and roll-top closure makes it waterproof. However, despite its ample cargo capacity, it lacks convenient organization pockets.
EASE OF USE
The Arkel Signature V Urban pannier’s Cam-Lock® mounting system makes attaching and detaching fast and easy. Simply lift the loaded pannier by the Cam-Lock® carry handle, which disengages the cams, set the pannier Cam-Locks® on the bike rack and release the handle. The Cam-Locks® drop down and engage the bike rack. The Arkel Signature V Urban comes with a sturdy and detachable shoulder strap to make it convenient to carry from bike to office and back.
The Arkel Signature V Urban pannier comes with a detachable shoulder strap that is wide enough to ensure a degree of comfort when carrying on the shoulder with a light load. However the shoulder strap lacks any padding and cyclists will experience some discomfort when carrying heavy loads.
Our tester found this to be an issue only on farmer’s market and grocery runs when the pannier was weighted down with heavier goods. Enhancing the Arkel Signature V Urban pannier’s versatility is its flat bottom which allows the pannier to stand up on its own makes it easy for the cyclist to load and unload contents. Additionally, the pannier’s shopping bag-style handles when fully open makes it convenient (although not comfortably) to carry heavier loads to and from the bike.
The Cam-Lock® mounting system will fit bike rack tubes from 8mm to 15mm in diameter. Each of the two Cam-Locks® are adjustable forward and aft to enable the pannier to fit almost any bike rack.
The Arkel Signature V is handmade in Quebec, Canada with 1,000 denier US-made Cordura® nylon and are signed by their makers. Additionally, the Arkel Signature V can be sponge-bathed with a wet washcloth or submerged in a sink and handwashed and air-dried if necessary.
The Cam-Lock® mounting system is comprised of solid aluminum hooks that are strong, well-made, fully-adjustable and secure.
The Arkel Signature V is made with a TPU laminated nylon liner with fully-taped seams and roll-top closure to make it waterproof. Our tester did experience a rain storm on a commute when testing this pannier and all contents remained dry, including a smartphone.
The Arkel Signature V is rich on volume. With 28 liters of cargo capacity, our tester successfully carried a standard size paper bag full of groceries inside the main compartment. Its roll-top design and adjustable webbing clip allows for a great deal of flexibility in cargo capacity and a set of internal carry handles make it very convenient to pick up and move around when fully loaded. However, the internal carry handles are not padded so heavier loads dug into our tester’s hands.
A small zippered pocket inside the main compartment is ideal for carrying smaller items that need to be secure and protected from the elements, like keys, phone or wallet. However, its size is inadequate to carry keys, phone, wallet, pump and other necessary bike tools at the same time. A padded laptop sleeve holds up to a full-sized iPad or an IBM ThinkPad.
A Velcro flap covers the grab-handle and the Cam-Lock® to prevent them from digging into the cyclist’s side or lower back (when carrying with two-inch wide shoulder strap) when walking or climbing steps.
Reflective elements include two wide strips on the front of the pannier.
Marie Malinowski is a Minneapolis-based mountain biker, bike commuter, backpacker, and trail runner who covers our cycling accessories categories.