Most helpful critical review
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
major downgrade from previous versions
on November 20, 2013
So I had this bag - initially purchased in 2005 - and in its previous iteration, I LOVED it. the velcro was two sets of straps that attached on to the rack horizontally, so it fit pretty much any rack. the base of the panniers was much bigger as well. i got tons of compliments on it and it single-handedly supported my carfree lifestyle in the city for the past 8 years. sadly, it was finally done in by a combination of a broken zipper and a healthy dose of cat pee from my sick cat (it's IMPOSSIBLE to clean). i had to search around to finally find a version that came with velcro until i found this. clearly, topeak made this a piece of crap because they want you to buy the other kind that fits with their proprietary rack! the velcro is in the worst places ever. hopefully i can describe this adequately.. the rear of the rack (near the cupholder) has a velcro that you have to thread underneath the rack (right where you can't see.. hello!) and the velcro is not very strong so i always worry about it not attaching. the front of the rack closest to the bike seat has velcro with two parallel straps that connect cutting across the width of the rack. so depending on your style of rack, these won't fit. my rack bars are closer together than these straps, so one fits perfectly, and the other doesn't really. so as a result these panniers are very tenuously placed on my rack.
the other thing topeak got rid of was this awesome separate top zipped compartment - that was where i would keep my u-lock, a rag for cleaning my chain on the go, or anything dirty or that would be exposed to the elements (so i didn't end up putting it in the main compartment with, say.. a change of work clothes, for instance). now this is just one large compartment which is a MAJOR downgrade.
the inside is lined in yellow, which i guess is OK.
the side panniers actually seem bigger - maybe to make up for the fact that the main compartment is smaller? - but i think the fabric quality is much worse than it used to be.
overall, i'm pretty disappointed. i was a loyal customer for years and really loved my old set. i spent literally TWICE what i spent on the previous panniers on this and in return i received some major downgrades. unfortunately, i can't find anything else like this out there, and it is what it is.. just be forewarned.