Afterthoughts - Arkel TailRider: Does it live up to the Arkel name? - Achtung Baby: Bavaria with a GPS & Some Great Canadian Gear (Tour 13) - 2014 🇩🇪 🇦🇹 🇨🇭 - CycleBlaze

June 8, 2014

Afterthoughts - Arkel TailRider: Does it live up to the Arkel name?

IN short, yes it does.

But let me elaborate, please.

I have an old trunk bag or rack bag or whatever you want to call it. The one that sits on top of your rear rack and you put stuff inside. One of those. I picked up the old one when I was in Queen's University in preparation for my Austria-Switzerland-France tour in 1992. It has served me well. Filled with quick-grab items like my camera, passport and the odd spare change along with other thises and thats.

As fine as it was, there were a few things about it lately that were minor, but they did bother me a tiny bit.

One is the colour. I still have my very first panniers from my 1986 cycling tour - a pair of Sunset Camping Company in bright red. Subsequent purchases have been Arkel panniers in either black or a combination of black and red. My old trunk bag is grey and black. Not quite in keeping with the black and red theme.

Another is the attachment method. There are two straps on the bottom that I have to fish through the rack then use friction to hold in place - but the straps are not quite long enough so I always need a pair of plyers to tug the straps tight.

And finally the permeability to water. Though not a huge issue since I pack everything into plastic bags, my old bag was soaked after even a tiny bit of rain.

Then suddenly the clouds opened and the sun shone down upon me. One day a cycle tourist stayed in a nearby B&B. She was cycling across Canada at the time for some charity and on the back of her bike was an Arkel TailRider in red. It looked sleek and attractive so I was smitten.

Not wanting to spend money for nothing, I did nothing about it, though I did expand my Arkel line of panniers. What with our collection of the panniers complete, it donned on me this past winter that for the upcoming Bavarian tour, I would splurge on the TailRider... in black with red trim.

I loved it right out of the box. It is light, has a very useful carry handle on the top and D-rings to attach a strap. To connect the bag to the rack are some hook and loop straps that are plenty adjustable to fit around many racks. So it only takes but a moment to have the bag fully installed onto the rack.

The zippers have a nice flap over them to keep water out though they still perform flawlessly and catch-free. So, it is easy to stop on the road, reach back, zip open the bag and pull out your camera, for instance, to snap a quick photograph. There is a hook and loop divider to separate the main compartment (which is plenty big enough for a ball cap, passport, or any number of maps), plus there are zipped side pouches for things like spare change, a multi tool, pens and such. The big pouch also has a hook and loop closure at the back end - if you happen to forget to zip the bag shut (which I did a few times) the flap stays down holding everything in place. Smart idea Arkel!

Whether I use my Arkel all-black panniers, the black ones with red trim, or my red panniers, the TailRider looks smart with all of them. A consistent theme. Because there is nobody who wants to cycle tour with a stylistic failure. LOL. Seriously, though, the bag performs really well, it is easy to carry off of the bike, and it looks really good on the bike.

Arkel Tailrider: 4.5/5

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