OWNED FOR: 2 years, 2 months.
CONCLUSION: Highly recommended: light, portable, durable, spacious, easy to use, and water resistant enough, with one tiny but annoying issue.
Filling It Up
As you can see (above and right), there’s room enough for all your gear even if you bring packed lunch and shower at work yet have no locker (travel towel and small toiletries recommended). Personally, I put the laptop (13″) on the outer side of the pannier to keep it from direct contact with the bike’s jiggly bits (and so far it has survived).
Getting It On and Off
It’s really simple to get on and off the rack, as it only involves dropping the two back hooks over the bars (see right). Then there’s a leather handle to pull it off again. No bother.
Keeping It On
There is an extra velcro strap to secure it, but I never use it. I have very, very occasionally had the bag jump onto one hook when going over a bump, but even then the hooks were strong enough to hold and I didn’t even notice till I got to my destination. I’ve since gotten an excellent (and cheap) rack with a spring-loaded arm that naturally falls over the rear handle of this pannier, so that has eradicated the problem entirely.
Keeping It Closed
The fixings are actually magnets rather than straps. The buckles only adjust the length. The only time I had problems was at first when I didn’t let these out to their full extension, making them too tight when the bag was fully loaded and again very occasionally leading the top to swing open in the wind after a bump. The one problem with this bag is that the buckles can fall off accidentally in opening and closing, which you may not notice. I lost one this way and had to ask Pendleton for a replacement, which they couldn’t provide. How I eventually came to have another one is between me and my conscience, but after that I decided to tie the buckles to the straps, first with elastic, and ultimately with wire because the elastic snapped at some point. A bit of a pain, but also the only problem I’ve had with this pannier.
Singing in the Rain?
It’s not waterproof in the way that those heavy-duty, black, rubbery panniers are, but it’s also much easier to use with less faffing about. The top is leather (or faux leather) and so the rain splashes off, and the bottom of the pannier is hard plastic, so there’s little chance of water getting in directly. With enough time getting splashed from the street, I suppose it could become a problem, but for me (roughly 30 minutes to work) it’s never been an issue, even in heavy rain.
Carrying It Round
If you do need to lump it round as a bag, the strap on the back is more than adequate (see right). It does look a bit like something a drunken nineteenth-century physician would carry around, but maybe you are one, who knows?