Touring - Arkel GT 54 or XM45?
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I've been saving some money for a new set of panniers. I have a set of Arkel GT30 front panniers (I use these for commuting) and was looking at the GT54 for quite some time. However, I noticed some really nice features on the XM45.
Anyone have either set? I really like the GT30s. I've had them for about 3 years. Done very well with them. I was just curious about the XM45 because they are a little smaller and a little cheaper than the GT54.
09-04-05, 07:51 AM
XM-45 users seem rare. Some info here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=120154
Thanks ErickL. I need to take the blueprint test. After reading the threads in the links you posted, I better make sure I have heel clearance! I've had that problem before. I ride a converted MTB and the chainstais are really short.
The search goes on.....
09-09-05, 04:58 AM
I've had GT54's for about three years. They're great. I use them constantly for utility cycling. They work as well as when I bought them, and they still look good.
They are better panniers than the XM. The internal aluminum frame, hard floor, and large side panels make loading much more convenient than would be true with the XM. Shoving everything into a soft bag and dealing with straps on the XM would get annoying really fast. All those extra pockets on the GT are a good thing to have on tour. The fuel bottle pocket and the Thermarest pocket are not just gimmicks. They increase convenience dramatically. All of the extra pockets, not just the fuel and Thermarest, help with odd-shaped items-- wine bottles, bread, little things you don't want to throw into the main chamber-- on errands, too.
That said, GT are more expensive, as you observed. XM would be better in confined areas, like forest or bush. The GT are big, too, so you very well might have problems clearing your heels with a small rack.
If you can afford them, if they fit, and if you're not going to be riding through narrow brush trails, you'll enjoy the GT more.
I have a set of the XM28's which are the smaller version of the XM 45. I use them in the rear and really like them. Most I've used them on is 3 day trips. They make a nice tight package when loaded and I've been happy with them. A few friends have picked them up too after they saw mine in action.
I sent an e-mail to Arkel. They told me the GT54 might be a little big for a mtb. They recommended the GTs, but also thought I should consider a larger rear rack. Even with the adjustable hooks, I might have heel clearance problems.
I also did the cardboard trick. Cut out a piece of cardboard using the dimensions on the web site. Hang it on the bike. Pretty close.
After all of that, I think I'm still going to try the GTs. If I need another rack, I have a place in KC that can make one for me.
I'd really like the room the GTs have. I'm planning a several week trip through the Grand Canyon.
Thanks for the feedback!
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