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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-20-07, 03:49 PM   #1
JumboRider
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Arkel Big Utility Bag Initial Review

My initial impression of the Arkel Utility Basket is that it is well made and a little smaller than I thought it would be. It is smaller, but still very large at 1650 Cu inches. The seams, zippers, and fabric should last the rest of my life, and maybe my grandchildren’s lives as well. I don’t have grandkids yet.

I found the latching system to be a bit of a pain. This could be because of my rack, or my lack of experience in fastening panniers. There are two hooks at the top of the pannier that hang over the rack tube. These hooks are on a sliding rail so that you can push them farther apart or closer together. A plastic part below each hook that are spring loaded. You pull these plastic pieces aside as you hook the pannier to the rack and then let the pieces snap back. These prevent the pannier from bouncing off of the rack. There is another hook attached to a bungee cord that is used to stabilize the bottom of the rack. The pannier should be very secure during a bumpy ride, but the proof is yet to found. The proof will occur tomorrow.

The bag itself is simply a deep, top-loading single compartment. It has two nice sized meshed pockets on the outside for wet items or an extra bottle. The back and bottom of the pannier has a hard shell and there is an aluminum rod for rigidity. The usual reflective tape surrounds the pannier and it has small straps on each side to allow for blinkies etc. The lid of the pannier has a smiley zippered pocket on the outside with a hard panel beneath it. Under the lid is a sleeve for documents etc.

The bag should easily carry my work cloths, including shoes, lunch and miscellaneous other items I may need. it should handle a weeks worth of groceries when we go to the store. We will see how the bag does over time. Purchase price was $89.00 from www.comcycle-usa.com.



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Old 06-20-07, 08:17 PM   #2
Michel Gagnon
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If you attach the bottom hook first, then the plastic locks will open "by magic" when you pull the bag via its handle. If the pads are adjusted properly, the system works beautifully.

Two pitfalls to watch for:

- The locks hang outside the hooks; therefore, when you position the hooks, you have to take that movement into account. If the locks touch one of the struts of your rack, you might find they don't work as advertised.

- Some racks, especially front lowrider racks, have a back plate which interferes with the locks.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:14 AM   #3
JumboRider
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I rode to work with the Arkel today. The bag held all of my gear. I could use a little more room...hello handlebar bag. ::

The Arkel Utility Basket and the Surly rack do not go together. The fitting of the hooks is problematic and I had heal strike even on a bike built for touring. Arkel did warn me about the Surly rack.
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