I recently decided it was time for an overhaul of my commuter/grand tourer, necessitated by my rims going south. So I sacrificed by commuting on the beater for a over a month (long story) while I had new wheels built around my rims. I also took the plunge on new Axiom panniers and their Odysee rack in order to get them before the prices went up. So they sat around waiting for the wheels to get built. Finally, this weekend, it all came together (pics to follow... eventually).
Now, for the money, these seem to be the best built panniers I can imagine. I'm sure Arkel's are better, but I would only get about 2/3 of an Arkel for the price of the Axiom set. And the rack is the best rack I've ever owned (and I've had a few). I was actually carrying the bike around by the rack while I was working on it - it's that solid. Is it an Old Man Mountain rack - no. But it's mighty good.
But the pannier hardware doesn't fit the rack. The "sweptback support" bar interferes with the "Posiclip" lock. And I'm not sure the "Posiclip" lock would fit real well on the large gauge rack anyway. Normally, I sort of expect this kind of incompatibility, but from 2 products from the same company purchased at the same time?! Perhaps I'm doing something wrong.
I will likely just swap the hardware for the Arkel mounting system anyway - at least that's adjustable.
Steelman road bike, '81 Schwinn Le Tour single speed,
I've also been struggling with Axiom panniers and racks. The Axiom panniers seem to have a longer bungee length than many racks can support. Like you, I really liked the quality of the axiom bags and the only solution was to get a matching axiom rack. It was a $40 rack and I had a bear of a time finding it, but bicyclewarehouse.com really went the extra mile and got it for me. It's the perfect combo on my commuter. I'll take pics soon. I got the Axiom Kootenay's and the Axiom Streamliner Sport Tour rack.