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  1. #1
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Mounting Systems: Ortlieb vs. Arkel vs. Rixen Kraul

    Hi all,

    Here are the rules. I am looking for the best mounting system for heavy use through Asia on a 6 month self-supported tour through all sorts of terrain. All of the above panniers are very different but I just want to talk about mounting systems here.

    Ortlieb is tried and tested and a lot of people like them. However, there are some complaints that if they DO break out in the middle of nowhere then it is difficult to get the highly specialized parts you would need.

    Arkel is another top brand but I would like you to consider other bungy-cord based systems as well such as Axoim or Long Peak. I particularly like Axoim because it is very simple. Metal hooks that can be easily replaced with local things and a simple bungy cord available anywhere. Arkels are a lot more complicated but could still be used should the complex locking mechanism fail so I have included them in the "simple" category.

    Rixen Kraul I know very little about. They seem to be a bit of a cross between Ortliebs and bungy type systems. Are they reliable for the long haul in the third-world? Does the locking system really work as well as others? Specifically I am considering these Pacific Outdoors Panniers or one of the similar ones from the same company. I really like that their panniers are dry bags like ortlieb but also have a really nice compression system and internally organized pockets. The design looks really well thought out but they are a new pannier maker so I am not sure if they will be reliable?
    http://www.rei.com/product/784875
    Here is the companies main page with a lot more information:
    http://www.pacoutdoor.com/splash_pdfs/POE_1_new.pdf

    Let the arguments commence!

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Rixen Kraul fittings? not so fond.

    the arkel quick release is an odd one, maybe it is secure on the road, i didn't like the not sure security of them clipping onto the racks when checking them out at the bike shop.

    Ortlieb? Yeah. get one set of rack attachements and bring them in your repair kit, its sensible and pack up to nothing. in a pinch, can always lace an ortlieb to a metal hook or any other kludge fix just like any other pannier, or even just lash it to the rack.



    A swiss army knife, 10 feet of paracord, a little bit of ductape and you're golden.

    i wouldn't worry about it too much.

    cheers!
    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-13-10 at 01:01 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  3. #3
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Ortlieb is tried and tested. Kinda says it all.

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    zepp, you seem to like to start arguments and criticism... what happened to the other thread you started, and how did the porn link come into any relation to the topic?

  5. #5
    Member bikeguru's Avatar
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    Hi i run Ortlieb Bikepacker plus for the rear and Frontroller plus on the front. They have the QL2 mount system and I run 2 sets of mount hooks top and bottom. This give the bags a more secure grip on the rack and I figure if a top hook fails I will have 3 more hanging on to the rack and if a lower hook fails I will still have another one holding the lower bag secure too.
    Cheers Steve

  6. #6
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Thats a great idea! I had never considered using 4 mounting hooks but I dont see why not!

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    R&K mounts are fine for extended heavy touring. You can add extra hooks to the rail. I would pack an extra hook, locking tab and lower anti-sway hook.
    The locking part of the R&K mount does come away as a separate part if you pull hard. This has no effect on the hook part and you can run the system with one or two of the locking parts missing.
    With any rail-mounted hardware, you can have spare hooks made up in metal from any local Mr Fixit metalworker.
    They are a smidgen slower and more fiddly to remove than ortleib but far superior to any velco or hook and elastic.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
    Hi all,

    Here are the rules. I am looking for the best mounting system for heavy use through Asia on a 6 month self-supported tour through all sorts of terrain. All of the above panniers are very different but I just want to talk about mounting systems here.

    Ortlieb is tried and tested and a lot of people like them. However, there are some complaints that if they DO break out in the middle of nowhere then it is difficult to get the highly specialized parts you would need.

    Arkel is another top brand but I would like you to consider other bungy-cord based systems as well such as Axoim or Long Peak. I particularly like Axoim because it is very simple. Metal hooks that can be easily replaced with local things and a simple bungy cord available anywhere. Arkels are a lot more complicated but could still be used should the complex locking mechanism fail so I have included them in the "simple" category.

    Rixen Kraul I know very little about. They seem to be a bit of a cross between Ortliebs and bungy type systems. Are they reliable for the long haul in the third-world? Does the locking system really work as well as others? Specifically I am considering these Pacific Outdoors Panniers or one of the similar ones from the same company. I really like that their panniers are dry bags like ortlieb but also have a really nice compression system and internally organized pockets. The design looks really well thought out but they are a new pannier maker so I am not sure if they will be reliable?
    http://www.rei.com/product/784875
    Here is the companies main page with a lot more information:
    http://www.pacoutdoor.com/splash_pdfs/POE_1_new.pdf

    Let the arguments commence!
    I can tell you first hand that the Axoim bags fit Axiom racks like crap. Go figure... The diagonal brace on the rear rack doesnot allow for the rubber wedgie keeper to be rotated to lock on the panniers. While the attachment is dirt simple, the same could be said for the engineer who came up with this design.
    09' LHT
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  9. #9
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Long ago I left bungee attachement and complicated and vulnerable panniers designs far behind. The simple five hook [3 top and 2 bottom] and one velcro strap used in the Robert Beckman Designs Panniers have served me well these last 25+ years on and off pavement including the Divide Ride. No matter what the load the panniers remain in place without shifting until you release the strap. http://www.coinet.com/~beckman/index.html

    I recommended the panniers to a friend as he began the Trans Am. He followed with Prudhoe Bay to Panama with the remainder of South America in progress. He has been very pleased with the pannier performance. He is a retired aerospace engineer who assessed the durability of materials for a living.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
    Hi all,

    Here are the rules. I am looking for the best mounting system for heavy use through Asia on a 6 month self-supported tour through all sorts of terrain. All of the above panniers are very different but I just want to talk about mounting systems here.

    Ortlieb is tried and tested and a lot of people like them. However, there are some complaints that if they DO break out in the middle of nowhere then it is difficult to get the highly specialized parts you would need.

    Arkel is another top brand but I would like you to consider other bungy-cord based systems as well such as Axoim or Long Peak. I particularly like Axoim because it is very simple. Metal hooks that can be easily replaced with local things and a simple bungy cord available anywhere. Arkels are a lot more complicated but could still be used should the complex locking mechanism fail so I have included them in the "simple" category.

    Rixen Kraul I know very little about. They seem to be a bit of a cross between Ortliebs and bungy type systems. Are they reliable for the long haul in the third-world? Does the locking system really work as well as others? Specifically I am considering these Pacific Outdoors Panniers or one of the similar ones from the same company. I really like that their panniers are dry bags like ortlieb but also have a really nice compression system and internally organized pockets. The design looks really well thought out but they are a new pannier maker so I am not sure if they will be reliable?
    http://www.rei.com/product/784875
    Here is the companies main page with a lot more information:
    http://www.pacoutdoor.com/splash_pdfs/POE_1_new.pdf

    Let the arguments commence!
    For any modern bag, breaking a mount in the middle of no where would be problematic. However Mcgyvering a new mount wouldn't be all that hard. It certainly wouldn't mean the end of a tour.

    Let's start with the Axiom system. The hooks and bungee are very old school. They work but if your ride includes any rough roads, it's pretty easy to bounce the bag up enough so that the hooks can clear the rack and the bag can fall off. I've had it happen far too much (once is enough and I've done it far more than once) to trust that mounting system. Even adding a locking mechanism isn't going to make it all that much better and you have to turn the lock by hand...just too much trouble. The bungee can come off too. That's not as bad as the bag flying off the bike but annoying enough.

    I have the Rixen Kaul system



    on a pair of commuting panniers. I even modified the lower mount like the ones in the picture above. It's rugged, stable and secure. The only issue is that the upper mounts have to be engaged by hand. Not a bother but the bags don't have that many features that would justify the $60 greater cost than Ortlieb Classic Rollers.

    The mounts on the Ortliebs



    I consider to be the ultimate in pannier mounts. The upper mounts are about as elegant as you can get when it comes to mounting systems. The weight of the bag on the strap opens the hook and releasing the strap springs the hook closed. You can remove the bag without even unloading the rack if you have stuff on the rear deck. The lower hook may slip out at time (more likely on the mount like the Rixen Kaul) but the upper mount won't come off on any kind of terrain. I've even bunny hopped the bags over small cracks in the Steamboat Trace Trail...not an easy thing to do with a 90 lb bike and you don't get a lot of height...without problems. The upper mounts even allow for much more...and easier...fore/aft adjustment to fit on the rack than any other bag.

    And, at $165 a pair for the rears, they are a bargain compared to the Pacific Outdoor bags.
    Stuart Black
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  11. #11
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    Does anyone have first hand experience with the Pacific Outdoor panniers? I'd like to know what they thought of it outside of the price.
    09' LHT
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  12. #12
    Senior Member KLW2's Avatar
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    I agree with bikeguru, add more top clips..For the money you shell out to buy Ortliebs, the mounting rail that the top clips attach to should be more robust..no excuses.
    Neil Gunton over on CGOB has a very comprehensive review showing the failure points for Ortlieb mounting system (new vs old version). I'm going to make modifications to my Ortliebs so that I don't have those problems, just haven't worked it all out yet.....

  13. #13
    Senior Member diesel_dad's Avatar
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    I have the Ortlieb as well as Arkel and the older Carradice system. Here are my experiences.

    Ortlieb: modular, easy to adjust fittings, easy to replace parts if you had them with you. I do not like the plastic top rail, which has tended to warp or curve over time. Sometimes they can look clipped on but the lower portion of the clamps is not closed. Bags themselves (Classics) are great, simple and totall waterproof.

    Arkel: wish that the bags were waterproof but the mounts are very solid. There is a new version as of last year that is easier to get on and off. Like the solid aluminum top rail. Easy to adjust. Easy to clip on. The locking cams interfere with some type of racks, so try before you buy. The bungee cord keeps them on the rack even if cam is not totally closed. Arkel construction (stitching, materials, zippers) is really great as is customer services. Just wish all the bags were waterproof.

    Carradice (older system, before R&K): aluminum top rail, easy to adjust, clip on very securely on the top. Bottom is similar to Ortlieb to adjust. Canvas bags are holding up great and are waterproof to this point. Easy to clip on. Works better on larger diameter rack tubes. Nice retro look, should be easy to repair.

    If the Ortlieb QL system had an aluminum rack, it would be perfect. Otherwise, heavy loads could use a little more structure.

  14. #14
    Dead Men Assume...
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    Also have a look at the Crazy Guy on a Bike Forum where it has a review section. There's a very interesting critical review of the Ortlieb mounting system.

  15. #15
    Dead Men Assume...
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    Quote Originally Posted by diesel_dad View Post

    Carradice (older system, before R&K): aluminum top rail, easy to adjust, clip on very securely on the top. Bottom is similar to Ortlieb to adjust. Canvas bags are holding up great and are waterproof to this point. Easy to clip on. Works better on larger diameter rack tubes. Nice retro look, should be easy to repair.
    Thanks for the info! I've been considering the Super C panniers for my next set.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by diesel_dad View Post

    Carradice (older system, before R&K): aluminum top rail, easy to adjust, clip on very securely on the top. Bottom is similar to Ortlieb to adjust. Canvas bags are holding up great and are waterproof to this point. Easy to clip on. Works better on larger diameter rack tubes. Nice retro look, should be easy to repair.
    Thanks for the info! I've been considering the Super C panniers for my next set.

  17. #17
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    The Arkel bags cam system works very well and is very secure. It clamps onto the rack rather than just resting on the weight of the pannier. I've never had a problem. There are times when stealth camping where the ability to get your panniers off quickly, throw them behind a bush, then hump your bike up a hill or toss it over a fence (on the side of a road for example, public land, but still fenced) is a very, very nice asset. I don't think you have that option with jerry built things.

    Really though, you're almost asking people which flavor of ice cream is best. Do the research, try out what you can, and make the decision based on what you want. Arkel, Ortlieb, Sakkit, and the other high end ones all have perfectly great attachment mechanisms, and they all claim to be the best.

  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
    The Arkel bags cam system works very well and is very secure. It clamps onto the rack rather than just resting on the weight of the pannier. I've never had a problem. There are times when stealth camping where the ability to get your panniers off quickly, throw them behind a bush, then hump your bike up a hill or toss it over a fence (on the side of a road for example, public land, but still fenced) is a very, very nice asset. I don't think you have that option with jerry built things.
    Do you mean jury rigged? If so, the Rixen Kaul and the Ortlieb bags aren't jury rigged. They have a very good design with the Ortliebs being easier to use and a better design. Grab the bag strap and lift up. The entire bag is off the bike is seconds. It can be easily removed without removing items on the rack and it can also be installed without removing items on the rack. I've used bags with hooks and bungees like the Arkel (without the camlock) and the Ortlieb systems is far superior...especially if you need to remove the bags quickly.

    If you really mean jerry built as in German that is an offensive slur.
    Stuart Black
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    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Do you mean jury rigged?

    If you really mean jerry built as in German that is an offensive slur.

    No, I mean jerry built in regards to the suggestions that he construct or remedy lesser quality attachment mechanisms, sorry for the confusion. But thank you for the German lesson

    Anyhow, they (jerry built and jury rigged) are two different terms that mean roughly the same thing with different connotations. Voila: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/jerry.html

  20. #20
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Cyccommute - do you have the Axiom bags or the Axiom system that includes the center lock-block, or are you referencing simple hook and bungee systems? I have the lock-block on some of my bags and that thing makes simple hook and bungee bags very secure. I would be surprised to see those bags come off my bike without some serious crash.



    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Let's start with the Axiom system. The hooks and bungee are very old school. They work but if your ride includes any rough roads, it's pretty easy to bounce the bag up enough so that the hooks can clear the rack and the bag can fall off. I've had it happen far too much (once is enough and I've done it far more than once) to trust that mounting system. Even adding a locking mechanism isn't going to make it all that much better and you have to turn the lock by hand...just too much trouble. The bungee can come off too. That's not as bad as the bag flying off the bike but annoying enough.

  21. #21
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I've used bags with hooks and bungees like the Arkel (without the camlock) and the Ortlieb systems is far superior...especially if you need to remove the bags quickly.
    The Arkel system isn't like other hooks and bungees.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  22. #22
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
    The Arkel system isn't like other hooks and bungees.
    The only difference is the addition of a lock block. You still have to hook the hook to the lower part of the rack, stretch the bungee (and bag) up so that the hooks can clear the top of the rack and lower the bag in place. Then you have to turn the lock block into place. If you want to take the bags off with stuff on the rack, you have to remove the rack mounted gear or fish around to find the lock block to turn it.

    Compare that with the Ortlieb system. Pull up on the handle and the catch mechanism is opened. Slide the bag into place with the lower hook engaging the rack and the hooks engaging the upper part of the rack. Let go of the handle and the whole system is secure as the latch mechanism springs back into place. Since the handles are on the outside of the bag (to keep them out of the wheel), it's a simple matter to grab the handle and release the bag.

    A lock block just isn't enough to convince me that the Arkel system is superior to the Ortlieb system nor that it's all that much better than any other hook and bungee system.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
    No, I mean jerry built in regards to the suggestions that he construct or remedy lesser quality attachment mechanisms, sorry for the confusion. But thank you for the German lesson
    Learn something every day Never heard the term. Jury rigged, sure...and I use it all the time.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  24. #24
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Me too.....

    Jerry built

    Meaning
    Built in a makeshift and insubstantial manner.

    Origin
    The phrase has been around since at least 1869, when it was defined in the Lonsdale Glossary:
    "Jerry-built, slightly, or unsubstantially built."


  25. #25
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    And to complete the lesson:

    Jury rigging refers to makeshift repairs or temporary contrivances, made with only the tools and materials that happen to be on hand. Originally a nautical term, on sailing ships a jury rig is a replacement mast and yards improvised in case of damage or loss of the original mast.

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