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Tubus Cosmo & Arkel GT-54

Old 10-05-10, 09:22 PM
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Tubus Cosmo & Arkel GT-54

Are the Tubus Cosmo rack and Arkel GT-54 pannier compatible or can I expect issues? Can the pannier be mounted on the top and bottom rail of the rack? Will the Cam-Lock work without much issues? Any comments from people who tried or use the Cosmo & GT-54 combination would be nice. This setup would be on a Surly LHT.
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Old 10-06-10, 11:16 AM
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I have both the Tubus Cosmo and Arkel GT-54, and they work very well together. No problems with the Cam-Lock, because you can easily move the hooks along the aluminum rail to avoid the cross struts on the rack. I just checked, and it is also possible to mount on the lower rail of the Cosmo, though this means that you are not stretching the bungee enough to tension the bottom hook properly - so you could simply make another knot in the bungee to make it more tight, an easy fix. Also, the bottom hook has a very good place to go on the bottom of the rack. All in all, works great - this is my favorite rack. The jury is still out on whether I'll prefer the "lotsa pockets and great construction but need rain covers" philosophy of the Arkel GT bags, or Ortlieb's "waterproof until you get a hole or break one of the little plastic bits". I am liking the Arkels so far, though, and there might be benefits to using rain covers (e.g. keeps the mud off the bags, and stops little fingers from accessing the pockets if you are in a crowd situation, and high visibility yellow when you want it, not when you don't). After all, it's not going to be raining most of the time on your tours (hopefully!) so most of the time I would prefer to have the accessibility (in theory - we'll see how this all pans out on tour).

If you are also getting a front rack then I would advise against the Tubus Tara with the Arkel GT18, since it really doesn't work very well at all. The curvature of the bottom piece on the Tara makes it difficult to hold the hook in place; it wants to slide off, especially if you try to mount the panniers with one hook behind the fork (which is best). Also Tubus have removed the little handy eyepiece which used to be on the bottom of the Tara, so there really isn't anywhere to hold the bungee now; and to cap it off, the main Tara tube is really thick, and doesn't really hold the hook very well.

I much prefer the Tubus Nova, and it's actually a very good companion to the Cosmo if you go that route. It's stainless steel, so no rust worries, and the shape of the bottom is much better for keeping the pannier hook in place (it's flat). Also the Nova still seems to have the handy bottom eyepiece. And all the tubing on the Nova is standard width, so it fits the hook well. Also, the Nova has more options for mounting so that you can get the top rail level, and I was able to put the rear hook of the GT18 behind the fork, I couldn't do that with the Tara.

By the way, if you are buying the Tubus racks then wiggle.co.uk is a great source - low prices and free shipping the US (and it took only four days to get to me in California, no idea how they do that). And no, I have no connection to wiggle, just a satisfied customer.

Hope that helps,

Neil
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