The Altura Explore seat pack evokes memories of blasting along deserted trails on our use-what-you-got mountain bike builds back in 1990. It's nominally a mountain bike pack but the classic flavour and expandable one-litre capacity swaps seamlessly between genres.
The bag itself is made from a very rugged and surprisingly water resistant version of our old friend Cordura nylon. Bold, yet not brash retro-reflective graphics bolster visibility around dusk, as does the broad elasticated LED tab that will accommodate two lozenge-type lights and even a mini pump.
Two generous elasticated loops enable easy expansion and access, even wearing stodgy full finger gloves. Inside, it's orderly without feeling overly disciplined with a sturdy mesh pouch for segregating your money, phone or similar valuables.
It'll gobble a big multi-tool, tube, CO2 inflator, tyre levers, patch kit, micro jacket, spare AA or smaller batteries and keys without resembling a puffer fish.
It mounts via a Rixen & Kaul Quad bracket, which has a one kilogram load limit.
Installation is simply a question of selecting the appropriate stainless steel band, whipping it around the seatpost, pinching in situ while tethering its resin lug tight using the 2mm Allen screw. From here, depressing two sprung pressure points on the pack enable engagement/release with a reassuringly audible click.
There's been no hint of annoying sway whether literally 'spooning' my Holdsworth's saddle rails or letting rip along deserted trails aboard my rigid, drop bar mountain bike at 25mph. In this latter context 'buzz' induced some faintly audible low-level vibration from the pack's sprung interface, though everything's remained firmly tethered.
Water-resistance is generally very good, only some internal dampness was evident following a close range, 2-minute hosepipe tickling, so I'd line with a plastic bag on crossers and other bikes run in foul weather sans guards.
Refined yet rugged take on an old staple, with decent carrying capacity
road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Explore Seatpack
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Altura feel it's self explanatory. Essentially its the classic wedge pack with a few welcome refinements.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Built around a Rixen & Kaul fitting system, 1 litre capacity, cordura nylon bag, scotchlite reflectives, LED mount.
* Rixen Kaul Quad-Integral hard ware for mounting direct to seat post
* Expansion zipper to increase capacity
* LED loop
* Reflective graphics on rear and side
* Internal mesh pocket
* Easy to use zip pull
* 1kg weight limit
Volume: 1 litre
Weight limit: 1kg
Generally well made using good quality materials.
Seems pretty rugged, although experience suggests even the best sprung mechanisms will eventually fail.
Lighter than some, heavier than others.
Delightfully simple to use.
At the upper end of what I'd be prepared to pay for a wedge pack but by no means outlandish given the build/refinement.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Explore is marketed as a mountain bike pack but looks and behaves well on road, cross and TT builds. Rugged Cordura nylon construction isn't quite so easily wiped clean after a wet, gritty ride but responded well to brief hosepipe blasts without cargo getting soaked. Rixen & Kaul's quick release system means effortless fitment/removal as conditions dictate and prevents annoying sway when fully laden.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Classic design, reasonable capacity and user friendly hardware.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing of particular note.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)