As soon as you pick up the Altura Sonic 25 Waterproof Pannier you can feel it's built to last, and as soon as you put it on your rack you can tell it will stay fast. It's an ideal touring companion, no matter how uneven the road or wet the weather, because you can trust it to keep your kit safe and dry. Water just beads and runs off the durable fabric, and you can easily wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
- Pros: Waterproof, durable, fits securely
- Cons: A little expensive, no extra pockets
The Sonic's construction is very tough. It's made from a heavyweight polyvinyl/polyester fabric with welded seams, with a sturdy rear kickplate at the base. The internal backplate is rigid, keeping the pannier solid against the rack, and the interior bolts that hold the mounting clips have plastic covers so there's no way they can damage the bag's contents.
Each 25-litre roll-top compartment is voluminous, and ample for carrying clothing, sleeping bags and suchlike. There are no pockets, though, which I miss; I find they're useful for keeping small items like wallet and lights separate, and an external mesh one is ideal for stashing a waterproof jacket.
The upper rack mount is the excellent KlickFix Universal Rail System, which clasps the rack with a vice-like grip. The two hooks come with inserts which adapt the hook to fit 8, 10 or 12mm tubing, simply by altering their position.
You can also easily alter the horizontal position on the rail of the two hooks separately by loosening their screws. Similarly, the lower clip is adjusted with a single screw.
It's very quick and easy to attach and remove the pannier, and it has a strong rubber carry handle.
The design of the Sonic is well thought out. The shape of the backplate is tapered to prevent any chance of heel rub; it has light attachment slits on both sides plus good-sized reflectives on the sides and front. The side straps are sturdy and have clips for attaching a shoulder strap. It's a pity this isn't included, but you can pick one up for about £4.
I'd say it's right up there with other options, such as Ortlieb's Back Roller Classic for the same kind of price, although with the Ortliebs you get a couple of large pockets...
The Sonic pannier is also available in red and black and is currently discounted online, making it even better value.
A super-tough waterproof touring pannier with rock-solid mounting system
road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Sonic 25 Waterproof Pannier (single)
Size tested: 25 litre
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says: "Fully waterproof, durable panniers engineered to meet the demands of the toughest touring adventures. With the KLICKfix™ Universal Rail System, and the roll top closure, these bags are easy to use and super stable on the bike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Altura Shield™ technology delivers water and wind protection
* Welded seam construction
* Roll-top closure
* KLICKfix™ Universal Rail Fittings
* Reflective detail
* LED attachment points
10kg weight limit
Roll-Top Closed height 35cm
Width 34cm at top/25cm at base
Very sturdy bag made from thick and durable 85% polyvinyl waterproof fabric and with a solid mounting system.
Well designed, easy to use, great capacity, very weatherproof and tough.
Hardwearing material should stand years of use and abuse.
At 1kg it's 50g heavier than stated, but reasonable for such a sturdy bag.
It's not cheap but it is good quality and it's an investment that should last you years.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: super-stable on the rack, totally waterproof and fits loads of gear.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its great mounting system and super-durable fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really, but would like a pocket or two.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's an excellent pannier but not exceptional as there are similar available at the same price such as Ortlieb's Back-Roller Classic. If it were cheaper and included pockets and a shoulder strap it could well be a 10.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Whyte T-130 RS
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax