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Verdict: 
A super-tough waterproof touring pannier with rock-solid mounting system
Weight: 
1,000g
Altura Sonic 25 Waterproof Pannier (single)
8 10

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.

> Find your nearest dealer here

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.

Altura SONIC 25 Waterproof Pannier - side.jpg

Altura SONIC 25 Waterproof Pannier - side.jpg

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.

Altura SONIC 25 Waterproof Pannier - back detail.jpg

Altura SONIC 25 Waterproof Pannier - back detail.jpg

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.

Altura SONIC 25 Waterproof Pannier - back detail 2.jpg

Altura SONIC 25 Waterproof Pannier - back detail 2.jpg

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.

Altura SONIC 25 Waterproof Pannier - side detail.jpg

Altura SONIC 25 Waterproof Pannier - side detail.jpg

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...

> Buyer's Guide to racks and panniers

The Sonic pannier is also available in red and black and is currently discounted online, making it even better value.

Verdict

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

Weight: 1kg

Dimensions:

Roll-Top Closed height 35cm

Width 34cm at top/25cm at base

Depth 20cm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very sturdy bag made from thick and durable 85% polyvinyl waterproof fabric and with a solid mounting system.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Well designed, easy to use, great capacity, very weatherproof and tough.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Hardwearing material should stand years of use and abuse.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

At 1kg it's 50g heavier than stated, but reasonable for such a sturdy bag.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

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.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 170cm  Weight: 62kg

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

1 comments

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BehindTheBikesheds [1735 posts] 4 months ago
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10kg load per bag is a little dissapointing, I'd expect a top priced bag to be able to hod more weight readily, they do look on the small size for a 25L capacity.

Shame about not having the pockets and at £60 a bag it's in the range of some esteemed company, a pair of Ortleib Back Roller classics (40L) can be had for £65, the BTwin 900 waterproof bag that is 30L and has a similar adjustable clips for differing rack tubing is £60 for a pair.