Bike luggage that transfers from the bike to everyday life is fast becoming the ‘in’ thing, but it’s only useful if it’s, well, useful.
The Allium from Abus is an attractive and well made bag, made from tough water repellent 450D and 630D nylon fabric. It has hardwearing Rixen & Kaul Vario fastenings to secure it to a rear rack, a roomy (10 litre capacity) lightly padded main compartment, a front zipped pocket and a zipped pocket in the flap with a port for a headphone cable. The bag can be carried briefcase style by a top handle, or with a carrying strap. With its chocolate brown and black colourway, with floral motif, it’s a bag styled primarily with women in mind as a general purpose casual messenger style bag.
But here’s the thing. You’d probably not put a laptop in it, even in a waterproof sleeve, since it’s open to the elements at the top and all but the most compact netbooks don’t really fit anyway. The opening at the top means that folders, files etc are prone to water damage even if only from road spray, and yet it is styled as a briefcase type bag. As a general use pannier it’s not really roomy enough for very much, and there are better shaped and sized bags available from Abus for that purpose, making much better value for money. So, in essence, it’s a product without any real niche to fill. It's also expensive for its capacity and usefulness.
I’d be really quite impressed at anyone who could successfully manage to use an MP3 player located in the flap pocket too. It’s not exactly convenient.
Well made and attractive but lacking in genuine usefulness. Does not represent good value for money.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Abus Allium 10 Litre Pannier Office Bag
Size tested: 10 Litre
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?
Designed as an office pannier/briefcase with women in mind.
Openings at top make it prone to water ingress and therefore lacking in genuine functionality as a bag for either laptop or folders.
Did you enjoy using the product? It was fine.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not really.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.