While it's showerproof and stays in place well enough, there are better commuting panniers than the Axiom Rackbook Pro.
This Axiom Rackbook Pro makes my prejudices itch. Prejudice one: all commuting luggage should be made of waterproof material, because it rains and I don't want my stuff getting wet, especially when that stuff is a £1,000 laptop. Prejudice two: hook-and-elastic pannier attachment systems are obsolete and potentially dangerous.
There are worse bags than this when it comes to weather resistance. The Rackbook Pro is made of high denier polyester that's not just durable but genuinely showerproof. There's a rain cover too, which will help further. But you can get a genuinely waterproof pannier for the same money. Why wouldn't you?
It's the same with attachment systems: you can buy panniers with positionable hooks, enabling you to fit the bag where you want on the bike rack, and with clever retention systems that are secure but are still easy-on, easy-off. The QL1 fittings on Ortlieb's Front Roller City panniers are a good example. So again: why wouldn't you?
The Rackbook Pro uses the same fixed-position hooks as the Axiom Kingston Commuter, which I reviewed a while ago. They're stiff to get on and off the rack but won't come off easily by accident either. The bottom of the bag stays in place using a metal hook on the end of some knotted luggage elastic. This is kept some distance from the spokes by a fabric loop at the bottom of the bag. But if either of the knots came undone, the hook could end up in the spokes, stopping the wheel, slewing you to a halt, and maybe causing an accident.
These knots come undone easily. If they're not tightly tied, pressure on the end of the elastic can undo the knot; I did it with one finger. Even when tied tightly, the knots came undone trivially easily, due to the thickness and springiness of the elastic cord. It's worth adding, however, that Axiom report no instances of hooks going into spokes. I'm not saying it will happen, merely that it's possible, and that other bags don't have this issue.
The other features are what you'd expect from a briefcase pannier. There's a padded laptop pocket, sized 12x10x1.5in, so a bit small for my MacBook. There's a variety of other pockets, including a useful one one in the outer flap, plus a shoulder strap, some reflectivity, and tabs for LED lights.
If you have a small laptop, won't be riding in downpours, and don't mind the attachment system, the Rackbook Pro will do the job. But even then, there are plenty of office bags that will do it better. If you don't share my prejudices, at least shop around. If you do, avoid; you'll hate it.
Primitive fixings. Not waterproof. Use the Rackbook Pro? For my MacBook, no.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Axiom Pannier Bag Rackbook Pro
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?
Axiom say: Axioms utility commuter series, Journey panniers are designed for everyday riding. Made with premium quality, super durable 600D water-resistant polyester, these bags are built to withstand the punishment a daily commute can dish out - and they look great doing it. Featuring Axioms unique Streamliner shape, these practical and easy-to-use bags minimize wind resistance and never slow the rider down.
I say: I think it's aimed at fair weather commuters.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Capacity is 13 litres
600D water-resistant polyester
Rixen & Kaul Vario adjustment hooks fit 6mm-20mm racks (preset to 10mm)
Replaceable Rixen & Kaul Flip-Lock
Zippered hardware compartment hides hooks and bungee away when not in use
Tiedown adjustable hook and bungee system for quick and secure bag attachment
Durable waterproof PU bottom panel offers added protection and stability for off-bike use
Dual light clips for use on either side of a rack
12 x 10 x 1.5 padded laptop pocket
Additional internal padded pockets for smartphones and other electronic devices
External access organizer pocket on canopy
Includes shoulder strap
Given its limitations, the value isn't great. It ought to cost LESS than a waterproof bag with better fixings
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A little slow on and off compared to panniers with more sophisticated fixings. Difficult to set on rack to avoid heel interference, as the hooks are not movable; fortunately, it's not a very big bag.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Hook and elastic. Not waterproof. Hooks not movable. Hooks not set at an angle, to angle the bag on the rack.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
About the tester
I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track (with front brake)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,