Axiom Pannier Bag Rackbook Pro  £65.00

3/10

Primitive fixings. Not waterproof. Use the Rackbook Pro? For my MacBook, no.

Weight 930g   Contact  www.axiomgear.com

by Dan Joyce   June 23, 2013  

Axiom Pannier Bag Rackbook Pro

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?

Knotty problem

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.

Verdict

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

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
4/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
3/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
3/10

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

Nothing.

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

Overall rating: 3/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 65kg

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,

 

1 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Thank you for taking the time to write about our bags Dan. Unfortunately I think you may be misunderstanding the whole concept behind our bags. Please allow me to elaborate below.

1) Hook system - We use R&K Vario hooks, because of their superior strength, and ability to adjust from 7mm to 20mm, ensuring years of use, even if rack designs change in the future.

2) Bolted (replaceable) hardware - All fittings are attached with bolts, unlike our competitors who use rivets. We know that people use our bags in remote areas, and the ability to repair easily at the side of the road should an accident happen is a hallmark of our entire bag line.

3) Knotted elastic cords - It is unfortunate that you have decided against this system before even trying it. As with your review of the Kingston Commuter, your "prejudice #2" unfortunately draws you to an unfounded and untested conclusion. As you say "Prejudice two: hook-and-elastic pannier attachment systems are obsolete and potentially dangerous".
With all due respect, you statement is a broad on, based off your experiences with other brands, and is not in fact based on actual testing of our bag. It is based on an assumption.

Our knotted elastic system has been extremely successful for us over the years, so much so that when we went through a ground-up redesign of our bags retentions system 3 years ago, it was identified by feedback groups as being a key feature that needed to stay. In fact, it would cost us less to use a slide bracket such as found on other bag brands, however we consciously use this elastic system due to it's superior function.

The elastic system, allows the user to fine-tune their tension by changing where the knot is on the cord, and also allows the system to be used on multiple heights and designs of racks.

We purposely leave the knots slightly loose upon shipment to allow the user to more easily undo and re-tie the knot to the spot that is mot appropriate for their rack.
Unfortunately you seem to be judging the system on what you "think" will happen, and not on what you have actually "tested" will happen. When properly tied (with only a a single knot) the elastic will support more than 75kg of tension.

This elastic system is also far more intuitive for users, and does not require complicated setup or explanation.

4) Waterproof vs. Water-resistant w/ rain cover. - We intentionally designed the Rackbook Pro to use a rain cover instead of a waterproof main bag. We feel our system is superior for the following reason;

a) Riding in the rain, on messy urban streets leads to significant grime from the road. As this is an office bag, we designed it with an office in mind. To us, the last thing you want to do after getting changed into your work clothes, is to throw a messy, wet, and grimy shoulder bag against your clean office clothing.
Our entire point of this system is that the rain cover offers the same level of protection found on dedicated waterproof designs, but allows the user to strip away the wet, messy and grimy rain cover, to reveal a clean and dry shoulder bag that can be worn into the office.

With all due respect, prejudices do not make for an educational and unbiased review process, which is what people seek out when determining what product to chose.

Your "reviews" for the RackBook Pro and the Kingston commuter are more what I would classify as a blog or an editorial opinion. I encourage you to actually "test" products in the future, and report on what actually happens, and not on what you 'think' will happen.

Best regards,
Andrew Belson
Product Manager
Axiom Performance Gear

posted by Axiom Performan... [1 posts]
24th June 2013 - 18:18

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