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Avenir's 1.5 litre Sonic Welded Waterproof Seat Pack represents excellent value. The top-notch 840/420 denier laminated polyurethane construction comes complete with welded seams and the roll top closure gobbles multi tools, a long handled fixie-type wrench, spare tubes, race-cape, energy bars, keys, wallet, smart phone, energy bars and contingency lighting. The prodigious outer flap not only locks the great British weather out but also incorporates a blinky mount for neat, nocturnal safety.
The only could-do-better part is the mediocre quick-release resin bracket. Installation proved a little fiddly and it's not always the most seamless fit, especially on some cromo rails. For best results, introduce the back plate first, give the threaded Allen screws a shot of spray grease and bolt together using a 6mm key. Slot the bag into position until you hear an audible click and snake the Velcro strap around the post.
Aside from the Perspex base, the heavyweight TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) fabric is both compliant, expanding to accommodate more kit, and durable. It doesn't mind much if it's brushed against brickwork or foliage.
Scuttling across poorly surfaced roads, I was surprised by the lack of jingling from the pack, although the fabric seemed to contract slightly when temperatures hovered around freezing point allowing the storm closure to lose purchase and flap in the breeze.
This aside, waterproofing is excellent. Passing the garden hose methodically over the exterior for five minutes made no impression - water simply beads and rolls off leaving the internals bone dry.
Another major advantage of this polyurethane over Codura or cotton duck types is that silt and spray are easily purged with the deft lick from a jay cloth - great news if you navigate winter on a mountain bike or without guards.
Understated but extremely competent mid-sized saddlebag that's perfect for the British winter, although the bracket is mediocre
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Make and model: Avenir Sonic Welded Waterproof Seat Pac
Size tested: Black/grey
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?
Raleigh give little away but it's basically a mid-sized waterproof seatpack particularly suited to mountain, cross and other bikes shunning mudguards.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Full welded seams
* 20cm X 120cm X 80cm
* Lightweight durable 420D+840D TPU laminated nylon fabric
* 1.5 Litre capacity
* Quick release fitment system
* 3M reflective details
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A very rugged and genuinely waterproof design well suited to most genres of riding. Attention to detail is generally very good, although the external closure on our test sample had a tendency to flop open and the mounting bracket felt a little bargain basement.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent overall construction, classic looks, sensible size and nice detailing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The indifferent resin bracket
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)