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review

Oxford Aqua V32 Double Pannier Bag

9
£54.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Superbly rugged and protective, and a fantastic price for such a usable all-weather pair of panniers
Tough
Great value
Waterproof
Mounts easily and securely
Stiff roll-top closure
No option to use singly
Weight: 
1,650g

Part of the ever-expanding range of bicycle luggage from this motorbike bag specialist, the Oxford Aqua V32 Double Pannier Bag is a rugged and incredibly protective load-carrying option at a brilliant price. These linked panniers are not the lightest, and the roll-top on each is quite stiff, but they're very, very tough.

In the absence of touring options for the moment, testing of this heavy-duty double pannier has mostly been of the commuter and supermarket shopping variety. It's a super-robust setup, solidly made and with more than a nod to Oxford's motorcycle luggage heritage.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The two 16 litre bags (making up 32 litres of carrying capacity) are made from a durable fully waterproof fabric, with a roll-top closure – which is a bit stiff to roll but doable – and each has a zipped compartment on the outside as well as reflective accents. The rear of each bag section is stiffened and there's a toughened bumper at the bottom.

2021 Oxford Aqua V32 Double Pannier Bag Black - reflective.jpg

The two bags are linked together via a flat area of the same tough fabric, with a webbing carrying handle at the top, and attached to the flat panel are Velcro straps to fasten it to the rack.

Despite being joined together, the pannier setup is quite easy to fit. With Velcro straps rather than clips up top, it secures well to any gauge of rack tubing, although only standard width racks will do the trick thanks to the width of the top panel of fabric. Narrow gravel type racks need not apply.

2021 Oxford Aqua V32 Double Pannier Bag Black - back.jpg

Hooks secure the panniers at the bottom, sliding along for easy adjustment to keep the whole shebang from flapping about.

2021 Oxford Aqua V32 Double Pannier Bag Black - back detail.jpg

I can't emphasise enough just how solidly built and protective these bags are. Once rolled over at the top, no rain or weather of any sort is getting in. Noah could have built the ark from this fabric. It's heavy, though, meaning these are going to contribute significantly to your load, and because you can't use them singly you'll always have the weight of both. That makes them better suited to shopping or slow and steady tours than fast and furious getaways.

> Cycling luggage for beginners: the best ways to carry stuff on your bike

The ability to unfasten them quickly and simply lift off the whole lot using the webbing handle is handy for shopping, or if you like to carry a lot on your commute.

2021 Oxford Aqua V32 Double Pannier Bag Black - joining handle.jpg

In terms of investment, it is hard to find fault with a set of two panniers of this sort of high quality and durability at this price. It would be easy to spend far more on a pair of panniers that are this protective and well made. The similarly waterproof but more touring-tuned Vaude Aqua Back Panniers are more than twice the price at £120 for the pair, though you do get another 16 litres of capacity, while Altura's Dryline 2 32L panniers are closer but still £109.99 for the pair.

> Buyer’s Guide: 16 of the best bicycle panniers and racks

If you're looking for rugged and effective waterproof luggage for a low financial outlay, these are a great choice. They're not light (though they are lighter than the Vaude and Altura options mentioned above), and the roll-top closure is a bit stiff, but there are no deal breakers here.

I found them straightforward to use, very durable and superbly protective. They're useful for shopping trips, loaded-up commutes and laid-back tours, and excellent value for money.

Verdict

Superbly rugged and protective, and a fantastic price for such a usable all-weather pair of panniers

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Oxford Aqua V32 Double Pannier Bag

Size tested: 2 x 16 litres

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?

Aimed at cyclists looking for a durable and protective pair of rear panniers.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Oxford lists:

360 reflective detailing on the back and sides

Waterproof roll top closure

Large water-resistant zipped pocket

Roller top with buckle closure on sides

Durable enforcement

32L capacity

Dimensions 42cm x 32cm (upper) / 23cm (lower) x 17cm

Velcro fitting with lower locking system

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

These are utterly robust in their construction and materials.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

They did a great job of hauling loads, no matter what the weather conditions.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Early days, but I'd hazard that these are not going anywhere in a hurry. Incredibly rugged.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10

These aren't intended to be lightweight – they aim for maximum durability and protection. That said, they're slightly lighter than Altura's Dryline 2 pair (with the same 32-litre capacity), and lighter than Vaude's Aqua Back Panniers, though you get an extra 16 litres there.

Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

Incredibly good value for such a rugged and easy-to-use set of panniers.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Ease of fitting and removal, rugged build, waterproof protection, inexpensive...

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

On the heavy side and the roll-top closure is quite stiff, but no real deal breakers.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The similarly waterproof but more touring-tuned Vaude Aqua Back Panniers are more than twice the price at £120 for the pair, while Altura's Dryline 2 32L panniers are closer but still £109.99 for the pair.

Did you enjoy using the product? Very much.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely

Use this box to explain your overall score

I found them straightforward to use, very durable and superbly protective. They're useful for shopping trips, heavy commutes and laid-back tours, and when you also take into account their excellent value for money, I'd say they're exceptional.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Liv Invite  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

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: commuting, touring, sportives, 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. 

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