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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.
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.
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.
Hooks secure the panniers at the bottom, sliding along for easy adjustment to keep the whole shebang from flapping about.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
360 reflective detailing on the back and sides
Waterproof roll top closure
Large water-resistant zipped pocket
Roller top with buckle closure on sides
Dimensions 42cm x 32cm (upper) / 23cm (lower) x 17cm
Velcro fitting with lower locking system
These are utterly robust in their construction and materials.
They did a great job of hauling loads, no matter what the weather conditions.
Early days, but I'd hazard that these are not going anywhere in a hurry. Incredibly rugged.
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.
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
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.
About the tester
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.