Avenir RainCity Panniers
If there is one thing mostly people in the country know about Seattle, is that it occasionally rains here. If you happen to ride your bike on any given day between October and May around here, you probably have yourself some sort of waterproof bag. Something to keep your goods from gettin’ all wet.
I’ve been using these RainCity saddle bags for nearly a year, and I have been really happy with their overall performance. They have got a few draw backs, but we’ll get to that in a bit. There are some pros, some cons, and of course my verdict.
Certainly this bag looks killer. The now seemingly standard silver over black is still shining like new, and I noticed that many other bags have taken on a similar look to my RainCitys. The capacity is just about perfect for a change of clothes and the things I need to have with me for work. Also of note I can get a bag of groceries in each bag, they keep a six pack tucked in pretty well too.
The Avenir RainCity Panniers come with some semi-dense foam forms; that when installed gives the bag its shape. It runs along the leading and trailing sides by way of the bottom, and holds the bag outward from the frame. Sort of a “U” shape if you were to look at it in profile. I both like and dis-like this piece of foam, but I’ll get to that in the cons section. They connect to a rear rack pretty similar to every other bag I’ve had. At the top, via a couple of low flat hooks. Attachment to the bottom of the rack is via a guided hook that works really well with my tubus rack. The hook is on an elastic strap, that has a channel that it can move fore and aft to accommodate a variety of racks.
After more than a year of use, I can attest that these things keep water out. A pretty standard fold over top, mated with some very waterproof material, and I had no fear of my computer gear riding home in there in some famous
rain “Seattle sunshine”. The top secures with a single clip, and it does a fine job of keep the top from flopping around in the breeze. There is a nice bit of reflective material on the back to help light you up on those dark morning and evening rides.
The big plus is though is obviously the price. A pair of well designed, stylish waterproof bags for around $80 bucks on Amazon.
Now the annoyances… And I say annoyances, because none of the short comings were enough to drive me to go out and pick up some new bags. The thing that I found most frustrating with the panniers was that the foam form keeps the bag at its absolute widest, which is great when it’s full, but when you are riding around empty, it can “feel” sort of discouraging in a head wind. Now … I’m not really thinking that there is much physics involved in my brain’s conclusion that it was the bags slowing me down, and not my body, but it was easy to look at them and think that they were catching some air. It should be mentioned that the foam can be taken out and then the bags can get quite slim, but if your not in your garage, there’s not a good place or way to store them.
In the end I think that these are a great deal at the price. I’d certainly buy them again if I had to. The little hiccup with the foam would not be enough to pass on them. If you are in the market for some waterproof bags, give these a good hard look.