Review: Arkel Randonneur Seatpost Rack

In my recent post on 'Getting Cross…' I outlined my aim to get a cyclocross bike, and start mixing things up off-road on my daily commute. Things are progressing on the bike front (although they're taking a while); in the meantime, I've been thinking about the finer details of converting to a 'cross commute, one of which is luggage…

To date, I've experimented extensively with my commuting carry solutions. However, I keep reverting back to the ease and comfort of using a single pannier for my daily ride. A pannier saves you from sweaty back syndrome, and it puts the strain of the weight on your legs, rather than your torso (and your legs).

The thing is, pannier racks weigh quite a bit, and they also look a bit clunky. Whilst that weight doesn't make much difference to my steel touring bike, it would be a significant "marginal loss" to add to a new lightweight cyclocross rig. As a result, I've been searching for a solution, and I reckon I might have found it with the Arkel Randonneur Rack.

Some of you will recall my previous reviews of Arkel luggage; they included panniers, a handlebar bag, saddlebag and a rack-top bag from the Canadian brand. All the products proved to be impeccable quality, and really built to last; easily capable of a round the world tour, let alone a daily commute.

My plan with the Randonneur rack is to utilise the Arkel TailRider rack-top trunk bag as my every day carry. I'd use a large rucksack just two journeys a week, to bring in and take home bulky clothes and towels, but otherwise I could strip back my luggage to this lightweight bag and rack.
Previously reviewed: The Arkel TailRider Trunk Bag



Installation

The Arkel Randonneur rack mounts to the seat rails of your saddle, with a neat quick release clamp. An extending arm then reaches out to strap onto the seat post, stabilising the rack and its carry. Fixing hardware is made of stainless bolts, and the seat post strapping has a rubber bumper to avoid any damage to the tube.

The rack weighs in at around 500 grams, which is significantly lighter than most traditional pannier racks. The design also overcomes the problem of needing frame eyelets (something you don't get on all cyclocross bikes). Most importantly though, the quick release means it is very quick to remove the Randonneur, for those longer weekend rides. It is without doubt a well thought-out design.




Testing

You could use the Randonneur with a plethora of rack-top bags, but it works particularly well with the TailRider Trunk Bag. The bag mounts to the rack with four strong Velcro straps, and it hasn't shown any sign of shaking free or coming loose, even careering down some unmade roads during my test rides.

The bag has proven to be the perfect commuting companion too, with its internal size ideal for a lunch box and coffee flask, and the small pockets ideal for valuables like a phone and wallet. It is a compact carry, but it stops me from bringing any unnecessary bulk.

The rack hasn't needed touching since installation, and has proven to be rock-solid on the bike. I'm confident that it will be able to deal even with the rigours of any off-road ventures, on a truly gravel-capable bike. I reckon I have found my cyclocross commute luggage solution, then. The superb quality Randonner rack, partnered with the TailRider trunk bag, will be the ideal load carrying combination.

Now, it's time to get back to sorting that bike…

Read my other Arkel Reviews here (Link)

View the Arkel range at arkel-od.com (Link)
Note: The light mount on the rear is retro-fitted, and is not standard.

Quality hardware, and a fast installation make this ideal for every day use.

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