Guest post by Andreas Kambanis from the London Cyclist blog, where he covers cycling news and also publishes the 25 London Cycle Routes eBooks. He is generally to be found happily cycling around London.
When I first laid eyes on the Vaude Cycle 25 pannier I thought to myself “nah”. There was simply nothing that jumped out at me or excited me. But I was wrong to prejudge it on first appearances as there is a lot more to it than first meets the eye.
For a start it is one of the few panniers that can magically change its appearance into a backpack. It does this little trick fairly well and effortlessly. The back cover simply zips down and can be pushed into a bottom compartment. In fact, unless you class yourself as an expert on panniers, you would never guess that the backpack also converts into a pannier.
Once you dive a little deeper and start exploring the Vaude Cycle Pannier you start to discover things that make you say “ah that’s clever” really often. For example, when I opened the bottom compartment I suddenly spotted an orange rain cover. This is fantastic for the English weather and keeps your possessions from getting soaked. “Ah that’s clever” I thought to myself.
Next there is the plentiful padding and separated compartments which means its perfect for carrying a laptop and papers if you’re the business type. If you’re just taking it to fill it up with delicious treats from the supermarket then you’ll be surprised at the amount you can fit in this seemingly small bag. Of course the big advantage is that while you are wondering around the supermarket you can carry the bag on your back.
The pockets are also well placed and are great for putting those bits that you can never seem to reach in a normal pannier.
It’s clear Vaude put a lot of thought into the design of the Cycle 25 Pannier. However, it’s not without its flaws. For example I found the hook system a little bit weird. Rather than the traditional pannier design where you have a clip at the bottom to stop the pannier sliding off this one has a hook on an elastic band. The system still works but just feels a bit flimsy.
Also, while the backpack functionality is useful to have, it does leave your back sweaty. Cycling backpacks are often designed to avoid this effect. Therefore you wouldn’t want to use it as a backpack for long.
Overall I like the Vaude Cycle. I thoroughly enjoyed playing around with it and stumbling across the different little design features that have been included. There are better panniers out there but few of them can turn into a backpack. If you’re looking to carry lots of things then look elsewhere. However, if you’re just carrying your laptop and perhaps some work clothes then this is a great pannier to consider.
What I liked
- Well thought out design of turning pannier into backpack
- Great for carrying laptop
- Rain cover
- Makes you say “Ah that’s clever” a lot
What I didn’t like
- As a backpack it leaves your back sweaty
- The method of clipping it onto the panniers seems a little flimsy but at the same time I didn’t feel it would fall off
We say: thank you for another informed review Andreas! You can read loads more Pannier reviews here, including the one Andreas tested.