INTERBIKE: Panniers to die for

Arkel of Canada produce the most feature-packed touring bags has ever seen. Tough too. Expensive? You bet, reassuringly so
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Arkel is a 10-person company that has been producing high-end cycle touring luggage since 1988. This is the company's second year at Interbike.

Check out the company's website for the full specs on these bomb-proof bags but here's just a few hidden extras: the top-end expedition bags feature tough two-ways zips but should one fail (on a trip round the world, for instance) you can partially dismantle the bag to release another zip tag already attached to zip runner. And the top-end bags also boast hidden sewing kits to make on-the-road repairs. Butterfly pockets pop off and can be attached to waist belts.

The handlebar bag attaches with Arkel's own CNC-machined aluminium struts.

If you've got any customers into top-end touring, these bags will make them salivate. You could squeeze a small village into the 82-litre bags for tandem tourers.

The Ladybug pannier converts into a daypack, with hidden shoulder straps. The Samurai isfeatures a kayak-closure waterproof bag protected by a wraparound, expandable PVC shell.

It's now a fact of life that niche products such as these are profitably sold online by their manufacturers. However, the bags on Arkel's site are offered at full retail.

The company already receives orders from consumers in the UK. With exchange rates being what they are it might not be terribly feasible for a UK distributor to match Arkel's direct-to-the-overseas-consumer prices but perhaps some IBDs could bring the stuff in for themselves.

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