We’ve mentioned before that we’re big fans of “grocery” style panniers. These ubiquitous bags for utility bicyclists are designed to carry one large grocery bag, then fold flat when not in use. They also make excellent catch-alls for those times when you’re headed from here-to-there and you unexpectedly end up needing to carry something. We almost always keep one on our errand bikes. Most are quite simple, with a single, open compartment that folds flat when not in use, though a few companies make deluxe models with extra pockets, robust mounting systems, shoulder straps, and zippered tops. The Rixen & Kaul Cargo fits into the latter category.
Rixen & Kaul
Rixen & Kaul are well-known for their excellent KLICKfix series of quick-release mounts and adapters; many of you will be familiar with their mounts as supplied on Carradice and Gilles Berthoud bags. What a lot of people don’t know is that they also make some really nice bags and baskets. Some of their bags are integrated into their quick release system, and others (like the Cargo featured in this review) are designed for use on standard touring racks.
The Cargo inhabits a place somewhere between a simple grocery pannier and a full-fledged urban briefcase such as those we’ve reviewed from Arkel and Ortlieb. It meets the basic requirements of a grocery pannier (flat bottom, square sides, folds flat), but it also features internal and external pockets, interior liner, zippered top, alloy carrying handle and internal frame, collapsible stiffener panels, rain fly, shoulder strap, and the excellent KLICKfix mounting hardware.
The Cargo is constructed of heavy duty nylon. The stitching is clean and straight and the edges are neatly finished. The inside of the bag is fully lined and water-resistant. The hardware and supports are made of aluminum and injection-molded nylon. The internal, foldable frame is made of tubular aluminum. Internal stiffeners are sown into the bag on three sides and the bottom. The overall impression is of a refined bag, finished to high standards.
The Cargo features two external pockets on the front; a larger internal pocket for a wallet, keys, bus pass, etc.; and a small, cell-phone-specific internal pocket. There are two internal stiffeners that snap into place when the bag is unfolded. The “Modul-rail” mounting hardware is easy to use, and unlike the simple clips and straps found on less expensive bags, it securely locks the bag onto the rack, allowing no possibility of bouncing off. The mounts can be adjusted fore-and-aft to provide just the right amount of heel clearance on your particular bike/rack combination. The top is zippered, and the bottom has four feet to prevent scuffing. A clip-on shoulder strap and rain fly are included.
The Cargo is perhaps the ultimate hybrid grocery pannier/bike briefcase if you have the need for something more than a basic grocery pannier, but you still want to be able to carry a standard bag of groceries in the same bag. It works well as an everyday carry-all, but it can also be successfully used for multi-modal commuting and even light touring. It’s a well-made, versatile bag, that should provide many years of use for the full- or part-time utility bicyclist.
Size: 14.9″W x 11.8″H x 6.3″D
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
Capacity: 18 liters
Maximum load: 22 lbs.
Made in Germany
Disclaimer: Velofred supplied the bag used in this review.