Saturday, April 10, 2010

Product Review: The Detours Toocan Urban Utility Pannier

Tooling around on my bicycle this afternoon, I made my mandatory stop at Absolute Bikes to both stare at the Globe Live2 and check out the accessories section. The Globe Live2 and the Globe Haul recently moved to the front window display and after paying them their due honor I strolled over to accessories, where things appeared delightfully amiss. It seems someone has been weighing style equally with function, with many, many new and attractive messenger bags and pannier displayed, most of them clearly targeting the female shopper. Without hesitation I marched to the checkout counter and made my purchase. Here's why:

My eyes and hands were instantly drawn to the Toocan Urban Utility Pannier by Detours. This pannier is from the Expresso Collection. The product information tag indicates that the Toocan has a "carbo factor" of 10 baguettes so I'm guessing that the folks at Detours both have a sense of humor and understand this customer, for Bob and I have entered baguette-and-cheese-on-the-front porch-season. More objectively though, the bags dimensions are 15"x13"x7", also large enough to carry my Dell Studio laptop. Since it could be carrying my computer, my pannier needs to be sturdy. The Toocan is indeed pretty tough. It features a heavy-duty, quilted, nylon exterior and a thick, rubberized, flat bottom, which stands up easily without falling over when placed on the ground or another surface. The handles have rubberized grips making it comfortable to tote when weighed down with a computer or numerous loaves of French bread. The pannier also comes with a detachable, padded shoulder strap for additional convenience off the bike.

The exterior hooks that secure the pannier to the rear rack fitted the racks on both my Specialized and the Breezer perfectly. They are placed close to the middle of the pannier making it sit fairly high behind the saddle. I like this because I can now easily reach in to the zipper opening for my camera or an extra water bottle.

I really appreciated the interior of the Toocan. The pannier has a nylon lining in a floral pattern that matches the center floral panel on the exterior. Incorporated into the lining are several pockets making it easier to keep items organized, a helpful feature for me since I'll be taking this bag with me to work most days.

Finally, I was relieved to find hidden in the interior zip pocket a bright yellow rain cover. It doesn't rain that often in Flagstaff but we are prone to short but sudden monsoons during the summer and early fall. I believe that the pannier alone is probably very adequate to keep things safe and dry but the bright yellow cover will both protect the pretty exterior from mud but also add to visibility.

I couldn't be more pleased with my find. The Toocan is modern and attractive. It will draw less unwanted attention than my strictly utilitarian boxy, black panniers, be easier to carry when stopping at a boutique or restaurant, and somehow make me feel a little more professional when I arrive at work. Unlike the black panniers I been using for the last few years (and will keep for trips to the grocer or Home Depot)I can easily carry two of them while shopping without worrying them knocking things off shelves or the having the contents spill out. The Toocan Urban Utility Pannier retails for $60, which for me was not inexpensive, but given the quality I did not hesitate.

Flagstaff Tweed Website is Up!

The Flagstaff Tweed website is up and running. Over the next few weeks details regarding the May 16 and June 18 rides will be added, as well as exciting art to market the event. Here is the link. Anyone planning to visit Flagstaff for either event should not hesitate to contact me about places to stay and things to do. The weather should be great!

10 comments:

Beany said...

I look forward to reading more about the Tweed ride! So exciting.

Also, I've been wanting a hand baggy type bag and this looks it is a bit more my style. I will ask my LBS to carry it.

She Rides a Bike said...

Be sure to check out the Detours link. I was really impressed with all the styles they carry.

Velouria said...

Thanks for the review. I've seen different versions of these around and have wondered about them.

Dottie said...

Excellent review! Those bags look really good. Totally low-key enough to appear normal away from the bike. And so big!

She Rides a Bike said...

I've been using this bag all week and love it! I carry it into the dentist or bookstore and no weird looks from anyone. I feel stylish and totally professional. And it really is sturdy. I am carrying so much - notebooks, lunch, makeup bag, wallet, agenda, camera - and it never looks weighed down or saggy.

Doohickie said...

I noticed you left a comment on my blog, so I'm obligated to leave one on yours. I guess.

That is a pretty sporty pannier you've found. I like it. I wish my panniers clipped on like that.

In addition to the new (old) seat I got for my bike, I got a flat tire this week and decided it would never happen again. So now my commuting bike is wearing Schwalbe Marathon flatless tires. The old tires were 700x38C; the new ones are 700x25C. The skinny tires make it feel like I'm riding a whole other bike! I like this spring renewal stuff.

MamaVee said...

I seriously went " Ooooohhhhhhh" upon seeing the inside. that looks like an awesome bag.

mrsmcg said...

I just ordered this bag on rei.com. The price has been reduced (probably temporarily) to $44.93.

I currently have the Detours Toto pannier. I have used it a few times and have discovered that I don't like that it doesn't have a flat bottom. This makes it hard to set down when you take it off the bike or want to set it down to load it. It also has no interior pockets, except the one that holds the rain cover. I am thinking of returning the Toto pannier once I get the Toocan Expresso. I am looking forward to getting it next week when it arrives at my local REI.

Detours said...

Great review! We've since updated our website - your old link will still send visitors to our sight, but not the correct page.
Our Toocans are on sale right now in honor of Bike Month! check 'em out: http://detours.us/store/panniers/toocan/

SuperKat said...

I just won the toocan juicy woven bag from cycleandstyle.com's giveaway contest! SO great to see one of my fav blogs have a review on this bag...made even MORE excited!!