My multimodal Baltimore-DC commute involves driving, walking, train riding and biking. I wanted a pannier that could easily be carried off-bike, with enough room to carry a laptop when the need arose. My search led me to the Arkel Metropolitan. I chose it for a) it’s roominess, b) it’s good looks, c) the exterior pockets and key clip, d) ease of attaching/detaching from rack, e) it’s water repellant features, f) it’s safety features, h) Arkel’s high quality design and durability, i) it’s versatility. I’ve been using the bag for a few months now and overall am very happy with it.
The Metropolitan has fulfilled most of my hopes and expectations for a commuter bag. Two caveats. One, this week I somehow tangled up the webbing straps in Arkel’s famous and truly great Cam-Lock attachment system. This resulted in an intense struggle to get the bag off the rack. I ultimately succeeded without damaging anything and without missing my train. I’d advise you to take care not to do what I did, though I can’t explain how to avoid it since I don’t know how it happened. Two, one other drawback is that carrying it via the shoulder strap when it’s heavily loaded is awkward. Using the handles of the inner bag is somewhat more comfortable. It’s something to consider if you have much walking as part of your commute.
Overall though, its a great bag. This video offers an accurate and enthusiastic overview of the Metropolitan’s features.