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Detours Fremonster Flap Review
Cons: Poor construction, not waterproof, awkward storage
Bottom line: If you're primarily considered with how your pannier looks and functions off-the-rack, this is the call for you.
The Detours Fremonster Flap is a colorful, glitzy pannier that is clearly geared towards the casual cyclist who takes occasional rides with their laptop or library selections in tow. It is an affordable option for a first-time pannier user who maybe doesn't know what they are looking for in their equipment and would prefer to have a flashy and stylish design. Though, if you're looking for versatility, waterproofing, and durability, we would recommend that you check out the Editors' Choice Award winner, the Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic.
RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Bike Panniers for Commuting and Touring
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
For numerous reasons, this was our lowest-scoring pannier in the review. The Detours Fremonster Flap was lacking in the areas that really matter: mounting hardware, storage, and weatherproofing. There are a few features like the rain cover and padded shoulder strap that we felt added to the overall package, but didn't make up for lackluster performance in other areas. Even from the initial inspection, it's clear that this pannier was built on the ethos of form over function.
Commuter panniers, which get mounted and dismounted more frequently than touring panniers, should be very easy to install and remove. The Fremonster Flap utilizes two hooks at the top of the back panel that clip onto the rack, securing the bag in place. Typically, we are fond of this type of hardware. However, we were unimpressed by the arrangement on this model.
Each clip had to be individually manipulated to open and then placed upon the rack, instead of a handle that would automatically maneuver both simultaneously. This was also made difficult because the clips are hidden by a hood of fabric that must first be moved out of the way. With only a magnet to keep the bottom of this pannier secure to the rack, we didn't find it to have a very secure fit while biking on rough roads.
This pannier had the least amount of storage out of all our commuting panniers. We weren't able to fit everything that had packed into the Suffolk Rear Pannier with great ease. And even though we omitted some of the haul, the bag didn't close entirely and had a lopsided shape.
One redeeming quality was the fact that this model had both a laptop sleeve and an additional external pocket. However, this bonus pocket didn't have any mechanism to close, so you'd better hope that your stashed items don't bounce out during the ride.
This was our lowest-scoring pannier when it came to durability. It is clear that the fabric used in this design was not built to last but rather built to be eye-catching. After inspecting some of the seams and stitches on the Fremonster Flap, we identified a few areas that were susceptible to blow-outs and tears. The most notable weak spot was where the zipper was sewn onto the external materials. Considering how often this zipper would be used and stressed, we weren't confident that it would have much longevity.
The Fremonster Flap offered about the same level of waterproofing as the other commuting models, but with the unique addition of a separate rain hood that stows in the bottom of the bag. Even without the rain cover, this model had a decent amount of resistance to moisture in our rain test. We also made sure to conduct the same test with the rain cover securely attached—which provided excellent resistance to rain, keeping all of the contents completely dry.
Without a complete closure like those found on the Seattle Sports Titan or Thule Adventure Touring Pannier, this pannier was still vulnerable during our submersion test. In this case, the rain cover (which doesn't block the wheel-facing side of the pannier) doesn't stop water from flooding in when conditions get really wet. Furthermore, it was kind of a hassle to pull out the rain cover and get it ready for use.
Ease of Use
While this bag rests comfortably on your shoulder thanks to a removable, padeed strap, we didn't find this model to be very easy to use. Fidgeting with the hardware during mounting and removal of the pannier was troublesome for how insecure of an attachment it provided. Furthermore, we were frustrated by the fact there was an extra step necessary to ensuring the pannier was totally protected from the rain.
Redeeming qualities like reflective patches, external light clips, and pockets to organize your belongings were definite bonuses. However, these additional features didn't actually enhance our experience with using this pannier.
Based on our experience with this pannier, we feel it is best suited for urban commuters who are looking for stylish option to tote their daily gear to and fro. It's not large or strong enough for hardcore bike tours, but it may be a great option to someone who isn't expecting much more out of their gear other than aesthetic.
While it is a moderately priced pannier, we don't think that the Detours Fremonster Flap has a great value. For roughly the same price, you could invest in something like the Seattle Sports Titan which is fully waterproof and has a larger capacity.
Ultimately, we weren't that impressed with this pannier. Depending on what you're looking to get out of your gear, you could potentially be happy with this snazzy bike bag. However, we wouldn't recommend the Fremonster Flap to any of our hardcore cyclo-tourist friends.
— Rob Woodworth
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