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Hands-on Gear Review
Seattle Sports Titan Review
Cons: Not a pair, lacking adjustable hardware
Bottom line: The Titan is a solid touring pannier that is rugged, fully waterproof, and affordable enough to buy two for a pair.
The Seattle Sports Titan won our Best Buy award because of its high overall performance in relation to its very affordable price tag. This is a great option for commuters and tourists alike who are operating on a budget. Ready for use out-of-the-box, this bag is easy to install, remains secure on the rack, and has a relatively large capacity that keeps contents nice and dry on the ride. We were fond of the external pocket that allowed for quick access to certain items while on the saddle, as well as the very useful compression straps and reflective materials to keep you visible on the road. If you're in the market for a more packable pannier for use on errands, consider the Green Guru Dutchy. Or if you're wanting a higher-capacity touring option, take a look at our 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
The Seattle Sports Titan was a consistently high performer throughout our testing process. While it excelled in weatherproofing, we feel that this model demonstrated great versatility for its relative affordability.
We were impressed by how easily this bag mounted without needing any adjustments out-of-the-box. Using bent plastic clips, the Titan was able to easily slide onto a variety of rack configurations without fussing with the hardware. Though, we weren't overly impressed by its security. This mdoel was the only touring-specific pannier in this review that didn't have a mounting system that incorporated some lock. This resulted in a deduction in Mounting System score.
While it was straightforward to attach and remove, we were left wishing there was some way to ensure that the Titan wouldn't bounce off while riding very bumpy terrain. The lack of a locking mechanism doesn't bode well for rougher terrain—even if you don't plan to get off the pavement, it's good reassurance to have. Furthermore, the latch found at the bottom of the bag tended to come loose and slide away from its intended position on extended rides.
Despite its unassuming appearance, the Seattle Sports Titan was able to haul quite a bit of gear. Compared to larger bags, the profile of this pannier doesn't appear very voluminous. But we were surprised when we were able to fit everything from the touring pannier storage test into the Titan and get it completely closed with three rolls on the top of the bag. It wasn't the tidiest pack-job, but it certainly worked well enough to keep the gear from getting wet.
The external pocket, while small, was convenient to store items that we wanted to keep accessible like keys, maps, or snacks. The Titan also comes equipped with a longitudinal compression strap that allowed us to secure larger loads that tended to look overpacked. This feature is also very convenient to keep the contents secure during especially rough rides. Surprisingly, this feature wasn't found on every touring pannier in this review.
The nylon fabric used on the Seattle Sports Titan has a full-coverage vinyl reinforcement that feels similar to durable raingear. Not only does this provide stellar waterproofing, but it also means that this bag is extremely resilient to scuffing and abrasion. Despite repeated abuse as we bushwhacked through black spruce, the Titan never seemed any worse for the wear. It easily received one of the highest scores for durability, which is surprising considering that the only other pannier that scored as highly was nearly three times the price.
It would have scored higher had it not been for the weak integrity of the mounting hardware. After using this pannier for a month, we had noticed one of the clips that grab onto the rack had become worn out; not securing as tightly as it once had. Nothing had broken or become dysfunctional, but it was clear that our repeated use had put stress on the hardware: something that causes concern for extended use on long tours.
Similar to the other roll-top touring models, the Titan proved to have exceptional weatherproofing. During our overnight rain test, it kept all the contents in its main compartment completely dry while the external pocket had only trace amounts of moisture let in. Even though the exterior pocket has a sealed zipper, there is a tiny opening near the completion of the seal; this is where we noticed some moisture coming in. Though, the zipper seems to be robust enough to keep out road spray and sprinkling rain.
When it came to the dunk test, the Titan performed just as well as we'd hoped, keeping all the internal contents completely dry. However, after 15 seconds underwater, the external zippered pocket had been breached with quite a bit of moisture. While we wouldn't expect this pannier to encounter a full submersion during a regular ride, it's worth pointing out that any water that got in past the zipper would be trapped in due to the waterproof material.
Ease of Use
The Titan is an extremely user-friendly pannier. From the get-go, we were delighted by how easy the Titan was to setup and install. Requiring no adjustments out-of-the-box, this was one of the only panniers that were ready for immediate use. Sometimes, it's nice to be able to adjust the mounting hardware to get a better fit on the rack. But in the case of the Seattle Sports Titan, we never experienced any heel-clipping and thus never felt the need to adjust it's mounting position.
Our only gripe with using this bag was that the roll-top closure made accessing the main pocket a little more difficult. But thankfully the external zippered pocket was there to stash items we needed to grab on the go. With reflective material on both sides and a padded handle for carrying off the bike, this pannier had several features that we thought enhanced the overall user experience. Though, we wish the Titan had a shoulder strap for more comfortable carrying once off the bike.
With a fully waterproof design and very durable construction, we think this pannier is best suited for bike touring. Though, considering it could fit a 15-inch laptop, it could easily be used as commuter bag as well. If you are serious about quality and also want to mind your wallet, this is the pannier for you.
This bag had everything that we would look for in a hardcore bike touring pannier. You could buy two of these before hitting the price tag of the Ortlieb, and for that reason, we feel that it is an extraordinary value.
Once again, the Seattle Sports Titan rides away with our Best Buy Award for its tremendous value and great versatility. It is both easy to install and secure once mounted to your frame. The roll-top closure ensures that all your gear stays dry, and an external zippered pocket gives you the ability to stash smaller items away for easy access on-the-fly. Because of its affordability, we think this is a great option for first-time pannier purchasers. But whether you're on a budget or not, this is an excellent pannier to consider, and we firmly recommend it.
— Rob Woodworth
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