Axiom Monsoon 32+ Panniers


There are many different configurations to carting around your gear and supplies when heading out bikepacking with your fattie. Panniers offer the one of the simplest ways to carry larger volumes of gear.

Axiom Cycling Gear have been designing bicycle products for over 20 years with a focus on durable, sustainable and innovative solutions to real world cycling challenges.

After reading about their line of Oceanweave cycling bags – the world’s first to be made from reclaimed fishing nets – Fatbike Republic reached out to the folks at Axiom who sent along a pair of Monsoon 32+ panniers for review.

Monsoon Family

Available in five sizes from 16L to 45L, the folks at Axiom describe their Monsoon line of panniers as

A waterproof, no-nonsense series for the modern gritty, all-weather cyclist who values their bike as an efficient, sustainable solution to their transportation needs. Durable, intuitive, lightweight, and backed by a lifetime warranty, these are the perfect bags for those that like to keep things simple – and dry.

Features of the Monsoon series include:
  • Triple webbing tie-downs allow loads to be carried outside of the main cavity
  • Waterproof roll-down closure system
  • Ultra-visible three-way 3M triangle logos
  • Ultra-stiff Polypropylene backing plate
  • Front and rear light clips & carry handles
  • D-Rings for additional luggage tie-down, or for attaching shoulder straps
What makes the Monsoon series particularly interesting is that they are manufactured from Oceanweave which is a fabric made from recycled abandoned fishing nets. It's commendable that Axiom actually walks the talk when it comes to sourcing environmentally responsible material for their bags.

Monsoon 32+

My initial impression of the Monsoon 32+ was that they are a pretty sharp looking bag. I really like the look of grey fabric with map-like pinstriping, black webbing and red highlights.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers Newfoundland

With a claimed 15.8L (964 cu/in) of storage space per bag, there should be plenty of room to carry gear for overnight (and longer) adventures. Stated dimension per bag are 39x27x15cm (15.4”x10.6”x5.9”).

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Newfoundland

Weighing in at 1390g (3.06 lbs) a pair they are only 70g heavier than the claimed 1320g.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Newfoundland

I scanned the bags for any loose or frayed ends and everything looked really tidy and well constructed. The buckles used to cinch down the top of the bag also appear pretty robust.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Newfoundland

And I liked the webbing on the outside that would allow extra stuff to be strapped to the bag.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Newfoundland

The exterior of the Monsoon 32+ is manufactured from Oceanweave 600D polyester with a waterproof polyurethane coating, red interior Hydacore liner and roll down top giving the bag an actual waterproof rating (IPX5). The Monsoon 32+ should survive a few rain showers.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Newfoundland

In past years I have experimented with other panniers that really didn't want to stay attached to the bike. Oftentimes I would have to pick them up off the trail. 

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Newfoundland

The Monsoon 32+ sports a high tech attachment system in the form of a Rixen & Kaul Vario 2 spring-loaded hooks, lower Slide-Lock and upper Flip-Lock.
 
Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Newfoundland

Here’s hoping the Monsoon 32+ rack attachments will keep the bags on the rack.

Hitting the trails

The test beast carrying the Monsoon 32s was a Norco Bigfoot 1S sporting a Wren Cargo Rack. The testing would be conducted over several U24O (Under 24 Hour Overnight) bikepacking adventures and maybe a couple of day trips.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

While I try to be as weight conscious as possible when carrying gear into the wilderness, generally if I have room for an item that I think I will need . . . I will pack it. If I was really weight conscious I would probably ride something with skinnier tires.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

Not having any real instructions on the Rixen & Kaul mounting hardware, I did find that the Vario 2 spring-loaded hooks and Flip-Lock were rather intuitive. The Vario 2 "snaps" on the rack and a twist of the Flip-Lock locks down the Monsoon.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

Now the Slide-Lock was a little bit of a mystery. The label on the lock said to slide it in place and tighten the set screw. Not knowing which part of the rack this should engage (front or rear) I chose the front which would keep the Monsoon from sliding backwards.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

With the Monsoons mounted up (with probably way to much gear) it was time to hit the trails and look for places to pitch a tent.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

I was fortunate that I did not encounter any large amounts of rain when heading out on my mini-adventures. Although the weather cooperated, the terrain did get soggy and the tires did kick up mud. However, moisture did not penetrate the Monsoons and my gear and supplies stayed dry.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

The waterproof nature of these bags also gave me peace of mind when leaving the bags outside overnight. I did not have to worry about unexpected showers or heavy morning dew.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

And I didn't realize how convenient the carry handles were until we had to pitch our tents a fair distance from where we left the bikes.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

The places I travelled were not groomed gravel trails or smooth pavement.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

Rough roads, rutted paths, all sizes of rocks, barrens, sand, water and mud all travelled under the tires of the Bigfoot 1S.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

I never noticed any rattling or shifting of the Monsoon 32s. I dropped the bike a couple of times, had an ungraceful dismount and bounced down a few trails a little too fast. 

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

And when I reached behind . . . the Monsoons were still there.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

So how did the Rixen & Kaul retention system work in these unfriendly conditions? It did quite well, until one day when out on a day trip with two lightly filled bags.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

The ride was going fine with both bags practically glued to the bike when I noticed something was not feeling right in the rear. I checked the bags and noticed that one of the Slide-Locks were missing.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

It must have loosened up somewhere along the trail and jumped ship. I wasn't able to find it. Breaking out a bungee cord I strapped the Monsoon to the rack and continued on the ride. I have to say that the Slide-Lock did a much better job at keeping the Monsoon in place. 

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

I contacted Axiom and they referred me to the sticker on the back of the Slide-Lock that references locking them in place with a screw. I knew that I had done this as I had to adjust the lock location for the Wren Rack. The screw must have loosened up after all the jostling on rough trails. I guess I should have paid more attention and checked the lock screw from time to time.

So how did the Monsoons clean up after all those dirty and muddy trips? With a garden hose and a light scrub with some Dr. Bronners liquid soap they cleaned up easily and dried out quickly, ready for the next ride.

Fatbike Republic Axiom Monsoon 32 Rixen & Kaul Fat Bike Axiom Cycling Gear Panniers U24O Bikepacking Bigfoot 1S Newfoundland

Final thoughts

As panniers go, the Monsoon 32+ did what they were supposed to do . . . carry a lot of gear and keep it dry. I really liked the bright red interior lining that made it easier to see items hiding down low. And I also came to really appreciate the carry handles on the bags.

While the Rixen & Kaul retention system was solid, losing one of the Slide-Locks was a bummer. I should have made it a point of checking the set screw before every ride. 

Maybe it was my less than gentle nature that contributed to the missing Slide-Lock, however the bags did not show any undue wear after being scraped, dragged, dropped and dunked during my fatbike bikepacking adventures.

And it is a very positive attribute having the Monsoon family of panniers manufactured from a material created from recycled abandoned fishing nets. Lets hope that other companies will follow Axiom's lead.

If you are in the market for waterproof panniers, be sure to check out the Axiom Cycling Gear and the Monsoon 32+ at a LBS near you.


RIDE FAT!



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