Seattle Sports Titan Review
Cons: Not sold as a pair, lacks adjustable mounting hooks
Manufacturer: Seattle Sports
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Seattle Sports Titan impresses once again with its durable and waterproof construction and scores well across the board with a surprisingly affordable price tag. While its mounting system is a little more basic and not as adjustable as what's found on other higher-end competitors, it certainly gets the job done, and adds to the simple and effective utility that this bag provides. With some of the burliest materials and most solid construction out of any model in our lineup, the Titan offers excellent value with a respectable all-around performance at a very reasonable price point.
We were impressed by how easy it is to mount this bag to the rack right out of the box without needing any adjustments or additional hardware. With a pair of bent plastic hooks up top and an adjustable lower support latch, the Titan is easily able to slide onto a variety of rack configurations without any trouble.
While the Titan's simple mounting system is easy to use, we weren't overly impressed by its security on our rack. This model is one of the only touring-specific panniers we tested whose mounting system doesn't have a way to click or lock into place. While this makes it pretty straightforward to attach and remove, it also leaves it susceptible to bouncing off while riding over bumpy terrain. Even if you don't plan on going off the pavement, it's still good reassurance to have a more secure attachment system. We also found that the latch at the bottom of the bag tends to loosen and slide away from its original position on extended rides.
Most other higher-end panniers also come with highly adjustable mounting systems, with hooks that can tilt or slide back and forth, and latches that can slide and rotate. While those features make it easier to dial it a precise mounting position, the simple hooks found on the Titan will be suitable for most riders and most situations and are consistent with what's found on other panniers at this price point.
Despite its somewhat unassuming appearance, this pack can haul quite a bit of gear. Compared to larger bags, the Titan's profile doesn't appear very voluminous, but we were able to everything from our touring pannier storage test inside, and still completely close it with three rolls on the top of the bag. The large main overall storage compartment with a wide opening and tapered shape is an efficient design that allows you to optimize the provided storage volume, and keep all your gear inside protected from the elements.
The external splashproof pocket, while on the smaller side, is a nice added feature to conveniently store items like keys, maps, or snacks in an easily accessible spot. The Titan also comes equipped with a longitudinal compression strap that helps support larger loads or cinch down and secure smaller loads, and helps keep the contents in place during especially rough rides. This is a nice bonus feature, and we're surprised that similar compression straps aren't found on many other panniers in this review.
The nylon fabric used on the Titan has a full-coverage vinyl reinforcement that feels similar to heavy-duty rain gear and is on par with the most durable products that we tested. Not only does this, of course, provide stellar waterproofing, but it also means that this bag is extremely resilient to scuffing and abrasion. During our testing, the Titan withstood repeated abuse as we bushwhacked through black spruce, keeping up with similar products that are much more expensive.
While the overall build and high-quality materials of the Titan are impressive, the quality of the mounting hardware is a notable weakness when compared to other panniers. After using this bag for a month, one of our testers noted that one of the mounting clips starting showing some wear, not grasping onto the rack as tightly as it once did. While nothing was broken and the mounting system was still functional, it was clear that repeated use had put stress on the hardware. This could potentially become a concern with extended use on longer bike tours.
Similar to the other top of the line roll-top style touring panniers that we tested, the Titan has 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 inside. Even though the external pocket has a splashproof zipper, there is a tiny opening near one end of the zipper seal that allowed some moisture to penetrate. Overall, the zipper seems 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 of its 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 inside due to the waterproof material.
Ease of Use
The Titan is an extremely user-friendly pannier, with very straightforward setup and installation. Requiring no adjustments out of the box, this is one of the only panniers in our lineup that comes 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 with the Titan, we never experienced any heel-clipping while riding, and thus never felt the need to adjust the mounting position.
One minor downside with using this bag is that the robust roll-top closure system makes accessing the main pocket a little more difficult, but we believe this is a fair tradeoff for keeping a watertight main storage compartment. Thankfully, the external zippered pocket is also there to stash smaller items and keep them more easily accessible while on the go. With reflective material on both sides and a padded handle for carrying off the bike, the Titan has several features that enhance the overall user experience. We do wish that it came with a shoulder strap for more comfortable carrying off the bike.
This bag nearly has everything you could ask for in a hardcore bike touring pannier, and is also one of the least expensive products in the entire lineup. You could buy two Titans to create a pair of panniers, and still come in well under the price of several of its competitor products. With its extraordinary value, the Titan is a well-deserving repeat winner of our Best Buy Award.
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 remove from your frame without any additional hardware. The roll-top closure and cinch strap ensure 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.
— Nick Bruckbauer