Touring - First time pannier and rack buyer
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06-30-05, 11:37 AM
After finally deciding on which bike I wanted (I ordered a fuji touring) I am now torn on what bags and racks to get. I love the Arkel bags (T42). I don't think I need something as hardcore as the GT series. The price is also right for the T42. For racks I like the Tubus Cargo so far. I've also looked at Jandd racks/bags and ortlieb bags. I think I prefer a front loading bag with at least an 80lbs load capacity (same for racks). I would also like to accomodate a trunk bag in the future (if possible). As for complete waterproof, I have come to the conclusion that I wont need this. I do live in Portland, OR though. However, I think simple rain covers will work well if it's that wet. Most of the bags are water-resistant at least. And to all you bruce gordon fans out there, I know I know, I just cannot afford $600 (almost the price of my bike!!) for racks and bags :)
06-30-05, 12:42 PM
Arkel's are my preferred bags for touring. I have an Ortlieb bag that I use for commuting. It has several advantages in that mode but for touring I like the Arkel's better.
My front rack is a Tubus. It's worked problem free since I picked it up.
Arkel makes a cool bag called the Tailrider. I picked one up recently and it now rides on my bikes regularily. I prefer this bag to any other trunk bag I've every owned. I will be using it for dayriding but unlikely for touring.
The Rain covers on the Arkel's work well even in heavy rain. They are a bit bulky so aerodynamics will suffer a bit while deployed. The bags without the covers actually can handle a lot of rain too in my experience so think of the rain covers as a second layer.
I own the GT series of bags.
06-30-05, 02:03 PM
I had the GT series (GT-54 and GT-30) and sold the back panniers. Too big and heavy, too many pockets. I got the T-42 and I'm very happy with them. My only disappointment was that the T-42 use smaller zippers than the GT series. The main compartment is almost as big as the GT-54. I went on a small tour and carried tent, sleeping pad and bag, two change of bike clothes, two of normal clothes (one short, one long), rain gear, stove, fuel bottle and mess kit, tools, maps, some food, toileteries and a camera tripod. Everything goes inside the panniers (tripod attached outside with the revovable pocket straps). The large mesh pockets are extremely handy for drying clothes/towel and for things you might need quickly. I stuff the rain cover there and a baseball cap when I don't want to walk around with my helmet on.
As for racks, Tubus are great. I have a Logo. My front carriers is an old Man Mountain AC low-rider and it feels cheap compared to the Tubus. I'm sure I'll change it for a Tubus Tara sooner or later. The nice thing about the Tara is that it doesn't get in the way of removing the front wheel. The Surly Nice Rack looks nice too (low and high position with platform) but i'm not sure they're available yet.
In short, you should be happy with your choice.
06-30-05, 04:51 PM
One thing I forgot to add is that I will be using these panniers as daily commuters/grocery shoppers/everything bags as well :)
06-30-05, 05:26 PM
I owned a couple of panniers over the years... my first one were cheapos I got a Canadian Tire (Walmart equivalent) who failed me on my first tour. Later I got some Cannondale who eventually also crumbled down. At the time I also bought a pair of front panniers from Arkel which I still own and use. I now use some 'waterproof' Seratus panniers but i am disatisfied with the attach system... when its time to change them, I'll probably opt for Arkel again for my back panniers... they are a bit more expensive then others but will last much longer. The only problem I find with Arkel is their abusive number of pockets which only add bulk.
06-30-05, 06:15 PM
The T-42 don't have an abusive number of pockets. Main compartment, rear, top and a mesh pocket. It's ideal, in my opinion. When commuting, I keep the daily essentials (rain gear, bike tools, etc) in the pockets and forget them there, and use the main compartment for clothing and groceries picked up on the way. The great thing about Arkel is the stiff frame which keeps the pannier from collapsing when empty. I began bringing my bike inside the store a couple weeks ago. I keep the pannier partly open and throw the stuff in. They're perfect!
06-30-05, 09:37 PM
I began bringing my bike inside the store a couple weeks ago. I keep the pannier partly open and throw the stuff in. They're perfect!
Wow... I'd like to be able to picture that! I can barely imagine the face of the clients looking at you putting stuff in your panniers :D
.The Surly Nice Rack looks nice too (low and high position with platform) but i'm not sure they're available yet.
The Nice Rack is available, but it is crazy expensive. I e-mailed Surly to ask about the MSRP and I was told it is $139! :eek: One hundred thirty nine dollars seems like an awul lot of money for a Twaineese made rack when a Bruce Gordon can be had for $149. Or a German Tubus for $100 or less.
As for panniers Arkel is top notch. Very high quality all round from Arkel. The designs are very fuinctional, the mounting system is execellent, the materials and workmanship are first class, and the customer service and guarentee can't be beat. What ever you buy from Arkel you won't be disapointed.
07-01-05, 09:44 AM
I like the Surly rack too but, it's way too expensive. No reason to pay that unless you can't live without the Surly brand name. Arkel doesn't really recommend the T42 for heavy/long-distance touring. They want to sell you the GT series. I think that they would be fine though. Add some rain covers and they should be good in any weather. I think I would use T22's for the front bags.
07-01-05, 12:34 PM
Talking about Arkel, does anyone have tried the XM 45... they are supposed to be designed for MTB but at first glance at least, I prefer this type of design. I was also wondering if anyone was rich enough to pay for the EX-R series... these looks like total overkill!
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