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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 09-05-05, 06:18 PM   #1
Downshift
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Questions about commuting gear

Hi guys,
I am planning a new semi-heavy duty commuter. Heavy duty because I need to carry quite a bit of stuff. So I have some rack/pannier/bag questions. Please advise on the use of the following products (the bike is a 78 Moto Le Grande converted fixie):

Racks:
http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=13179&brand=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=14811&brand=

Panniers:

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=13141&brand=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...ku=6983&brand=

Trunk Bag:

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=14178&brand=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=14177&brand=

What I'm looking for here are compatibility issues, real world experience (ie it's junk, it's great), cheaper alternatives, etc. I plan on carrying 25-35# of books and clinical supplies + a change of clothes, and I'd rather do it with the least amount of backpackage as possible. My commute is ~ 8 miles per day, and there is a shower facility, but no storage. Thanks for any advice.
Don
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Old 09-05-05, 07:11 PM   #2
mek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Downshift
Hi guys,
I am planning a new semi-heavy duty commuter. Heavy duty because I need to carry quite a bit of stuff. So I have some rack/pannier/bag questions. Please advise on the use of the following products (the bike is a 78 Moto Le Grande converted fixie):

Racks:
http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=13179&brand=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=14811&brand=

Panniers:

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=13141&brand=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...ku=6983&brand=

Trunk Bag:

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=14178&brand=

http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=14177&brand=

What I'm looking for here are compatibility issues, real world experience (ie it's junk, it's great), cheaper alternatives, etc. I plan on carrying 25-35# of books and clinical supplies + a change of clothes, and I'd rather do it with the least amount of backpackage as possible. My commute is ~ 8 miles per day, and there is a shower facility, but no storage. Thanks for any advice.
Don
I have a rack similar to the 1st on in your list, I like it but wish it has the extended/square thing on the rear side area like this one .
I have a good new set of panniers as well as an old single one, with the 'stiff' backs the bottom rear corners have turned inward toward the spokes under heavy loads, having that extra corner would prevent that.

The first set of panniers look good like they clip/hook onto the frame, I would stay away from the second set for heavy-duty use. It looks like they're one piece, with fabric covering the top of the rack. This is inconvenient to carry around, and you may not be able to use a trunk rack in addition to the panniers.

no comment on the trunk rack, I've never had one. I'd get one with a cooler section though, for lunch/drinks.
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Old 09-05-05, 07:22 PM   #3
Walkafire
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I have the Blackburn Expedition Rack...thing is a Tank! Had mine over 10 years.

I wish I had a longer one...but I make do with this one.

Panniers: I didn't like either of those... but I would get something bigger then the smaller of the two.
Take a look at these... or more from this company:
http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/t42...asp?fl=1&site=
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Old 09-05-05, 09:15 PM   #4
dee-vee
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I second the blackburn rack but it is a wee bit short and I have to set my pannier further back than normal. You cant go wrong with arkel either, they make some heavy duty stuff.
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Old 09-06-05, 05:07 AM   #5
MichaelW
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The Blackburn exp rack is a tried and trusted piece of kit capable of carrying heavy loads. The only thing it lacks is a welded rear bracket for bolting on an LED lamp. Tubus racks are another brand worth looking at for heavy loadcarrying.
The features you need in a heavy duty pannier are:
-Tough material. Waterproofness is hard to find. Weled polyester such are Ortleib are totally proof. Canvas material such as Carradice are highly resistant. Coated nylon may be waterproof to start with but it rarely lasts more than a few seasons before leaking.
-Lightweight stiffening boards in side and base. You dont need heavy material, corrugated plastic is ideal.
-Flap top closure for occasional overloading. Zips can break when stressed and roll-tops are harder to get into for everyday commuting, they are more for touring.
-Clip-on locking mounting system. Hook and elastic systems are nopt recomended, they are slow to mount and less secure.
-Heel cutout for forward mounting on the rack. Square profile shapes need to be mounted further back to avoid heel strike, and affect the balance when weight is behind the rear axle.
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Old 09-06-05, 08:04 AM   #6
Walkafire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
The Blackburn exp rack is a tried and trusted piece of kit capable of carrying heavy loads. The only thing it lacks is a welded rear bracket for bolting on an LED lamp.
Yo MichaelW... I found 2 ways to solve the problem of Lights on the back of the rack....
1. Cut a small PVC pipe @ 1 inch length... then cut a slit in the pipe to fit over the end of the rack. The bracket will tighten the pipe on the rack.
2. or.... Cut a very thick piece of Tubing same way... works great!
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Old 09-06-05, 08:08 AM   #7
cyclezealot
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My question . I bought a basic pannier system from Performance. It has plastic covers for rain. Critics of panniers say no system keeps the contents dry..
Should I tour in the rain, I doubt my present system would keep stuff dry..Anyone ideas on the best system that is water tight.
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Old 09-06-05, 08:39 AM   #8
MichaelW
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If you currently have panniers and want to tour then don't let waterproofing worries stop you. Just pack your kit in plastic bags. I always use plastic bags, even if I think my bags are waterproof. Panniers covers are fairly effective but beware of water gathering in the base of the cover: they need a drain hole at the lowest point.
The downside of waterproof bags is that moisture stays inside the bag and can generate mildew in hot, humid places.
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Old 09-06-05, 08:39 AM   #9
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You also want to look for a triangulated rear rack - much stiffer. IIRC, the blackburn expedition is triangulated. I have a Tubus cargo. Very heavy duty and very stiff. Love it.

As far as bags go, I would skip either of those and get Ortliebs. I had the cannondales and they lasted about 6 months before I started seeing holes. I, too, commute with a lot of weight - in my case, a very large notebook PC. The Ortliebs have gone longer than that and are absolutely watertight, which the Cannondales were not. Ortliebs cost an arm and a leg, but so does replacing panniers. I *love* mine.
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