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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 11-28-07, 11:26 PM   #1
robinflp
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perfect pannier for a laptop?

I want to buy my husband a rear pannier for his laptop. I'm surprised at the lack of selection out there. I found the Arkel brand. They are lovely but extraordinarily pricey. I'll probably get one if I don't find an alternative, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something a bit cheaper out there on the market. Thanks in advance for your help.

Enjoy those exhilarating bike commutes!
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Old 11-28-07, 11:32 PM   #2
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I use a laptop cell in my Banjo brothers saddlebag panniers. Laptop cells are kind of like padded laptop bags, usually with only one main pocket for the laptop, maybe a business card holder and a fabric handle, and almost no other features. They're meant to protect laptops being carried in briefcases, luggage, etc.
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Old 11-28-07, 11:41 PM   #3
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Wouldn't a 5-10 lb laptop throw off one's balance unless the other side was a counterweight? I recommend a solid backpack.
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Old 11-28-07, 11:43 PM   #4
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No. I've had 20+ pounds on one side of my bike. You don't notice it any worse than you'd notice extra weight on your back raising your CG. And since when does a laptop weigh 10 pounds? Good lord. The 80's called. They want their luggables back.
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Old 11-28-07, 11:50 PM   #5
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Wouldn't a 5-10 lb laptop throw off one's balance unless the other side was a counterweight? I recommend a solid backpack.
As someone else said: Nope.

You get used to it very fast... in fact for a long time I couldn't ride without my hands if I WASN'T hauling my laptop.
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Old 11-28-07, 11:57 PM   #6
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I have a padded sleeve for my laptop. A good idea as it cushions the thing. I just drop it in my shopping basket style pannier and bungie it in so it doesn't flop about.
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Old 11-29-07, 12:22 AM   #7
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I had a 2001 model Gateway (company owned), so I had no choice.

I like my laptops like I like my bikes - solid and durable
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Old 11-29-07, 03:24 AM   #8
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I currently haul my 6lb 17" in my backpack ...but id love to get it off my back and on the bike, but I don't know how to do it, as I have to make sure it's on solid. I can't have it fall off. The less weight off your back, the less weight on your bum bum
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Old 11-29-07, 08:29 AM   #9
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A padded laptop sleeve and any decent pannier that it will fit in will work fine.
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Old 11-29-07, 08:32 AM   #10
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Yeah, panniers are the biz compared to having weight on your back. You feel almost as free as if you weren't carrying anything. I second the sleeve idea, and then any old pannier that's big enough.

I got the REI Novarra commuter pannier, which is pretty decent and big enough for a laptop and a fair quantity of stuff, though I have nothing to compare it to and can't believe it's particularly special.
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Old 11-29-07, 10:02 AM   #11
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I bought the Ortlieb OfficeBag last week. It comes in Medium and Large. I got the Large. It fits a laptop plus assorted accoutrements (lunch, office clothing, lights, etc). I got it for $95 on sale at REI.

So far i like it. Good workmanship, waterproof (so they say, haven't had a chance to experience it myself). Easy on/off the rack. Stable. I don't notice the extra weight hanging on one side when biking.
It does require a laptop to be padded. I use the one that my company gave me with my laptop. Simple affair, but does do the job. A lot like what ax0n describes in post #2

If you just want space for a laptop, you may consider the Medium size. Nearly identical, but narrower.
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Old 11-29-07, 10:23 AM   #12
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I've been using the Arkel Commuter now for a year with my laptop. It was expensive, and it is worth every cent. It is extremely well constructed and designed. It still looks as performs perfectly just like the day I bought it, and no, it does not throw off your balance.

If I had to do it over agian I would buy the exact same one. Buy it for him, he and you will not regret it.
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Old 11-29-07, 10:34 AM   #13
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To OP: brand recommendations will only take you so far -- what matters is that it fit on your husband's bike. And I do mean fit, like...bomber, like never ever come off. I got what I thought was a decent set of panniers, by Trek, not cheap, but they just were not up to riding in Boston. Now I use a backpack and don't ever worry about losing my laptop while I'm merging with the Mass Pike offramp traffic.
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Old 11-29-07, 10:51 AM   #14
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Ortlieb and Carradice make panniers for commuters, Ortlieb makes a nice laptop sleeve. Both are very high quality panniers, and will be in the same price range as the Arkel. Wallingford Bike Shop carries them.

If your husband doesn't like panniers, there are messenger bags that have laptop sleeves. I like messenger bags because I can wear them lower on my body (resting against my hip) than I can a backpack, avoiding a sweaty back and lowering my center of gravity. Other people actually like to cycle with a backpack on, to each his own. The Patagonia Critical Mass is a nice messenger bag, IMO.
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Old 11-29-07, 12:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ax0n View Post
And since when does a laptop weigh 10 pounds? Good lord. The 80's called. They want their luggables back.
Someone just came into my office to see what was so funny...

and currently... when taking my tablet/laptop to work I put it in a laptop backpack... I dont have panniers yet...

heh... just chuckled again...
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Old 11-29-07, 01:02 PM   #16
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My panniers are currently at the tailor getting some seams reinforced, so I've been using the Kensington Contour Backpack for the last week, which works great for an upright bike like my MTB or hybrid. When I sink into the drop bars on my road bike, it tries to creep up and hit my head, which isn't pleasurable. I've done it both ways and don't mind the backpack really, but I prefer panniers, especially on my road bike.
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Old 11-29-07, 01:04 PM   #17
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The Carradice Bike Bureau is a nice example of a laptop bag with quick-release locking mounts for any std rack.
The bag can be mounted at an angle to gain extra heel clearance when pedalling. Carradice are well known for their durability and give decades of daily used.
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Old 11-29-07, 01:16 PM   #18
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Wouldn't a 5-10 lb laptop throw off one's balance unless the other side was a counterweight? I recommend a solid backpack.
I think there's a number of backpack advocates out here that think this and it's far from the truth. Enjoy the freedom of a nice ride--loaded up with gear--with that load on the bike's frame. You're ride will be very stable and your back won't sweat.
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Old 11-29-07, 04:02 PM   #19
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I've been using the Arkel Commuter now for a year with my laptop. It was expensive, and it is worth every cent. It is extremely well constructed and designed. It still looks as performs perfectly just like the day I bought it, and no, it does not throw off your balance.

If I had to do it over agian I would buy the exact same one. Buy it for him, he and you will not regret it.
+1! I absolutely love my Arkel Commuter, and would also buy it again.
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Old 11-30-07, 12:30 PM   #20
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Personally, I'm running a Topeak MTX TrunkBag DXP and I love it. It's a combo trunk bag and pannier, and it fits my laptop perfectly. Though it doesn't have padding in the pannier, you can get a padded laptop sleeve to take care of that.

http://www.topeak.com/2007/products/bags/bagsmain.php
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Old 11-30-07, 01:03 PM   #21
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To OP: brand recommendations will only take you so far -- what matters is that it fit on your husband's bike. And I do mean fit, like...bomber, like never ever come off. I got what I thought was a decent set of panniers, by Trek, not cheap, but they just were not up to riding in Boston. Now I use a backpack and don't ever worry about losing my laptop while I'm merging with the Mass Pike offramp traffic.
I agree, I never liked the idea of panniers anyway to be honest, unless your carrying something that isn't so valuable as a laptop. I never liked the idea of something hanging off the side of my bike. I use a water resistant backpack for my laptop, clean up stuff (cologne, deodorant etc. etc.) to throw my whatever else in there as well and is nice and snug on my back not going anywhere. I don't care for "Center of Gravity" and all that other crap, my legs and arms takes me where I need to go, not worrying about a 1degree different or whatever or even an extra 5lbs. like some people on here.
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Old 11-30-07, 01:56 PM   #22
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I agree, I never liked the idea of panniers anyway to be honest, unless your carrying something that isn't so valuable as a laptop. I never liked the idea of something hanging off the side of my bike. I use a water resistant backpack for my laptop, clean up stuff (cologne, deodorant etc. etc.) to throw my whatever else in there as well and is nice and snug on my back not going anywhere. I don't care for "Center of Gravity" and all that other crap, my legs and arms takes me where I need to go, not worrying about a 1degree different or whatever or even an extra 5lbs. like some people on here.
I never understood why people are so against panniers when they have probably never tried them. Can you fit over a weeks worth of groceries in your backpack? How about two 12 packs of beer?

With a mounting system like the ortliebs use the pannier will NEVER bounce off of the bike. Also, they are completely waterproof, so you do not have to worry about the laptop getting wet. Personally i do not carry my laptop around very often, but if i were i would trust it inside my ortliebs!
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Old 12-01-07, 03:03 AM   #23
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I never understood why people are so against panniers when they have probably never tried them. Can you fit over a weeks worth of groceries in your backpack? How about two 12 packs of beer?

With a mounting system like the ortliebs use the pannier will NEVER bounce off of the bike. Also, they are completely waterproof, so you do not have to worry about the laptop getting wet. Personally i do not carry my laptop around very often, but if i were i would trust it inside my ortliebs!
Ditto for the Carradice Bike Bureau. Once it's fixed on the rack, it doesn't budge.

I'd also like to reiterate the point about using one pannier. I've filled my Bike Bureau with a laptop, change of clothes,rain gear, lunch and a book or two. Underway, I'm not aware of any imbalance.
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Old 12-01-07, 10:12 AM   #24
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And since when does a laptop weigh 10 pounds? Good lord. The 80's called. They want their luggables back.
LOL, but to be fair true desktop replacement workstations can be heavy. Try finding one with dual core processors, separate graphics card, large resolution, etc. for under 7 lbs. Also, if you add on top of that the accessories you wish to carry along with your laptop (battery pack, mouse, external cards, etc.) things add up.
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Old 12-01-07, 10:53 AM   #25
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Trust me, more than half the stuff I carry around is in support of my laptop, and yes there's more than 10 pounds there. It's a moot point, though, because:

1) a bike heavy on one side really isn't that bad, you don't notice it.

2) a good pannier won't fall off, get wet inside, get caught in the spokes, etc

3) backpacks really do suck for long distances, and people who sing backpack praises haven't likely tried using decent panniers for a month worth of 30-mile round trip commutes.
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