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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 02-05-08, 11:56 AM   #1
Bolo Grubb
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Commuters, I need suggestion for a good pannier set-up

I have to park and lock my bike up outside. So I need a pannier(s) that I can carry into my building or classroom.

Typically I would need to carry a text book, some folders, pens and pencils (typical student stuff) a change of clothes and maybe lunch. So a pair of identical panniers? 2 different types/brands/styles? Or 1 pannier to do it all?

I already have a rack. I have been using folding wire baskets but I am not happy with those. If I put too much stuff into a backpack, it then does not fit into the baskets. Also the buckles of catch on the wire baskets.

So I am looking for other options. Thank you
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Old 02-05-08, 12:08 PM   #2
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I have a set of Novara Transfer panniers ($110, REI) that fit on my generic rack. They have little handles, and pop off the rack with great ease. They are quite secure, however. I should know: I have a commute that's 30 miles each way (North Andover, MA to Boston, MA and back for a near-metric-century commute) with lots of potholes that are very hard to see in the dark!
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Old 02-05-08, 12:08 PM   #3
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You can get office briefcase style panniers such as the Bike Bureau
I like large single compartment bags but I dont carry much paperwork.
Features to look for include a profile that gives good heel clearance either by angled mounting (see link above) or a heel cutout design. You need a good lightweight stiffening, tough outer material, a quick-release locking mount (not hook and elastic), carry handle and a point for a shoulder strap.
You can use panniers in pairs or solo, it really doesnt affect balance.
Most good panniers are expensive, popular brands are Ortleib, Carradice, Arkel, Altura.
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Old 02-05-08, 12:51 PM   #4
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I use Banjo Brothers saddlebags: http://www.banjobrothers.com/products/01090.php

They're cheap and I like 'em. I just sling them over my arm to run into where I need to be going. As long as you're not walking large distances or have lots of really heavy stuff they're great. I commute with them in all conditions and am immensley impressed with their durability, too!

So inexpensive as well. It's hard to argue with for $50.
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Old 02-05-08, 01:17 PM   #5
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Arkel Bug - it can double as your backpack if you dont mind the rack hardware on the top.
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Old 02-05-08, 02:25 PM   #6
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I have a pannier like this one: https://shop.sunrisecyclery.com/item/11432/

I can put my food, book, etc. in the top part, my workout clothes in one side, and my work clothes in the other side. The pocket on the very back holds my pump and some emergency tools, and also acts as a convenient place to hang one of my lights.

They came with a set of loops to hook them onto the rack, but that didn't work very well or for very long, so I just went with a web-style bungie that covers the whole thing. Not a problem at all. When it gets wet, I cover them with Waterproof Pannier Covers that I bought at Mountain Equipment Co-Op.

Those things hold a whole bunch of stuff.
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Old 02-05-08, 02:41 PM   #7
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The best I have seen so far at least for myself is a set of panniers I picked up from ebay, they provide the necessary handles on either side and like many mentioned here are easy to release. I use two on my Giant Rincon 21" and a trunk bag along with a under the seat bag for the basics. The capacity seems good and there are pockes on the back providing space for a 2 liter or so. Not sure if that helped any but I can only offer.
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Old 02-05-08, 03:21 PM   #8
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I have the Axiom Appalachian pannier, it's two bags but one piece, something like that might suit your needs.
http://www.modernbike.com/itemgroup.asp?IGPK=2126174909
Depends on your rack but it has two velcro strips for quick removal and has a handle on top. 1220 in3 isn't that big but seems to work for my commuting needs. And it's cheap!
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Old 02-05-08, 09:25 PM   #9
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I use the REI Novara Commuter Pannier. I like it a lot (1400 cubic inches). Holds everything I need, has a secure and very adjustable mounting system, and it comes with a rain cover. I understand they also sell an optional padded laptop sleeve.
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Old 02-06-08, 10:04 AM   #10
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I picked one of the REI commuter panniers up on Monday night, and used it yesterday. All is good so far (I really like the pockets). Very well thought out design. Might be a bit overpriced.

Banjo Bros. sounds like the best value per dollar.
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Old 02-06-08, 10:58 AM   #11
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There was a discussion on this topic last month, too. If you can find it, it might have good information. I think one issue was the ease/difficulty of carrying the panniers around once you got to your destination. Some are easier than others to haul around without a bicycle, but I think the general consensus was that none are as easy to carry around as a backpack, so if your goal is to park your bike for the day and haul your stuff around, you may want to examine options that allow you to take put your backpack on your rack rather than switching from a backpack to panniers.
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Old 02-06-08, 11:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
There was a discussion on this topic last month, too. [...] you may want to examine options that allow you to take put your backpack on your rack rather than switching from a backpack to panniers.
Agreed, this sums up the earlier discussion very well.

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Old 02-06-08, 11:24 AM   #13
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I've been using this garmet bag designed for commuters ... http://www.twowheelgear.com/index.php?page=home for 2 years. A little pricey but I get clothes, lunch, wallet, cell phone all in there. Easy to carry. Hang it up with the loop at the top. Rolls over your rack and attaches with adjustable D-rings on each side. I love it.
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Old 02-06-08, 11:45 AM   #14
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+1 for the Carradice Bike Bureau. Very roomy, very tough and quite stylish off the bike. I have the Cotton Duck version. Excellent in the rain.
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Old 02-06-08, 01:08 PM   #15
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the only carrying I will need to do off the bike is from the bike rack to my office. So a shoulder strap set-up should work for that.

I will try a search again of older posts dealing with the same subject as well. Thanks for all the suggestions.

The hard thing is getting the best bang for the buck. I hate the idea of spending $100 - $200 dollars but it seems as though the best stuff is in that range. Makes it hard to try something only to find out it is not quite what you needed.

Last edited by Bolo Grubb; 02-06-08 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 02-06-08, 01:16 PM   #16
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twowheelgear.com has a money-back guarantee
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Old 02-06-08, 02:08 PM   #17
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I've been using the Delta Compact Panniers for several months, and have no complaints.



They come as two identical bags, with top carry handles, so I currently have one attached to the left side of the rear rack on each of the two bikes I use most often. Each bag is large enough to carry a couple of typical textbooks (or one unabridged dictionary), plus a light lunch and very lightweight jacket. Since my bike goes into the office with me, they never come off. But they do unhook easily if need be, and the handles on top make it easy to carry one or both together for reasonable distances.
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Old 02-06-08, 02:18 PM   #18
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I use the Arkel Utility basket. It holds qutie a bit, is very easy to attach and remove from the bike and has a sencod smaller pocket on top for keys, wallet, cell phone etc. I get my clothes (in an Eagle Greek folder) lunch and coffee in with room spare. I only use one on the non-drive side of my bike. Here is a link:

http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/uti...asp?fl=1&site=
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Old 02-07-08, 12:42 AM   #19
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I purchased the Ortlieb rear folder panniers because I live in lots of rain. They are waterproof and the attachment system is VERY nice! I was going to get the REI Transfer panniers but didn't want to deal with the rain cover wearing out. The problem with the Ortliebs is that there are only two pockets on the inside. I am a student as well, and one pocket will hold two folders and the other pocket pens, lights, and Clif bars. Everything else just goes in the big area. They are really roomy and I am quite pleased with them. The salesman at my local bike shop showed me the ones on his bike that he has had for three years, and they appear to hold up well. With a five-year warranty and German built, I think I will be quite pleased with them. I usually just take one to school and haul it with me, but for shopping, I use both.
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Old 02-07-08, 01:31 AM   #20
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Swiss Army bread bags are the best bang for the buck: http://www.rddusa.com/Military-Surpl...Equipment.html I got mine from Sportsmans guide.com for 5 for $10 but none are showing now. There are usually a few on e-bay. Heavy canvas bag with leather loops that attach to your rack & unfasten quickly. Bag has a vinyl cover and a shoulder strap for carrying. Here's a pic of them on my touring bike.
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Old 02-08-08, 11:23 PM   #21
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seems like the storage space would be limited, but looks good, and the price is right. And your experience so far good ?

Now that I look at it they are about the same capacity as other panniers?

Last edited by knatchwa; 02-08-08 at 11:24 PM. Reason: revision
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Old 02-09-08, 01:03 PM   #22
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Home cobbled camera bag/pannier

Of all the bags I've gone through, the Osprey bags that I hang on my rack with Ortlieb replacement parts has been by and far the most versatile.
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Old 04-20-08, 11:31 PM   #23
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I saw the Novara Transfer Panniers today at REI and they will fit my audio recording equipment perfectly, but I have a question as to which rear rack to get for them? REI sells many types in various price ranges, but if anyone has good experience with a particular brand, I'd love to know.
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Old 04-20-08, 11:44 PM   #24
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Arkel Bug. The best of both worlds.
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Old 04-21-08, 07:58 AM   #25
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Arkel Bug. The best of both worlds.
Looks lke that's just a bag / backpack. Since I need a dual-pannier system to hold my equipment, I would like to know if it's OK just to get a cheap aluminum rack for the rear of my bike or if there is a particular (better) brand of rack to get (sans panniers)?
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