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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 05-14-08, 10:00 AM   #1
resteasy
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Axiom Panniers any good?

Well I'm looking into Panniers. I already have a basic rack (no track to it).

I do mostly commuting but may wish to get a few small items at the store occasionally (i usually try to do my shopping all at once for 2 weeks using my car). I also go on some fitness rides of 10 or so miles for now.

The panniers I've heard mentioned are a bit pricey.

What do y'all think of Axiom panniers? The cartier or the seymor? anyone have them/seen them? or maybe even the kootenay but that seems like it may be overkill in size.
(would like to fit a light change of clothes and perhaps a few other things, maybe a laptop but not that would be rare)
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Old 05-14-08, 10:28 AM   #2
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I use some axiom rain proof panniers. I'd say they're better than average. Worked better when I replaced the stock bungee cords with some short (blue) hooked end bungee cords from home depot.
Not enough pockets on the rain proof panniers though. Only 1 really small one on the outside, good for a few energy bars or map, no more..
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Old 05-14-08, 10:35 AM   #3
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I have a set of Seymours (largely cause the LBS didn't have the Cartiers in stock - I happen to like the name). Seymours will handle 5 lbs frozen chicken, about 4-5 lbs frozen veggies and some other misc groceries per side. They also handle 3-4 hardback books per side with room to spare. Rain jacket, rain pants, a pair of jeans, socks, a long sleeve shirt and underwear should easily fit in one bag, despite my rain jacket not packing well. They stay on well, even if I forget to fasten the bungee cords. I don't tend to jump curbs or aim for the biggest potholes tho.

They are listed as water resistant, but in practice, I'd class them as not waterproof or water resistant. If I want things to stay dry for even a few minutes, they need to be in a plastic bag. I have had things get damaged in the rain when not protected.

They would not provide good shock protection to a laptop, and I'm not sure a laptop + protective sleeve would fit inside one of my panniers. If I were carrying a laptop, I'd use my backpack, since it's designed to protect it.

I don't expect the Seymours to last for more than about 5 years. Some of the metal is starting to rust after 1 year. The seams aren't reinforced. The back plate bends if there's more than about 15lbs in a pannier. The plastic coating on the hooks has separated away from the metal, but still works to keep clattering to a minimum. It doesn't protect my rack from scratches tho. When I wear them out, I'll replace them with a pair of sturdier (and more expensive) panniers. I *will* have gotten my money's worth out of them, but IMO it's better to spend a bit more when I replace them so the replacements will last longer and be better suited to how I use them. (for reference, I've had 3 backpacks over the last 20 odd years - one is still usable but too small for me, one wore out, and one is brand new and should be good for another 10 years. I'd want panniers to be similarly durable.)
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Old 05-14-08, 11:14 AM   #4
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I have the older Appalachian version for daily commuting, and I also have the Kootenay. I am a big fan of that Appalachian - perfect commuter size (975 cu in?) for my clothes/lunch/etc and the handle on top makes it easy to carry around, while still being really cheap. Axiom quality is good for the price - the zippers are still in great shape and everything inside stayed dry after 15 minute rides in a few downpours. No complaints.

The Kootenays are solid quality but seem best suited to light touring, both in terms of size and design. They're way bigger than I would ever need for commuting. The top flap has elastic that scrunches down to keep your stuff dry but for me it hampers access somewhat, and would be annoying to deal with as a city bike for commuting/shopping etc. Just my preference. No zipper, you just buckle it down. I wouldn't be comfortable with em for regular laptop use.

The Denali looks like another good option on the website. I haven't seen em in person though.
You could cram your stuff into a pannier on one side and put a grocery bag pannier like the townie on the other side for those days you need to hit the store. They fit a paper grocery bag and are nice for around town use, throwing stuff in them.
Hope that helped a little. Good luck and let us know what you end up with.
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Old 05-14-08, 11:57 AM   #5
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These sound like good options so far.

I don't have too much rain around here. I'm in santa barbara, ca and it won't rain much at all in the next 6 months or so. After that it still will not rain often. Plus heavy downpours may cause me to car it to work.
I have looked at the townie as well for groceries. The other two I mentioned come in pairs though so it may be overkill to get that as well.

Anyone have the cartiers?
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Old 05-14-08, 01:17 PM   #6
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I just picked up the Seattle Sports Rain Rider at REI for $45 a side (on sale right now).

They're basically the Ortlieb Backroller in size and attachment hardware for about half the price. Waterproof, bombproof, and schweet, visible orange. Get some!
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Old 05-14-08, 01:45 PM   #7
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I have the Cartier panniers. Bought through Amazon at Niagra Cycleworks. They work for me. Came with a spare set of attachment hardware. It uses a lever that pivots up to lock the pannier to the rack. You have to rotate the lever down to remove the bag. The bungee is super thick and should last forever..

The Cartiers replaced a totally worn out set of Nashbar ATB's. If I recall they were 59.99 for the pair. And, they have some awesome reflective trim.
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Old 05-14-08, 02:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acapybara View Post
<SNIP> I am a big fan of that Appalachian - perfect commuter size (975 cu in?) for my clothes/lunch/etc and the handle on top makes it easy to carry around, while still being really cheap. Axiom quality is good for the price - the zippers are still in great shape and everything inside stayed dry after 15 minute rides in a few downpours. No complaints.
<SNIP>
+1 on the Appalachian bags. For less than $30 I can't believe how happy I've been with them. These bags have seen 2500 miles over the last 13 months of daily comming through ALL weather including a Buffalo Winter. The bags look about the same as the day I bought them. I did sray the bags liberally with water repellant when I bought them, but I do that with all my outdoor gear that I expect to have out in the rain. So far things have stayed dry. The only down side is that these are saddle bags and do not have the eligant quick on and off brackets that you get in the high end bags... ofcouse those cost $100 to $200 for a set. For a simple sturdy good commuter sized bag this is one increadible value.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 05-14-08, 04:45 PM   #9
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Appalachians are decent bags for not much money. I do get water pooling inside my Appalachians in truly disgusting downpours, so I'd recommend plastic-bagging anything you absolutely need to have dry.

I am a bit forgetful, and a bit of a klutz, so I managed to remove the hooks and elastic straps used to hold the bags to the rack sides by getting them caught on spokes. Gravity generally holds them down anyway. Forgetting to do the velcro at the top, however, has caused the bag to fall off the back and jam between my rear wheel and the rack--I've done that twice.

So I guess I'm saying that the Appalachians are pretty close to bulletproof, if slightly user-unfriendly!
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