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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 07-23-08, 09:12 AM   #1
cdalefan
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stupid pannier question

I know that it is really a matter of what and how much you carry, but I am torn over the overall dimensions of Ortlieb panniers. Are the Sport packer plus panniers big enough for a daily commute? I only want to carry one on most days. I am concerned that the Bike Packer is too large overall for a daily commute.

Also, are the pairs of Ortliebs right/left specific or can you switch them from side to side?

Anyone have thoughts?
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Old 07-23-08, 09:32 AM   #2
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I think you've already answered your own question:

"I know that it is really a matter of what and how much you carry."

What do you plan on carrying on your commute? Links to descriptions of the panniers (and sizes of them) would also be useful.

I use a set of cheap nashbar daytrekker panniers (I got them when they were on sale for $20 bucks). They have about 1000 cubic inches between the two panniers; they are pretty small and compact. They are way too small for any appreciable amount of groceries, but they work well for what I commute with (lock, tube, multi-tools, lunch, wallet, keys, phone, small notebook)...if I bring my laptop with me, I strap my laptop bag to the top of the rack.

http://www.amazon.com/Nashbar-Daytre...6826713&sr=8-6
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Old 07-23-08, 09:45 AM   #3
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I use Ortlieb back rollers plus for my commuting. I ride with one every day, two when I need to stop by the grocery store on the way back from work. I think the larger panier is just the right size for my needs. I can fit laptop, some notebooks/pads, change of clothes, shoes and lunch if I really stuff it all into one bag. I have the roll top closure, so it lets me put more stuff if I roll the top a little less. I was in the same boat deciding smaller vs. larger. If I was to do it again, I would go the same route and get the larger ones.

They aren't left/right specific. The bottom retention mechanism can be moved left right to accommodate different rack and even flipped around. Their "plus" bags get the new QL2 mounting system where you can adjust the bottom hook with no tools. I think their older QL1 needs a hex wrench to adjust.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:46 AM   #4
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The Bike Packer is (H,W,D) 16.5, 12.6, 6.7 inches and are 2441 cubic Inches per pair-
the Sport Packers are 15.7, 9.8, 5.5 and 1830 cubic inches

I carry "normal stuff", work clothes (shirt and tie) some times several days worth and bring the dirty stuff home every day, lunch, wallet, cell phone, shoes are normally at work, and almost never bring my laptop home; so, I guess I travel kinda lite.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:52 AM   #5
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I use Ortlieb back rollers plus for my commuting. I ride with one every day, two when I need to stop by the grocery store on the way back from work. I think the larger panier is just the right size for my needs. I can fit laptop, some notebooks/pads, change of clothes, shoes and lunch if I really stuff it all into one bag. I have the roll top closure, so it lets me put more stuff if I roll the top a little less. I was in the same boat deciding smaller vs. larger. If I was to do it again, I would go the same route and get the larger ones.

They aren't left/right specific. The bottom retention mechanism can be moved left right to accommodate different rack and even flipped around. Their "plus" bags get the new QL2 mounting system where you can adjust the bottom hook with no tools. I think their older QL1 needs a hex wrench to adjust.
+1 Ride with a back roller everyday. Perfect for carrying anything you would need for a day at the office or a day at the beach.
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Old 07-23-08, 03:18 PM   #6
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Ortlieb makes nice panniers (and I have a pair), but my favorite commuting panniers are made by Arkel. The Utility Basket (really a bag) is very useful since it's absolutely huge and has a hard bottom. Very easy to put on and take off, and very easy to get things in and out of. I have an older version of it that has a buckle instead of zippered top.
http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/uti...asp?fl=1&site=

Arkel also makes commuter panniers with laptop sleeves, backpack straps, etc.

The Arkels are kind of expensive, but extremely durable. Just something else to consider while you're shopping.

Personally I like having the ability to carry a lot when I need to...since I often do the grocery shopping on my ride home, but I know that sometimes it's good to have limits. If that's the case get yourself a pair of smaller capacity panniers and leave one at home unless you need more carrying capacity.
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Old 07-24-08, 06:39 AM   #7
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sean000 - Thanks, I have been looking at both Ortlieb and Arkel. I had decided (until your post) on the Ortlieb for waterproof and mounting. The Otliebs dont have a bungee thing at the bottom and I thought that would be more secure and esier to mount. I think I would buy the T-28s in Arkel as I like the pockets.

With regard to Ortlieb, is there any reason that "everyone" seem to pick the rollers and not the packers?
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Old 07-24-08, 06:46 AM   #8
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+1 Ride with a back roller everyday. Perfect for carrying anything you would need for a day at the office or a day at the beach.
Same here. Empty and rolled down they're not in the way, so I often carry the empty one for errands. Full of groceries they're impressive. Love mine.
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Old 07-24-08, 08:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdalefan View Post
I know that it is really a matter of what and how much you carry, but I am torn over the overall dimensions of Ortlieb panniers. Are the Sport packer plus panniers big enough for a daily commute? I only want to carry one on most days. I am concerned that the Bike Packer is too large overall for a daily commute.

Also, are the pairs of Ortliebs right/left specific or can you switch them from side to side?

Anyone have thoughts?
The Ortliebs are big enough for you to live out of them for months. If you need them for an everyday commute, you are carrying too much stuff! I'm amazed at the amount of stuff that people feel than need to carry to work. Leave a pair of shoes and a bag full of shower stuff at work. You don't need to huck that junk back and forth every day.

Leave a towel at work. You don't need a fresh towel everyday. Change it out when its level of funkiness goes past your personal comfort level (which should be more than one shower). I change my every...um...few...weeks...yea...that's right weeks. I'd never go a few months

Computers? Do you really need to carry your work home with you? An 80 hour week just means a 50% pay cut Plus this is your perfect excuse to not have to huck it back and forth to work. "Gosh boss, I'd love to take the computer home tonight but do you really want to replace a $4000 if I crash? I'm thinking about the bottom line here."

Me? I carry lunch, a pair of pants, shirt, socks and underwear. Along with that I carry my wallet, house key, knife and plastic self (company ID). Plus all the stuff I need for the bike ride.

Pare it down. This ain't a car.
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Old 07-24-08, 09:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by cdalefan View Post
sean000 - Thanks, I have been looking at both Ortlieb and Arkel. I had decided (until your post) on the Ortlieb for waterproof and mounting. The Otliebs dont have a bungee thing at the bottom and I thought that would be more secure and esier to mount. I think I would buy the T-28s in Arkel as I like the pockets.

With regard to Ortlieb, is there any reason that "everyone" seem to pick the rollers and not the packers?
There is a simple reason i chose the rollers: With the rollers you can leave the top open, unrolled, and you can ft a ton of stuff in them. Of course, they are not waterproof like this, but when doing your grocery shopping the option is nice. I also have the arkel utility basket but would choose the ortliebs again over the UB anyday. My utlility basket has fallen off when i hit a large bump in the road because the cam lock hit the cross bar of the rack and popped open. Also, the utility basket is much smaller if you consider the fact that you can leave the top open on the ortlieb and pack it full of stuff, it must be about 1.5 - 2 feet high unrolled.
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Old 07-24-08, 03:52 PM   #11
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The Ortliebs are big enough for you to live out of them for months. If you need them for an everyday commute, you are carrying too much stuff! I'm amazed at the amount of stuff that people feel than need to carry to work. Leave a pair of shoes and a bag full of shower stuff at work. You don't need to huck that junk back and forth every day.

Leave a towel at work. You don't need a fresh towel everyday. Change it out when its level of funkiness goes past your personal comfort level (which should be more than one shower). I change my every...um...few...weeks...yea...that's right weeks. I'd never go a few months

Computers? Do you really need to carry your work home with you? An 80 hour week just means a 50% pay cut Plus this is your perfect excuse to not have to huck it back and forth to work. "Gosh boss, I'd love to take the computer home tonight but do you really want to replace a $4000 if I crash? I'm thinking about the bottom line here."

Me? I carry lunch, a pair of pants, shirt, socks and underwear. Along with that I carry my wallet, house key, knife and plastic self (company ID). Plus all the stuff I need for the bike ride.

Pare it down. This ain't a car.
As I said before, I carry almost nothing to work. Sometimes I (stop places and) carry lots of stuff home. A single Ortlieb is usually fine for that; almost empty on the way here, jam-packed on the way home.

Now... where the hell am I supposed to keep a damp towel at work so that it doesn't become a biology experiment? (Desk drawer sounds like a very bad idea.)
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Old 07-24-08, 05:31 PM   #12
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I use both the Ortlieb rollerbacks and the Ortlieb Shopper panniers.
Of the two I find that I am use the Shopper panniers three times more often than the rollerbacks.
The biggest difference between the two is the Shopper panniers have a slide zip top, and the rollerbacks have a roll down closure. They are equally waterproof.
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Old 07-25-08, 12:19 AM   #13
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As I said before, I carry almost nothing to work. Sometimes I (stop places and) carry lots of stuff home. A single Ortlieb is usually fine for that; almost empty on the way here, jam-packed on the way home.

Now... where the hell am I supposed to keep a damp towel at work so that it doesn't become a biology experiment? (Desk drawer sounds like a very bad idea.)
Find an out of the way place to hang it. I hang mine under a seldom used stairway...along with my clothes. Nothing worse than putting on wet clothes in the winter time!
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Old 07-25-08, 07:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The Ortliebs are big enough for you to live out of them for months. If you need them for an everyday commute, you are carrying too much stuff! I'm amazed at the amount of stuff that people feel than need to carry to work. Leave a pair of shoes and a bag full of shower stuff at work. You don't need to huck that junk back and forth every day.

...

Computers? Do you really need to carry your work home with you? An 80 hour week just means a 50% pay cut Plus this is your perfect excuse to not have to huck it back and forth to work. "Gosh boss, I'd love to take the computer home tonight but do you really want to replace a $4000 if I crash? I'm thinking about the bottom line here."

Me? I carry lunch, a pair of pants, shirt, socks and underwear. Along with that I carry my wallet, house key, knife and plastic self (company ID). Plus all the stuff I need for the bike ride.

Pare it down. This ain't a car.
You bring your work clothes with you rather than just cycling to work in them? Sheesh, this ain't a beauty contest. I don't shower or change because my commute is short and my job doesn't require formal wear so the rest of you must be suckers (you know you're taking a pay cut by having to purchase a business wardrobe, right?). And I don't bring anything else for the bike ride because my commute is in the city where I can just grab the subway if I have a mechanical problem. All you people who bring repair kits must be out of your minds.

I also exhale completely before getting on the bike so I'm not carrying any extra air.
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