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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 09-03-09, 01:30 PM   #1
Jude
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Pannier pointers

I think it's time for me to start looking at some panniers. Needed for commuting, and also I'm planning to do some longer, city-to-city rides, although not long enough that you'd call it touring. I'm kind of hoping there's a pannier that I can use for commuting and also hold enough stuff in it to last me on a trip from, say, Philly to New York (~100 miles).

Basically what I'm looking for...

- Waterproof if at all possible
- I've heard there are panniers that have straps so you can carry them inside with you like a messenger bag or something - one of these would be ideal, since I'll be parking my bike in lots of places where I won't want to leave loose panniers just sitting there, but I may not be able to lug an unwieldy one with me
- Reflective surfaces for night are nice
- Cheaper is better but quality is more important than low price
- Decent sized at least, so I'd be able to take stuff for a trip of a day or two (clothes, etc.) although that's not critical since I could probably supplement it for longer trips

Anyway, if you've got recommendations/pointers, lay 'em on me. Thanks!
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Old 09-03-09, 02:31 PM   #2
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Ortlieb Back Roller Plus. Totally waterproof (drybag panniers). Has a strap for carrying. Holds lots of stuff. Several colors to choose from. Very reflective patch on the sides.

The only con is that it is just a bag. Nothing more. No compartments, padding, etc. I love mine. 20 mile daily round-trip. Used for longer rides as well. Bike trailer shop makes them reasonably priced.

http://www.biketrailershop.com/catal...nts-p-121.html
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Old 09-03-09, 04:14 PM   #3
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Sweet! Anybody else have suggestions, especially on the more budget side? I'd pay 140 for a pair that would presumably last me my lifetime, but I'm kind of poor right now...Still those seem worth checking out.
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Old 09-03-09, 04:39 PM   #4
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The ~$110 REI brand panniers I bought 8 years ago have held up okay, used a couple times per month. The model I have is discontinued, though. The material is lightweight and sheds rain well, but it's no dry bag and would probably wear out if I used it more heavily. The small hand strap has held up well to carrying loaded in and out of buildings.

Novara Safari sold by REI looks better than what I have at about the same price and has decent reviews.

Some of the Transit series of bags I've seen at performance seem a bit less durable than others, but less expensive.

I rarely use both panniers; one is usually enough for what I carry on commutes or errands, and I have a trunk bag as well. If I had it to do over again, I might buy a nicer single pannier for my own needs. But I've never been touring.
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Old 09-03-09, 04:46 PM   #5
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Axiom makes some drybag-style knockoffs of the Ortliebs, amongst other companies. They're significantly cheaper, but I believe they also have a lifetime warranty. The main difference I can see is the mounting system, which is just a set of hooks with a shock cord. Very popular here in Vancouver with the more budget-minded folks.

I use the Ortliebs myself, they're just very smartly designed, highly adjustable, and getting them off & on the rack is nearly a no-brainer (going on is a bit trickier, there's a buckle that likes to get between the hooks & rack that I have to hold out of the way). By the way, they nowadays include an inner pocket, which would hold a netbook or a paperback, and which has a zippered compartment for little stuff.
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Old 09-03-09, 04:48 PM   #6
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I use the Ortlieb Office Bag. Completely waterproof. Inside is like a briefcase (laptop slot, place for pens, business cards, etc.). It comes with a strap and the latching system is extremely convienent (off and on the rack in seconds. It also has feet so you can put it on the ground without tipping over.

It has enough room for my work stuff plus a change of clothes. If you add shoes that is pushing it (I leave my work shoes at work).

It too, is a little pricey.

Paul
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Old 09-03-09, 04:54 PM   #7
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I got the Nashbar waterproof panniers on sale ($28 shipped I believe) and am happy with them.
There are no compartments, just the bag. They can hold alot of stuff though....I only use one for commuting and have space left over.
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Old 09-03-09, 06:03 PM   #8
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I also got the bargain Nashbar Waterproofs a couple years ago and they seem fine. Used for a few short fully-loaded tours and lots of utility (grocery and other shopping) trips. They're partly replacements for another pair of Nashbar-brand (then Bike Warehouse) that are starting to need some repairs. I suppose if I had gone with a more expensive set originally they would still be in decent shape - but I've gotten 34 years of use out of the cheaper ones.
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Old 09-03-09, 07:05 PM   #9
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I have the Axiom Kootenay's. I think they may be a little large at times (for my needs) but they have compression straps that allow you to cinch them down. Plus you can buy rain covers or use a plastic bag if need be.

kootenay-1-tiny.jpg

kootenay-2-tiny.jpg

They work well with the Axiom Odyssee rack.
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Old 09-04-09, 07:36 AM   #10
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I bought simple, inexpensive paniers when they were on sale at REI. I use them 6 days a week this term. Usually carry 20-30 lbs of books and supplies for school and bike repair. Using a tip I got here, I carry plastic garbage bags (middle size) to wrap around the outside, with the openings around the wheel-side of the rack, when rain is falling. Works quite well, even in a Colorado thunderstorm with heavy downpour. When dark, I have cateyes, one for each side, that I clip to the outside corner of each panier to supplement my regular light. When I'm using the garbage bags, I carefully make a small hole in the bags to allow the lights to clip to the paniers. No leakage so far.

Have had my bags close to 3 years now, and I estimate the cost so far is about $25, $20 for the paniers on sale, and about $5 for a box of mid-sized garbage bags.
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Old 09-04-09, 11:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jude View Post
Sweet! Anybody else have suggestions, especially on the more budget side? I'd pay 140 for a pair that would presumably last me my lifetime, but I'm kind of poor right now...Still those seem worth checking out.
I have Ortliebs and I love them. If you are looking for low cost, I saw that Nasbar was closing some out this weekend. I can't vouch for the quality.

http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/st...1_10000_201516
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Old 09-04-09, 12:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by adanthang View Post
I have Ortliebs and I love them. If you are looking for low cost, I saw that Nasbar was closing some out this weekend. I can't vouch for the quality.

http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/st...1_10000_201516
Those are Nashbar's MTB panniers. Not waterproof, not as much room as their waterproofs, but with outside pockets. For $19 + tax and shipping, though, still a good deal. Personally, I've found these much easier to mount than the NB Waterproof panniers as well.

They are very serviceable.
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Old 09-04-09, 01:28 PM   #13
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I got the wrong type of cheap REI pannier and had to take it back to get some Ortliebs. Sometimes you gotta pay the money. Was trying to avoid that, but I had to give in. Just remember.... it's cheaper than driving.

Also, Ortliebs are much more cooperative if you get some Eagle Creek Cubes or drawstring bags or binders and folders to organize the contents. That's why they can get away without the dividers...
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