I have a Trek rack-top trunk with side pockets that convert to mini-panniers. Not quite best-of-both-worlds, but a handy bit of versatility.
I switched from panniers to trunk bag as I carried too much unnecessary stuff in the panniers. I keep the panniers for light touring. The pockets on the sides of the trunk bag make it easy to find things in emergencies - right pocket for tools and flat fixing, left pocket for first aid and candies. Rain jacket under elastics on top of trunk bag.
Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-10-10 at 05:10 AM.
"Without music, life would be a mistake."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
This is my commuting bag. The panniers could be bigger, but for me, this works out perfectly. And it's easy to take off of the bike. However, Topeak bags require the matching Topeak rack. But this also means you can buy different accessories and mount them pretty easily.
I like my trunk bag with the built in panniers for that little extra room needed for unforeseen occasions.
Having sad that...I've switched to a pannier for most times, as my fully loaded trunk bag made my bike a little top heavy. SoI moved it to my mtn bike.
Hey, I'm just this GUY...you know?
>>>Team Critical Mess<<< (You mean it's not SUPPOSE to hurt?)
My nice new Nashbar Touring Build AKA "The Flying Avocadooooooooo!"
1998(?) Trek 700 Multitrack
1995 Trek 1220 AKA "Jimi"
Older Non-suspension Specialized Hardrock
Thanks for your reply and concern. Actually I'm having a good day. I just dislike such curt posts, rude or at best trite and overused IMO. They may be tolerable on the Foo Forum, but I like the discourse better on the Commuting Forum, and I think you'd never see it on Fifty Plus, to cite just two of the 14 Forums I read.
Now back to the topic at hand, already in progress.
BTW, my trunk bag, a Jandd, as do many, has a horizontal strap across the back to which I have hooked two rear flashers, Planet Bikes I think. I then secured them in place with plastic ties. They are at the approximate level of the rack. My bag can be easily switched between bikes along with the rear lights.
Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-10-10 at 08:47 AM.
I prefer no built-in panniers. I like being able to keep my spare tubes, patch kit, multi-tool, levers, etc. in one of the side compartments and simply put the rack trunk on whatever bike I am commuting on that day. The main compartment is for clothes and lunch, while the remaining side compartment is for wallet, cell, keys, etc.
If I need to use panniers, I just add one of my many sets of panniers...or I just ride the Big Dummy.
I want to know what Jim has against Curt...who seems like a nice enough guy and hasn't even posted in this thread!
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
Don't forget about the rack itself in making this decision.
I learned the hard way why you need three rack legs with panniers. It's to keep them out of the spokes. My lesson was served up while using nice, stiff-backed panniers too. Even so, they swayed into the spokes. This was neither fun nor pretty.
Roll-up panniers would seem to be even more likely to sway into the spokes without sufficient rack legs to keep them out.
To the main question, my preference is for a separate trunk bag and panniers.
My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin
Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.
I have panniers and MTX EXP (If I were to start all over I would get the DXP). Depends on the time of the year. Winter I prefer my Novara Transfer's. Reason being is the huge temp swing I have to shed a lot of clothes for the ride home. The panniers are easier to stuff that in.
Spring and summer I like the EXP. Insulated main compartment lets me get my lunch to work without baking it and risking food poisoning. If I do need to stop and pick up stuff on the way home the fold out panniers are there. You can stuff a little bit of stuff in the paiiners and roll them up. I keep my helmet cover, bags rain fly and my Brooks seat cover and the bags shoulder strap in them folded up but it is a tight fit.
This may change a little this year as I now have a Netbook and I have the protective sleeve for the Navara panniers and my company may need me to start carrying a company laptop as my Job duties are changing some.
Now to throw another wrench into this...I am really starting to warm to a handle bar bag and other then the computer issue I may drop both for the summer. Being able to slip my iPhone into the map pocket, quick access to my point and shoot or snacks while on the roll... just has some advantages.
You cant have a signature unless it fits in this box
I have the Topeak MTX DXP with built in panniers. If you don't want the panniers out you can fold them up and just use the trunk bag. I use a Topeak rack as well, and the combination is pretty well amazing for commuting IMO.
700 bikes and counting
i use both panniers and a trunk thing and feel that the trunk with panniers would have been the best of both worlds...
Share the road!
Though I bought my bike to commute with, it just hasn't happened. Kinda romanticized the idea. I have been using it for utility runs and some very limited recreational riding, though. Now, an opportunity has arisen that will allow me to actually use the bike on part of the commute (thanks to ODOT widening I-44 now, after being in the planning stages for the last 3 decades). The morning would be carpool w/wife, bike, and bus. The return is TBD. The buses here have racks on the front, but want all loose items removed from the bike.
Back to the primary topic. I have panniers- some Knog saddlebags (Valore twin), as well as some very old Nashbar Townies. I also have some major heel strike with both. I now realize it's a combination of too small a rack and some short chainstays on my bike. Even if another rack could remedy the clearance issue, the panniers that I have do not lend themselves to day in/day out, easy on/off operation that my commute will require.
The trunk bag seems like the best compromise solution to my problem. It's just that I'm kinda up in the air which camp I'm leaning towards. I can see Chip's POV. But there are times when I'm wishing that I had just a bit more space.
See my PM.
For my commute of 14 miles (not my training long distance rides), I use a backpack to carry the overflow and put only lightweight, voluminous but low density items in it. It seems negligible to me, and actually is another insulation layer in the cold, though my back is not a problem.
BTW, where do you commute, and what extra stuff do you need to carry beyond the limits of the trunk bag? I probably am a pack rat myself.
As for the commute- I live/work within 2 blocks of both points. Currently carpool with wife, who drops me off at midtown bus station. I take a bus to downtown, then another on to point B. Bus info here.
Road construction of I 44 will start soon. When it does, my wife won't deal with it. Instead, she'll take the Creek Turnpike from 44 to US 169 (it's the one that passes by Jenks on the map...the one one highway that is not marked), then OK 51 E until her exit. Leaving me scrambling to find an alternate route. Idea I have is for her to drop me off just E of the Arkansas River in Jenks. Trailhead to the Rivertrail system is located at the end of the off/on ramp. Could take that MUP all the way into downtown, or hook up with a couple of different bus routes at various points along the way. Alternatively, I may look into hooking into the local transit system from her exit, but I'll prolly still need the bike. I got a feeling the timimg points are too wonky for me to get to work on time if I just waited on the bus out there.
I have just started using my rack and trunk bag with NO panniers. I love it... I have a seat bag for my tools and tube. The trunk bag houses my NYFU U Lock and anything else I need. I dont have a need for any more space and I like that the bike is not wider as it would be with panniers.
I have the topeak with the built in panniers and wouldn't have it any other way. When folded up I put a spare tube and garage door opener in one side and my helmet cover and trunk rain cover in the other side. Both sides have a ton of space when folded up or let down. Easy to let down and use if I want to grab some food on the way into the office.