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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 03-05-11, 05:37 PM   #1
ajames15
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Rear Bag/Pannier

I'm looking for a new bag to carry all my stuff in, that would go on my rear rack. I started with a backpack, and it just made me too sweaty for when I got into work. I definantly am happier carrying a bag on my rear rack, but I've never been really thrilled with the panniers I currently use. I'm thinking a bag instead of panniers hanging down the sides would be better... but I'm not sure. So, instead of asking what all your opinions are (since everyone's situation and tastes are different), I'm asking, "What do you use to carry you stuff in, and why does it work for you?"

As always, pictures help.
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Old 03-05-11, 05:43 PM   #2
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fit a Basket on the rack and put your pack into it?
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Old 03-05-11, 05:47 PM   #3
Jose Mandez
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I use a pair of Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus for daily needs, they're not huge but each one has the capacity to hold a few college sized textbooks. I don't really need two of them most days, but I can't stand riding lopsided, so I'll put a few items in each. A pair of Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus is what I use for grocery trips, they are large enough that I can generallly hold about 40 lbs of groceries between the two of them, enough to last me a few weeks.

These Ortlieb bags are probably on the pricier end of pannier bags (thought Best Buy had was selling certain ones of them half-off a few months ago; sadly, all good things must come to an end), but the bags are practically bombproof, take only 3-5 seconds to mount and unmount (which is a plus for mechanical clutzes like me), and never bounce off the bike because you hit a bump. To top it all off, they're waterproof!

My set of four panniers cost $300 from thetouringstore.com (that price was including a nice military discount that I didn't even ask for) but is worth it because they will probably last me a lifetime.

My bag setup works for me because I can carry a lot of gear very low on the bike without riding lopsided, because the bags are intrinsically waterproof so I don't have to worry about waterproofing their contents, and because they are very easy to mount/dismount.

My old setup was a milk crate on top of the rack and a wire crate hanging low on one side of the rack; the result was that I could carry a large amount of cargo, but most of my weight was carried up high (making the bicycle more unstable due to having a higher center of gravity) or off to one side (making the bicycle lopsided). For touring applications, I would put a wire crate on each side of the rack to balance it out, but I found that this setup just made the bike too wide (and too heavy) for everyday use, since the wire crates were held on with hose clamps and not easily removable.

The three year old photo of my bike below shows my old old short-tour setup: an Army rucksack simply bungee-corded to the rear rack!

Last edited by Jose Mandez; 03-05-11 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 03-05-11, 05:52 PM   #4
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Good Price

http://www.modernbike.com/itemgroup.asp?IGPK=2126174909
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Old 03-05-11, 06:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Mandez View Post
I use a pair of Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus for daily needs,
I use the same. They're a very large front pannier that works well as a smallish rear one.

I try to minimize my hauling by bookending my week with hauling days. On Mondays I haul in the week's worth of work clothes, the week's worth of lunches and snack foods, and whatever library books I have to return. On Thursdays I haul home the laundry, and more library books.

I like the Ortliebs because they'er big, empty space. This gives me flexibility. There are no compartments randomly breaking up the space, and no pouches stuck on the outside that I'll never use. Except that there has to be something to protect the contents from the inside the the rack hardware. Orlieb uses a pocket for this. My U-lock or a 300-350 page hardcover book fits in it perfectly.
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Old 03-05-11, 06:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajames15 View Post
I'm looking for a new bag to carry all my stuff in, that would go on my rear rack. I started with a backpack, and it just made me too sweaty for when I got into work. I definantly am happier carrying a bag on my rear rack, but I've never been really thrilled with the panniers I currently use. I'm thinking a bag instead of panniers hanging down the sides would be better... but I'm not sure. So, instead of asking what all your opinions are (since everyone's situation and tastes are different), I'm asking, "What do you use to carry you stuff in, and why does it work for you?"

As always, pictures help.
One Arkel Commuter pannier. Just big enough for a laptop, work clothes, warm clothes, rain gear, rain cover, snacks, lock, etc. Arkel's cam attachment system means it secures easily to a rack and comes off with one pull on the release handle. The laptop pouch is suspended so hopefully I won't have too many warranty replacements. It's water resistant enough for down pours with the cover installed and fine for a light mist without it.

Knocks about 1.5 MPH off my speed compared to a backpack but is a lot more comfortable.
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Old 03-05-11, 06:10 PM   #7
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I've found a flat beverage crate zip-tied to the rack + the bag of the day strapped to it works best for my poor, multi-modal commuter self. I've used saddlebag panniers, Nashbar Townies, wearing the backpack in the picture, and wearing a mess bag. My current set-up is by far the most versatile and comfortable for my needs.
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Old 03-06-11, 12:12 AM   #8
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Another vote for the Arkel Commuter. Great bag; lots of pockets for little bits & pieces, laptop pouch, and cavernous enough to hold textbooks, extra clothes, and just about anything else I need to take to work (I'm a student on a clinical placement). Waterproof zippers, Cordura fabric, and a great mounting system, too.

I also use a Topeak MTX TrunkBag EX. I use it exclusively as my lunch bag; I work 12-hour shifts and it gives me enough room for all my food, and the reusable plastic containers that it comes in. I also love the way in integrates with my Topeak rack. Slicker than owl sh*t, as my pappy was fond of saying.

HPIM3373.jpgHPIM3360.jpgSNC00567.jpg
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Old 03-07-11, 04:25 AM   #9
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I have been using a set of Mainstream MSX Avantguard 55 for about a month now. So far I like them quite a lot. The Ortleib design was a little better maybe, but these seem well made and they are water proof (ridden in rain a few times already). Also, they were the same price for a set as the Ortlieb was for one bag.

https://picasaweb.google.com/rsmillb...Jn_q5fEkf-EZw#

http://mainstream-msx.de/stores/cata...roducts_id=120

I found these locally (in Germany), but when I tried to order online (Outerbag-XR) I found that they don't take credit cards, only bank draft. This might be an issue in from the US... there are some on amazon.de however..

scoTt
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Old 03-07-11, 08:23 AM   #10
ajames15
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This is great, thanks guys. I really like how the Mainstream MSX looks. I may have to see what it'll take to get them here in the States. The biggest problem I've been facing is available space in my panniers, and now I can see why. Most of these look like they will work really nicely.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:25 AM   #11
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Looks like the blue/black Ortlieb roller classic is on sale, but not sure if this is a great price or not. What did Best Buy have them at?

http://www.outdoorgb.com/p/ortlieb_b...dBundle=144856
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