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  1. #1
    Junior Member WolfpackFan's Avatar
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    Bike rack and bike bag talk

    I'm looking to add a bike rack to the back of my bike and also a bike bag to attach to it. I just want something where I can haul around books, a few groceries, dvd movies, and other typically "small" hauls, etc.

    Any recommendations for either of these two items? Do I need one with a spring? (and what's the spring for anyways? to act as suspension would be my guess?). Are they all pretty much the same or are these items that fall in the category of "you get what you pay for"?

    Just looking for advice on what to stay away from, what you guys would recommend, and any other useful info and experience you can share on this topic. Also, feel free to point me to other threads that might have already covered this topic as I was unable to find any using the search feature!

    Thanks yall!

    edit: Also, forgive me if I posted this in the wrong forum. This forum looked somewhat relevant and busy :-)
    Last edited by WolfpackFan; 07-04-12 at 02:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    Not sure on what the differences are in rear racks; I got an inexpensive one that seems to work fine for all my needs. The spring on mine is a lever/arm that is springloaded, so you can put something somewhat solid under it and have the spring force hold it down. Haven't used much, except for a second water bottle on hot commute days.

    Bags - there are a lot of options. I tried a couple of rack top bags, but ended up needing more volume/capacity to carry my work clothes, towel, lunch, tools, flat repair kit, etc. I ended up springing for an expensive, but superb, pair of Ortleib panniers which solved all of my problems and then some. Waterproof, lots of capacity, durable, really nice and recommended... but very expensive. Worked for me nicely. I'm sure you will get other suggestions; consider the Ortliebs the "cadillac" solution....

  3. #3
    commuter
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    If you want to hang a bag off the side of the rack you will want a rack that is long so that your heal doesn't strike the bag(pannier) while you pedal. I have an Old Man Mountain rack on my mountain bike and a Jandd rack on my road/commuter bike. I am happy with them both. Neither of the racks have a spring. I use Arkle Bug panniers for commuting to work, and a pair of folding grocery panniers when I run errands. You may want to look around the utility forum for some other suggestions.
    Last edited by zirger726; 07-04-12 at 03:07 PM.

  4. #4
    Junior Member WolfpackFan's Avatar
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    Ahh, the utility forum! Thank you for pointing me there, looks like exactly what I need to read through. Great info by the way, I wasn't aware there existed specific grocery panniers.
    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. ~ Benjamin Franklin

  5. #5
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    I have a Blackburn rear rack on my bike & Strap a backpack to it. Lots of people here do similar. Many others use Panniers off the rear rack. Panniers are designed for the rack, so the fit is probably better, plus they tend to hold more than a backpack (at least one that will fit comfortably on a rear rack. the advantages of the backpack are that it is centered on the top of the rack & it is easier to use off the bike. Both are good options, depending on what you're looking for.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    1. What's your budget?
    2. What's the geometry on your bike like?

    I ask because not every bike likes to have a rack on the back. Others will tolerate loads on top, but not on the sides. Still others have no problem with where you mount your bag to.

    Then racks vary as well- some work with top bags but not side bags, side bags but not top ones, and others have no problem with either or both at once.

    I experience heel strike with my bike (16.3" chainstays) and have done the milk crate, strapping the backpack down to the rack, Nashbar Townie baskets, a rack trunk, saddlebag panniers, and a flat beverage crate that allowed me to place my biggest backpack at the time on it without having to worry about any wayward straps getting caught in the wheel.
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  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    My rack just cost me $18.00 and change and I got a couple of paniers from mountain equipment co-op.They work great.One panier carries my scrubs and shoes and lunch and a rain coat if needed.That's all I use,this all went in a pack sack at one time. Freedom on my shoulders...nnnnnice.

  8. #8
    psy
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    http://www.rei.com/product/735847/to...th-disc-mounts
    http://www.rei.com/product/710404/to...-side-panniers

    This is the combo im using on my commuter.I really like it alot and I think the reviews of other owners say alot.
    Last edited by psy; 07-04-12 at 09:24 PM. Reason: FIXING LINK

  9. #9
    Probably Injured beebe's Avatar
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    Racks and panniers are to some extent a 'you get what you pay' for type of deal, but some good, cheap solutions exist. Be aware that if you get panniers, many of them will have a hook or bungee near the bottom of the bag that needs to attach to the rack, so you will need a rack with a horizontal bottom bar. If you ride a bike with short chainstays, may also need to make sure you get a rack that will sit far enough back that you don't get heel strike. For cheap, Wald folding baskets on a cheaper aluminum rack are hard to beat. My girlfriend has them and they are super cool. I use an Arkel bug and it's definitely worth the much heavier price to me, but it just happens to be really good for what I use my bike for. In the middle, I have tried Axiom waterproof panniers, and they are also excellent and function very well, they just aren't quite as fancy or bulletproof as more expensive brands like Ortlieb and Arkel.

    Some people also opt for a more DIY, less elegant solution and attach a couple of milk crates to their rack.

    Search around the forums and you will find all kinds of stuff about the brands listed above.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Your options would be:
    - A rear rack with rack top bag, which you can buy at REI or Performance Bike locally, or on-line at many sources.
    - A large Carradice seatbag with Bagman support rack, which you would have to order on-line.
    - A rear rack with panniers, which would probably be overkill unless you want to carry a lot of gear.

    I have tried all three options and prefer the Carradice bag because it centers the load weight better and doesn't affect bike handling as much as a rear rack and rack top bag. I've got a Carradice Barley and Pendle, which are their smallest and second-smallest bags, and can fit everything I need for commuting in them with no problem. I also have a touring bike with rear rack, with a rack top bag and panniers if needed, but I just don't need to carry that much gear unless touring.
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  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Rack: Tubus, Bag: Ortlieb. Durable. you change the bikes underneath them.

    And stuff stays dry inside the bags..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-05-12 at 01:57 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sirtirithon's Avatar
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    I know I post this a lot around the forum but the Frame pack and expanding seat bags from Revelate Designs kick a$$! I ran a rack and panniers as well as a backpack for a long time and these bags blow them away in convenience and weight. They also dont rattle around and I dont even notice them while riding. Im surprised more commuters arent using them.



  13. #13
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirtirithon View Post
    I know I post this a lot around the forum but the Frame pack and expanding seat bags from Revelate Designs kick a$$! I ran a rack and panniers as well as a backpack for a long time and these bags blow them away in convenience and weight. They also dont rattle around and I dont even notice them while riding. Im surprised more commuters arent using them.


    Probably asking themselves the same questions I have:

    -Where do I put my water bottles?
    -How am I supposed to carry the thing in case of a mechanical issue that isn't a 'quick fix' on the side of the road?
    -Thinking about doing the Park-n-Ride thing, how am I going to put this on my Saris Bones rack? Or what are the hand holds if using a roof rack?

    Then quite a few don't have the luxury of private, secure storage, so tend to want things that they can easily strip and carry themselves or secured to the frame in such a way as to discourage theft.

    Other than that, you've got a nice looking rig.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member sirtirithon's Avatar
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    For sure, there are minuses. But I can quickly remove the bags if need be and my bike never leaves my sight if its locked up at a store. And I keep my water bottles on the fork and down tube, so 3 bottles if I want.

  15. #15
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    I just started commuting to work and struggled with this same question. After searching the forums here, and looking at reviews on amazon, I ended up with a solution that I love.

    I got the Topeak explorer rack, With the slide in Topeak trunk bag with molded side panels that unzip into panniers.
    Had my Lbs, put them on and absolutely love it.

  16. #16
    Junior Member WolfpackFan's Avatar
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    killerbrewer, I think I'm going to do the same thing.

    Another question re: these racks, do they rattle and make any noise or are they pretty solid?
    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. ~ Benjamin Franklin

  17. #17
    rll
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    I just put a Racktime Addit rack along with a Racktime City bag on my new Nashbar FB-2. I like the Addit with its lower rail so my side panniers don't interfere with the top bag. It also lowers the weight nicely:




  18. #18
    Senior Member Big Lebowski's Avatar
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    The above bike looks fantastic!

    Quote Originally Posted by WolfpackFan View Post
    killerbrewer, I think I'm going to do the same thing.

    Another question re: these racks, do they rattle and make any noise or are they pretty solid?
    I installed the Explorer tonight on my Soho S. It required some MacGyver-action to get the brackets to attach to my seat stays, but it is rock-solid.

  19. #19
    Insane Member Onions's Avatar
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    I'm looking for a rack to replace my cheapo amazon rack. The only problem I have with it is that it doesn't fit my new Cross Check very well. So, back on the cruiser it goes.

    I'm looking for a rack that has loops to prevent the panniers from swinging into the spokes when I accelerate or corner, but I also need to keep it on the cheap side. Silver color would be nice too. The CC will (eventually) be silver and blue.
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  20. #20
    rll
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onions View Post
    I'm looking for a rack that has loops to prevent the panniers from swinging into the spokes when I accelerate or corner, but I also need to keep it on the cheap side. Silver color would be nice too. The CC will (eventually) be silver and blue.
    How about the Racktime Addit I posted a picture of above? It's silver, has a lower rail and nice wide pannier support.

  21. #21
    Insane Member Onions's Avatar
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    Looks like it doesn't have the backwards-pointing loop that I want. The Axiom Journey does, but I can't find it in silver >_>

    Also, it's pretty expensive.
    This man is no ordinary man. This is Mr. F. G. Superman. To all appearances, he looks like any other law-abiding citizen. But Mr F. G. Superman has a secret identity...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfpackFan View Post
    killerbrewer, I think I'm going to do the same thing.

    Another question re: these racks, do they rattle and make any noise or are they pretty solid?

    Sorry Wolfpack, I just noticed your question. Sorry to say that have not used the panniers yet. As far as noise from the bag in the rack, I don't even notice, I'm too busy cussing out that hill I have to go over every day (granted its only an overpass, but I just started biking so it kills me!)

    There is a little slop in the rack but not too much, but it slides into the rail pretty solid, so I don't think there is a chance of it coming out from normal use, I hope to not see if it comes out from a fall/crash.

  23. #23
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    Surly Nice Rack and Arkel Gt-54s solves all problems

    But i think for a more budget build, RLL's setup will have you covered. Nashbar is definitely the place to go if your on a budget and you don't need it right away. May not be quality stuff, but it's a great way to test a setup without committing a big chunk of change. I've bought plenty of stuff from them and gotten my money's worth.
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  24. #24
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    I have used the Topeak set-up for a while now and like it. I have had both panniers full and the top expanded full of groceries. The only down side to the Topeak that I have found is that it is a bit bulky when you just want to walk around a bookstore, and don't want to leave it on the bike, other than that I've been very happy with this set up. I have not noticed any noise or major difference in handling either.

  25. #25
    Senior Member loneviking61's Avatar
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    Along with that Top Peak there is also a nice sized, metal basket option. Slide it off, take it into the grocery store, fill up, slide it back on the rack and pedal away! With Top Peak there seem to be a lot of options as far as bag sizes and configurations.

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