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  1. #26
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    -having panniers negates the use of a backpack.
    -you take your pannier off when you lock up your bike and carry it inside - because, well, it has all your stuff in it. (assuming you lock up outside or can't leave it in a room/office safely)
    -grocery panniers and commuting panniers are two different things. one is designed to carry shopping bags, the other misc stuff like clothes
    -you don't have to buy giant panniers. clothes fold up to be remarkably compact when done right.

    i'm a teacher and i have this trunk bag/pannier combo:


    sorry for the picture size - thats amazon's fault.

    i can fit a folder of papers upright in the panniers (about perfect height) plus a bunch of other stuff because the pockets are wide too. in the trunk i put shoes, phone, keys, etc. honestly, it's way more space than i ned on a daily basis because all my clothes for the day fit in one pannier. and many times, depending on the clothes and if i didn't need to take shoes, i could roll up everything and fit it all in the trunk part, and didn't even have to use the panniers and could keep them rolled up and put away (assuming i wasn't bringing any papers to and from). that's basically how it was every day when i was commuting to teach summer school.
    -the topeak MTX system just lets me unclip and slide the whole thing out at once, and carry it with me. it also has a shoulder strap. it can be awkward a bit if you have the panniers down, but its not a big deal, really.

    i wouldn't put a laptop in it though.

  2. #27
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    That's a great system Sci Guy. Why wouldn't you put a laptop in it? Is that about waterproofness, size, or something else? I kind of like the idea of separate panniers so that I can put just one on if I'm not carrying much stuff that day. Does this unit always stay together, or can you put just parts of it on (say, just the trunk bag)?

  3. #28
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Have the roller set, the Touring Store got me the Orange ones..

    They have a hook insert so hook over 3 diameter rack tubes 14,10 & 8mm ..



    desk top, not lap top, besides I'm old and not writing from work.

  4. #29
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
    That's a great system Sci Guy. Why wouldn't you put a laptop in it? Is that about waterproofness, size, or something else? I kind of like the idea of separate panniers so that I can put just one on if I'm not carrying much stuff that day. Does this unit always stay together, or can you put just parts of it on (say, just the trunk bag)?
    here is the link to it on amazon, you can see some customer pics as topeak nor amazon have their own multi-views: http://amzn.com/B000ZKATZG

    it's all one unit. both panniers roll up and the rigid sides fold up an zipper up so its basically just a trunk bag:

    you can still put some small things in the sides with the rolled up panniers, but they aren't super useable. The trunk back is pretty big though, like i said, i could fit in a pair of khakis, underwear, socks, undershirt, and an oxford or polo all rolled up nicely. plus my keys, phone, wallet, etc, all just in the trunk part, no need for the panniers those days. but i'm a small guy so people with bigger clothes may not be able to fit as much as me
    the rigid sides are nice because when they fold down then rest against the racks struts, and keeps the panniers out of the spokes.
    you can also just deploy one pannier if you want. don't have to do both.

    i wouldn't put a laptop in it because it wasn't designed for it (the weight) as far as i know. i don't know what the weight limit is, but i wouldn't put a 4-6 lb. laptop in it. i'd be afraid after a while the seams would start to tear the panniers away and soon enough there goes your laptop splattered across the road. don't get me wrong, i'm sure it can hold plenty of stuff and weight, i just would rather have a pannier designed for a laptop if i need to go that route.

    here's the link for it on the topeak site with some more specs: http://www.topeak.com/products/bags/MTXTrunkBagEXP
    it only weights a little under 2.5 pounds too.

  5. #30
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    oh and yeah its not waterproof. but you can buy a rain cover....separately of course.

  6. #31
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    I use a similar Topeak bag as the one sci guy posted and they work great. I agree that the ones in the OP are pretty large for commuting.

    The only thing about the Topeak bag is it's intended to be used with the interlocking system on their racks. Not sure how that would work on a non-Topeak rack.

  7. #32
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
    Here's the pannier set I'm considering, the Ortlieb Back Roller Classic: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NWG0MW/...I1FU6A0QPEQW05.
    When I started out bicycle commuting, I tried a couple of rack-top bags, but they didn't work out well for me. Too small and not waterproof. Then I bought a pair of the Ortlieb backroller classics you are considering. They solved the waterproof problem and the capacity problem. But more importantly, they are super high quality and so convenient to use. They have made my commutes more systematic - I pack the night before and have a routine where everything goes in left or right pannier, etc. It helps me to not forget anything. The Ortliebs carry everything I need and completely take weather out of the equation. They are great for commuting from A to B every day.

    I have used them for grocery shopping, too. I take the Ortliebs into the store right in the grocery cart, then put the groceries into them after paying.

    98% of my rides (or more) are commutes, so I don't do as much utility biking as many on this Forum, but for commuting, the Ortlieb backroller classics are hard to beat. Good luck, I hope you get a good workable solution and keep on commuting, you are doing great.

  8. #33
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    if i had seen this one first, i probably would have bought this: http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categ...xpedition.html
    looks dynamite. but i'm not sure the panniers would have been long enough to fit my folder of graded papers.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    -having panniers negates the use of a backpack.
    -you take your pannier off when you lock up your bike and carry it inside - because, well, it has all your stuff in it. (assuming you lock up outside or can't leave it in a room/office safely)
    -grocery panniers and commuting panniers are two different things. one is designed to carry shopping bags, the other misc stuff like clothes
    -you don't have to buy giant panniers. clothes fold up to be remarkably compact when done right.

    i'm a teacher and i have this trunk bag/pannier combo:


    sorry for the picture size - thats amazon's fault.

    i can fit a folder of papers upright in the panniers (about perfect height) plus a bunch of other stuff because the pockets are wide too. in the trunk i put shoes, phone, keys, etc. honestly, it's way more space than i ned on a daily basis because all my clothes for the day fit in one pannier. and many times, depending on the clothes and if i didn't need to take shoes, i could roll up everything and fit it all in the trunk part, and didn't even have to use the panniers and could keep them rolled up and put away (assuming i wasn't bringing any papers to and from). that's basically how it was every day when i was commuting to teach summer school.
    -the topeak MTX system just lets me unclip and slide the whole thing out at once, and carry it with me. it also has a shoulder strap. it can be awkward a bit if you have the panniers down, but its not a big deal, really.

    i wouldn't put a laptop in it though.
    I have one like this bag also (Giant http://www.ebay.com/itm/321025270749...84.m1439.l2649 ), but mostly use my panniers. But when I know I have to haul a lot of stuff Ill put this on too. the fold out sidebags will fit over the top of my panniers.
    Last edited by niuoka; 10-05-13 at 09:32 PM.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    if i had seen this one first, i probably would have bought this: http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categ...xpedition.html
    looks dynamite. but i'm not sure the panniers would have been long enough to fit my folder of graded papers.
    This one is interesting too. Thanks for your responses. They've been very helpful as I think through what I do and don't need in a pannier.

  11. #36
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    Okay, I'm starting to get some clarity here about what I do and don't need/want in a pannier. All of your responses have been very helpful.
    *I like that the Ortliebs are waterproof and high quality (though they are definitely pricey).
    *It looks like the first set I proposed would work, but might be overkill in terms of size.
    *I'm intrigued by the roll up sides of the set sci guy uses, but think I want panniers that aren't connected to a trunk bag.
    *I do like the idea of being able to use them just one at a time or to take them into a store for quick grocery trips.

    So, right now I'm leaning toward the Ortlieb front panniers that tsl pointed out. They are basically the same as the back rollers I first proposed, but are somewhat smaller. Since my bike and I are fairly small, I'm hoping this size will still hold all of my stuff and reduce the chances of heel strike. I'm also leaning toward the bright yellow ones. Increased visibility never hurts

    If you have any other thoughts, I'll be glad to hear them.

  12. #37
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluish Green View Post
    When I started out bicycle commuting, I tried a couple of rack-top bags, but they didn't work out well for me. Too small and not waterproof. Then I bought a pair of the Ortlieb backroller classics you are considering. They solved the waterproof problem and the capacity problem. But more importantly, they are super high quality and so convenient to use. They have made my commutes more systematic - I pack the night before and have a routine where everything goes in left or right pannier, etc. It helps me to not forget anything. The Ortliebs carry everything I need and completely take weather out of the equation. They are great for commuting from A to B every day.

    I have used them for grocery shopping, too. I take the Ortliebs into the store right in the grocery cart, then put the groceries into them after paying.

    98% of my rides (or more) are commutes, so I don't do as much utility biking as many on this Forum, but for commuting, the Ortlieb backroller classics are hard to beat. Good luck, I hope you get a good workable solution and keep on commuting, you are doing great.
    This is very similar to what I'm thinking of doing. I'll pack one side with my shoes and clothes for the next day and the other side with files, tablet or laptop, and lunch bag. I have found that I'm much more organized in the mornings since I started bike commuting! Even with the milk crate system, I've been packing everything into the bag I put into it the night before.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
    So, right now I'm leaning toward the Ortlieb front panniers ... I'm also leaning toward the bright yellow ones. Increased visibility never hurts
    .
    I have the small ones. Ive used them on the front for touring and on the back for everyday use. I can fit a fair amount of shopping in them, esp if I load them to the top of the roll coller. The white bags look really good.

  14. #39
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    A good pannier like the Racktime city bag I use clips on and off as quick as putting it in a milkcrate.The bag is my briefcase and with my hip problems it makes it less painful to mount my bike.I found my bag for 12.98 usd at The Clymb and I didn't care about looking ghetto before my hip issues when I used a milkcrate.Panniers also make my train/bus rides easier.
    Quote Originally Posted by i_am_you View Post
    I don't understand the advantage of panniers, I don't know why people use them other than because they look better than a milk crate, they look less 'ghetto'.

    Things I don't understand about panniers:

    - Won't they get stolen? It seems so easy to rip them off and they can be really expensive; yours are $150!!
    - What do you do with your briefcase or backpack? Do you take everything out and then put the backpack and the stuff that was inside of it in the pannier separately? For me, I take a briefcase to graduate school every day and the best option for it is to just throw it in the milk crate. It fits perfect, doesn't jostle around or anything.
    - If you take your bike to buy groceries (I do this every week), where do you put the grocery bag? I use a big reusable bag I got from whole foods a while back, I just load up my groceries into the bag in the store, pay for them, the bagger person puts them back in the same bag, then I go out to the parking lot and drop the whole thing perfectly into the milk crate. It's sturdy and excellent. I can't imagine this level of ease with a pannier setup.

    Aesthetically though, I really dig panniers. They make you look like a serious commuter, not some amateur. I know that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but I can't help but notice it.

    I just don't get it. What is the advantage of panniers?
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  15. #40
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    Nothing against some of the panniers others are suggesting, they just seem very pricey for what you plan on carrying. I think the Nashbar panniers would fit your needs just fine (whether the water proof or ATB ones). I think the choice would really come down to your usual weather condtions. I am able to get by without waterproof panniers by covering mine with garbage bags (but I am not in a wet climate).

    One thing I noticed when commuting is that I became much more sensible about what I carry. Instead of carrying a laptop everyday I will usually use a thumb drive if I am doing work from home. I will also email stuff to myself as well (my personal laptop is setup with everything that my work computer has). I also keep a pair of dress shoes at work instead of carrying them everyday. I rarely need both panniers when commuting.
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  16. #41
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    if i had seen this one first, i probably would have bought this: http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categ...xpedition.html
    looks dynamite. but i'm not sure the panniers would have been long enough to fit my folder of graded papers.
    I have the basic Tailrider. I like it a lot. I've had it so long and used it so much that the bright red is now faded to an orangy-pink.

    On the expedition version, according to Arkel's detailed measurements, the panniers are 13" high by 15" long. Thickness isn't specified. Unless your kids are using paper larger than US Legal size, the folder should fit.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  17. #42
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    Nothing against some of the panniers others are suggesting, they just seem very pricey for what you plan on carrying. I think the Nashbar panniers would fit your needs just fine (whether the water proof or ATB ones). I think the choice would really come down to your usual weather condtions. I am able to get by without waterproof panniers by covering mine with garbage bags (but I am not in a wet climate).
    I know what you're saying. My intro to commuting panniers were the $19.99 Nashbar Daytrekkers. Used them for four years before my needs changed and I replaced them with the Ortleibs.

    It's all a personal preference matter. Some people commute driving used Kias or old beaters from the 70s and 80s. Others commute in a new Mercedes. I live next door to the employee parking lot for a company that makes the machines that make automotive drivetrains. One guy commutes in a Ferrari. A yellow one, not even red! Others clatter and bang and belch blue smoke.

    It's not so different in cycling. Some guys commute on garage sale specials, and I just spent $700 on a wheelset for my BACKUP commuter.

    In 1999 I chose to forgo car ownership completely, and I'm single, so I have a little more budget than most to lavish on my bikes.

    It doesn't mean, however, that my choices are better than yours, or anyone else's. Just more expensive.

    In the end, we all get to work and back home again.

    PS: And I would hope that others are as happy with their choices as I am with mine.
    Last edited by tsl; 10-05-13 at 07:03 PM.
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  18. #43
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Something you might want to consider.
    Expensive panniers tend to have we thought out and secure attachment systems.
    Less expensive systems can be less secure.

  19. #44
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    Nothing against some of the panniers others are suggesting, they just seem very pricey for what you plan on carrying. I think the Nashbar panniers would fit your needs just fine (whether the water proof or ATB ones). I think the choice would really come down to your usual weather condtions. I am able to get by without waterproof panniers by covering mine with garbage bags (but I am not in a wet climate).

    One thing I noticed when commuting is that I became much more sensible about what I carry. Instead of carrying a laptop everyday I will usually use a thumb drive if I am doing work from home. I will also email stuff to myself as well (my personal laptop is setup with everything that my work computer has). I also keep a pair of dress shoes at work instead of carrying them everyday. I rarely need both panniers when commuting.
    I hear you and have a lot of respect for this perspective. I'm confident that the Nashbar panniers would be just fine. But here's the thing: I almost always go with "just fine." I'm riding a mass production aluminum hybrid after all. I drive (when I drive) a 12-year-old Toyota Corolla. Every once in a while I want "exactly right," and for some reason this is one of those times. I want a really well constructed pannier that is absolutely waterproof in an obnoxiously bright color. Also, I've made a few newbie mistakes buying less expensive things (like that stupid seat-post mounted rack!). So, in an abundance of caution and with just a little bit of celebration, I'm going to adorn my brand new rack with high-end panniers. If it's a mistake, it's not a big one.

    Thanks for weighing in. I really do appreciate it.
    Last edited by Giant Doofus; 10-05-13 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Typo

  20. #45
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    I have not seen the nashbar in person, do they have zipper closure as well, or just the pull over with buckle iops. Curious. IM happy with my cheapies for now, but am following this thread as new panniers is on my list of future upgrades

    I have a Giant top bag, very much like the topak as shown a few posts above, with a set of Schwinn panniers I got on sale for 23. less than 45 in the total set up
    Last edited by niuoka; 10-05-13 at 09:33 PM.

  21. #46
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justme23 View Post
    A good pannier like the Racktime city bag I use clips on and off as quick as putting it in a milkcrate.The bag is my briefcase and with my hip problems it makes it less painful to mount my bike.I found my bag for 12.98 usd at The Clymb and I didn't care about looking ghetto before my hip issues when I used a milkcrate.Panniers also make my train/bus rides easier.
    For those who may not be aware, Racktime is the "economy" label from Ortleib (bag wise) and the Racktime racks are from Tubus- all in the same corporate family.
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  22. #47
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
    Okay, I'm starting to get some clarity here about what I do and don't need/want in a pannier. All of your responses have been very helpful.
    *I like that the Ortliebs are waterproof and high quality (though they are definitely pricey).
    *It looks like the first set I proposed would work, but might be overkill in terms of size.
    *I'm intrigued by the roll up sides of the set sci guy uses, but think I want panniers that aren't connected to a trunk bag.
    *I do like the idea of being able to use them just one at a time or to take them into a store for quick grocery trips.

    So, right now I'm leaning toward the Ortlieb front panniers that tsl pointed out. They are basically the same as the back rollers I first proposed, but are somewhat smaller. Since my bike and I are fairly small, I'm hoping this size will still hold all of my stuff and reduce the chances of heel strike. I'm also leaning toward the bright yellow ones. Increased visibility never hurts

    If you have any other thoughts, I'll be glad to hear them.
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  23. #48
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    I knew about the affiliation with Ortlieb which helped(price also) me choose it.Someday I hope to have Logo or Cargo rack from Tubus.I found a new Novara "around town" pannier at a thrift store today for 4.99.It doesn't go on and off as easy as my Racktime bag.
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  24. #49
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    I have a set of the Ortlieb front roller city panniers for the back of my folding bike. They are great bags and are easy for me to take on and off. The attachment/detachment feature is my favorite part of these bags. I don't have to get messy and/or wet putting them on or taking them off the rack. For my needs, the smaller front rollers work just fine on my back rack. I'm glad I spent a little more and got the Ortlieb bags for their ease of use. If you do any commuting in the rain I would recommend the Ortlieb bags.

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    I carry quite a bit when commuting each day and I use a bontrager grocery bag which has the quick release. I also use a lunch box that sits atop the rack. The first bag I bought was the clip and elastic which I still use some times, but mostly just the lunch box and one pannier.

    I understand wanting just right. that is why I am writing. I was thinking that I wanted a trunk bag and was looking at one the other day in the bike shop. It had lots of bells and whistles. After reading sci guy's comment that it can be awkward to carry. It made it a no-brainer for me. I do not want that. Though I still want waterproof as the bontrager is not completely waterproof.

    I carry my pannier into the shower room and get ready for work head back to my bike and get my lunch box that sits atop the rack and bring my breakfast and lunch up to my desk. I bring the pannier to my desk also but it is a comfortable carry as it is has straps and hang from my shoulder.

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