I went to Dallas last week for a training seminar held by my employer, and stayed in a downtown hotel (Indigo, in case you're curious) and in my evening wanderings I noticed that all the downtown commuters I saw had backpacks and their bikes had no racks, panniers, coke/milk crates, etc. It looked really clean. So I thought I'd give it a try - When I got home I stripped down the Black Knight. I removed the Coke Crate, the rack, the frame pump, and a lot of the lighting. I resurrected a backpack I used to use, and I've ridden like this for a week now.
The difference in how the bike feels and handles is like night and day. It's brisker, attacks easier, and my average speed (according to my lil' computer) is up by 1.5 mph. It's a lot funner to ride, even though there's a backpack on my back.
Lol, I may change my opinion when it gets 100+ degrees here in ELP and my back gets soaked from backpack sweat, but for now this is quite a difference. So for all the "Backpack vs. Pannier" threads? I officially re-post "Backpack"
I'll post pictures of the transformation (if I feel like it) later . . . . The bike, imho, looks a lot better, too.