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Old 03-08-07, 11:42 AM   #1
Fheardhaigh
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Downtube panniers?

Hi-

I use my Downtube to commute to work and I am looking for some good recommendations for panniers. I like the Arkel briefcase but I'm afraid it is too big for the bike. Any one have any successes?
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Old 03-08-07, 03:21 PM   #2
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Whatever you buy, make sure that you can mount them fairly far rearward. The 20"-wheeled folders are great for a lot of things, but one thing that keeps coming up is that racks are an odd fit on them. Lots of folders come with racks, but they're so low to the ground and close to the crank that the rider's heels keep striking anything which hangs over the edge of the rack. This means that you'll need to find a way to:
-keep the rack's contents narrow... basically the same footprint as the rack itself.
-mount a taller rack... can be tricky due to the bike's fold and depending on how much weight you want to carry.
-mount the panniers pretty far rearward so that your heels don't scrape on them.

You'll also probably get better answers if you give the group more info. Define for yourself, then describe to them, what you expect to carry, how often, and how far. Think in terms of weight, shape and bulk.

For myself, I'm personally leaning further and further towards a quality saddlebag rather than a set of rack-mounted panniers.
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Old 03-08-07, 03:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fheardhaigh
Hi-

I use my Downtube to commute to work and I am looking for some good recommendations for panniers. I like the Arkel briefcase but I'm afraid it is too big for the bike. Any one have any successes?
Make sure that the rack is suitable for carrying panniers on a 20in-wheeled folder. I've attached a photo of one made by Dahon but I don't know for sure if it will work on a DT.

Last edited by JosephLMonti; 08-03-07 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 03-08-07, 03:45 PM   #4
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Thanks-

Here is a pic of the bike: http://www.downtube.com/catalogimage...k_Standing.jpg

I have the manufacturer's rack on now but could change it out if necessary.

I'll mainly be lugging around a small laptop (15"), a couple of books and my rain gear. I do a short, daily muti-modal commute...About 2 miles to train and a mile to the office. Weight is not a huge issue.
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Old 03-08-07, 03:49 PM   #5
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Here's an idea for using a full-sized rack.

Caveat: this is only a suggestion and not a recommendation.
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Old 03-08-07, 04:07 PM   #6
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What about the rack on the VIIIH, can you put panniers on it? It looks kinda like a pannier rack.
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Old 03-09-07, 11:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makeinu
What about the rack on the VIIIH, can you put panniers on it? It looks kinda like a pannier rack.
The VIIIH rack is sturdy enough for panniers, but it is pretty short so you would have both heel and ground clearance issues. It would probably work well as additional rack to support the lower portions of panniers while using a quick-release seatpost rack as well. You could store a sleeping bag or other stuff between the two racks. The problem with the quick-release seatpost rack I have is that it has no support portion coming down from the rack to keep the panniers from going into your rear wheel. I think somebody makes a quick-release rack that does have extentions that go below the rack and give you something to clip stuff onto.
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Old 03-09-07, 12:06 PM   #8
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i use a cheap post mounted rack with pannier supports along with a pair of altura panniers. i only actually use 1 pannier and carry my kriptonite lock on the other side. this set works fine for packed lunch and a change of clothes. i have to have the rack fairly high on the post as sometimes the rack rotates slighty and the bag gets pushed into the wheel. i'm very happy with it all in all.
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Old 03-09-07, 03:33 PM   #9
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maybe just go with an oversized rack trunk and the laptop in a messanger bag. Probably better for your hard drive too, if it's not one of the new ones that locks all the moving mechanisms when the computer is put to sleep.
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Old 03-09-07, 04:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMacFU
maybe just go with an oversized rack trunk and the laptop in a messanger bag. Probably better for your hard drive too, if it's not one of the new ones that locks all the moving mechanisms when the computer is put to sleep.
I don't understand how people can ride with messenger bags on. In my opinion they are terrible. The asymmetry throws off my balance and they have a tendency to swing under the arm towards the front of the body.
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Old 03-10-07, 12:46 AM   #11
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I've use backpacks, rack trunks, and panniers but now just use a messanger bag. Mine keeps the weight low and has a waist belt to keep it from shifting. FWIW I have about 35 years commuting expericence. A good messanger bag rocks!
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Old 03-10-07, 01:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pine Cone
I've use backpacks, rack trunks, and panniers but now just use a messanger bag. Mine keeps the weight low and has a waist belt to keep it from shifting. FWIW I have about 35 years commuting expericence. A good messanger bag rocks!
I could see how a waist belt would eliminate most of the problems, but how is it better than a backpack? I mean, the usual advantage of a messenger bag over a backpack is that you can shift it around and access the bag without taking it off, but if you're using a waist belt then it would seem the advantage is lost.

I'm asking because the only bags I have are messenger bags, but I'm thinking about getting something else for riding because I just can't ride with a messenger bag on. What's the secret to bike/messenger bag harmony?
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Old 03-10-07, 02:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makeinu
I could see how a waist belt would eliminate most of the problems, but how is it better than a backpack? I mean, the usual advantage of a messenger bag over a backpack is that you can shift it around and access the bag without taking it off, but if you're using a waist belt then it would seem the advantage is lost.

I'm asking because the only bags I have are messenger bags, but I'm thinking about getting something else for riding because I just can't ride with a messenger bag on. What's the secret to bike/messenger bag harmony?
Pine Cone can speak for himself on this, but the biggest advantage is probably airflow. A backpack sits close to the back, doesn't allow much ventilation, and increases the odds that you're going to show up at work with a sweaty shirt which you have to change out of, and store somehow, and possibly change back into (still wet?) at the end of your shift.
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Old 03-10-07, 06:09 PM   #14
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Fheardhaigh, if you figure something out for the pannier, or, in particular the Arkel Briefcase, I'd be very interested in hearing about it.

I currently commute on a beater hybrid, my Arkel Briefcase is my work bag. I lug my laptop, lunch, and sometimes clothes around. I use the Briefcase even when I'm not commuting by bike (winter foulness and dress slacks for work don't always mix too well). I'm very eager to add a folder to my arsenal, a Downtube is high on my list of starter folders. I'd love to be able to commute on it but, well, if I can't use my Arkel Briefcase the Downtube wouldn't get nearly as much use as I'd like...
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Old 03-10-07, 08:27 PM   #15
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please do keep us posted, Fheardhaigh!

I am an owner of a downtube and looking for some nice panniers as well!
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Old 03-11-07, 12:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fheardhaigh
Thanks-

Here is a pic of the bike: http://www.downtube.com/catalogimage...k_Standing.jpg

I have the manufacturer's rack on now but could change it out if necessary.

I'll mainly be lugging around a small laptop (15"), a couple of books and my rain gear. I do a short, daily muti-modal commute...About 2 miles to train and a mile to the office. Weight is not a huge issue.
Why not put them in a backpack?

I'd hate to put my laptop in a pannier close to the road.

It would realy help your folding time too, if you didn't have to mess with panniers.


EDIT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bookishboy
Pine Cone can speak for himself on this, but the biggest advantage is probably airflow. A backpack sits close to the back, doesn't allow much ventilation, and increases the odds that you're going to show up at work with a sweaty shirt which you have to change out of, and store somehow, and possibly change back into (still wet?) at the end of your shift.
Yes - that's true, but the commute ride is short, so maybe he wouldn't get too sweaty.

Last edited by EvilV; 03-11-07 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 03-11-07, 06:29 PM   #17
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I myself don't use a messanger bag, I use a mountainsmith bag, the cairn II. I like it because it only covers the small of my back and had a hydration pack. Plus moutainsmith's warranty is amazing. But, it definitely wouldn't fit a laptop. The messanger bag with a waist strap may be useful if you don't actually have to shift it around while riding to get stuff out. But yeah, you could just do a backpack then. There is a rack trunk that includes roll out pannier sides , but looking at my DT right now, I think I'd still heel strike.
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Old 03-11-07, 10:31 PM   #18
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I prefer messanger bags to backpacks because the weight is much lower and doesn't rest on your arms when you go onto the drops. The messanger bag is much much cooler/better vented for riding than a backpack. I used to live in the Redding, CA area and often rode when it was 95 to 105 during my afternoon/evening commute.

I found panniers a hassle to take on and off the bike to go from where I park my bike to go to work. I live the the PNW now and it rains sometimes. Even a good waterproof pannier gets pretty dirty from road scum. The bag stays cleaner and is just less hassle.

I carry a change of clothes, some raingear, and misc work stuff in my commute bag. If I carried something heavier like a laptop every day I'd probably use a pannier.
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Old 03-12-07, 03:11 AM   #19
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I have given up on both messenger bags and ruck-sacks due to neck stiffness. I now use a seatpost carrier - the Carradice SQR Tour bag. The Q/R means the bag can be removed in 2 secs and the seatpost mountng does not affect folding. The only drawback is the size: 16 litres.
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Old 03-12-07, 08:24 AM   #20
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Yep...I use a backpack now and it seems to work out OK but I'd like something a little more stable and (I admit it) flashier!

I may go with a rack trunk but I'd like something that I can detach and take with me fairly easily.

I actually rarely fold my folder so folding time is not a huge deal.
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Old 03-12-07, 09:12 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fheardhaigh
Yep...I use a backpack now and it seems to work out OK but I'd like something a little more stable and (I admit it) flashier!

I may go with a rack trunk but I'd like something that I can detach and take with me fairly easily.

I actually rarely fold my folder so folding time is not a huge deal.
A trunk bag might be a good option, in fact, some of them can be quite large w/ loads of storage space:

Last edited by JosephLMonti; 08-03-07 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 03-20-07, 10:04 AM   #22
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Thanks for all the info everyone. I decided to go with the Ortlieb travel biker. It is a rack/trunk style bag that seems to fit my needs best.

http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/...p?pid=37&cid=2

I'll let you know how it works once it arrives.
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Old 03-22-07, 08:06 AM   #23
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I had been looking for panniers, or at least a rack. Now I just sling my small knapsack over the bars (after shortening the shoulder straps). It's like having a large handle bar bag. I did a short tour like this. It's a simple and convenient arrangement.
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Old 04-11-07, 07:23 AM   #24
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OK, here's the update. The Ortlieb Travelbiker arrived and is a nice bag but I found the fully waterproof zipper too obnoxious to open with any frequency. I also felt that the bag was flimsy (minimal internal supports) and, if not full, the flexible sides collapsed inward making it awkward to carry. It did, however, attach nicely to the bike using the free rack adaptor (as a trunk bag, I didn't get any panniers so I can't comment on fit for them). If you find an Ortlieb bag you like, it seems like it would work well with the Downtube.

So instead, I got a new rack (Topeak OS with integrated U-lock holder) and a Topeak MTX bag with fold-up panniers (and water bottle/thermos holder on the back). The rack fits well and is stable although you have to bend the front struts to a fairly extreme looking angle to get it to work. They are designed to be bent to fit, so this isn't really a big deal. The bag is nice and slides (and secures) to the rack quite easily. The inner compartment of the bag is a little smaller than I would like but holds lunch, book, rolled up rain gear well with a little extra room to spare. The fold down panniers fit well but I haven't really used them to haul anything yet. I would note that the bag and rack sit fairly high on the bike and my seat just manages to clear everything (I'm 5' 11") so shorter folks might have a little trouble (although probably correctable with some adjustments).

All in all, I am pretty happy with the Topeak system and I got a new bag, new rack and new U-lock all for about $40 cheaper than the Ortlieb. Now, I just have to decided about buying the optional rain cover...hmmmm...
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