I'm just brainstorming and fishing for ideas here. I'd appreciate any input.
I'm building a folding recumbent bike (using the Cruzbike conversion kit). It's nearly complete now - just waiting for some parts to come through the mail. I'm looking at luggage solutions for day to day commuting.
On my other upright folding bike I used a 6 liter seat post mounted bag and strapped my backpack using elastic cord to the rack. Here is an image:
I liked the convenience of the seat post bag for carrying items like the phone, wallet and some tools. On the other hand the bag strapped on the rack was not such a great solution because it was time consuming to take off and put back on. I did not use panniers since there was not enough clearance to my heels.
The new bike (still unfinished) looks like this:
The wheel is small at only 16" so not all panniers will fit. Heel clearance is not a problem though. The fold is the same as the Brompton style - the rear wheel flips under. But whatever is mounted on the rack must come off on folding. Options I am considering:
1. A small pannier with easy to remove fittings. I've slated down the Ortlieb Front Rollers classic as a possible candidate. This combined with something seat post mounted for the small stuff.
Pros: The best fit solution. Remove bag to fold - or the bag stays upside down after folding.
Cons: The wife worries about a bag sticking out from the side which may increase my chances of getting whacked by some fool driver. Also, though I've never used panniers before, I hear they feel slow. The Ortliebs may be overkill for my short haul purpose. But it seems like the only option I've found that's small enough to fit and at the same time easy to unclip and carry about with me.
2. The Xootr crossrack - Provides a vertical mount on which most pannier sizes will fit, or even a backpack. Does not need to be removed from the rack as the rack itself is removable with bag.
Pros: Cheaper water resistant panniers with standard (non quick release) fittings like the Altura Arran might do. I can mount a backpack or anything else if necessary as well. Bag lies behind me in my slipstream. Bag does not interfere with fold -useful for quick stops.
Cons: The rack has an awkward stub that would make the panniers hard to wear after removal. But not overly inconvenient.
Bag for small stuff: Maybe a top tube bag in front of the seat pan. Suggestions welcome.
3. Rixen and Kaul Vario Rack - Provides a vertical half basket sort of thing on which backpacks will fit. Does not need to be removed from the rack as, like the Xootr, the rack is removable.
Pros: Backpacks will mount. Odd shaped items will mount. Bag lies behind me in my slipstream. Bag does not interfere with fold - useful for quick stops.
Cons: Can't mount any type of pannier on this rack
Bag for small stuff: Same as Option 2
In terms of price possibly no. 3 is the most expensive because the rack to seatpost fittings need to be bought separately. Options 1 and 2 may cost about the same.
Option 1 seems the simplest to implement. Option 2 will allow me access to a whole bunch of (previously dismissed) panniers because fit is less of a problem, but that rack stub may be irksome. Option 3 is not pannier friendly - I will have to reuse my backpack.
I've also considered mounting a pannier at the seat position but to the port side (to allow the wheel to slot inside when folded). That is, a mid-ship position. But I'm not sure where I might find a suitable fitting or vertical rack to allow me to do this.
Apologies for the long post. Thoughts anyone?