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  1. #1
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    panniers for cheapskates

    Ok, I'm building up my touring bike, and went to my LBS to look at panniers...well, the price wasn't bad ($85/~$50US), but the LBS guy admitted they're not that great and should be alright for "riding around town"...he said good ones (I think he mentioned Topeak or something similar) would be a ridiculous amount, about $300/~$220US. I'm a soon to be student, so this is far too much.

    I've had the idea to get some canvas and something hard for the backing and to get a frabric/sewing shop to make some simple one pocket panniers for me. seems straightforward enough, but I am wondering how to fit them onto a rack? like what do I need on them to attach them securely?

    If anyone else has any better ideas, that'd be great to hear too.

  2. #2
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    http://www.cobbworks.com/ You could probaly make these yourself for 25 bucks,

    Last edited by velonomad; 05-24-05 at 06:12 AM.

  3. #3
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    You might take a look at TheTouringStore.com which has Lone Peak panniers. Smaller ones are about $65. That's for a pair. If you can make your own for less than that, go for it.

  4. #4
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Cobbworks can be used as a seat (in camp) as well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    I made a trailer for commuting out of an old Rubbermaid "Action Packer" storage container. It really works great. You may want to consider that approach.

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    The corrugated plastic of "For Sale" signs is ideal stiffener, tough and light. You can simply rivet it onto the inside of the pannier, one piece on the back and another for the base.
    Carradice bags are a good model for home-builds. The mounting system is Rixen and Kaul. You need to rivet an Al extruded rail onto your bag (through the stiffener) then slide the hooks onto the rail. Also riven on the anti-sway device.
    You can use thicker cordura or canvas material. My dad made some panniers out of tough pvc/cloth and simply draped the pair over the rear rack Use some reinforcment where the bag rubs the rack. Remember to cut the shape for some heel clearance.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    There's some info on making your own panniers here:
    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/bags.htm

  8. #8
    Peak Oil Donkey Kong mrjon's Avatar
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    I've had some aggravations with a set of those cheap panniers too, and as a result I haven't been able to see myself putting such a huge sum into more expensive ones that might do the same thing (one of mine got in the spokes on a bump and got a big hole in it).

    So, I'm going to try not having panniers at all, instead using other means of hauling my cargo.

    For one, I have a very sturdy backpack that got me through college and a couple of short adventures back then, strapped to the top of my rear rack. I plan on trying to revive that to carry most of my gear. (Again, strapped to the rack, not on my back!)

    I've also ordered one of those "jungle hammocks" (yesterday, actually), and I plan on trying it out on a short little mini-adventure tour later on when I have some time off from work. By eliminating some of the tent bulk, I hope to be able to actually do some light (but self-supported) touring on my '03 Lemond Nevada City (a steel road bike -- not your usual tourer).

    Maybe this will give you some ideas on other ways to carry your gear besides the expensive (and in my limited experience, frustrating) panniers.

    Check this bike out too for some photos of my cargo carrying idea: http://milly.org/rambouillet/index.htm
    (Someone else originally posted that link, but I can't remember who and I'm late for an evening bike ride!)

  9. #9
    cyclist
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    I've made a pair of panniers and the easiest way (IMO) to attach them is to make saddle bags and loop a peice of fabric over the rack. Sew a fabric loop towards the bottom of the pannier and attach a loop of elastic cord thru the fabric loop and around the bottom of the bike rack. You will need a peice of webbing to go from the saddle bag on top of the rack to the seat end of the rack to prevent it from sliding off the back of the rack. If you realy want to get high tech with it there are some fabric suppliers online that you can find anything you want. There was a thread about a month ago entitled pannier geekiness that a bunch of us talked about homemade panniers.
    This is the link to pics of all my homemade stuff. What I described above was an incredibly simplified version of what I built. http://photobucket.com/albums/y23/tbdesigns/
    Good Luck,
    scott

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    Senior Member tmiller9909's Avatar
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    I didn't read any of the posts, but take a look at this:

    http://www.bicyclinglife.com/HowTo/HeavyDutyRacks.htm

    The guy used military canvas bags, and it looks like they work pretty well and are really cheap!

  11. #11
    cyclotourist
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    I was just going to post a link to Paul Woloshansky's homemade racks and panniers, but tmiller beat me to it.
    I saw Paul on his bike with home made racks and panniers last weekend at the Golden Triangle. The gear is still going strong and Paul and Nancy recently returned from 11 months of touring in Asia, so its not like he doesn't use it.

  12. #12
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    - amazing timing, as i just built a set of insulated, waterproof panniers for $13!

    - even more amazing is that the panniers work great, hold well, and are on a par with commercial varieties!

    - the essential ingredient, of course, are the bags... for this you need something readily and universally available... so here's a well-known source:

    http://www.thesportsauthority.com/sm...i-1739361.html

    - i got mine at Big Lots for $11.88

    - next, i went to Lowe's and purchased (4) small Atwood stainless steel eyelets, then bent them into 'U' shapes... i also purchased a 3-foot thin aluminum bar stock, along with stainless nuts and bolts...

    - here's how to build:

    1. cut the soft-cooler in half; you'll end up with two 'halves'
    2. cut the bar stock, then place to fit along the inside top and bottom of each of the soft-sider cooler
    3. drill holes through the bar stock to accommodate the Atwood clips and bolts, then put together
    4. assemble, and use thin bungee material to span between the two bottom bolts
    5. use velcro strap at the front of each bag where it attaches to frame of bike

    - the panniers attach and remove just exactly like commercial ones... a bonus is a front pocket on each bag!

    - fotos posted if there's interest....

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    Quote Originally Posted by linux_author
    - amazing timing, as i just built a set of insulated, waterproof panniers for $13!

    - even more amazing is that the panniers work great, hold well, and are on a par with commercial varieties!

    - the essential ingredient, of course, are the bags... for this you need something readily and universally available... so here's a well-known source:

    http://www.thesportsauthority.com/sm...i-1739361.html

    - i got mine at Big Lots for $11.88

    - next, i went to Lowe's and purchased (4) small Atwood stainless steel eyelets, then bent them into 'U' shapes... i also purchased a 3-foot thin aluminum bar stock, along with stainless nuts and bolts...

    - here's how to build:

    1. cut the soft-cooler in half; you'll end up with two 'halves'
    2. cut the bar stock, then place to fit along the inside top and bottom of each of the soft-sider cooler
    3. drill holes through the bar stock to accommodate the Atwood clips and bolts, then put together
    4. assemble, and use thin bungee material to span between the two bottom bolts
    5. use velcro strap at the front of each bag where it attaches to frame of bike

    - the panniers attach and remove just exactly like commercial ones... a bonus is a front pocket on each bag!

    - fotos posted if there's interest....

    Hey I'd love to see some pictures. How durable are they? I have had cheap igloo lunch bags crack on me after just a few months squished in the backpack is the material going to be strong enough to tour with?

  14. #14
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad
    http://www.cobbworks.com/ You could probaly make these yourself for 25 bucks,

    Those look like they use the j-hook style mounting, very... not secure in that case. Any sort of bump and thsoe will go flying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjon
    I've had some aggravations with a set of those cheap panniers too, and as a result I haven't been able to see myself putting such a huge sum into more expensive ones that might do the same thing (one of mine got in the spokes on a bump and got a big hole in it).
    Your aggrivation was caused by the cheapness, not the pannier-ness or your panniers. Decent panniers have stiffeners and mounting to prevent getting caught in the spokes. They have tough material which does not flap around.
    I started with cheap panniers and good ones are so much better.

  16. #16
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    Those (...photo of cobbworks removed...) look like they use the j-hook style mounting, very... not secure in that case. Any sort of bump and thsoe will go flying.
    A tip for anyone making there own panniers using j-hook style attachements: You can make a rack/pannier "lock", so your panniers will not be going anywhere. Similar to Arkel, or Jandd products, place a swivel-type bent metal bar bellow(and between) the two J-hooks. With your panniers mounted (using the J-hooks), turn the bar so it will allmost "grab" your rack. Your panniers are now not going anywhere. Loaded heavily they may "flop" laterally-that is why a descent bottom attachement is usefull.

    NOTE: this system may be copyrited (or whatever)-so don't go making them for sale without checking it out.

  17. #17
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad
    http://www.cobbworks.com/ You could probaly make these yourself for 25 bucks,

    I love the ghetto panniers on a Rivendell. Do you have any pictures of Arkels on a Huffy?

  18. #18
    la moda de nada beekay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    A tip for anyone making there own panniers using j-hook style attachements: You can make a rack/pannier "lock", so your panniers will not be going anywhere. Similar to Arkel, or Jandd products, place a swivel-type bent metal bar bellow(and between) the two J-hooks. With your panniers mounted (using the J-hooks), turn the bar so it will allmost "grab" your rack. Your panniers are now not going anywhere. Loaded heavily they may "flop" laterally-that is why a descent bottom attachement is usefull.

    NOTE: this system may be copyrited (or whatever)-so don't go making them for sale without checking it out.
    Arkel sells just their hook kits for $22 for making/ upgrading panniers. These and a couple of rubbermaid wastebins and you're set.

    http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/acc...kkit.asp?site=

    This guy uses waterproofed nylon covers on cheap garbage cans:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journ...d=161&v=0#3317

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    A tip for anyone making there own panniers using j-hook style attachements: You can make a rack/pannier "lock", so your panniers will not be going anywhere. Similar to Arkel, or Jandd products, place a swivel-type bent metal bar bellow(and between) the two J-hooks. With your panniers mounted (using the J-hooks), turn the bar so it will allmost "grab" your rack. Your panniers are now not going anywhere. Loaded heavily they may "flop" laterally-that is why a descent bottom attachement is usefull.

    NOTE: this system may be copyrited (or whatever)-so don't go making them for sale without checking it out.
    I am having great trouble visualising this. How is the metal bar being supported? I really don't get it...

  20. #20
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Golly, no one refered to the pannier geek thread. Pannier Geekiness
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  21. #21
    Peak Oil Donkey Kong mrjon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    Your aggrivation was caused by the cheapness, not the pannier-ness or your panniers. Decent panniers have stiffeners and mounting to prevent getting caught in the spokes. They have tough material which does not flap around.
    I started with cheap panniers and good ones are so much better.

    I should have mentioned earlier that I also had some heel clearance issues due to the short chainstay length. Heelstrike probably contributed to the pannier getting into the spokes. The cheap panniers did have (cheap) stiffeners, for what good they did.

    I may make some panniers of my own if I still need to carry more than I can fit on top of the rack or in a handlebar bag... but they will be designed for better clearance and probably a lot like those oyster buckets.

    While I'd rather get a touring bike that's just not possible right now...

  22. #22
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by javna_golina
    I am having great trouble visualising this. How is the metal bar being supported? I really don't get it...
    Sorry, I'm not that great at describing things (I'll see if I cant find a picture). Basicly the bent bar is between the two "J" hooks, attached to the pannier in a fasion to allow you to turn it -using a bolt with washers for example. Placing the bent bar a bit bellow the bar of the rack (that the "J" hooks atach to), you are able to turn it (the bent bar), thus "locking" your pannier in place. Proper placement is the trick, so that it's not too loose as to just spin freely on it own, nore be too tight as to be impossible to get on.

    [Edit]-Theres pictures of what I'm trying to describe on Arkels' site. See Arkels attachement system. Again these may very well be copyrited (or whatever), so probably not that great of an idea to use them with panniers to be sold (without investigating).
    Last edited by Camel; 05-27-05 at 12:26 AM.

  23. #23
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    ah, this makes much more sense! don't even ask me what I was imagining...thanks

  24. #24
    Senior Member trickdog's Avatar
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    If you live in Canada, the local Canadian Tire store has a well made pannier and cheap ($20.00) that I use and swear by...

    I bought mine last year and use it on my daily commuter. The pannier is a 1 piece unit that easily attaches to the rear rack....and contrary to the details on the webpage, it does not use velcro, rather nylon webbing and buckles...just like on a backpack.

    The main side pockets are quite roomy and the "top trunk" holds a lot also. I can carry my rain gear, lunch, change of clothes, cable lock, small assortment of tools etc with ease.

    Click here for the link to the Pannier

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