What is your opinion on saddlebags vs. paniers? I have used paniers many times and would like to try a saddlebag, but it looks like the thing would make the bike less stable by raising the center of gravity.
Even if you use a large bag, such as the Carradice Camper Longflap, you're not likely to have more than 20 lbs of typical touring stuff in the bag. You'll be able to feel it there, especially when you rock the bike when standing, but it won't be a problem. I've ridden many miles with a large saddlebag and don't think twice about it.
only tip on the carradice type bags is to get the bagman support. The bags are great, better position, good aerodynamics, and stability is better than a rack since it's closer to the middle of the bike though higher than a rack.
that's just until my soon to be patented "five gallon bucket" sadlebag catches on.