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  1. #1
    bicycle reanimator cybrmarc's Avatar
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    $2 home-made panniers

    (Putting this up for anyone interested in cheap, fun and eccentric home-made panniers. Still have the other bag to finish up tommorow. Half the fun is sharing the story though!)

    http://cybrmarc.tripod.com/twodollar/
    Last edited by cybrmarc; 06-23-06 at 08:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Looks like you took the pics with your $2 digital camera!!! *ducks*
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  3. #3
    Senior Member bronskcloosper's Avatar
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    pretty sketchy idea to me. my friend made 5 gallon bucket panniers, again seems pretty sketchy.

  4. #4
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    Geez, tough crowd. Pictures were fine, one was blurry but the red arrows got the point over.

    The proof will be if they last out your trip, and the rainproofness looks minmal like many of our more expensive paniers.

    I think the right bucket paniers put a lot of regular paniers to shame. I'm not into the hobo chic, though. It would be fun to see the reaction one would get. People obviously don't get that one is wondering around with substantial bike bling. Maybe there might be something positive about the hobo look that the sportsman-who-bought-it-all look just doesn't get to.

  5. #5
    bicycle reanimator cybrmarc's Avatar
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    Hrmmm...hobo chic...I think you're projecting something here....

    I'm not into a "look." What I'm into is gear that does what I need it to do, at little to no cost. I also like taking part in the process (i.e. - not just paying someone to do what I want to get done).

    Now, if I were into gear that costed a bunch, and was all shiny with nice colors and aesthetics. That, I think, might qualify as "chic".

    Hobo chic - however - is an oxymoron. Hobos do what they do/look like what they do, because that is what happens when you use what is available. I've never met a hobo sitting around a dumpster, throwing out this and that outfit because it didn't look hobo enough.

    And yes, the buckets rock. But these are pretty rainproof too. Sat out in a downpour (with the zippers up) and everything inside stayed dry. Also - I doused them in waterproofing agent. Which - it turns out - was entirely unneccesary since they're made out of what pipes are made of (and last I checked - pipes were water-tight). Just gotta keep the holes sealed with superglue.

    And you guys *are* a tough crowd. If I had said I went online and ordered a $319 pair of Arkel panniers would you be congratulating me on my conspicuous consumption? The other day I was reading a thread of everyone saying "Congrats - nice job" to some guy who ORDERED a bike and a bunch of parts and had an LBS mechanic put them together for him. I believe this is what the internet phrase WTF was meant for. WTF? I've got nothing against buying good quality things, or getting help from experts when needed. But where - exactly - is the challenge in that? Googling bike stores to find the gear you need? Reading the compatibility charts?

    I admit - I am no perfectionist. What I like to do is say, "Okay, I want to do/make x. Now, I don't have limitless patience or materials or funds, so what is available for me to complete x in the simplest way?" Some call this half-assing something, I call it just doing what works and getting it done. Sure, I could've gone out and spent a wad of dough on sinylon or heavyweight fabric and nylon straps and buckles and rain-proof flaps and blah blah blah. But why? So I can keep up with the bicycling jones?

    Bleh arg moop. Can no one appreciate these improvised panniers? They're practically free!

  6. #6
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Actually, I did appreciate them. You did a great job. I was just giving you a hard time.

    The closest I came up with was strapping my laptop backpack to the side of my rear rack, because the laptop won't fit in any set of panniers available locally. Worked quite well... other than taking too much thought and time to put it on and remove it. I used this method for about a month.

    Now I've got a set of grocery panniers, and I just strap the backpack into one... one snap closure at the top and I'm done. Been doing it for a week... not sure if it's going to last or not. If it breaks, I'll probably permanently attach the mounting hardware from the pannier to the backpack and go that route.

    I can certainly appreciate the issues when doing any kind of prep for touring on a tight budget... it's HARD!!

    Congrats on your panniers, looks good, and probably more convenient than some of the sets I've seen out there for sale.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  7. #7
    bicycle reanimator cybrmarc's Avatar
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    Well I guess I can release a sigh of relief that at least 1 person can appreciate improvised DIY stuff.

    In other news: I finished the other pannier and just updated the above site with better pics of the attachment points. Also made a note that I superglued the plywood board to the bags so the stress would be distributed throughout the fabric, rather than concentrated on the attachment points.

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    DIY stuff is the best

    I just finished a 2500 mile tour with some DIY "panniers" made out of mop buckets from Home Depot. Only cost $15 and did the job perfectly, and looked pretty good at the same time (not like that matters much). Not only did I save a LOT of money, but it makes for an interesting conversation piece with other cyclists.

    And perhaps it was because I was riding alone, or that I am young, but people were exceptionally nice to me on my trip, and perhaps it is because of my odd looking bike.

    Keep up the good work
    Check out my website, has a bunch of photos (a ton of pictures I took of cycling events). See pictures and journal of my first (and so far, only) tour

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cybrmarc
    Well I guess I can release a sigh of relief that at least 1 person can appreciate improvised DIY stuff.

    In other news: I finished the other pannier and just updated the above site with better pics of the attachment points. Also made a note that I superglued the plywood board to the bags so the stress would be distributed throughout the fabric, rather than concentrated on the attachment points.
    Make it 2 that appreciates your improvising--I like to 'tinker' with stuff I find and try to figure out how to adapt items to new uses. Your setup very much resembles the Cannondale panniers I had at one time. If it works for you, great! Others may see your panniers, admire them, and have a hard time searching for 'Globus panniers' to buy on the Internet!

  10. #10
    bicycle reanimator cybrmarc's Avatar
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    Hey blin - cool site. Your panniers look neat too - how did you attach them? I couldn't find any pictures of them close up - do you have any? Same for the basket...

    And veggie oil cars are pretty sweet. I've thought about doing that too (although I'm not that mechanically proficient...yet) but instead I think I'm just going to try to convert to all-bike, all-the-time.

  11. #11
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Cybermarc - If those panniers meet all your needs and you enjoyed making them that is awesome!

    Personally I have limited tools/skills for fabricating my own gear. I do make small mods to things and I sometimes combine existing parts in ways unintended by the manufacturer, but that is about it.

    I have two sets of Ortlieb panniers that cost ~$150 each. They work really well for me and I would not have been able to make a set that worked as well on my own. Heck I see panniers all the time that are made by factories that don't seem to be half as nice.

    You mentioned that there isn't much challenge in ordering parts online and having a LBS build up a touring bike. This is true to an extent, but the only challenge really common to everyone on this forum is sitting on a touring bike and turning the pedals. Some people do zero bike maintenance yet they still tour. Some people carry zero gear and eat gourmet food at 5 star hotels every night. And of course some people weld their own frames, build their own panniers, cook their own food and travel the globe on a minimal budget. So what? I don't think how you tour or what your level of mechanical/fabrication skill is matters to anyone but you in the end.

    I think it is great you enjoy your homemade panniers. Personally if I needed new panniers I'd be on the phone to an Ortlieb dealer ASAP. Does one of us deserve a medal and the other a derisive chuckle?

    The hobo chic comment really comes down to whether you use your homemade gear and have fun or whether you need to make a big deal about it and get outside approval for it. If it is the latter it is hobo chic.

    For what it is worth I live in the inner city and I have watched homeless people tear through donation bags outside a Goodwill making a huge pile of clothing and definitely only taking those items that fit their personal style.

    And to be fair I will point out that I definitely care about bike chic. I built up a set of wheels taking care to order all black parts - I think it looks cool. I am waiting longer than necessary for a replacement surly LHT frame because I want the red colour not the blue. I sometimes look at my Ortlieb panniers and wish the rears were black like the fronts. I am definitely guilty of bike chic - but I still sleep really well at night...
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  12. #12
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    blinblue - nice pics on your site. What do you have on the top of your panniers - it looks blue?
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  13. #13
    bicycle reanimator cybrmarc's Avatar
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    Hey vik - thanks for being real. I think I did react pretty defensively when I sensed people weren't digging my panniers. While I enjoyed making them, I think I also - because I'm a product of my upbringing/culture/previous patterns - seek acceptance wherever I can get it. And often when I think I'm not getting it I get defiant and indignant. Well, maybe I'll take a little bit from this time around, learn a lesson or something, egh?

    And yeah, I like pretty things too. As much as that doesn't fit into the case I made that "ragged DIY is SUPERIOR! muiahahha" hehe...And you've got a point that this board brings together people of all different pedaling styles. Hell...some people may even have *assisted* pedaling (gasp!). Next time I'll try to catch myself when I go into "preaching to the heathen" mode.

    thanks, again

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cybrmarc
    Hey blin - cool site. Your panniers look neat too - how did you attach them? I couldn't find any pictures of them close up - do you have any? Same for the basket...

    And veggie oil cars are pretty sweet. I've thought about doing that too (although I'm not that mechanically proficient...yet) but instead I think I'm just going to try to convert to all-bike, all-the-time.
    The general answer to how I attached them is: plastic ties. Plastic ties are really useful (I carried a bunch with me on my trip).
    The front bucket was attached to the bike by bending the metal handle (you can see it in the pictures) to span the length between the handlebars, and then I attached it to the shifter (there actually was a convenient hole that was already there) with a couple plastic ties.
    The front bucket also required some cutting so it would fit around the front tire.


    The rear bucket required a few tweaks. First I had to melt a couple notches to fit in the two tubes on the left and the right of the rear tire. I also added a bar that goes through two drilled holes, it lays horizontally over the rear tire. That added bar is held onto the bike with a metal hose clamp (which you can see in some of the pictures). I also bent the metal handle on the rear bucket and a wooden block to span the gap to the seat. So it is held on by 5 points, and I never had any trouble with it.

    The blue covers were made from some vinyl from Wal-mart, the front cover was held down by velco, the rear cover was held on by a strap (the velco works best).

    It is all water proof and durable (the bike has fallen over a couple times, and the buckets were perfectly fine).


    The veggie car is my father's undertaking (he loves working on old Mercedes). If you live in a warm climate (that is, never gets below 50F) you don't even need to do any converting in the car, you can just dump in the veggie oil (of course if you use waste veggietable oil, you need to filter it first). I live in Connecticut so it gets cold in the early spring, late fall and all winter, but in the summer it is fine.
    So if you want to use veggie oil in the winter you need two tanks, the first tank has diesel and you use that to start your car with. The second tank has veggie oil and some heating coils to heat the veggie oil up (it becomes solid at 40F). So you start the car with diesel just like you normally would, and after driving for 5-10 minutes, the engine and the veggie tank are warm enough to switch over. So you flip the switch and it starts pumping the veggie oil through.

    I'll spare you all the details (mainly because I am not 100% sure of them, but there are a lot of great websites about it). The car runs pretty much the same with veggie oil, the only differences are the smell of the exhaust (which smells like whatever the oil was used for) and when you floor it, the smoke will be white instead of the diesel's usual black.
    It is really cool driving around for free
    Check out my website, has a bunch of photos (a ton of pictures I took of cycling events). See pictures and journal of my first (and so far, only) tour

  15. #15
    Senior Member bronskcloosper's Avatar
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    I'm sure they'll work out. I'd just rather do work for money in the time that I would be spending on working on something to get it for free.

  16. #16
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    I have been making panniers like this for quite a while now. For attachment I simply put two grommets in the strap and two ball bungee straps cut to the proper length. First you figure out where to put the grommets for use with your rack. Next you carefully cut a hole in the nylon straps just slightly smaller than the hole required for the grommet. When you're done cutting the hole use a match or lighter to melt the nylon so it's fused and wont unravel under the grommet. This is the time to get the hole the correct size for the grommet while melting it. Install the grommets. Next thing to do is properly size the ball bungee straps. Needle nose pliers will allow you to pull the bungee cord out of the ball and allow you to make the length shorter. When the length is just long enough to thread the bungee cord through the grommet, round the rack, and back to the ball with enough stretch it holds firmly tie a knot in the bungee cord and cut off the excess length. Make two of them, of course! Bungee straps wont scratch your rack and will hold your pannier in place nicely and there easy to remove and pack when not in use. The addition of the grommets wont detract from the look and function of your bags so if you need them off the bike no one would ever know there bike panniers! My favorite pannier is a bright yellow and black briefcase. It a flap unbuckles allowing easy access to pockets and pouches. The main compartment holds lots of stuff and a zipper allows you to make it small or large.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
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    When I was young, I went on all these crazy bike trips with crappy bikes and homemade grear-- it was really hard! But I had a blast of course. Nothing like rinding an old 10 speed into a stiff headwind with a sleeping bag/blue trap tied to your handlebars!

    Then I got older and bought real touring bikes and top end gear. But guess what? Touring was still hard! And still fun.

    Now I don't really give a rip anymore. Crappy bike, good bike, new hightech camping crammed in a plastic bucket strapped to the rear rack. It's all good.

    The only thing that matters is getting out on the road and riding.

  18. #18
    End of Hard Shoulder
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    I love what you've done!!! Very creative...and you did it! My favorite part about building something yourself is you know exactly what size screw/nut/hose clamp whatever it took to make it work. and if it doesn't...it's your own damn fault. But there's kind of a personal investment in it. My bike has a name and character...sometimes it makes weird noises just to screw with me...then i get off the bike and it's oh so quiet. What i find fun is walking into a hard ware store, and knowing that I need to buy a hook-like dooey with a hole and some sort of screw fastening thingy with a whats-a-ma-bob to hold it all together.
    rarely do i use a coat hanger to hang a coat...or a hose clamp to clamp a hose!
    The best shocks are the ones I was born with.

  19. #19
    DavidARay@gmail.com DavidARayJaxNC's Avatar
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    Awesome job
    '92 Trek 920 Singletrack Fashioned into a Touring Machine.
    E-Mail me DavidARay@gmail.com

  20. #20
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cybrmarc
    Hobo chic - however - is an oxymoron. Hobos do what they do/look like what they do, because that is what happens when you use what is available. I've never met a hobo sitting around a dumpster, throwing out this and that outfit because it didn't look hobo enough.
    That paragraph is truthfully hilarious.

  21. #21
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    cybrmarc, I wasn't really suggesitng the ones you made are hobo chic, I think the guys who strap garbage cans to their bikes are making a statement, anyway what's wrong with hobos?

    My life is DIY. Just because one DIO doesn't mean it has to turn out like crap. Just have high standards. I've built my own sailboats, canoes, furniture etc... Bike wise I'm building my own frame, racks, and you can see my first fenders on page 16 of the loaded rigs pages. They didn't turn out perfect, but I should be able to improve them the second time around, and the first time they had some good features the pro ones don't have. I have an industrial sewing machine, but so far I'm not having any really big ideas on what I want that would be different from what I have right now. I'm blocked. I did make some all wood paniers once but I've done that so I probably won't return to that theme unless I go all aero or something. I'm kinda into making the racks right now and since the wooden ones don't need racks, I'm not persuing that option right now, sorta silly way to design things but that's where I am.

  22. #22
    Senior Member librarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik
    Vik - I sometimes look at my Ortlieb panniers and wish the rears were black like the fronts. I am definitely guilty of bike chic - but I still sleep really well at night...
    Vik,
    You can dye your panniers black. Get a box of RIT dye at the grocery store. (about $4.) Put the panniers in boiling water with the dye and stir. I dyed my rear rack bag and my handle bar bag to match my panniers. I checked the color fastness by washing them with an old pair of underware and they color did not run.
    Last edited by librarian; 12-21-06 at 06:39 AM.

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