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  1. #1
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    Best rear racks and panniers?

    I was wondering what are the best rear racks and panniers. I plan on doing a lot of touring with fully loaded bikes so I need something very durable and strong.

  2. #2
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Racks: Tubus, Bruce Gordon, Old Man Mountain, Jandd.
    Panniers : Ortlieb, Arkel, MEC.

    These are just a few. I use Tubus and OMM racks with Arkel panniers.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  3. #3
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    www.bgcycles.com problems solved if you have the $$$ After a long wait the panniers specifically designed for his racks will be in a week or two.
    This space open

  4. #4
    cyclotourist
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    Best panniers are Ortlieb, although I hear Arkel are very good.

    The strongest racks are cro-moly steel, the most beautiful are Nitto,
    Tubus, Thorn, Bruce Gordon, all have good reputations.

    Old Man Mountain are alu, but they make racks that fit on suspension forks and disc brake equipped bikes.

    The old standard aluminum Blackburn are good for city use and weekend tours but maybe not for
    expedition touring, though I have done thousands of kilometres with mine. The only thing I noticed was the stainless steel pannier hooks were wearing a groove in the softer aluminum bar of the rack.

    I kind of like Paul Woloshansky's homemade racks (and panniers)
    This guy has done it all wihout spending a fortune.

    http://www.bikechina.com/tb1.html

  5. #5
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    I have Ortlieb panniers and Jandd racks on the front and rear of my 520. no problems quick to take off and put on the bike and hold up well.

  6. #6
    Senior Member teamcompi's Avatar
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    There are lots of bests depending what you do, I hate Ortleib, many love them, I like arkel, arkel will leak but stuff will dry in time, with the ortleib stuff things will get moldy before they dry out. Mec is good for the money, and if you have lots try Beckmans.
    For racks OMM and Tubus seem good. I have toured lots and have yet have a rack break, but I have seen and heard many horror stories regarding failure, every so often look if weird stuff is happening replace the rack. Or spend the money get steel and weld on a piece when you wear it out....Surly makes some tough looking racks, they seem heavy to me but look really strong.

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    How much money you got?

    The more $$$ the better stuff you can buy. Bruce Gordon and Nitto are great racks, but they cost a lot.

    But if you got the money, there are a lot worse things to buy.

    For low budget, stick with Blackburn and JANDD for racks, JANDD and Delta for panniers. Not the top shelf gear, but they'll work. I like Performance brand panniers as well. They might even be on sale right now.

    Even JANND racks and Performance panniers will run over $200 for the whole bike. It's hard to find anything to won't fail for less than that.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    If you use the search function, you'll find half a dozen answers to each question, and better yet, the "whys."

  9. #9
    Senior Member jcbryan's Avatar
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    Go with the BG racks! You can them and save the money on your panniers, cause they'll carry that army surplus tent and duffle bag you found at the garage sale. Great racks.
    Panniers are a personal choice, I've got Performace branded cheapos on the front and Arkel GT-54's on back. Arkels a great though a bit heavier than I wanted. Still a good investment. The Performance I found at a swap meet, had them forever. Work good (and make my Arkels look better!)
    Best, John


    Quote Originally Posted by ken cummings
    www.bgcycles.com problems solved if you have the $$$ After a long wait the panniers specifically designed for his racks will be in a week or two.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamcompi
    There are lots of bests depending what you do, I hate Ortleib, many love them, I like arkel, arkel will leak but stuff will dry in time, with the ortleib stuff things will get moldy before they dry out.
    For racks OMM and Tubus seem good.
    +1 on Ortlieb and Tubus. Here in the Pacific Northwest you don't want anything that leaks. The sky leaks plenty. If your stuff gets wet here, it's probably going to stay wet... not dry out in time (unless you can wait for July/August of each year.) I ride with the Tubus Cargo rack and Ortlieb Classic Roller panniers. Great products!

  11. #11
    eternalvoyage
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    Good steel racks tend to be the most durable. The Tubus Locc is the beefiest one I have seen. It's a little heavier, but worth it if you value its features. There is a strut that is extra beefy.

    The Jandd expedition rack is aluminum, but stronger than most.

    Personally, I like the Locc. It's so strong I don't even have to worry about it.

  12. #12
    eternalvoyage
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    I've heard very good things about the Surly racks also. They're steel, and they seem to be well built. Surly tends to build on the sturdy side.

    Jandd panniers are quite durable.

    Waterproof panniers make sense for many people. An alternative is to line your panniers with a couple of lawn and leaf bags, or something equivalent, or with drybags, when you need to keep the water out.

  13. #13
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Since 1985 I have been using Bruce Gordon racks front and rear with Robert Beckman Designs Panniers on my BG RNR and Fat Chance Mountain Tandem. On and offroad the racks and bags become an immovable extension of the bike. Solid designs that have performed flawlessly for over twenty years of extensive and continuous use over every type of terrain. Some think that they are expensive. I find them inexpensive over the long haul time period.

  14. #14
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jejackso
    I was wondering what are the best rear racks and panniers. I plan on doing a lot of touring with fully loaded bikes so I need something very durable and strong.
    Get any name brand and you'll be fine. More money will usually buy you less weight but not more reliability.

    I use the $23 Western Auto bicycle rear metal delivery rack and I could carry a car on it before it would bend. A few waterproof bags to protect my gear and I'll guarantee you, it's the sturdiest set up on the planet.

  15. #15
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    Beckman is probably the best for both, he has more options than anyone has been able to remember let alone test.

    "stainless steel pannier hooks were wearing a groove in the softer aluminum bar of the rack"

    I wrap the contact points with glass tape. Moreso to reduce the rattle, but I don't have any divots either.

  16. #16
    cyclotourist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    Beckman is probably the best for both, he has more options than anyone has been able to remember let alone test.

    "stainless steel pannier hooks were wearing a groove in the softer aluminum bar of the rack"

    I wrap the contact points with glass tape. Moreso to reduce the rattle, but I don't have any divots either.
    I mentioned it more as a matter of interest than anything else. I no longer use that bike/rack combination for touring, but the actual wear ocurred over about 15 years of everyday commuting.

    Thats a good idea to wrap the rack contact points with tape to stop rattling. What do you mean by "glass tape"?

  17. #17
    Member Sinksand's Avatar
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    I use duct tape, and it works fine.

  18. #18
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    On Tubus + Arkel, I'm still evaluating....

    - Compared to my first panniers (1974 Bikecology mounted on my 69 Schwinn Varsity), the Arkel GT's are a vast improvement.

    - Compared to my second panniers (1978 Kirtland GT's and Blackburn rack), the comparison isn't completely positive. Both the Kirtland's and the Arkel's leak (Ortlieb won't), but with the inner liner they've added and/or using the Arkel rain covers, you can keep what you care about dry. Score one for Arkel. I love the vast number of pockets that both the Kirtlands had and the Arkels have - it keeps me organized on the road. In addition to carrying my own stuff, I am my daughter's "sag wagon" so that she can ride unburdened. With the Arkel's there enough pockets that we can each have places for stuff we want to find in a hurry.

    My two big gripes with the Arkel's are:
    - The excessively complicated rack attachment mechanism. On their website, the two vertical top hooks plus 90 degree rotating lower clamp looks simple. In practice in 30 tour days on the road in the last two years, I find it's often worked itself into a such a tightly wedged position against the Tubus racks that I need to use a tool to dislodge it. Just what you need at the end of the day. Meanwhile, I find the front Arkel panniers start sliding front-to-rear on the Tubus, even if they start out the day tightly in place. It seems like the geometry of the Arkel hooks doesn't agree with Tubus rack framing. I know I can "adjust" things into place with Visegrip pliers, but with two people's stuff on one bike, I just haven't found the room to add a "pannier attitude adjuster" to my already bulging tool bag. I frankly much preferred the simpler dual hook above, spring/hook from below used by my Kirtlands and by the Jandd bags on my office bike. In the Kirtland's case, it served me well through maybe 7,000 miles of loaded touring with nothing worse happening than popping the occasional spring off going over a pothole, but I never lost the whole pannier.
    - My other gripe with the Arkel's is the lack of a way to clip to bags together so they check-in as a single piece of luggage at the airline counter. The more lenient airline policies (i.e. United International, and from what I read on their site - Delta) allow the bike to fly free in lieu of one piece of luggage. This means you want to clip your rear panniers together for check-in as one piece, your bike as the other and carry the front panniers or handlebar bag on as carry-ons. Arkels lack the snaps and straps my 28 year old Kirtland's had that made this easy.

    Likely more detail than you wanted/needed but hopefully it's food for thought...

  19. #19
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    I'm Thorn rack £100 ($190) and Ortlieb panniers £70 ($130) - expensive, but all now 5 years old, no sign of wear and tear despite a couple of weeks of loaded tours each year and 80 miles a week commuting in all the British weather can throw at you.

    I have yet to see anything better

  20. #20
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    Robert Beckman, aka RBD Designs & Needleworks, are by far the best. You want something specific (i.e. shoulder straps permanently attached to only one front pannier), most likely he will/can do it. His mounting system is extremely simple but extremely sturdy. I often used the pack's handles to lift the fully loaded packs and they have NEVER come loose. Lots of money but if you are in for the long all, well worth it. I have had mine paired to BG racks since 89 and they are still great condition. Be prepared for a wait though as they are all handmade by him.
    Happy Trails and May the Wind Be At Your Back!
    Tulsa John

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterMacSF
    On Tubus + Arkel, I'm still evaluating....
    the Arkel's leak (Ortlieb won't), but with the inner liner they've added and/or using the Arkel rain covers, you can keep what you care about dry. Score one for Arkel. ...
    An advantage of using rain covers is that they are relatively easy to clean off and dry compared to the panniers, just swish them under a tap or in a stream. Often when it's raining a ton of crap gets thrown up onto your panniers and having covers is an easy way to keep them clean and dryer, especially if you are camping and need to take them into your tent. Arkel's covers fit their panniers very well, no complaints.

    Anything that you must keep dry, i.e. your sleeping bag should always be inside a plastic bag inside the stuffsack and inside the pannier.
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
    2000 Trek 7500FX

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