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  1. #1
    Senior Member Charlene's Avatar
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    Advice on panniers

    Hello everyone. Just joined the site after some lurking and reading. I wasn't sure where this should go, Touring or Commuting, so I post it here.

    I am planning on doing some weekend touring with the husband this summer. We are not sure if it will be light touring (staying at motels, hostels) or self-contained camping touring, maybe both over the summer. I will be getting some panniers, but I would also like to use the panniers for commuting. I have seen very large ones at the local Mountain Equipment Co-op (mec.ca). Any disadvantages to getting 2 large ones, then using only one for commuting? Anything I absolutely should know about panniers before I buy?

    Thanks, you guys are great!

    Charlene

  2. #2
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    Well I'm not an expert or anything. But people here seem to love the Arkels and Ortleibs, two top names in the business. Me personally, I am getting some Novara Transfer Panniers for light touring from REI. I know they have larger/different styles on the REI site. Try checking them out

    The other issue is that I dont think you would benefit from using one pannier for commuting. You want to balance both sides of the bike, so using two is your best bet. Again, I'm no expert, so maybe someone else will chime in.

    There is another thread on panniers somewhere around here. Try searching for it. I'm sure you'll find some helpful advice

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lankadragon
    Well I'm not an expert or anything. But people here seem to love the Arkels and Ortleibs, two top names in the business. Me personally, I am getting some Novara Transfer Panniers for light touring from REI. I know they have larger/different styles on the REI site. Try checking them out

    The other issue is that I dont think you would benefit from using one pannier for commuting. You want to balance both sides of the bike, so using two is your best bet. Again, I'm no expert, so maybe someone else will chime in.

    There is another thread on panniers somewhere around here. Try searching for it. I'm sure you'll find some helpful advice
    Smaller panniers are usually better than large ones for the simple fact that you tend to fill all available space and end up carrying more stuff and weight then you really need. Most panniers are going to be of good enough quality to stand up to several seasons of use. Some will last longer than others and some are easier to put on and take off the bike than others. Some stay on the bike better than others when you hit rough roads. It all depends on how much you want to spend. Arkels and Ortliebs are top notch and will last for a very long time but they aren't cheap. Mine are expensive enough that I wouldn't use them for everyday use.

    Using one pannier really isn't a problem with commuting. Personally, I think it looks goofy but it doesn't really affect the bike that much unless you start putting 30 or 40 lbs in the single bag. But if you're carrying that much stuff back and forth to work on a regular basis, you need to reassess your needs anyway
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    Mono-panniers are useful for commuting. You dont usually fill them but if you need to carry shoes or extra clothes there is room. You can also stop off for some groceries on the way home.
    25-28l each seems to be about the right size for L panniers. Some expedition models are bigger.
    Panniers mounts with quick-release, locking hooks are much, much better than old fashined hook and elastic.

  5. #5
    cyclotourist
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    I commuted with one pannier for years, no problem. Now I have graduated to a Carradice saddlebag which I like better.

    For commuting you need a fastening system that is quick and easy to take on and off, yet secure. Several times I had panniers drop off using the old hook and elastic cord method. It isn't as big a deal when touring, just secure it with an acccesory strap around the pannier and rack. For commuting it is a bit more of a hassle as it is an extra step every time you mount or dismount the pannier.

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    There are a lot of different panniers out there, many of them are quite good.

    Here's my advice.

    http://www.wallbike.com/ortlieb/rollerplus.html

    There are 2 sizes, large (back) and med. (front). I run only the med. size (these will mount on a rear or front rack.)

    For commuting, 1 or 2 bags will be great great --rear mount

    for light touring, 2 bags will work fine (50 liters)-- rear mount

    for camping, 4 bags -- front and rear mount.

    You might need a handlebar bag and a trunk as well.

    Buy a couple of quality med. panniers first-- build your kit from there.

  7. #7
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    say no to PVC

    Not sure if you guys know this, but the Ortlieb pannier use PVC coating to make them waterproof. Many progressive outdoor companys, like Mountain Equipment Coop, are trying to move away from contributing dioxins (a carcinogen) to the environment. You can read more here

    I'm sure the gang at Ortlieb are looking into alternatives, but for the time being you can go elsewhere to find less polluting panniers.

  8. #8
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    I use MEC paniers for comuting and touring. Mine are small ones made for MTBs, I'm not sure they are still stocking them, but they are similar to their smaller touring paniers. What I do is put a front panier on the rear for comuting. It's just the right size for carrying the stuff I need around town. I get occasional heel contact (big shoes) even though it is small, just because there isn't a diagonal cut-away on a front panier, but it works fine. Nobody up here will think a single panier is weird it's the norm for pros or comuters. You can carry a ton in a pair and taking two paniers off your bike every time you have to go into a store is a pain.

  9. #9
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    03-20-07, 01:00 PM #7
    TruckerMike
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    Not sure if you guys know this, but the Ortlieb pannier use PVC coating to make them waterproof. Many progressive outdoor companys, like Mountain Equipment Coop, are trying to move away from contributing dioxins (a carcinogen) to the environment. You can read more here

    I'm sure the gang at Ortlieb are looking into alternatives, but for the time being you can go elsewhere to find less polluting panniers.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    First off, Ortlieb bags are made in Germany, not the USA. Although the PCV plastic may well be made in the USA. Yes, it isn't good for the inviromnet, but I doubt any waterproof materal really is.

    The good news is that Ortlieb also uses Cordura on some bags-- these cost a little more, but wear really well.

  10. #10
    Middle-Aged Cyclist markwayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruckerMike
    I'm sure the gang at Ortlieb are looking into alternatives, but for the time being you can go elsewhere to find less polluting panniers.


    I just received a set of 2007 Ortlieb Roller Plus panniers from Wayne at TheTouringStore.com and while it looks like the interior is coated with PVC-type coating, the packaging says that it contains "NO PVC". Maybe they recently changed this with the newer 2007 line?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwayne

    I just received a set of 2007 Ortlieb Roller Plus panniers from Wayne at TheTouringStore.com and while it looks like the interior is coated with PVC-type coating, the packaging says that it contains "NO PVC". Maybe they recently changed this with the newer 2007 line?
    Hey, that's great to hear. I was sure they'd be working on it. Did they name the PVC replacement in their catalogue ?

  12. #12
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    I just got some panniers in the mail yesterday for my commute. I needed something totally waterproof since I carry a laptop. I was not enjoying using a backpack. I initially looked towards the ortlieb rollers since they are so well thought of. Lots of random research led me to discover these bags from axiom - http://www.axiomgear.com/bags_waterproof/typhoon.php I got a pair shipped for just a little more than half the price of the back rollers.

    I used one of them today to carry everything that I previously had betwen my backpack and a truck. It was such a releif to have a free back during the ride to work. The mounting system worked out great. It was hard to tell from the marketing pictures how that would work out. They even came with a free second set of spare mounting hardware in case of a future failure.

    I hope to take some pictures and make a review post once I have used them for a while.

  13. #13
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    I use my Arkel T-28's for commuting and light touring and My T-42's for motel touring and all 4 with the smaller bags on a front rack for self-contained. Works great for me.

  14. #14
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Charlene,
    I have a set of Performance panniers and a set of Arkels. For the money the Performance bags are great. The Epics are huge and durable. After 5000 miles I now use them only for hauling around training loads on my daily rides.

    The Arkels are strictly for touring miles(cost) and are great.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlene
    Any disadvantages to getting 2 large ones, then using only one for commuting?
    I second the notion of smaller is better. Buy panniers only as large as you absolutely need them.

    That being said. I commute with a single pannier all the time; no problem.

    Speedo

  16. #16
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    Also, the *smaller* panniers are still around 25 liters a pair. That's a lot of room.

  17. #17
    My itch crotches to go! treefire's Avatar
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    I made my own from German army alpine rucksacks. Cheap, light, incredibly strong and easy to make also. The bonus is they are cotton canvas. Growing things are good for eating up CO2 right? The dark green helps with stealth camping too. Reuse!

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