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  1. #1
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    Need help deciding on panniers

    Hi Everyone,

    I just got my first touring bike a few weeks ago and I'm beginning to outfit it. Initially I was thinking of going with Ortlieb or Arkel panniers but I've been doing some research and the Axiom stuff seems pretty hard to pass up given the price. I'm planning on doing a cross country tour in the next year or two, but for now I'm going to use the bike for commuting and the occasional fully-loaded 2-4 day camping tour . I'd like to go with just a rear rack and panniers for now to keep costs down, and I'm trying to decide between the Axiom Champlain (3300 cu. in.) and the Axiom Lasalle (2400 cu. in).

    I'm leaning towards the Champlain's because I anticipate needing the extra space for a fully loaded cross country tour, but would I find all of that space unnecessary for just weekend touring. I'm contemplating getting the Lasalle's to use as rear panniers for now, and then moving them up front for the xc tour. I know that pannier size is a personal issue but any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Forever CLYDE ! cyberpep's Avatar
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    After years of using panniers simular to the Axiom's you are considering I finally got tired of getting wet cargo when ever it rained. I even lined them with garbage bags but after a while that got tiresome. After many people telling me I will never regret buying Ortlieb I am finally getting a set of waterproof Ortlieb's. In the end it boils down to the question do you want to keep your stuff dry or not.
    It's been my experience that it doesn't matter if I am going for 2-4 days or 2-4 weeks, if I am camping I still take roughly the same amount of equipment with me.
    Remember if you have extra room with a large pannier, you will probley fill it with heavy stuff that you will likely not need or use.
    I know of a guy who uses 4 Lasalle panniers and has plenty of storage room, but also has wet stuff when it rains.
    I think I would start with 2 Lasalle's and see how your packing goes.
    Happy touring!
    2003 Giant Cypress R
    2007 Cannondale T2000

  3. #3
    Senior Member 82times's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberpep View Post
    After years of using panniers simular to the Axiom's you are considering I finally got tired of getting wet cargo when ever it rained. I even lined them with garbage bags but after a while that got tiresome.
    As for rain, if you use a decent set of raincovers and have fenders, this shouldn't be a problem. I've always used (bright-colored) covers on the outside of panniers when the rain kicks in, but have never tried lining bags with anything to keep gear dry. I haven't used these specific panniers, but had whatever Performance's branded panniers were 5 years ago and the included day-glow covers worked great in all kinds of rain including big 'ol downpours.

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    I like that the axiom's come with the yellow rain covers included. Most other brands require you to buy them aftermarket. I'm leaning towards the lasalle's but I'm just worried about the lack of space since I'd only have 2 panniers. Also, how do you affix the tent to your rack...bungee cords?

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    Quote Originally Posted by grantman18 View Post
    I like that the axiom's come with the yellow rain covers included. Most other brands require you to buy them aftermarket. I'm leaning towards the lasalle's but I'm just worried about the lack of space since I'd only have 2 panniers. Also, how do you affix the tent to your rack...bungee cords?
    Many people use bungee cords, but I strongly prefer nylon straps with fastex buckles, like this:
    http://www.rei.com/product/380043

    This is just an example, these come in many lengths and widths, or you can buy the strap and buckels separately. I like these better because you can always get it pulled tight, even when loading different amounts of junk on the rack, and they don't try to put your eye out the way bungees do. I use 2, they are too long and I just tie up the extra tail and tuck them in, or sometimes the tails get used to tie something else on there (laundry, groceries). They go either crossways or long-ways, depending on what I'm attaching. Careful not to let the tails or any other things dangle into your wheels/brakes.

    FYI, I find my Arkels to be too heavy. They aren't kidding about "overdesign" - very high quality product that will last forever, but really heavy.
    ...

  6. #6
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grantman18 View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I just got my first touring bike a few weeks ago and I'm beginning to outfit it. Initially I was thinking of going with Ortlieb or Arkel panniers but I've been doing some research and the Axiom stuff seems pretty hard to pass up given the price. I'm planning on doing a cross country tour in the next year or two, but for now I'm going to use the bike for commuting and the occasional fully-loaded 2-4 day camping tour . I'd like to go with just a rear rack and panniers for now to keep costs down, and I'm trying to decide between the Axiom Champlain (3300 cu. in.) and the Axiom Lasalle (2400 cu. in).

    I'm leaning towards the Champlain's because I anticipate needing the extra space for a fully loaded cross country tour, but would I find all of that space unnecessary for just weekend touring. I'm contemplating getting the Lasalle's to use as rear panniers for now, and then moving them up front for the xc tour. I know that pannier size is a personal issue but any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    I use Axiom LaSalles. At 40L a pair, they have good compression-type straps on the front, rain covers and the hooks have not come free. I use a single one for commuting to work and a pair for dragging groceries. They are quite compact and I haven't had an issue with heel strike. Still (mostly due to the compression straps, but also due to the top-loading draw-string thing, they seem to fit a huge amount of stuff. When I first got them, I thought they were a little small, but soon proved that each of them could hold more than the day-pack I was using at the time.

    If you do find them a little too small for touring, you can always set them aside for your front panniers. But in the commuting and 2-4 day tour category, these will probably be sufficient.

  7. #7
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    I have both the LaSalles and the Champlains. The Champs are very large and you won't likely need those for what your initial plans are. I use my LaSalles most of the time in front or in back and they are more than large enough for anything short of a cross country tour. Actually, two pair of LaSalles would probably due the trick even for that.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by grantman18 View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I just got my first touring bike a few weeks ago and I'm beginning to outfit it. Initially I was thinking of going with Ortlieb or Arkel panniers but I've been doing some research and the Axiom stuff seems pretty hard to pass up given the price.
    I can vouch for Arkel panniers. I especially like the Dolphin model, which are waterproof like Ortliebs, but have a few extra pockets. I haven't used them for commuting, but they would be great for that, as well as touring.

    I had an Axiom rack on my previous bike, and liked it. It was cheap and worked as advertised. No idea about their panniers though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    Check out Seattle Sports Panniers. Very good looking, high quality, and inexpensive.
    View my blog: climbhoser.blogspot.com

  10. #10
    Forever CLYDE ! cyberpep's Avatar
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    I would agree that bright colored rain covers do help make you more visable in the rain and I have even put them on when there is fog to help improve being visable. They may even sort of work during a short downpour but my experience is that after riding through rain for a whole day the panniers will be soaked. If you want to be dry buy waterproof panniers.
    2003 Giant Cypress R
    2007 Cannondale T2000

  11. #11
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    i have a pair of ortlieb front panniers that are brand new that i would sell for a reasonable price.

  12. #12
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Check out Jandd panniers as well. I took a set of there waterproof "hurricane" panniers on my year tour. They held up pretty well, and I really liked the simple attachment system (simple "J" hooks). They also had a simple locking type mechanism which kept them from flipping off the rack over awefull "roads". These were the old style, the newer ones have a different attachement system. -You might still be able to find the older versions around at e-tailers/local bike shops.

    -I also used Jandd mountains commuting/short trips for years.

    I like the darker colors the Jandds come in (the new Hurricane bags are too bright IMO). For better on road visibility I put a reflective triangle on my left (or right-depending on country) rear bag. The darker colors give me better peace of mind when free camping of being harder to see from a distance.
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    Last edited by Camel; 05-14-08 at 12:59 PM. Reason: edit-adding pic:
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

  13. #13
    Senior Member pasopia's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of ortliebs, I have a full set of the classic version. Before that I had some crap performance panniers that came with rain covers. I thought the rain cover thing was a big hassle. Every time it started to rain I had to pull over and put on the covers. I really like the convenience of having a waterproof pannier. Rain just isn't issue.

    One thing that is an issue for some people is that they tend to make your clothes smell more. If you put wet clothes in an ortlieb and close it, it is staying wet. When I need to air/dry out my clothes I either strap them to the top of my rack, or in between the strap on the top of a pannier. I think I would do this even if I didn't have waterproof panniers though.

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