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  1. #1
    Senior Member td.tony's Avatar
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    Best VALUE for MONEY Panniers and bike racks?

    just as the title says, I'm looking for the best value for money bike rack and pannier. Bike rack I'm not worried so much, I could probably get that at any store with a bike section around here, but I'm more concerned about picking the right pannier. There are so many different kinds, sizes, and prices so I'm a little confused on which to get. I'm a total beginner and won't be needing to carry much, just food, sleeping bag, tent, emergency supplies, just for a 2 day trip at the max. I think I could probably fit all that with just a rear rack and panniers.

    So which panniers and bike racks would you guys recommend?? specifically for the rear.

  2. #2
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by td.tony View Post
    just as the title says, I'm looking for the best value for money bike rack and pannier.
    Tioga.

  3. #3
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    As you've noticed, there are many variables. Regarding panniers:

    Will you be riding in pouring rain? If so, waterproof pannier > water-resistant pannier with a cover.
    Will you be riding in hot and humid conditions? In that case breathable pannier > hermetically sealed.
    Ecological / socially responsible manufacuring. Any quality pannier will last years and years (decades, even), so it can be argued manufacturing process and materials used don't have a huge impact. But if such things are high in your priority list, it gets even more complicated. PVC vs. cotton duck vs cordura - each have their pros and cons.

    I have Ortlieb Classic Rollers. They're great, durable panniers, although a bit pricey up front. They have a couple of issues in use: lack of compartments, and no ventilation inside the bag. If you put something moist in there, it stays moist. In warm temperatures, moist stuff turns nasty fairly quickly. And there's the ecological question regarding PVC. If I were buying now, I'd probably buy something from the Ortlieb Greenpeace line. But now I'll have to wear the Rollers out first, which should only take about 15-20 years at the current rate.

    If you want something cheaper, I'd suggest looking into water resistant panniers. Those don't generally cost as much as 100% waterproof panniers such as the Ortlieb Rollers. You'll have to waterproof your stuff with plastic bags, but doing that will also provide compartments within the main bag, which is a good thing. Makes packing and unpacking easier during the trip.

    --J
    Last edited by Juha; 12-12-08 at 02:52 AM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member recklesscogniti's Avatar
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    Check out this site for a massive comparison chart. It is outdated, but most of the specs are the same this year. http://lancerushing.com/bicycling/panniers.cfm

    I would first recommend getting a rack with a top platform on it, perhaps a blackburn or a topeak, those are both cheap options and I think they both can hold 25kg (55lbs). You could then put the sleeping bag on the top platform and use the bags for a change of clothes, tools, and food. With this in mind, I'd recommend 1,500-1,800 cubic inches worth of panniers. That is per pair.

    Look at these models

    Arkel t-28's are about $150 a pair.

    I like the Ortlieb Front Rollers, they are waterproof, 1500 cubic inches and $120 or less.
    Ortlieb also sells Back Rollers that are 2,400 cubic inches for $150 if you want more space freedom.

    I think those are two great options. If you want to go really cheap, there is a pair of Jandd Economy Panniers on closeout at http://bicyclewarehouse.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=11321 for 79.99. I'm not sold on the mounting system, but if you added rubber to the metal hooks it would be ok. They hold almost 2,000 cubic inches.

    in closing....if you plan on getting rained on, buy the Ortliebs. If you want a normal set of panniers, buy the Arkels. If you want to save money, but the Jandd.

  5. #5
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    I personally love my Ortlieb bike/sport packer plus panniers, but they were pricey.

    For cheaper, I would also suggest checking out Lone Peak panniers. A set of P-100s (2000 cu. in.) go for $104 at the touringstore. Wayne is a straight shooting guy, if you have any questions about Lone Peak or Ortlieb, he's sure to give you straight answers. He also carries Tubus racks, but those are also a bit pricey and if you aren't planning on hauling a ton, a cheaper rack should work fine.

    Just as a disclaimer, I'm in no way affiliated with wayne or the touringstore.com, just think hes a stand up guy with great service!

  6. #6
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    There are many factors, but I bought the inexpensive Nashbar Waterproof ones and found them quite adequate. Between three of us, we used two sets of rear ones, two sets of front ones, one set of nashbar mtb panniers, and one set of Transit Epic from Performance. They all held up fine for the duration of the TA and some shorter trips. One set of the waterproof ones has been used for daily commuting and is holding up well to that. Performance also sells the same ones. I think you can usually find them on sale and often get 10-15% additional off. I think the 15% off everything is in effect this weekend.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    I don't know where you are, but here in the UK, Decathlon do some nice fully waterproof panniers for 27.00. They're good and big, with a roll top under the flap. I got some others for the same price from Halfords, and they were rubbish in comparison.

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    there's a bunch of cheap aluminum racks for under $40, Sunlite comes to mind, that will work fine. I've been pleased with these Jandd panniers, I'm not a fan of inexpensive panniers that are full of little zippered pockets all over the place. If you need waterproof you can line them with kitchen sized garbage bags.

    http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FEP

  9. #9
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    A Lone Peak advocate here. I did a lot of research before forking out for panniers. The Ortliebs didn't do it for me, well that's not quite right, the Ultimate 5 Compact Bar Bag did. I wanted something waterproof for my electronics and such that didn't mess with the brake and shifting cables (I use STI). On the pannier side, cordura was the material I wanted. Kept most of the rain out, in downpours I used the covers and they worked well. I prefer side panels and most of your cordura panniers are of that sort. Easy to organize. The big selling points for the Lone Peaks was that they had the sizes I wanted, they look great, they didn't have bunches of separate/specialized outer compartments—just enough to be versatile and they're stitched together by stay at home Moms. I like that whole concept. Mine performed admirably—can't criticize anything. The mounting system is simple and works very well. They never came off unless I took them off and I've fallen on a few occaisions.

    With all that said, staepj1's Nashbar/Performance reccommendation is probably the most cost-effective option. I've run across other tourers using them and they've all been quite happy.
    Last edited by foamy; 12-12-08 at 08:01 AM.
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  10. #10
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    The best value for the money is always the least expensive one that will meet your requirements. Since you plan two-day trips at the max, I assume you will postpone the trip if rain is forecast. That allows you to forget about waterproofing. So the best value for the money would be some homemade panniers. There are various web sites that show you how to make them.

  11. #11
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    For quality stuff at a good price, I think Axiom has a good offering.

    Panniers: http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...rand=24&type=T

    Most any of the racks listed here would work fine:

    http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...gory=85&type=T

  12. #12
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    Your best advice is what staehpj1 said above. Go to nashbar.com and get what they have on sale.

    My experience is the same as staehpj1 -- my wife and I have thousands of miles of touring with adequately-priced panniers and racks (Nashbar, Performance, REI). They've held up well and are still going strong. Our touring has been in North America; if I was heading into Patagonia or the Silk Road then I'd definitely want to upgrade.

    I'm going by your own stated criteria:
    Quote Originally Posted by td.tony View Post
    ...I'm a total beginner and won't be needing to carry much, just food, sleeping bag, tent, emergency supplies, just for a 2 day trip at the max. ...

    -- Mark

  13. #13
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    Check out Lone Peak products at thetouringstore.com you can find some really good deals on sets of panniers and some come with handlebar bags too, I think the you'll get the most for your money at this site. They also have Ortlieb if you're interested in those but they are a bit pricier and personally I like the Lone Peaks, that's what I'm going with.

  14. #14
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    Another vote here for the lone peak p-100's; I like having multiple compartments rather than one larger one, since I'm a commuter not a tourer the compartments let me separate books from possibly wet clothes. Though it does make you be more creative for groceries.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    IMO - Axiom panniers and MEC racks.

  16. #16
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    I've been very happy with Ortlieb Classics: simple to get on and off the rack, totally waterproof, durable, easy to clean, and they come with handy shoulder straps. They are a bit pricey, but they're so well made they'll probably last longer than your bike.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  17. #17
    Senior Member td.tony's Avatar
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    thanks for all the suggestions. im not exactly sure of how the panniers attach to the rack, so would i be able to use a certain pannier on one side, and another one of a different size or style on the other or are they supposed to be interlocked together? right now im thinking of just getting one big one on one side, and on the other side something with lots of compartments and pockets to organize and separate things.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    My Axioms can be attached to either side of the rack, although there is a "right" side because if I've attached them correctly, the mesh pocket is at the back. If I've been in a bit of a hurry (i.e. loading and unloading stuff from my bicycle for train travel), I have attached them backward, and it's not the end of the world.

    Some panniers are attached as a pair (I've got a small set like that), but not too many are like that.

  19. #19
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    Value is a tricky thing- How long are you planning on taking tours for? Where are the tours going to be through?

    If you're planning on touring for the next 25 years of your life, then obviously buying something that will last that long, but it more expensive in the short run, is cheaper in the long run.

    And if you're touring through urban areas then it's fine to use as low of quality as "you can get away with," but if you're out in some places without services, then you probably don't want to risk it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Fueled by Boh's Avatar
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    i really like my axiom journey rear rack. I use it every day. its never loosened up and doesnt show any signs of fatigue. i think i paid about 17 dollars for it. I also like that it attaches to your seatstay rack bosses with a tubular aluminum bar rather than flat metal straps.
    Not going to bother with Antarctica

  21. #21
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    While I do like my Ortlieb rollers, I'm very disappointed that the buckles broke and I'll have to find a shoe repair place to replace them. The only thing I can think of is that they used an inferiior buckle that couldn't stand up to the years of use I've seen on other buckles.

    I've found I like having one set of waterproof panniers, and the other set cordura - anything damp at all will go in the cordura ones which are breathable.

    For your purposes, pretty much any pannier will be fine. If you decide in the future to go on a long, extended tour, make sure the attachment system your panniers use is something that can be fixed/replaced easily whereever you'll be. You don't want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with a busted pannier and no way to fix it.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Cheaper non-water proof panniers often last longer than the fancy water proof ones. The PCV/plastic coating wears off the Ortlieb rollers, not right away, of course, but over time.

    There are folks still using the same canvas or nylon bags they bought in 1980-- Nashbar is still selling the old school ones and they'll work fine. Wait for a sale. They have clunky attachment systems and will get wet, but they will last a long time. Buy or make rain covers and learn to pack everything in platsic bags. Blackburn racks, or Blackburn clones are the best buy. For a rear rack and 2 750-1000 cc panniers, I'd bet less than a $100 here in the USA.

    Although, the new water proof bags are easier to use.

  23. #23
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    There are folks still using the same canvas...

    I'm brand new to this and haven't done any touring yet. However, I'm drawn to Carradice for their simplicity and durability. Nelson LF for the seat and Junior for the bars. With this, I don't need a rear rack (though I have a Jandd Expedition I'm not currently using), they're virtually waterproof, and I can lash on a larger waterproof back to the Nelson if needed. Just my IMHO, probably not worth much since I haven't been out on tour yet, but this is what I'm going to use when I do.
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  24. #24
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cave View Post
    Tioga.
    Actually I think it is Topeak for racks (Super Tourist DX) - I always confuse the two.

    Tioga panniers are pretty good value for money.

    Axiom makes a reasonable front rack for the money.

    I think it depends very much on what is available locally. Go to the bike shop and have a look at the various types and prices; check out eBay, you might get lucky and fine a cheap Tubus + Ortlieb combo; have a think about making your own; then decide.

  25. #25
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    I'm drawn to Carradice for their simplicity and durability. Nelson LF for the seat and Junior for the bars.
    I've been thinking about a similar setup for light touring. But this is one case where I'd like to see the product next to my bike before I buy it. I'd want to check for clearance between seat and rear tyre, and also preferrably test ride a bit to see if the bag hits my thighs while pedalling. Carradice do provide the SQR mounting system, lifting the bag up and away from the rider, but I'm not sure the "massive 10kg" max. recommended weight is that massive at all. For light touring it would probably be a great setup. Or for someone who can pack lighter than myself.

    --J
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