I’m finalizing decisions on a bike (LHT) that I’ll use mainly for transportation, running errands and getting groceries, as well as some camping & touring. I’ve decided on Ortlieb bags, and have read many reviews, travel journals, etc. but still have some questions:
1. Handlebar bag – Ultimate Plus, but trying to decide between medium & large sizes:
a. For an STI-equipped bike, does the size Large impinge on shift cable space/position more than the Medium-size bag does? (same width & height, but deeper front-to-back) Any shifting difficulties with either?
b. For those who own the large size, do you really use the additional space, or is it overkill? Ever wish you’d gotten the medium instead? Any Medium owners who wish they’d gotten Large?
c. Do you need the extender bracket to clear 'Cross brake levers?
2. Panniers – trying to decide between Rollers & Packers.
a. Rollers - I like how they can be used ‘open’ for max space when grocery shopping (in good weather, obviously), and how they make it difficult for rodents & insects to get at your food when touring, but I’m not crazy about the idea of sealing up moist clothes & camping gear into an airtight drybag.
b. Packers - I like how they provide some ventilation for the contents through the not-completely-closed drawstring top opening. And the external pocket would be nice. Not sure of any downside besides the extra cost. Can these be used 'open topped' for max space or is the lid in the way?
3. Color – yellow/black or black/black combination?
For touring & commuting, I’d think visibility is king, so I’d go with yellow/black combination. I also like how the yellow panels make it easier to see things inside the bag.
But for errand-running / grocery shopping, I’d think low-key is better, so I’m inclined to go with black/black both to attract less unwanted attention and to have a lower profile when I have the panniers inside a store. Plus stealthier camping profile.
Has anyone gotten the yellow/black combo that now wishes they’d gone with something less attention-grabbing? Anyone with black/black that wish they’d gone the other way?
4. I will use use Surly racks front & rear. Photos show a lot of space left above the pannier on the side of a Surly front rack when using a conventional Ortlieb ‘front’ pannier in the low-rider position. What about using a second of rear panniers on the front with this particular rack? Any down-side?
Thanks in advance for your input! (and for reading all this )