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  1. #1
    ride on.... dan kehlenbach's Avatar
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    Pannier choices...

    Hello all,

    I am new to the touring scene and need some advice regarding pannier selection. What should I look for?? I plan on doing trans-america tour in a couple of years, but for now I will be commuting, errand-running and doing day trips. Are there different pannier styles for different uses (other than capacity)? Is there any brands in particular to look at? Any to stay away from? What about buying used??

    Thanks very much!


    Dan Kehlenbach
    "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam"
    -I will either find a way or make one.

  2. #2
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    Dont skimp on quality.
    For utility use, a quick release mounting is far better than one with a hook-on-elastic.
    Waterproof panniers like Ortleib are made like canoe bags, from welded polyester with a roll-top closure. They are tough and well proven, but not quick to open and lack a side pocket.
    Cordura ones like Arkel are OK, but cheaper grades of Nylon wear quickly, loose their water-resistance and melt on impact with the road.
    Cotton canvas , like Carradice are tough and practical and quite water-resistant.
    I prefer one main compartment and one external pocket. I dont like zips, you cant overload these with bulky items.

  3. #3
    Treking photojtn's Avatar
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    I dido the reply, Don't skimp on quality, you'll pay somewhat more, however they will last a lifetime. Robert Beckman Designs are awesome, you can check out his website at ;Robert Beckman Designs

    He also has info on what to look for, Pros and Cons of Panniers.

    James

  4. #4
    Corsair Satyr's Avatar
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    I own some Carradice Super C front and rear panniers. As mentioned, they are cotton duck, and are very water resistant. Made from same material as oilcloth jackets, which I've found to be waterproof. The Super C's attach and come off easy. For my daily commutes to work, I put the front panniers on my rear rack and am able to stuff everything I need in them, including a lunch. So I would go ahead and just get some large capacity touring panniers and use those for commuting.

    I've heard that the cotton will hold up to UV longer than synthetic fibers, but I can't verify that myself. Basically, I chose the Super C's because I wanted something that would fare well in wet weather and would be sturdy enough to last. Though weight was a mild factor, as I hail from the ultralight backpacking crowd, and the Super C's were mid-weight for expedition class panniers. They were also less expensive than the super high end panniers such as Beckman or Arkel. I purchased mine from Peter White Cycles for I believe $300 US total (160 for the rear, 120 for the front, 20 for shipping).

    Ortleib panniers piqued my interest as well.

    I pack pretty light, so the front and rear panniers are sufficiently large for my journeys, but I've been thinking about converting an old bacpacking stuffsack into a top rack bag.

  5. #5
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    I have used Arkel before. They got stolen Anyway I like Arkel because their service is bar none. They make you feel that you're important and the want to help you meet your cycling goals. Also, they updated their hook/suspension system since I've used them. It was great back then but now it's even more secure and more adjustable.

  6. #6
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    I've used carradice for 25 years. Extremely hardy, if not as trick as newer designs. Depends on the kind of riding you do and the qualities of a product you value the most.

    Strong and simple works for me.

    (my wife concurs on the simple part;-))

  7. #7
    Honorable Member beowoulfe's Avatar
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    I'm solid Carradice. I had a problem with my 3 speed hub box and the pannier. I emailed Carradice and described my problem and sent a picture. Next day I heard from Margret at Carradice and she said she had a fix for my problem what was my home address. Less than a week I had the part at no cost. All was well.

    This is excellent service.
    Greenspeed GTO 1027

  8. #8
    Seen Your Member
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    http://www.xtracycle.com

    i just got mine in, about to do transam w/ it

  9. #9
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    Hi Dan,

    Welcome to touring or utility cycling, or both.

    I want to second what others have said about quality-- panniers aren't the place to skimp. A good set will bring you much satisfaction for a long, long time. A less than good set will surely bring little annoyances before long, and is likely to bring you exasperation somewhere down the road.

    There is more than one good choice, as evidence by what others say here and in other threads. For my part, I'll recommend Arkel. I've got the GT series and I love them. I've had them for well over two years, and have used them constantly and roughly through all of that time. They are entirely undiminished in their performance. The clamps, the zippers, the velcro, the frames, everything is as if it were brand new. The fabric's a little dusty, but not noticeably worn or compromised-- despite sun, snow, ice, rain, and a few gear up landings.

    Whatever you buy, make sure you've got bomb proof attachment hardward, ESPECIALLY IN THE FRONT

  10. #10
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    Hmmmn... the computer jumped the gun there. That's attachment "hardware", not "hardwood" (yikes).

    Anyway, whatever you put in the front of that bike, make sure it DOES NOT MOVE AT ALL when it's on the front rack. Imagine yourself descending at 40 mph, vibration working the attachment hardware loose, your front bag suddenly pulled between your wheel and the fork--- and YOU thrust straight down at the pavement like you were shot from a gun....

    So, don't mess around with the attachment hardware. Get top of the line.

    Good luck.

  11. #11
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    I'm currently building a set of panniers with Arkel's Hook system. Their hook design has never com aloose on me. Now they have it fully adjustable

  12. #12
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merriwether
    Imagine yourself descending at 40 mph, vibration working the attachment hardware loose, your front bag suddenly pulled between your wheel and the fork--- and YOU thrust straight down at the pavement like you were shot from a gun....
    Yes, try and reduce risks with reliable hardware. Sometimes even that is not enough:

    I was touring along (only at around 25kmh, fortunately), hit a bump and my handlebar bag detached, fell in front of the front wheel and swept the bike off from under me. Of course hardware was really not to blame: I had camping gear on my front rack below the bag, so extra caution was needed to make sure the bag was firmly in place. I failed to check that after a break, just dropping the bag in the QR and therefore accidentally leaving the bag semi-attached.

    As I was collecting myself, bike and associated items from the road, I made a mental note to self: all the panniers were still very much attached to the bike (small Alturas at front, larger Haltis at rear). They actually reduced the damage to the bike a lot. When I had bought the panniers I had spent some time getting the attachments just right. Back then it had seemed like an extra effort, but I had realised the risks of loose panniers. But I never thought a loose handlebar bag could cause such a crash.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    I suggest using the arkel. That is what I use and love them.

  14. #14
    Senior Member zoogirl's Avatar
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    I'll second the "secure front gear' thing. I once did a faceplant because my little front generator light slipped around, neatly collecting all the spokes into an unidentifible blob and causing my front wheel to promptly collapse. OUCH! I was riding a 27" too.

    I use wire baskets front and back. The front is a large regulation bike basket with proper supports and the back one is bungied to the rack. My everyday backpack is huge. I estimate it at close to twenty pounds. I carry it in the back basket with no trouble at all.

    I was wondering about the old-fashioned folding back baskets, the kind that mount on the rack and fold flat when not in use. Since I could put my gear into duffles or backpacks and simply drop them in the baskets, this seems like a good idea. A simple bungie across the top in case of bumps and I'd be good to go. Has anyone else tried this?

    Most of the sets like this that I've seen have been on whole bikes for sale at Value Village etc. It would be worth paying twenty bucks for a bike just to get the baskets. I don't know if they still make them.
    I'm too young to be this old!

  15. #15
    Senior Member TimArchy's Avatar
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    what about old cannondale panniers? I've seen some used ones for sale. Were they good enough quality back in the day to be worth it now?

    tim
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Frank
    I will derive power from their cries of despair. My crank a speedy dervish, spinning and spinning through the darkest night that anyone with the audacity to try and suck my wheel will ever see...

  16. #16
    ride on.... dan kehlenbach's Avatar
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    Thanks all....I have been looking at the websites for both Carradice and Arkel. Hopefully I will run into riders with these panniers so I can physically see them.

    Thanks again!

    Dan
    "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam"
    -I will either find a way or make one.

  17. #17
    wonderer, wanderer gonesh9's Avatar
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    I find it strange that no one ever mentions Serratus panniers. There are other brands like Arkel that make great bags, but Serratus are the best that I have seen/used. I have the 56L World Tour bags, and they are superb. Carried 90 lbs of raw vegan food, clothing, and gear through the John Day desert in Eastern Oregon with them, and commute every day with one side with all my work gear. For $182 Canadian (~$140 USD) the value can't be beat. Check it out here: Serratus World Tour 56
    It's tough, has a great locking mechanism, and you can access the main compartment from the side or the top.

    They also carry a 40L set for $139 Canadian, or ~$109 USD, among other items.

    They sell exclusively out of Mountain Equipment Co-op in BC, Canada.

  18. #18
    sport fanatic
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    I found a set of Louis Garneau Traveller 2 panniers in my LBS on special for 100eur (~112USD). Just put em on, will post some pics before I head off this Friday (must update about my trip actually).

  19. #19
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    I can talk from my experience using Ortlieb panniers. I found them superb quality each time they kept all my gears dry in the Alps where I had some rain and much morning dew. The way you close them by rolling the top and secure it with clips is great as you can adjust the size to the volume you are carrying and should you need to carry anything extra, weather permitting you have the option of leaving the top loose giving you huge space. I did not find them to inconvenient to open unlike some other posts and I guess not having a zip is the price you pay to ensure that not a drop of water gets in!

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  20. #20
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Take it from me....spend the $$$ for the highend panniers. My buddy and I bought rear panniers at the same time, he's alittle more "gung-ho" about touring than I am so I thought I'd be fine with some cheaper panniers than the Ortliebs he bought. I bought a set of Delta Expedition panniers and after one short 8 mile ride over to my buddy's house I decided they were not going to work. The backs were too flmsy and swung in to my spokes on bumps and bumpy turns. Once I got to my buddy's place I put one of his Ortliebs on and what a world of difference! The latteral supports on the Ortliebs is much better. Well...live and learn I guess....I have to ship my Delta pans back now. Lucky for me though I found a set of Ortliebs mis-marked at my LBS

  21. #21
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonesh9
    I find it strange that no one ever mentions Serratus panniers....
    They sell exclusively out of Mountain Equipment Co-op in BC, Canada.
    Probably because they're exclusively Canadian?

  22. #22
    wonderer, wanderer gonesh9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDL
    Probably because they're exclusively Canadian?
    Maybe-
    Still, they are a great bag and a great deal- a lot of people order their gear online anyways, so I wonder why it would be any harder to order from Canada? Granted, I did have to pay an extra $5 or so for customs fees.

  23. #23
    Senior Member ajay677's Avatar
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    Serratus is a Canadian company. I've used other products they make - backpack, seat bag and frame bag. Very high quality stuff. The bags are available through Mountain Equipment Co-Op. MEC ships worldwide. (prices are in Canadian dollars so your U.S. dollar goes about 35% farther these days) You can check out the MEC site at mec.ca.

  24. #24
    One less car Jay H's Avatar
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    I love my carradice bags, they are super easy to take on and off, much better than my friend's Performance brand... Makes it easy to pack and put the bags under rain shelter whereas my friend is trying to find the largest tree!

    Serratus is a nice brand too, Although I have no experience with their panniers, I know the rain booties I have from them are great and durable.

    Jay

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