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  1. #1
    Senior Member Roustabout's Avatar
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    Bike Bags, Panniers, Etc. And When Acquired

    Let me introduce myself. I am new to touring and am going to order a Trek 520 as soon as the 2012 models are introduced. I currently bike on an older Diamondback MTB. My wife and I are planning on starting off with credit-card, overnight touring and potentially building up to more than that in the future, depending on how it goes. We are both near 60 years of age and blessed to be in good health.
    The question I have concerns what bags to start off with when considering touring. Hopefully I can build up the volume of essentials brought along as I develop in training. In other words, what bags did you buy first and which ones did you add later as your skills developed as well as longer tour length. I'm sure that most of you did not start off loaded up with front and back panniers, seat bag, frame bag, etc. Also what kind of racks did you start off with and then later add. Thanks for any help you can give.

    Roustabout

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 05-27-11 at 01:22 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  3. #3
    Same but different Carpe Diabolus's Avatar
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    Roustabout,
    I'm in a similar situation--just starting to tour and trying to avoid any costly mistakes. My wife and I are taking heading out for our first tour in June. We're still working out the bike choice (although the LHT is the front-runner). With the info I've gathered from lots of research over the past few weeks, we'll probably go with either the Arkel GT-18 or the Bruce Gordon panniers, and something like the Topeak Tour Guide handlebar bag. For 3-4 days out, it should be able to hold all we need for a CC tour. If we end up doing longer tours, we'll get another set of panniers and move the small ones to the front.

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I use these. I like the three compartments.

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...9_10000_202599


    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    First decide on what you'll be taking, then decide on what you'll need to carry it with. You might want to consider gathering all that you'll be bringing and then arranging it in boxes: four boxes if four panniers etc. IOW's get a sense of how much volume you need. That will make pannier choice less problematic. Perfectly rational people get buy with frame, saddle, and handlebar bags. Others also need four panniers and even a trailer.

    Don't forget that you'll need spare volume for food.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RepWI's Avatar
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    Look at Ortlieb, or, some other waterproof pannier for at least one set. Although they are one big bag with really no pockets except one small interior for small stuff, I use color coded nylon bags for storage. Each bag always holds one class of clothing or equipment. Food is always in one color, clothes in another, tools in yet another etc.

    Different size bags work well. Smaller for stoves, matches, larger for clothes.

    I then have a master list of everything on the bike, which pannier and coded nylon bag in which to find all items. Works great because over time I just know where to locate stuff.
    1974 Mizutani Super Seraph Road Bike
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  7. #7
    Don't be a "Drew" Muttleyone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RepWI View Post
    Look at Ortlieb, or, some other waterproof pannier for at least one set. Although they are one big bag with really no pockets except one small interior for small stuff, I use color coded nylon bags for storage. Each bag always holds one class of clothing or equipment. Food is always in one color, clothes in another, tools in yet another etc.

    Different size bags work well. Smaller for stoves, matches, larger for clothes.

    I then have a master list of everything on the bike, which pannier and coded nylon bag in which to find all items. Works great because over time I just know where to locate stuff.
    Great idea, I'm about to get a set of Ortliebs and would love to see your break down list and how you color code everything. Again great idea.

    Mutt
    I love all my bikes because I have a heart of steel.

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  8. #8
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Start with a good rack and a set of rear panniers. Then add either an handlebar bag or a large saddle bag, depending on your preference. Get the front rack and panniers last.

    For equipment, start with on the road repair tools and worry about camping gear later.

    I'll put in a recommendation for the Jandd Expedition rear rack. A week into a four month tour last year, I crashed hard enough to destroy my front wheel and rip the hooks off of one of my rear panniers. The rack's rear support was slightly bent. I lashed the pannier onto the rack with cord and finished the tour without incident.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Roustabout, Years ago I bought some Nashbar panniers and top bag. They're still good despite having the buckles and straps chewed off when one of my dogs was a puppy. There are better panniers, but the low cash outlay is great for determining if touring is right for you.

    A good carrier (rack) is important also. I like Old Man Mountain (Tubus and Bruce Gordon carriers also are up to the task), but an inexpensive lightweight Blackburn rack maybe all that you need (my Blackburn is good for about 15 lbs).

    Brad

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Axiom Champlain and LaSalle, 3000/1800 cu in. 2 years old, 2500 touring miles. Holding up fine. Better too much room than too little.

    For the gold standard, Ortlieb and Lone Peak. The Touring Store is a good place to buy those. Talk to Wayne.

    Whatever you choose, make sure the rack and bag attach system is compatible.

    I see you're in the neighborhood. Shoot me a private msg if interested in a visit. Click on my scn name to find the msg button.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 05-27-11 at 07:10 PM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  11. #11
    40 yrs bike touring
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    For my first few tours long ago i used whatever inexpensive panniers and racks I could find new or used. Once I decided that bike touring was more than a one off event I researched the available options and tried to fit them with my trip experiences and preferences. I finally settled upon Bruce Gordon racks and Robert Beckman Designs panniers after trying five different pannier designs on intervening trips.

    Take your time and you will get it dialed into your needs and preferences gained from each tour. Not taking the first cookie cutter or consensus recommendation [no matter how well they work for the person making the recommendation] will work better in the long run in my experience. Enjoy your new adventure and let us know how things are working out for you two.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Husar's Avatar
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    After decision paralasys I ended up going with Ortlieb Backpacker Classics. Waiting on them to arrive on Tuesday. Here is a recap. http://www.piratevelo.com/2011/05/25/panniers-ordered/

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    If you buy something good they can last a long time. I bought a set - front and rear panniers and a handlebar bag - from REI in 1992. It lasted until 2008 with only one rivet pulling out - my fault. In 2008 I decided to buy a new tourer and upgrade everything, including panniers. I gave the old tourer and the pannier set to my nephew who rode them from Vancouver, B. C. to San Francisco without a problem.

    When I upgraded I chose Ortlieb Classic Rollers, front and rear, and an Ortlieb handlebar bag. I'm very happy, especially with their waterproofing. I had to use waterproof covers with the REI set, and the handlebar bag didn't come with one; I had to put everything in Ziplocs in the rain. I think these Ortliebs will last at least as long as the REI set did.

    There are other high-quality brands that I'm sure would be great.

    My son wanted to take a tour and didn't have much money. He bought Nashbar Waterproof Panniers (then cancelled the tour; he's planning on trying again this summer.) They look like they'll work great, but the quality doesn't seem as high as with the Ortliebs. I'm sure they'll last for years - hopefully he won't want to upgrade until he has more money.

  14. #14
    Same but different Carpe Diabolus's Avatar
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    I just ordered two sets of Axiom LaSalle panniers, and Axiom Journey Racks--total cost $220 (free shipping too!). We'll get a chance to try them out before the big trip, but for that price it seemed like it was worth a shot.

    We were considering bradtx's suggestion on the Nashbar bags since they were $40 a set, and almost pulled the trigger. I read several favorable reviews of the LaSalles (both here and on vendor sites), and figured it was worth the extra $40.

    I'll share any insights once I've had a chance to try them out.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Roustabout's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info from one and all. It seems like just with any other transaction, you get what you pay for. Just a matter of determining quality versus need. Looks like start off with saddle bag, handlebar bag, rear panniers, and front panniers in that order depending on how much stuff you want to take and length (duration) of trip.
    Roustabout

  16. #16
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    Hello! A rational person!

    Consider getting front panniers before rear panniers. Your bike will be more stable with more weight low and up front..

    You can adapt a smaller rear pannier set (like Arkel T-42's) to fit on the front.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Mid 80's Robert Beckman And Bruce Gordon, were Both in Eugene,OR.

    I have Bruces racks and Bob's world tour panniers for those racks, still.

    though on another bike i got with Tubus racks, i use Ortliebs for lots of utility.

    One is sewn and compartmented, the mounting very solid,
    but slow to mount and remove..

    The open bag welded construction on the Ortliebs are quick to remove, .. a plus or a minus..

    I had no worry about snatch theft of the other bike bags
    when I knew what was involved in strapping them on.

  18. #18
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Axiom Champlain and LaSalle, 3000/1800 cu in. 2 years old, 2500 touring miles. Holding up fine. Better too much room than too little.
    These are very adequate and durable. I bought a pair of LaSalles in 2007 and have used them daily for a big chunk of that time. I recently bought another pair.

  19. #19
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I am also ol...ah, more mature (59).I've used lots of stuff over the past 40 years, you gotta do your own shopping but here is what I have now:

    And my 25 worth is here:
    http://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com...cking-101.html
    http://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com...ller-plus.html
    http://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com...iver-bags.html

    The most important thing is to have fun!

    Marc
    Last edited by irwin7638; 05-31-11 at 09:07 AM.
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  20. #20
    Occasional poster countrydirt's Avatar
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    I am by no means an expert, but let me tell you about my pannier journey. My riding is definitely off the beaten path and because I am notoriously cheap, I decided to build up a modern mountain bike for my touring ride. Because it was a modern bike, I was worried that I would have heel strike issues, so I purchased some kidney shaped Nashbar Euro panniers. Essentially they are an open bag so serve to be stuffed. Later, while online browsing Sierra Trading, I happened upon a set of Lone Peak P099 for a ridiculously small price. So I bought them. After short tours and grocery hauling, I decided to get a little more serious about my touring and purchased a set of Lone Peak P400 rear panniers. The P400's are smaller than the Nashbar bags, but that is by design. I discovered I could stuff too much stuff in the Nashbar bags. So I have about 4000 cubic inches of bag space. The top of the rear rack will hold the sleeping bag and pad and perhaps my Camelbak MULE for off bike hiking. My tent, kitchen and clothes. I do not have a handlebar bag yet.

  21. #21
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Axiom Champlain and LaSalle, 3000/1800 cu in. 2 years old, 2500 touring miles. Holding up fine. Better too much room than too little.
    That's what I have too. Nice panniers for the price. The one problem I had is that they would "bulge" away from the rack if really stuffed. I solved that by moving the mounting hooks higher and closer to the sides. I'm considering replacing the hooks for a better mounting system.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Originally I used fairly small Rhode Gear rear panniers. Because we weren't camping, they were big enough. In fact, the advantage of smaller panniers is that you don't overpack.

    We bought a cheap set of Avenir rear panniers when the Rhode Gear set wore out (after 20+ years). They were cheap and weren't rigid enough. Gave them away. Don't buy bottom end stuff.

    We now have a set of Arkel T-42 rear panniers. We use them for commuting or touring. Quite roomy, well built, easy access because they are front loaders, and made in Canada if that's important to you.

    Make sure that the rack goes rearward enough to prevent the panniers from getting into the spokes (some panniers aren't rigid enough and can whip into the spokes).

  23. #23
    Junior Member Husar's Avatar
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    My bags came in this week. I went with the Ortlieb Backpackers plus their bar bag. I will testing them out this weekend on a long ride. The main reason I went with the Ortlieb over the Arkel was I did not want to have to buy rain covers. I wanted my bags to be rainproof without covers to buy and carry around. After a long ride on the dusty trail it will be great to just spray off the bags right on the bicycle and not have to worry about getting them wet or covering them.

    Here is a quick photo below. More can be see on my site at http://www.piratevelo.com/2011/05/24/long-haul-trucker/.


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