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Old 08-12-11, 09:43 AM   #1
M_S
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Find my perfect panniers

I'm getting my gear together for a north to south ride through France in September/ early October, and I have decided that the old, small panniers I have used for short tours are just not up to the task.

My wants/needs:

- I will only be using rear panniers plus a front rack bag (small front rack with no lowrider provisions) so they need to be decently large. How large? Probably at least 40 Liters fro the pair. but I'm trying to pack light.
- Waterproof would be great but not necessary. No sponges though.
- I strongly prefer one or two big pockets to tons of little nooks and crannies that I forget even exist and thus lose things in my own bags.
- Ease of carrying off-bike is a consideration but probably the least important.
- Durable! I suck at taking care of things.
- They need to look great, like me.

I know I'm, pretty much describing the Ortlieb Classics, but I want to be aware of other options before I automatically hand over my money to the German Empire of Touring, which was my first inclination.

I did run some searches, I just need affirmation that I am making the right choice.
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Old 08-12-11, 11:59 AM   #2
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carradice make fantastic panniers every bit as good as ortliebs ,you need waterproof if your going to be touring france honest lol. anyway Google carradice and drool over there stuff.
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Old 08-12-11, 12:10 PM   #3
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The Carradry stuff looks good but a cursory search finds it only on dotbike where they aren't in stock. Any idea where I can find them?

EDIT: found them at Wiggle. Price is pretty good.

Last edited by M_S; 08-12-11 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 08-12-11, 02:16 PM   #4
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yes wiggle are good got stuff from then before .spa cycles .co.uk have them as well also sjs cycles thats thorn are great but might be a bit more expensive.
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Old 08-12-11, 02:37 PM   #5
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I'm an Arkel fan (though only have a handlebar bag and trunk bag). They're waterproof enough and I pack things in Zip-Loc bags anyway. The downside is they are costly and heavy. On the other hand, I find myself touring with my 30 year old Cannondale panniers which have been beat to hell but are light (though relatively small). Pour a glass of water on them, though, and everything is soaked inside.
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Old 08-12-11, 02:55 PM   #6
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Sewn bags have needle holes, so need rain covers..
with taped or seam sealer applications on the stitching for the seams

Caradice and Berthould's use Canvas , Tight woven cotton swells when wet,
and blocks further water passage.
and will absorb a wax type water repellant.

Buy lots of Ziploc freezer bags to put stuff in to keep it dry, if the bag has some porosity..


But, I use My Ortlieb back roller classic bags all the time , not even on tours,
shopping for groceries , and all sorts of other stuff..

a bit of extra cleverness , and one can add a couple snaps or D ring and hooks
by using the same screws that hold the hook rails to the bags.
to have them pair up, better

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-12-11 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 08-12-11, 04:06 PM   #7
antokelly
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mind you i use bikepacker plus ortliebs fantastic panniers but the op is looking for something other than ortlieb i think.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:11 PM   #8
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I think ortliebs would be fine I just want to be aware of other similar options. Deuter stuff looks pretty good too. Not waterproof but they come with raincovers. Any thoughts?
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Old 08-12-11, 11:33 PM   #9
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The Arkel Dolphin 48 sounds pretty much exactly like your wish list. As an added bonus, what I would consider the best mounting system out there.
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Old 08-13-11, 02:18 AM   #10
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I have used my Carradice Super C panniers almost every day for the past 16 years. I have carried out some repairs on worn areas but they should be good for another few years.
They are surprisingly light compared to a lot of synthetic material panniers, mainly due to their ultralight but durable stiffening.
The material is pretty water resistant but I use a thin nylon drybag these days for extra security.
My front panniers are Ortleib so I swing both ways.
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Old 08-13-11, 03:10 AM   #11
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Vaude is an other German outdoor brand, they also sell some good waterproof panniers. They're often considered about equal in quality to the Ortliebs (which are the standard around here). Might be worth a look!

I decided to get the Ortlieb ones and use them for anything: shopping, touring, carrying sports gear, ... The carrying belt is great off bike.
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Old 08-13-11, 10:25 AM   #12
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I could throw a few more names at you but you already have plenty to look at. I am a big Carradice fan and would go with the Super Cs (1st choice) or the Carradrys. The latter are cheaper and PVC is tough as nails but hard on the environment if that is an issue for you.
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Old 08-13-11, 12:28 PM   #13
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A waterproof bag is a double edged sword. Anything with a remote amount of moisture can (and will attempt to) become a mess. It's recommended that you zipper bag / dry sack everything important - even in a waterproof pannier (like an Ortlieb).

I've used many different bags. Ortlieb were nice in the rain / muck / mud. Arkel were some of my favorites, though lacked much for pockets. Old Carradice are classy. Random old French (see: Sologne) and custom-made leather ones continue to be my favorites. They're the costliest, though.
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Old 08-14-11, 12:32 AM   #14
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All I have tried are Ortliebs, front and back. I have used the back rollers for around 9 years, daily commuting and touring, and found them faultless. If you are going to be riding in the rain a lot, then proper waterproof panniers are a must. Also, most of the bicycle tourers I have met around here use Ortliebs, including some that I have spoken with who have toured multiple countries. Ortliebs are also strong as hell and seem to last forever, I don't even remove them when crossing rivers.

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Old 08-14-11, 12:52 AM   #15
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Anyone try Laplander bags?
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Old 08-14-11, 09:59 AM   #16
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. I actually ended up with a pair of Arkel GT-18s yesterday. I'm trading my beater fixed gear for them, which I'm not really using, so getting a great deal on what were 200+ dollar panniers is preeeeetty nice.

They don't check every box on the list, but they're really nice and just the right size. I'm super impressed with the construction quality on them. They do have a waterproof internal pocket but I am going to experiment with using a large backpack cover to keep rain off. I've done this before with success on short tours in Oregon.
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