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  1. #1
    Senior Member campylover's Avatar
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    Arkel or Ortlieb panniers, handlebar bag????

    Well I am going to get my Surly LHT soon and want to get some opinions on these panniers. I had Arkel a few years ago and liked them very much. (I sold them) but from doing a lot of backpacking I am also looking at the Ortliebs. Are the mounting system just as beefy as the Arkels?

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    Senior Member RepWI's Avatar
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    I do not know what you mean by, "beefy", and have not used Arkels, but Ortliebs are very good. Do a search here and you will find many opinions and even some facts.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    The Ortlieb handlebar bags are very, very good, but the attachment system is expensive to replace and difficult to install. Specifically, it's difficult to re-install if you ever swap out your stem or handlebars. (Here's a review of the attachment system - specifically not a review of the bag itself.)

    I love my Ortlieb Ultimate, and specifically the Ortlieb map holder made to fit on it. The Ortliebs also fit in the Klickfix handlebar attachment - not as elegantly, but they do fit well.

    My Ortlieb front and rear rollers are top-notch panniers. They attach and detach easily and firmly, are nearly bulletproof, and the one time I had a problem (frayed stitching around the bag opening), Ortlieb honored the lifetime warranty and replaced the bag promptly.
    Last edited by neilfein; 08-24-11 at 11:27 PM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member KDC1956's Avatar
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    For my LHT I got a set of Carradice panniers front and rear. They work good for me.That's my 2 cents on it too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Hi

    I have an Ortleib handlebar bag and echo the comments of neilfien with regards to the handlebar bag mount. I am in fact getting a second one to save the swapping around issue. I also use Ortleib bags on the front and will most likely replace my rear ones with Ortleib as well given my experience to date.

    Andrew

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    Recently started using the Ortlieb sport packer and bike packer plus models. The plus models have the QL2 locking system. Seems like you would have to hit some major major bumps before the top mounts would disengage from rthe rack, if they ever would. However, I think the bottom hook is too flexible. My biggest complaint is that the panniers don't cinch down tightly. Maybe they would if I were to stuff them to the gills, but that's not going to happen. Also, getting the flap covering for the outer pocket of the Bike Packers to stay completely folded over sometimes requires some fidgetting. Take my comments with a grain of salt however since my previous set of panniers were made by Robert Beckman Designs, so I tthink I am somewhat spoiled.

    The question you will have to answer for yrurself is whether one one big compartment will suit you for touring because, for the most part, Ortliebs are going to have only one big compartment with no dividers. I didn't have a problem making the swtich, although I wish the front panniers had outer mesh pockets.

    Don't use a handlebar bag so I cannot comment on that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I use Ortlieb Classic Rollers front and rear with a Lone Peak handle bar bag in a matching color (yellow and black) from The Touring Store. I also have a set of Carradice Kendals on order to use on my vintage bikes. When I get a Brompton I will be using a T-Bag and an internal frame backpack...

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  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Ortlieb uses a locking hook, it closes under the rack rail.
    stays shut , till you lift the webbing handle connecting the pair of hooks,

    I have a Klick-fix bar bag mount, and it will also support the Ortlieb HB bag.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-25-11 at 09:17 AM.

  9. #9
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    I have a pair of Arkel GT-18's. They are excellent. I use them for weekend trips and commuting. They are easy to put on and take off the rack. I plan on getting a pair of GT-54's in the near future but I may just get another pair of GT-18's.

    I also have the Arkel Big Bar Bag. It's a decent handlebar bag that serves its purpose. It can hold my DSLR camera equipment, snacks, and whatever else I decide to throw in there. It doesn't go on and come off the mounting brackets quite as readily as the GT-18's do on the rack, but it works.

    If there's anything specific you'd like to know about them, just ask.

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    Klickfix bar mounting is very good and used by several barbag manufacturers inc Carradice.
    I have made major descents on mountain trails with full carardice bar-bags.

    I'm not sure of the Ortleib/Klickfix compatibilt. Ortleib bags works with KF mounts BUT I dont think OL mounts work with KF bags (The bag mount is rivetted to the bag).
    KF spares are readily avaiable include complete bar mounts and spare cables.

  11. #11
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I echo the others - the Ortlieb handlebar bags are great, but the mounting system makes it to that it's extremely difficult to change the bag to a different bike. Once you mount it, it stays on that bike forever.

    As for panniers, I'm the lone voice of dissent here - I don't like the Ortliebs. I don't like the one big bag design - it's OK for a short tour but for longer periods of time I want to be able to organize my stuff so it's quick and easily accessible.

    I also am not a huge fan of the waterproof-ness of them. While being waterproof is great in the rain, how often do you truly ride in the rain? I know most of us choose our routes to avoid major rainy times. Out of our 48 months on the road lately, we only needed our gear to be waterproofed about 8 or 9 months. The rest of the time, breathable panniers were WAY nicer as we didn't have to think about putting damp stuff away. In the Ortliebs if an item had a tiny bit of water on it, the vapor would permeate everything else in the pannier. I ended up riding with my Ortliebs open sometimes in order to avoid the mildew from building up in them.
    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

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I have a couple extra Ortlieb handle bar mounts, ultimate 3
    if any one wants some extras
    they mount with a cable wrapped around the bar 4X and pulled tight.

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    Both Arkel and Ortlieb mounting systems are proven and quite strong to withstand most rough treatments. As long as you have the proper rack to use it with and the proper diameter for which these 2 systems can properly mount on, both won't suddenly eject from the rack when you hit a pot hole or a curb.

    Anyways, you do know that Arkel and Ortlieb are 2 different designs do you? One with lots of pockets and the other is just a dry bag.

    I personally prefer touring with 2 large cloth based breathable panniers with lots of pocket on the rear and 2 Ortlieb classic front panniers. The waterproof bags are used to keep my down sleeping bag dry as well as anything that needs to be kept dry from the elements, while the rest stay in my breathable panniers so no mildew or fungus grow. Having a bad experience touring the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwai) many moons ago with 2 Aqua-Not Serratus waterproof bags as well as my Ortliebs, causing stuff to grow on my clothes, the new arrangement has proven to work quite well!
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 08-25-11 at 01:12 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I have a couple extra Ortlieb handle bar mounts, ultimate 3
    if any one wants some extras
    they mount with a cable wrapped around the bar 4X and pulled tight.
    Actually, would love one for my folding bike; I'll PM you.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    I echo the others - the Ortlieb handlebar bags are great, but the mounting system makes it to that it's extremely difficult to change the bag to a different bike. Once you mount it, it stays on that bike forever.

    As for panniers, I'm the lone voice of dissent here - I don't like the Ortliebs. I don't like the one big bag design - it's OK for a short tour but for longer periods of time I want to be able to organize my stuff so it's quick and easily accessible.

    I also am not a huge fan of the waterproof-ness of them. While being waterproof is great in the rain, how often do you truly ride in the rain? I know most of us choose our routes to avoid major rainy times. Out of our 48 months on the road lately, we only needed our gear to be waterproofed about 8 or 9 months. The rest of the time, breathable panniers were WAY nicer as we didn't have to think about putting damp stuff away. In the Ortliebs if an item had a tiny bit of water on it, the vapor would permeate everything else in the pannier. I ended up riding with my Ortliebs open sometimes in order to avoid the mildew from building up in them.
    9 out of 48 mos. is almost 20%, 1 out of 5 days. Well worth investing in waterproofs IMO. A little care in packing (or not packing) wet gear should minimize any mildew probs. Damp items can be hung on the bike or racks while riding until dry.

  16. #16
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bicycle Hobo View Post
    9 out of 48 mos. is almost 20%, 1 out of 5 days. Well worth investing in waterproofs IMO. A little care in packing (or not packing) wet gear should minimize any mildew probs. Damp items can be hung on the bike or racks while riding until dry.
    This is exactly what I love about bike touring - we all do it so differently! I look at this and say if it's raining ONLY ONE out of five days then it's not that big of a deal to put stuff into plastic bags for that one day. Better that than to deal with mold and mildew for the other four days.

    Actually, I did what was mentioned above - I had Ortliebs on my front for stuff that had no moisture in it whatsoever and had breathable cordura panniers with plenty of pockets in the rear. If I was to do another long tour I would ditch the Ortliebs and get another breathable set with pockets for the front.
    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

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by campylover View Post
    Well I am going to get my Surly LHT soon and want to get some opinions on these panniers. I had Arkel a few years ago and liked them very much. (I sold them) but from doing a lot of backpacking I am also looking at the Ortliebs. Are the mounting system just as beefy as the Arkels?
    If you search the internet, you will find that a few people that are on world travels that live out of their Ortlieb panniers have complained that the lower hook can brake in a crash. Also there are some inserts that are used to size the Ortlieb pannier hooks to the rack. On panniers that have had several months of continuous use, those inserts can fall out.

    I knew the above before I bought my Ortliebs. It is unlikely that I will ever use them so much that I will have those problems.

    I have never used Arkels. Since both Arkels and Ortliebs have proven mounts, instead of focusing on the mounts, I think you should focus on what do you want, the giant waterproof bag versus the bag with lots of little pockets. I often strap damp stuff on top of my frontrollers. If I was going to be on a really long trip (months) with the Ortliebs, I would also carry a mesh duffle that I could put on top of the back rack for dry days.

  18. #18
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
    Anyways, you do know that Arkel and Ortlieb are 2 different designs do you? One with lots of pockets and the other is just a dry bag.
    Arkel also make 2 sets of waterproof panniers.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

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    [QUOTE=neilfein;13128617]The Ortlieb handlebar bags are very, very good, but the attachment system is expensive to replace and difficult to install. Specifically, it's difficult to re-install if you ever swap out your stem or handlebars. (Here's a review of the attachment system - specifically not a review of the bag itself.)

    QUOTE]

    I had a very similar experience with a Louis Garneau front bag, which I think has the same cable mounting system. It was very difficult to install. Once installed I found the bag was too large for everyday use and I removed it. However, as I removed the support I realized that I would not be able to reinstall it using the same cable, for the reasons stated in your review. Additionally, the mounting bracket had a tendency to slip downward. Big disappointment all around.

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    Cable-based barbag mounts cannot slip downwards: the cable is wrapped around the stem to prevent slippage.
    When you remove the bag, you leave the mount on the bar, permanently.

    I have toured with Carradice canvas rear bags and Ortleib front bags. The ortleibs are useful for food and drystuff. I had a pesto leakage in the pannier and simply hosed it out.
    Canvas is better for clothes since it reduces mildew conditions, but I still carried dry clothes inside a thin drybag.

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    I have the Arkel recumbent panniers (RT-60) and the Tail Rider trunk bag. I bought them without seeing them in person after looking at Ortlieb's offering at my local REI store. They are versatile, strong, and well made. They do what they were intended to do and I'm surprised they are not used by more people. The panniers are adjustable to fit your rack and have handles that disengage the locks upon lifting so you can simply carry them like luggage. The words, "form and function" describe them nicely.
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  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Folks that use the Bike Friday packable split bar, have said they like the Arkel Bar bag ,
    because each portion stays on a bar section, when the bar and bike get packed for travel

  23. #23
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    Which is handlebar bag mounting system is more canti or centerpull brake cable-friendly, the Arkel or the Ortlieb?
    Last edited by wintermute; 08-30-11 at 08:06 AM. Reason: I'm an idiot and forgot to mention that I was asking about handlebar bags
    1980 Motobecane Grand Jubile ~ 1986 Kuwahara ATB Drop Bar Convert (WIP) ~ 1991? Spec'zed Rockhopper ~ 2006 Bianchi Volpe

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
    Which is mounting system is more canti or centerpull brake cable-friendly, the Arkel or the Ortlieb?
    If you are talking about panniers (as opposed to the bar bags), I don't see how the Ortliebs (or any pannier, for that matter) would ever have any effect on cables.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    If you are talking about panniers (as opposed to the bar bags), I don't see how the Ortliebs (or any pannier, for that matter) would ever have any effect on cables.
    Sorry, I should have specified - handlebar bags.
    1980 Motobecane Grand Jubile ~ 1986 Kuwahara ATB Drop Bar Convert (WIP) ~ 1991? Spec'zed Rockhopper ~ 2006 Bianchi Volpe

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