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  1. #1
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    Pannier Recommendations?

    Hi everybody,

    If you've been on the touring section, you've probably seen my posts and you're like wtf? who is this guy? stop filling up my beautiful forum .

    But for those of you who haven't been on the touring forum, I'm biking across country this summer for Autism Speaks and the National Down Syndrome Society. I need a lot of help, so check out my other posts!

    So I was talking to a teacher who is into biking, and she told me

    a. I need front panniers to keep control when going up or down a steep hill, or at least more weight in the front.

    b. Panniers will cost me $$$$$$$.

    She also told me that she uses a milk crate for day trips, do you think it would be possible to have a front pannier, handlebar bag, and use a milk crate?

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    Oh and my original question are there high quality, high volume panniers that are reasonable in cost?

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    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Bike buckets.

    Yes, most think their bicycle is more stable with gear weight distributed front and back. Of course, this encouraging packing more gear than you need. Not a big deal either way really.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 05-06-12 at 08:37 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

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    bikexcountry, Your problem isn't well defined. Is it that the appropriate equipment will cost you $$$$$$$,$$$$$$,$$$$$,$$$$,$$$,$$or $?

    Looky here

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...48_-1___202599

    To me these cost $$. If this is too much you really shouldn't be wasting time on the internets and just load your gear into plastic trash compactor bags for $.

    http://www.amazon.com/General-Electr.../dp/B000274JT4

    the panniers look like a better deal

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    Oh and my original question are there high quality, high volume panniers that are reasonable in cost?
    why high volume?

  6. #6
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    Haha I could make that myself! I'd still probably have to put a pannier rack on though right? Does it have the same storage capacity?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    Haha I could make that myself! I'd still probably have to put a pannier rack on though right? Does it have the same storage capacity?
    $40 is too much?

  8. #8
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    No need to spend all that much for panniers and a rack. Yes, frequently splitting the load between front and rear panniers does improve handling. But the extent of that depends on your bike's geometry and also on your own reaction to how the bike feels. When I carried our daughter in a rear child seat I did use a pair of front panniers and it did slightly improve the feel and handling of my bike. But for regular touring I've still preferred to just use a single pair of large rear panniers. Currently I use the rear version of the Nashbar ones mentioned above. Although they now list for $60, I've frequently seen them for less and they were under $35 when I bought them. Also picked up a rear rack from Nashbar for $10. Both the panniers and rack seem to be holding up well and are shown below while on a tour near the summit of Carson Pass above Lake Tahoe. They've got all my camping gear, clothing, food, etc. inside.

    Last edited by prathmann; 05-07-12 at 12:23 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    You need to read this website on how to completely equip for a tour for ninety-nine cents.

    FWIW my first transcontinental tour was in 1977 I did it with Frostline bags that I made myself from a kit. I only had bags on the rear and used a handlebar bag. Yes getting some weight low on the front wheel will help the handling. The rear wheel is the most heavily loaded on the bike BEFORE you start adding luggage, getting some weight onto the front wheel is only going to help.

    Bike touring is as easy/hard and as cheap/expensive as you want to make it. My first bike tour was with a single speed Western Flyer with a basket on the front. We did a 2 day camping trip, 14 miles out to the camping area, rode 5 miles to the store and back the next day, then 14 miles back on the third day. I routinely come across people touring on bikes that you wouldn't think would make it down the block, only to find out they have been touring for months or in some cases years.

    You want dependable equipment, some people want to tour as lightly as possible, others want to make sure they have every gadget known to man. Some want only the most expensive equipment, others only the best. Some want to go as cheaply as possible. Me? I just want to tour, so I take what I think I need, put it on a bike and ride.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Nashbar or Performance Bike often has their waterproof panniers on sale for pretty cheap and they are quite serviceable. I have used them for a number of longish tours including the Trans America as did my TA companions.

    That said, I would suggest that you figure out your gear list first. Then go over it item by item and consider each item and whether you can do without it or use something lighter. Go over the list multiple times and trim it back. Only take what you actually need plus maybe a few items that are just for enjoyment like a book or a camera. You actually need very little.

    Then assemble the stuff and figure out what amount of volume you need. You can greatly reduce the volume by stuffing things in very small silnylon stuff sacks. If you really cull the list to what you need you are likely to be able to get down to just smallish front panniers and the tent carried on top of the rear rack. If you find you need 4 largish panniers and still have a bunch of stuff stacked in the rack, go back and rethink the gear list item by item a few times.

  11. #11
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    Hi everybody,
    ..............I'm biking across country this summer for Autism Speaks and the National Down Syndrome Society. I need a lot of help.......
    Panniers will cost me $$$$$$$.
    ........
    If you think panniers will cost money - better budget for what it'll cost for food, water and accomodations on your cross country venture. You'll need several meals and snacks every day as well as a place to sleep and wash up. Some things can be managed with a park bench and a convenience store - other things can't. Whatever you carry in your panniers is supposed to reduce your overall expenses as well as provide an alternative for when there's no park benches or convenience stores. Whatever you end up paying for sone panniers - suggest you start looking at them as one of the items that will likely be the LEAST expensive.

  12. #12
    djb
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    a milk crate will work fine.

  13. #13
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    This page has 15 links about panniers. Not all of them will be of interest to you but there are links to how to make your own panniers and discussions of pannier brands, among other topics.
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  14. #14
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I've toured with just large rear panniers and with front and rear panniers. My vote goes for front and rear panniers for two reasons. First, it does a better job of distributing the weight over the wheels. Second, the handling esp. going downhill is much better.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Sewn bags cost less than the German made Seam Welded [Ortlieb] ones.

    A cargo trailer can take the place of Racks and Panniers. and offer room for bulky things
    like Gallon Bags of water, for Desert crossing routes.

  16. #16
    eternalvoyage
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    Lots of options.

    Going with a minimalist (minimal weight, bulk, quantity, and complexity) gear list offers more advantages than it might appear at first glance. If you do it right, you can do it without being underequipped.

    If you make the right choices, you can get it all into a surprisingly compact package. If you like, you can then use a waterproof stuffsack to carry it.

    Or smaller, lighter panniers (or both).

    All those pictures of fully loaded bikes with large panniers can be a bit misleading. The more cutting-edge or recently evolved systems look different. One example is a stuffsack strapped on top of the rear rack with accessory straps, or the setups you can find pictured on the bikepacking sites. Ultralight backpacking sites can also offer tips. Some of the other links already posted also have good information.

    I would find a bike you really enjoy riding.

    Save some money on other expenses by eating out less, buying healthy basic foods, like oats, learning simple but satisfying ways of preparing them, camping more often, etc.

    Then you can afford to have a bike that makes for highly enjoyable riding.

    Also, as some others have mentioned, dropping the mileage-and-destination orientation in favor of a savor-the-day orientation can make for a better journey.
    Last edited by Niles H.; 05-07-12 at 04:11 PM.

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    You do not necessarily need front panniers, like others have said more space means more gear. I have gone on short tours with just my rear Ortlieb panniers and will be starting a cross country ride next week with just rear panniers. Yes, I have ridden with front panniers and this does make the bike more stable, but it really doesn't take long to get used to only having the rear panniers. Just make sure you get a strong rear wheel with at least 36 spokes and you'll be fine. I'm guessing you like to go at at least a medium pace since your around my age and front panniers and the front rack add quite a bit of weight which is only going to slow you down.
    Follow my blog as I ride the TransAmerica bike trail at http://mikesbigride.blogspot.com/

  18. #18
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    What if I did only front panniers and strapped the tent to the back? How would the handling respond, and would I be able to fit all my gear on front panniers (aren't they smaller?)

  19. #19
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    What if I did only front panniers and strapped the tent to the back? How would the handling respond, and would I be able to fit all my gear on front panniers (aren't they smaller?)
    I've put rear panniers on front. It's been fine. Not huge panniers, but medium-large. No problems. Even added accessory pockets (made for REI backpacks) underneath the panniers.

    Tent is fine on back.

    I've also gone with rear-pannier-only systems. Going up steep hills, the front wheel unweights. Even reared up backwards on one steep hill (all the way -- I fell back, like falling off a horse). But if you are aware of the potential for this, it isn't really a problem. The front wheel gets light going up hills. You can adapt to this, though. The rest of the handling was okay. You can adapt to it.

    That said, I like the extra-secure-front-end feeling you get when there is enough weight in front.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    What if I did only front panniers and strapped the tent to the back? How would the handling respond, and would I be able to fit all my gear on front panniers (aren't they smaller?)
    this would be an ideal set-up if loading up a bike near the limits of it's wheels or a bike with rear wheel weight bias, ie. a cyclo-cross bike. Front wheels aren't dished and they have less total load than the rear wheel so they usually last about 3x longer than rear wheels. Handling is slow with a front load but the bike moves more as a whole unit than a heavy rear weighted load where the front is twitchy and the rear tosses the front around.

    You could fit all your gear in a set of front panniers and rear rack load, if you didn't carry more than a set of front panniers and rear rack load.

    The configurations and amount of gear isn't written in stone. Some people go on big trips with two big suitcases and carryon. Some folks go with one suitcase and a small backpack. Some go with just carryon.

    Same with cycling.
    Last edited by LeeG; 05-07-12 at 08:43 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    What if I did only front panniers and strapped the tent to the back? How would the handling respond, and would I be able to fit all my gear on front panniers (aren't they smaller?)
    I did that on my pacific coast tour and it worked fine for the amount of gear I was carrying. I liked the setup quite well. You have to pack carefully to make that work with smallish panniers. As I said in a previous post you really need to figure out what you are carrying before you know how much capacity you need.

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    What if I did only front panniers and strapped the tent to the back? How would the handling respond, and would I be able to fit all my gear on front panniers (aren't they smaller?)
    This is exactly what I have been training with and will be riding on my cross country tour. It took a few minutes before I got used to the imbalance between the front and rear wheels and I haven't had a problem since.
    Follow my blog as I ride the TransAmerica bike trail at http://mikesbigride.blogspot.com/

  23. #23
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Personally I now use Ortlieb Sports Packer plus panniers on the front of my Surly Long Haul Trucker but their lower cost option, Roller Classic would be a good option at a lower price.



    and this is the Sports-Packer Plus



    Regards
    Andrew

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    What if I did only front panniers and strapped the tent to the back? How would the handling respond, and would I be able to fit all my gear on front panniers (aren't they smaller?)
    A lot of people tour that way. On the other hand, if you take standard gear, and it isn't all that expensive, you may need the capacity. People often suggest capacity is ust an inducement to carry more stuff, but some stuff just takes up more space. While in the past people toured mostly with only 2-3 bags rather than 4-5, there wasn't the same list of must have gear back then or synthetic fill, a long list of stuff that takes up more space. And in any case, the rear panniers are one of the few items I actually use a lot between the tours, so they are worth having.


    That said, go this way, and save a bundle:

    rayjardine.com

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Summer , transcontinental trip. 2 aboard.,
    you are really going to be needing to carry more water
    than just filling a few on the bike water bottles, as you go,
    because the SW route is hot, and towns a long ways apart.

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