I used Vaude Roadmaster saddlebags during my Round Lake Erie tour as well as commuting. While riding around Lake Erie the attachment mechanism broke causing me to use zip ties to hold the bags on. The bags worked well for commuting since the quick release made removing the bags rather easy. Unfortunately the mechanism eventually broke once again.
Later on I sold them to a friend of mine. On his first tour another mechanism broke.
In each case zip ties have saved the day.
I used Arkel GT bags front and rear for my Round Lake Huron tour as well as all tours since then. Not one problem. Secure attachment. Nice organization of gear. Bags feel heavier then the Vaude although I never did do a comparative weighing. I haven't used these bags for commuting. The attachment mechanism would be slower to unload/load the bags then the Vaude. Lots of pockets to allow you to really organize your gear. Rain covers and internal dry sacks are available.
I have an Ortlieb bag on order. THe quick release mechanism is reputed to be quite good and fast for loading/unloading. Bags are waterproof.
Both Arkel and Ortlieb bags have a very good reputation. On personal experience I definately recommend Arkel. Based on reports from several friends Ortliebs are also definately recommended.
Peter Mooney (touring), Bike Friday Pocket Rocket (road), Bike Friday Air Glide (touring)
I've had great luck with my Ortlieb panniers.
And another consideration - I would not be happy using any panniers that are not waterproof by design. There is absolutely no reason to have to either pack in plastic bags or use rain covers!
Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG
Originally Posted by paolo
Thank you for your advice. What about prices ? If you compare similiar and size panniers in these three companies (Arkel, Ortlieb and Vaude), if there any that are cheaper or more expensive ?
If I understand correctly, it seems that the Ortlieb and Vaude are waterproof which is not the case with Arkel ?
Arkel has updated their line of panniers to include a internal "dry" liner, that should keep things from getting wet.I like to use the Pannier covers for Visabilty and to reduce the chance of someone pillfering...the cover is one more thing they have to remove to get into a pocket. From an organizational standpoint nothing I have found beats the Arkel GT line, with the various pockets. Price to me is moot, you can spend a lot of money for something that won't work the way you want and you can spend little money on something that will work the way you want...Spend what ever it takes to get the job done right.
Ortleibs are proven performers on long expeditions. the mounting systems is strong and reliable.
Its nice to have waterproof panniers in the wet but the downside is that in hot, humid climates they can encourage mildew. Anything that goes in damp stays damp.
A touring bike is great as an all-purpose do anything machine. Tourers vary from full exp bikes (Bruce Gorden BLT) to fast, fun day-riding bikes . In the middle are club tourers that are good for either use (Trek 520).
The cx machines you are talking about are not racing cx but are modified for touring with all the brazeons etc.
I purchased the Arkel GT panniers mostly cause i liked the idea of the many compartments available to me. I like to organize everything and have everything where i want it. That being said, you nearly need a site map for all the compartments in the Arkels. It took me several days to find every nook and cranny. I have a MEC cycling backpack that has one main compartment, and I hate having to dig to the bottom to get something, so I knew I wanted something with alot of compartments.
For Waterpoofing, I place everything in see-thru plastic bags, I might pick up the rain covers soon, I'm still undecided.
I've heard alot fo good reviews for the other panniers mentioned, i think it comes down to personality and needs.
1 mtb converted for commuting (actually, collecting dust in the garage), a LHT with "durable components"
one thing i like about vaude (even though the attachment mechanism broke) is that it only has one compartment, itīs true that itīs not that convinent, but during my tours i learned to pack what i would need on the road somewhere i could reach easily(handlebar bag, backpack bungeed to the rack on top of the panniers).