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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    Help me pick from a few grocery panniers.

    I need a new pair. The cheap one's I bought didn't connect to my rack very well and they flop around and are starting to wear and tear. For reference, the one's I have are the M-Wave Double Day Tripper Bicycle Pannier. They are a great size, but they don't attach to the bottom rack easily (it's a clip/strap system that is tough to get on and off and dangerously close to getting entangled in the spokes).

    I've read a lot of threads here, but none really talk about anything in my price range (~$50). I realize there's a lot of great Ortlieb, etc types out there, but they are too much for me right now. I simply need a good set that I can use for the grocery store/commute and possibly a short tour eventually. And they need to connect solidly to the bottom of my rack so they don't flop around.

    Choice 1: Axiom Seymour LX Pannier Set - These seem (from the pics and description) to have a good, solid and easy to use system to attach the bags. I'm a little worried by the 2.5" stated width of the bags, it doesn't look that narrow in the pics. Never heard of this brand, reviews seem good if not all that many. Also a plus is they are separate, so I can just hook on one if I only need one.

    Choice 2: Avenir Excursion Small Panniers - I'm not very sure about these, so I'm hoping someone out there has a set. There's nothing said about how they connect, there's no dimensions listed (even on the manufacturer's web site). But it has good reviews and is in my price range.

    Choice 3: Banjo Brothers Saddlebag Bicycle Pannier - Probably the best known, right? I know Banjo Bros has a good rep, and from reading the manual on their site, it has a good hook-style system for attachment on the lower rack. Dimensions look good....if anything they are larger than the one's I have now.

    So....anyone own these? Any ideas on which seem the best? I really like #1 due to they are separate, but no idea on their quality. #3 seems like a no-brainer, but who knows. #2 is there simply cause it seems popular....I'd really need to hear a fabulous personal testimony from someone who owns one to really move it up the list.

    As always, thanks for any input you can give!

  2. #2
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    I've used Axiom Champlains for several years. I can't remember what they cost (probably not $50), and they may not even be available now if discontinued, but they've done very well and as far they are concerned Axiom could be considered a decent brand. The seams have not loosened despite some heavy loads, the panniers still sit tight on the frame, and the reflective strips haven't dimmed.

    I can't tell you about the other brands, but somebody else will.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadCityCyclist View Post
    I've used Axiom Champlains for several years. I can't remember what they cost (probably not $50), and they may not even be available now if discontinued, but they've done very well and as far they are concerned Axiom could be considered a decent brand. The seams have not loosened despite some heavy loads, the panniers still sit tight on the frame, and the reflective strips haven't dimmed.

    I can't tell you about the other brands, but somebody else will.
    Thank you. The Axiom, a Canadian brand seem to be a quality product despite the lack of reviews on Amazon. They are a tough decision for me between them and the Banjo's.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Unless you plan on leaving the panniers on the bike while shopping and simply placing the stores bags inside them for the ride home, I would recommend that you avoid saddlebag panniers. Most of that type of design Iand all in your price range) are a hassle when mounting or removing from the rack, especially when loaded. Should you end up leaving the panniers on while parked, Wald folding baskets would be a more economical choice.

    Out of curiousity, what rack are you using? If it is of a similar design to this one, I'd strongly suggest in upgrading racks as well

  5. #5
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    I suggest that you stick with the brand you've got ( http://www.amazon.com/M-Wave-Double-...-2147483553-20) and modify them with zip ties to solve your flopping problem.

    That or Wald folding baskets.........
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    I'm positive that I'm using saddlebag-style panniers. I've used them before and I know that I like them. I just don't like the quality/design of the ones I have now. Folding baskets aren't an option, I want to be able to remove the panniers for when I just go riding...which is also why using zip ties isn't an option either.

    I have a Blackburn rack, which is what came with the bike but is also pretty good quality...no need to upgrade there at all.

  7. #7
    Junior Member VanTiki's Avatar
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    I'd take a look at donkey boxxes - I hear noting but good things about them!

    http://www.donkeyboxx.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have a couple of Banjo Bros bags and the quality is top notch. I have not had any of the other brands you mentioned, so can't help you there. I have one Banjo Bros rack bag with drop down panniers that gets used on several different bikes, it my main go to bag for rambling around with.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I have a couple of Banjo Bros bags and the quality is top notch. I have not had any of the other brands you mentioned, so can't help you there. I have one Banjo Bros rack bag with drop down panniers that gets used on several different bikes, it my main go to bag for rambling around with.

    Aaron
    Thanks! The Banjo's really seem good. I went to their website and they seem like a good company all around. Good products with good prices and sensible policies.

  10. #10
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    I know it's not on your list, but the Arkel "Utility Basket" (it's a bag, not a basket...)is absolutely unbeatable. It's more expensive than the ones you linked, but unlike those ones, it's not made out of cheap nylon, with poor stitching that will come unraveled and cheap zippers that will break. The Arkel also has an internal metal support, so when loaded it doesn't dive into your spokes. The mounting system on the Arkel bags is also top-notch. They go on and off in a second, literally. They have a bungee hook at the bottom, which I've never used, as they do not flop around at ALL, not even if I lean the bike from side to side. They're huge and they hold their shape even if loaded with a few gallons of milk. They are a good bit more expensive than the ones you linked, but far better value for the money, as you'll never replace them and never wish you bought a better bag (since there are none better).

    http://www.arkel-od.com/us/utility-basket.html

  11. #11
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    I myself like these from axiom

    http://www.modernbike.com/itemgroup.asp?IGPK=2126177632

    They hold a lot of weight and look nice. I use a strap to hold mine to the bike as the fasteners they have just take too long to use.

    I would recommend avoiding folding baskets as they have a tendency to fail when loaded. I lost a weeks groceries that way and will never trust them again.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by harshbarj View Post
    I had a pair of panniers very similar to those from Basil (probably a bit higher quality than the Axiom brand ones) and I ended up returning them after just one use as they were not suitable (imo) for groceries. I suppose if you only buy a few boxes of cereal and a loaf of bread or something, they'd be fine, but anything with weight causes them to sag and dive toward the spokes. The softer, cheaper grocery panniers also tend to flop around a lot, which makes handling iffy. The "Dutch" style bags that are attached in the middle also require (should have, at least) a Dutch style pannier rack, which is wider than the ones most commonly found in USA. You can put it on a narrower rack, but it doesn't hang right. I strongly recommend against any connected pannier bags unless you know the space between the bags will match the width of your rack.

    For groceries (sacks of potatoes, gallons of liquid, etc), something with real structure is much better. I can't possibly recommend my Arkel "Utility Baskets" enough, they are beyond fantastic, but pricey (and worth it). For something a bit cheaper, I used to use a Basil "Cardiff" rear basket. The have long 'hooks' that simply slide down on your pannier rack rails, so they go on and off in under a second. They stay put rather well. They are reasonably priced at about $65 for a pair. You can take them off, slide them over the top edge of the grocery cart and fill them as you shop, making over-buying really hard to do. I still have a pair, though I rarely use them. The biggest complaint I had about them was the shape. They taper slightly from top to bottom, which causes things to sort of wedge down into it and the bottom isn't quite wide enough for a paper grocery sack. If you line it with a cloth reusable grocery bag, it works really well, though. You can toss a dry sack in them and go on tours as well. They aren't all that heavy (about the same as my Arkel bags) and pretty durable.

    Basil Cardiff: http://www.amazon.com/Basil-Cardiff-.../dp/B000YO7LTK

    The bottom line is I recommend you wait and save and get a good set. Whether it be some Arkel or Ortlieb or whatever. You've already bought one set of cheap junky panniers and they are falling apart. Sure, you're looking at $50 ones now instead of $25, but neither price-point is truly going to get you a quality bag. Sure, my Arkels were $130 each, but I use one of them every day (and add the other one at least once or twice a week, I usually just use one). The one I use daily has absolutely NO wear and tear whatsoever after a full year of hard use. I fully expect it will last at least another decade. $260 (for the pair) once every 10 years is less money than $25-50/yr.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwinks View Post
    I had a pair of panniers very similar to those from Basil (probably a bit higher quality than the Axiom brand ones) and I ended up returning them after just one use as they were not suitable (imo) for groceries. I suppose if you only buy a few boxes of cereal and a loaf of bread or something, they'd be fine, but anything with weight causes them to sag and dive toward the spokes. The softer, cheaper grocery panniers also tend to flop around a lot, which makes handling iffy. The "Dutch" style bags that are attached in the middle also require (should have, at least) a Dutch style pannier rack, which is wider than the ones most commonly found in USA. You can put it on a narrower rack, but it doesn't hang right. I strongly recommend against any connected pannier bags unless you know the space between the bags will match the width of your rack.
    I have packed them with 8 2 liter bottles with no problems. Each one will hold a full paper grocery bag. You have to have a well designed rack to use these so they don't tip into the spokes, though I'd assume that's the same for any bag. My dutch bike has no problems with these bags, both because of the rack and the coat guard, but my junk mountain bike (that I no longer use) with mostly junk parts common to american bikes is just not that good.

    As for baskets, I just can't recommend them. They offer what your carrying no protection and will rust unless you get a real good pair. The Basil's in particular have a tendency to fall off from the reviews I have read.

    No matter how you go I do suggest bungee cords to hold them to your bike. I have carried everything from new office furniture to full computer setups that way by bicycle. They are the answer to about any need and can still look nice if you get high quality ones.

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I just use My Touring Ortlieb panniers , they pop right off, I lock the bike up, and put them in the cart.
    then at check-out, i lay them on the feed belt 1st.

    the store credits a nickel for every store carryout bag I don't use..

    then packed, I put hem back on the bike and ride home..

    Grocery bag panniers are square botom so kicking them while pedaling becomes a problem
    with other than old beach cruiser bikes, with quite Long chainstays..

  15. #15
    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    I've made my choice, and I ordered the Banjo Brothers bags. I really considered the Axiom bags, but the published size of a 2.5" width scared me off. I appreciate all the help and I feel good about the Banjo bags. I'll update the thread with a quick review when I get them and have a chance to ride around a bit.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Amazon is way off on the dimensions of the Axiom bags. Here's the archived product info from Axiom- http://axiomgear.com/archives/
    They state the measurements as 13.5"x10"x6".

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Amazon is way off on the dimensions of the Axiom bags. Here's the archived product info from Axiom- http://axiomgear.com/archives/
    They state the measurements as 13.5"x10"x6".
    Even more glad I didn't order them. That seems quite small for some grocery panniers.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
    Even more glad I didn't order them. That seems quite small for some grocery panniers.
    Ah, but I don't think they were designed (or marketed) as grocery/market panniers. Current Axiom product for that purpose is the Hunter DLX, which is sized to take a (rare around here) brown grocery paper bag. No longer in production, their Gatherer Shoppers and Dutch Shoppers were the big bags marketed for going to the market with.

    That being said, if I was on a tight budget, my first choice would probably be the Wald Folders- if I had a dedicated utility rig. If on a moderate budget (and assuming heel strike could be avoided), I would opt for the Banjo Brothers Market Panniers and if money was no issue... the Arkel Shopper.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    Right, but remember I also wanted to be able to function as a light/weekend tour and <$50. There's plenty of single "sack" options out there (the paper grocery bag is rare here as well), but I wanted a double like the types I listed. I think the Banjo's will be a good compromise between cost/quality...we'll see.

  20. #20
    Rocketship Underpants Dwayne's Avatar
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    I recently purchased a set of Ortlieb Classic rear panniers for about $115 on sale (which they do frequently) and shipped from Probikekit, much cheaper than any US-based seller I could find. They hold quite a bit, plus you can always leave just one on for a waterproof every day commuting bag. Just throwing that out there, I know it's more than your budget you set, but since you mentioned interest in Ortlieb...
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  21. #21
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne View Post
    I recently purchased a set of Ortlieb Classic rear panniers for about $115 on sale (which they do frequently) and shipped from Probikekit, much cheaper than any US-based seller I could find. They hold quite a bit, plus you can always leave just one on for a waterproof every day commuting bag. Just throwing that out there, I know it's more than your budget you set, but since you mentioned interest in Ortlieb...
    REI puts the "old stock" ones on clearance sale every now and again. I paid ~$100 for a pair a couple of years ago that were 2006 stock, purchased in 2008

    Aaron
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    I received the Banjo Brothers bags today. A foot of snow on the ground, so no test drives, but I did fit them on the bike. They are made of that typical rip-stop nylon, but they do seem to have a better quality of stitching that my older bags didn't have. They also came with a pair of hooks that I could screw on to my racks where they attach to the braze-on's at the chainstay....and work perfect for securing the bags down low. Certainly, things could change when I get a chance to ride with them, but my initial impressions are good.

  23. #23
    Day trip lover mr geeker's Avatar
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    if i read the forums more often, i would have suggested the dutch shopper from axiom. theyve lasted me a few years so far and the only gripe i have is that the bottom attach point velcro craps out after a few months, but that's nothing a couple zip ties can't fix.

    as a side note, i bought these when they weren't on sale, and in the burnt orange color (picture) that apears to not be available.
    Last edited by mr geeker; 02-26-13 at 12:06 AM.
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    [QUOTE=no1mad;15256662]Unless you plan on leaving the panniers on the bike while shopping and simply placing the stores bags inside them for the ride home, I would recommend that you avoid saddlebag panniers. Most of that type of design Iand all in your price range) are a hassle when mounting or removing from the rack, especially when loaded. Should you end up leaving the panniers on while parked, Wald folding baskets would be a more economical choice.








    +1 on the Wald folding. Had mine about 90 days and love them. Pictures and a good write up here. http://thefrugalhamstercyclist.blogspot.com/







    .

  25. #25
    Senior Member ka0use's Avatar
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    well, at the time (10 years ago) i got what i could afford which was $40. sunlite had a pair with hooks, which i wasn't too sure about, but they worked well. slide fasteners (zippers) are always the first thing to fail and over the years they did. the flaps have snap buckles and work well. they have finally run their course with the bottoms starting to fail. they have hauled a lot of heavy stuff over the years- tools, food, books.
    in the market for some new ones.
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