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Rack vs Back Pack

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Old 05-21-18, 06:13 AM
  #51  
Speedoape
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So I got a back pack. The LBS ordered for me from their website. It’s a Banjo Brothers medium. But still very large! Roll top for rain. And pockets galore! The guys the the shop had never ordered one in and were talking about it and how they wanted one.
Rode home 9 miles with stuff in it in 90+ degree heat. No issues. I’m used to Houston heat. (Subject to change in August)
https://banjobrothers.com/collection...ackpack-medium
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Old 05-21-18, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedoape View Post
So I got a back pack. The LBS ordered for me from their website. It’s a Banjo Brothers medium. But still very large! Roll top for rain. And pockets galore! The guys the the shop had never ordered one in and were talking about it and how they wanted one.
Rode home 9 miles with stuff in it in 90+ degree heat. No issues. I’m used to Houston heat. (Subject to change in August)
https://banjobrothers.com/collection...ackpack-medium
That looks like a very nice pack. I am a huge big fan of roll-top backpacks and find them very practical... I've used a roll top pack from Sealine for many years until it eventually wore out...I am now using Timbuk.
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Old 05-22-18, 06:34 AM
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For those playing along at home here is a rough total: Panniers 23. Back Pack 9. Noncommittal 6.

Last edited by Tombaatar; 05-22-18 at 06:36 AM. Reason: didn't finish typing
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Old 05-22-18, 07:07 AM
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From what I see, both panniers and backpacks are firmly behind
Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
For those playing along at home here is a rough total: Panniers 23. Back Pack 9. Noncommittal 6.
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Old 05-22-18, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
For those playing along at home here is a rough total: Panniers 23. Back Pack 9. Noncommittal 6.
Count me as wishy-washy. Having pronounced that I switched from panniers to backpack, I just switched back to panniers.
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Old 05-22-18, 07:45 AM
  #56  
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Back rack with a trunk bag, most convenient. When I'm using the road bike, I use handlebar bags, currently I have a couple that uncurl into backpacks. Backpack is last resort basically for overflow that won't fit otherwise.
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Old 05-22-18, 08:15 AM
  #57  
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Either, or Both...

I'm just finishing my third consecutive year bike commuting and have some observations, but I doubt that they'll change anyone's mind. The OP is/will be in Houston, TX. Uggh. So, that's a hot and humid pressure cooker of a place to live and work. The good news, I guess, is that the Texas plains winds won't be blowing every day there. My ride is only 9 miles with some significant hills and a relatively mild climate.

I use both methods, and decide the night before which will fit my needs for the next day. If rain and/or light winds, and I want comfort, then I take my commuter bike with rainproof panniers and a large waterproof handlebar bag. Also, If I need to haul more sundry items, snack/food supplies, etc., then the panniers are the way to go for me.

If I want to ride faster or expect to be buffeted by winds, then I'll go with a more racing type bike and use the backpack. This limits my carrying capacity a bit, and it is sweaty, but the bike will handle better. Plus, it's just a bit more fun.

So, both can work really well. There's probably not a wrong answer.

If it were me in flattish, hot, humid rainy Houston...I'd rig up the most sturdy rainproof panniers I could find.
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Old 05-22-18, 09:52 AM
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I use a backpack, but recently purchased Ortlieb gravel panniers.
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Old 05-22-18, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Count me as wishy-washy. Having pronounced that I switched from panniers to backpack, I just switched back to panniers.
namby-pamby. There. LOL.
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Old 05-23-18, 08:28 AM
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I found a bag that works well for me. My commute is between 5 and 12 miles on bike (the rest is on public transportation). The Two Wheel Gear pannier backpack has a similar capacity to the Banjo Bros medium backpack you purchased, but converts between a backpack and a pannier.
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Old 05-23-18, 10:40 AM
  #61  
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Neither.

Backpacks do have the problem of sweat, and too high center of gravity.
Messenger bag largely alleviates these problems. It puts the weight on my pelvis, not my shoulders.

I carry work clothes, laptop, and some food. I feel the laptop is better protected from jolting in a messenger bag vs panniers

When starting off I did purchase a convertible messenger bag/pannier. That way I could carry heavy loads on the rack, and lighter loads as a messenger bag. But properly fitted, a messenger bag works great, so I quit using the rack.

For people who are cruising along at 10-15mph, racks work great (if you have a bike designed for a rack). It’s easy not having the weight on your body.

For people who are more aggressive riders, or commute closer to 20mph, a messenger bag gives me the agility, maneuverability, & aerodynamics that I need.

Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
For those playing along at home here is a rough total: Panniers 23. Back Pack 9. Noncommittal 6.
Messenger bag for the win…
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Old 05-23-18, 10:55 AM
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Those convertible bags are a great idea, but they're no good for me, as I use a front rack, not a rear rack. The weight needs to be balanced fairly well between sides, unless it's very light.
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Old 05-23-18, 12:10 PM
  #63  
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As a newbie, I am going to backpack it for now since that is what I have. If that doesn't feel good, I will explore the rack options.
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Old 05-23-18, 01:16 PM
  #64  
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Looks like the real issue here is all of the laptops that need to be lugged around. Those things are heavy. These devices have given us so much "freedom" that we are now a bunch of pack-mules while riding, and screen/phone slaves when off the bike. Lovely.

I personally use a backpack because I don't want to mount a rack on some of my bikes, and I switch between them often. It's also easy to just wear it into the grocery store and load it up immediately after each item is scanned (although that guarantees they will scan eggs and bread first).

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Old 05-23-18, 02:16 PM
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When I lost my job in November, I didn't own a computer, so I bought myself a Macbook Pro. It was a painful purchase because it was expensive, and my only income was unemployment insurance. But I needed it. Now I don't need it quite so badly, but it means I can leave my workplace-issued laptop at work and use my own computer if I have to work at home. I could sell my computer and then lug the work computer around, but I really don't want to do that.
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Old 05-23-18, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
When I lost my job in November, I didn't own a computer, so I bought myself a Macbook Pro. It was a painful purchase because it was expensive, and my only income was unemployment insurance. But I needed it. Now I don't need it quite so badly, but it means I can leave my workplace-issued laptop at work and use my own computer if I have to work at home. I could sell my computer and then lug the work computer around, but I really don't want to do that.
Those Macs get pretty pricey. But it's definitely helpful to have something at home. I actually have a desktop at home (heresy, I know!), that allows me to access whatever work stuff I need online. I actually assembled it myself, which was fun, but not as fun as putting a bike together. What they do have in common, though, is that you really don't save much (or any) money buying all the bits separately and putting them together yourself. But the satisfaction...
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Old 05-23-18, 05:31 PM
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Cheap Amazon bought Dakine backpack here. Fits my MacBook Air, change of clothes and a lunch. Have spare shoes at work but sometimes even fit a set of shoes into the pack. No complaints here. I do this to “preserve” the racy look of my bike of course so comfort and utility naturally come second to aesthetics haha.
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Old 05-23-18, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by greenscobie86 View Post
..........comfort and utility naturally come second to aesthetics haha.
My rack and panniers are damn sexy and some have swooned in their wake
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Old 05-24-18, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Archwhorides View Post
My rack and panniers are damn sexy and some have swooned in their wake

thanks for the laugh this morning. LOL
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Old 05-24-18, 11:01 AM
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No votes for saddlebags? Or are saddlebags considered a form of panniers?
For my commute, putting clothes in a backpack always resulted in them getting more crushed and wrinkled. I prefer a set of saddlebags, which stay attached to the rear rack. The kind I have (eBay find), have a waterproof top flap on each side, which stays closed with a single snap buckle. I drop a small bag of clothes in one side, and sometimes a pair of shoes in the other side. At the end of the ride, I just lift the bag out.
I tried panniers, but putting them on and off the rack every day became a hassle, and they were kind of snug for packing clothes into. The saddlebags are roomy, and I find that the clothes are less wrinkled when i get to work. Plus, having them on the bike all the time makes unexpected shopping stops easier.
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Old 05-24-18, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by veets View Post
No votes for saddlebags? Or are saddlebags considered a form of panniers?
For my commute, putting clothes in a backpack always resulted in them getting more crushed and wrinkled. I prefer a set of saddlebags, which stay attached to the rear rack. The kind I have (eBay find), have a waterproof top flap on each side, which stays closed with a single snap buckle. I drop a small bag of clothes in one side, and sometimes a pair of shoes in the other side. At the end of the ride, I just lift the bag out.
I tried panniers, but putting them on and off the rack every day became a hassle, and they were kind of snug for packing clothes into. The saddlebags are roomy, and I find that the clothes are less wrinkled when i get to work. Plus, having them on the bike all the time makes unexpected shopping stops easier.
I count saddlebags as a form of panniers myself. I've got a variety of bags, Arkel, Ortlieb, Timbuk2, some no name chinese ... as well as backpacks (Life Behind Bars, Timbuk2, various trade show bags, packables (Matador, no name knock offs). I think it's silly to argue, different people like different approaches. Sometimes my panniers are full, so handy to have a backpack handy. Sometimes I'll be doing enough walking after riding, that I'll just use a backpack ...
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Old 05-27-18, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedoape View Post
So I got a back pack. The LBS ordered for me from their website. It’s a Banjo Brothers medium. But still very large! Roll top for rain. And pockets galore! The guys the the shop had never ordered one in and were talking about it and how they wanted one.
Rode home 9 miles with stuff in it in 90+ degree heat. No issues. I’m used to Houston heat. (Subject to change in August)
https://banjobrothers.com/collection...ackpack-medium
I hope the pack proves an excellent solution to your need. I see so many people here wearing them - far more than panniers (though there are a few of us) so there must be something to it.

In my previous job the daily commute was ~27 miles r/t. It gets pretty hot here in Colorado Springs in summer time and the ride was quite hilly so i would get pretty sweaty - even in the cooler mornings. I started wearing a backpack (needed for change of clothes/shoes). However, i would be dripping when i got to the office as would the backpack. That had to change!

I found front rack/panniers to be just the ticket (my bike rides beautifully front loaded). I definitely noticed my ride was less 'lively', but considerably more stable which was fun in itself racing on long downhills!!
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Old 05-28-18, 04:36 AM
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If you can handle the sweat in a 9 mile ride in Houston with a backpack, a pannier has nothing to offer for you.

When I had an 8 mile trip in New England, I got an Osprey cycling backpack with framed meshed back and I found myself drenched with sweat even in 50 degree weather. I am not fast, but I pushed myself hard and I didn’t like getting passed. Sometimes the sweat even got to the contents in the backpack too. I made some paperwork soggy. My cyclocross fixed gear bike handled beautifully though.

I changed to a seat post instant-release pannier by carradice, which was an expensive, awkward, small 10L capacity with some flawed design. However, I don’t sweat as much even in 75 degree weather and my bike still handled about 80% as well.

I never rode with rear panniers or front panniers. The carradice bag was good enough for me and it also could be used on my road bike with an aluminum seat post. (Not advisable in a carbon one). I never felt the need to switch and I didn’t want to invest in a new system.
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Old 05-28-18, 06:48 PM
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I've yet to try rack and pannier but I lean messenger over backpack. If I possibly can I try to travel fairly light and a medium Timbuk2 classic (~21L) does it for me. If I need to carry more I swap in a Cotopaxi Cusco 26L that usually handles everything. It has the drawback if getting very hot because it's not designed for much of an athletic approach, but ifit fine apart from the height of summer. Day to day, though, I opt for the messenger to the point it's just my EDC on bike or off. It probably isn't the absolute best solution (I can imagine panniers being much better) but I like that it's one I don't have to fuss much with--it's ready to go when I am with just a few tweaks depending on the activity.
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Old 05-29-18, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedoape View Post
any thoughts? Seems to be some nice back packs out there. I know in Houston I will get sweaty but that’s going to happen anyways.
Bikes today look so sleek and nice I’d like to keep that look and maybe wear a pack?
Or, am I just hosing myself in the long run?
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I use a handlebar bag...since my primary commuting bike is coaster brake only which means the handlebar is free to attach stuff.

If I ride my secondary bike (which has brake levers and shifters), I'll use a hiking packing which has a stand-off mesh panel. It works so well it's like air conditioning for my back.

I don't use a rack or pannier for commuting. I don't like having to swing the leg over the rack. I think the rack ruins the beautifulness of the geometry of the bike.

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