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I'd like some panniers.. Help!!

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I'd like some panniers.. Help!!

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Old 02-05-19, 04:41 PM
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Batteredhat
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I'd like some panniers.. Help!!

Hey gang,

I have a pretty simple 8 mile commute in rural Ohio.. Chip and sealed roads.. Various weather conditions.. options for trails or roads.. lots of hills (yes, parts of ohio do have elevation)

Up to this point I have either packed a day pack with my daily essentials or if it's big day I have been using a trailer. I have about 1700 feet of elevation to and from and the trailer is starting to make me feel like throwing it in the river (of course retrieving it so as not to litter) might be a wiser option.
I am looking into panniers and I need some help. I'm not looking at long haul bike packing, but I would like something durable and waterproof if possible. I'm not aggressive on the trails while commuting, so there is that too.. I won't say cost isn't an issue, but would like to keep it reasonable..

Anyone have recommendations??

I'm truly just at the beginning of this journey, and the only looking I have done is at REI and one quick search for best rated panniers on the web..

Thoughts??
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Old 02-05-19, 04:59 PM
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That is a lot of climbing for such a short distance. I get about 1500 feet per 50 miles on some of my longer rides.

If you need waterproof, there are a few that are waterproof.

Ortlieb, Axiom, and a few others. My Axiom panniers have a drawstring and cover, and seems to be doing well. No pockets.

Most of the waterproof ones have either a heavy PVC fabric, or a waterproof laminated cordura fabric. Some are not waterproof, but come with waterproof covers.

Mine snap over the rack rails, then have a twist lock to hold them in place.

One thing, I do have a pannier set with a trunk box that can hold several frozen pizza boxes (although I've also tied the pizzas onto the rack in good weather).

Hunt for a rack that the rear-end sticks out a bit to give rear support for your panniers. I like to get my panniers mounted so that they are clear of the rear triangle to prevent heel-strike.

I'm not sure of the best rear rack. I've used aluminum racks for some. Going to start welding or brazing up a tubular steel rack shortly. One rack I have looks like an ordinary bike rack, but has a clip top for small items.

Do you use fenders or not? I tend to ride fenderless (despite the rain), and like racks with a strip above the tire to both act as a pseudo fender, as well as preventing stuff from falling onto the tire.
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Old 02-05-19, 05:01 PM
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Do you have racks yet and if so what kind are they? (Pictures would help a lot, but you probably can't post pics here until you have ten posts, so put em up on Imgur or something and give us the link.)
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Old 02-05-19, 05:08 PM
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Or you can upload photos to your album (it may automatically do that if you try attaching to a message).

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Old 02-05-19, 05:16 PM
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Old 02-05-19, 05:18 PM
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This was a good starter set for me. It taught me you need a good rack to keep a heavy load (gallon of milk) off the back tire.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ventura-...2315/205151153
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Old 02-05-19, 05:44 PM
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Ortlieb makes many waterproof panniers that are both durable and easy to attach and remove. Ortlieb's Tubus brand racks are also excellent. It is hard to know which from those product lines would be most appropriate to your use case, but if your bike can accept racks you will not go wrong with ortlieb and Tubus.

I have the Tubus Fly Evo on my road bike and the Tubus Cargo Evo on my hybrid. I have two of the Ortlieb Bike Shopper panniers, but you would have to arrive at your own conclusion as to which model fits your needs.
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Old 02-06-19, 10:02 AM
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+1 on the Ortliebs. Sports Packer plus for my commute, shoes on one side (when they're not sitting under my desk already), lunch, clothes, and pocket contents in a ziplock bag in the other. The bags are waterproof for showers and spray, so no worries about cell phone or clothes getting wet. Attachment is secure, then grab the handle, lift, and walk away after arrival.
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Old 02-06-19, 10:56 AM
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Ortlieb front panniers. Classics if you can find them. They lock on securely and are totally waterproof. There's a reason the around the world guys use them.
They're spendy but you get what you pay for - bite the bullet and cry once. I have the back rollers and love them, but find them a little too big for my needs and have never needed more than one for commuting.
In retrospect I wish I'd have bought the front rollers, and still might.
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Old 02-06-19, 01:58 PM
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I got 18 months' worth of wear out of $30 MWAVE panniers. If you're not ready to drop $100 or more, I'd suggest buying cheap, but knowing they'll only last a year or two. They will at least help you determine what you need. Ikea has two types of panniers also, but I've only used them in fair weather. One set has converts to an awkward backpack that's good enough for occasional use or short distances. The other is a glorified shopping back that hangs well on a bike.
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Old 02-06-19, 02:05 PM
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Also worth mentioning is the bontrager backrack (if you don't already have a rack) and their "town shopper" panniers. I've used them in a myriad of conditions and they seem fairly water resistant and well made. 4 years in and still going strong, even after fairbanks weather, Seattle weather and Arizona heat.
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Old 02-06-19, 02:07 PM
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I'm not a fan of pannier. They're wide enough to be usful...but it's got a lot of air drag on windy days. And you have to have a bike with long chainstay to make it a good good setup...otherwise, heel strike is a problem. And you dramatically increase your frontal profile for squeezing thru tight spots.

I carry as few things as possible to avoid it.

Luckily, I don't have to carry electronic equipments like laptop.

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Old 02-06-19, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by baldilocks View Post
This was a good starter set for me. It taught me you need a good rack to keep a heavy load (gallon of milk) off the back tire.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ventura-...2315/205151153
I didn't know Home Depot sold panniers, that's a surprise.

I'd recommend starting with something cheaper to see if you like riding with panniers first, and then spending more money as needed. Some of us only use 1 when we use a pannier, and have the option of using the other side when the first one wears out. Nashbar used to have a nice starter set, I got mine years ago and still haven't worn out the first side yet. But with Nashbar/Performance in bankruptcy that's not a choice.

Using a plastic bag inside whatever you buy will help to keep the water out, garbage bags work fine for that.
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Old 02-06-19, 10:28 PM
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Timbuk2 makes saddlebag panniers that are very sturdy and very waterproof. Off the bike they join together with magnets ang have a nice carry handle with a removable shoulder strap. They hold a 15" computer with lots of room for whatever else you need to carry.
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Old 02-07-19, 07:40 AM
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Axiom Kingstons

https://www.amazon.com/Axiom-Kingsto...=axiom+pannier

They are 18 liters each (sold separately)

One bag will fit a pair of size 12 dress shoes, pants, undershirt, and work shirt with enough room to fit my 13 inch ultrabook.

I have 2 of these bags so I can toss lunch or anything else I need to bring with me that day in the 2nd one.

I might also consider these...

https://www.amazon.com/Axiom-BAG-PAN...=axiom+pannier

But that is the smallest I would go for commuting. These are 17.5 liter bags each. (The 35 size is always the combined volume, and it includes the little side pouches)
Those come in larger sizes too, which I would use if I was going to do a multi night bikepacking trip or something.

But as far as Axiom goes, I couldn't be happier.

My Kingston bags are water resistant enough that I can ride in a light rain or splash through puddles and not worry about them soaking through.

If it's really raining I cover my panniers with these...
https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle...=pannier+cover

They fit the Axion Kingston's perfectly and are 100% water proof over top of the bag's water resistance. They have kept my clothes bone dry in absolute monsoon like rain.
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Old 02-07-19, 08:02 AM
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Depending on how much you have to carry, you could also just attach a milk crate onto the top on your rack and use whatever bag you already have in there.
Milk crate also make a very good base for attaching lights, lock holders and other accessories to.
I used to have one and regularly carried up to 15 kg in it.
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Old 02-07-19, 10:18 AM
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I hear the Axiom panniers are good. I've tried inexpensive panniers and been dissatisfied. Ortliebs are expensive, but everyone who had them said they don't regret the purchase. So I bought a small pair, and they are holding up very well and are easy to use. I put them on a front rack. With rear panniers, balancing the load isn't very important. With front panniers, it's a little more important.
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Old 02-07-19, 11:33 AM
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I still have the inexpensive panniers but haven't used them lately. My current trunk bag has slim panniers that normally are zipped into side pouches. That's enough room for a sweater or some purchases. On my inclement weather/grocery bike, I have a wald 582 folding basket. It works better than the pannier for heaver loads without having to buy the touring rack for the panniers. The inexpensive pannier was slightly damaged when a gallon of milk caused the rear of the pannier to hit my knobby tire while trying to cross a busy intersection. I'm just glad I learned that lesson on a inexpensive set of panniers.
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Old 02-07-19, 01:55 PM
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I use the Ortlieb everyday and as others have stated they are durable, waterproof and easy to attach/remove. They also have a couple of pockets on the inside and a strap so it can be used as a grocery/farmers market bag. I load mine up with my laptop, lunch, etc. Overall very happy with purchase.
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Old 02-07-19, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by suncruiser View Post
Also worth mentioning is the bontrager backrack (if you don't already have a rack)
I wouldn't choose that rack. I like my racks to have some rearward support, although it may depend on the pannier style, and where one loads the rack (which I rear load).

I'm not sure of the perfect rack. Here is the Axiom Journey (classic style). Note the low rear support.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I hear the Axiom panniers are good. I've tried inexpensive panniers and been dissatisfied. Ortliebs are expensive, but everyone who had them said they don't regret the purchase. So I bought a small pair, and they are holding up very well and are easy to use. I put them on a front rack. With rear panniers, balancing the load isn't very important. With front panniers, it's a little more important.
I picked up a used set of Axiom Stormfront panniers. So far, so good. Very dry.


I have An Axiom Stormfront handlebar bag on order.

Note, as above, I tend to like to mount my bags behind the rear triangle, so quite far back.

That rack is an older version of the Topeak Super Tourist with a spring top (and note the extended lower rear support).



One of the things about the Topeak racks is that they accept a proprietary modular trunk bag (which I don't have yet, and may not get). The spring thing both gets in the way, and has been handy for a few loads.

The Axiom Stormfront panniers don't clip onto the rack well (spacing is just off), but their twist lock is a nice feature.

I miss my POCKETS.
Some of the new Axiom panniers have lots of pockets.

But, I also like bright (visible) colors.

I'm not sure why most of the panniers are black on the rear.

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Old 02-07-19, 05:57 PM
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Racks with the lower legs like those above work better at keeping the panniers out of the rear spoke, and I think most of us learned this the hard way. This is important for those trips where the pannier would be empty for one part. .
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Old 02-08-19, 10:29 AM
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I've been commuting with panniers and/or trunk bags since 2005. I've made my own and purchased sets that are ready to go, out of the box.

Once I discovered Ortlieb, I was hooked. This is my favorite bag for my commute. I own two of them, but rarely use the second one.
It lists here at $110, but I was able to get both of mine on sale for $75 each.
https://ortliebusa.com/product/bike-shopper/

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Old 02-08-19, 08:48 PM
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If there's a Performance Bike shop near you they may still have their own brand panniers available at 40-50% off. Ortlieb and Axiom are great bags but pricy. The Performance bags are decent and cheap. If you take to panniers you can always upgrade in the future.
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Old 02-09-19, 07:38 AM
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I'd like some panniers.. Help!!
Originally Posted by Batteredhat View Post
Hey gang,

I have a pretty simple 8 mile commute in rural Ohio.. Chip and sealed roads.. Various weather conditions.. options for trails or roads.. lots of hills (yes, parts of ohio do have elevation)

Up to this point I have either packed a day pack with my daily essentials or if it's big day I have been using a trailer…I am looking into panniers and I need some help.I'm not looking at long haul bike packing, but I would like something durable and waterproof if possible.

I'm not aggressive on the trails while commuting, so there is that too.. I won't say cost isn't an issue, but would like to keep it reasonable
..

Anyone have recommendations??

I'm truly just at the beginning of this journey, and the only looking I have done is at REI and one quick search for best rated panniers on the web..

Thoughts??
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I hear the Axiom panniers are good. I've tried inexpensive panniers and been dissatisfied. Ortliebs are expensive, but everyone who had them said they don't regret the purchase. So I bought a small pair, and they are holding up very well and are easy to use.

I put them on a front rack. With rear panniers, balancing the load isn't very important. With front panniers, it's a little more important.
Just minutes before writing this reply, I posted to this thread on the General Cycling Discussion Forum: .
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…as a utility pannier for year round commuting here in Boston in nearly all weather (I might not ride in a drenching thunderstorm, but I could trust my Ortlieb; just one is satisfactory for my needs).

Every feature IMO is excellent, easily detachable and portable, and the only, but not serious drawback is that there are no separate pockets, but I use plastic bags to compartmentalize.
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Old 02-09-19, 09:57 AM
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+1 on the Orliebs.
I have a set of front Classics and a pair of rear Classics. Fronts are big enough for most commuting needs.
I also have a pair of the Ortlieb Shopper panniers. Really good bags but I prefer the Classics.
My wife has pairs of both the front and rear Ortlieb Classics.
Youngest sons each have a front Classic that mount on bike as pair.
Oldest son has rear Classics.
Lots of Ortliebs in our family.
I have used many other types and brands of panniers but find that Ortlieb quality, durability, and design easily justify the initial cost.
We even use our Ortliebs as carry on luggage when flying.
Land and put them on the racks of the bikes we use when we travel. Whether rented bikes or kept in the DC area/Maryland at our summer farm house on the GAP in Frostburg.
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