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Getting Rid of the Backpack

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Getting Rid of the Backpack

Old 10-09-23, 02:12 PM
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Getting Rid of the Backpack

As the title suggests - I'm looking into some options to ditch my Chrome backpack for commuting and looking for advice for some bags. Some days I can bring a minimal amount of stuff (wallet, phone, etc.) that i can fit either in my saddle bag or in a top tube frame bag. The harder situation is when I need to carry a larger amount of stuff such as - wallet, phone, a 14" laptop, an A4 calendar/planner, socks/underwear, and lunch. I tried panniers and hated them, I honestly may get rid of the rear rack entirely. Now I am considering carradice or berthoud bags, either saddle or handlebar (which would require a Nitto 18M front rack). What are you folks using that causes minimal wind resistance, is easy to remove and install at work, and can hold the above items? For Carradice I was looking at either the Nelson Longflap or the Camper Longflap (simply due to the size of the laptop) and for the Berthoud I was looking at the GB 28. To be perfectly honest I'm leaning towards Carradice mostly to keep things English on the bike... Laptop is 12.75" wide and 8.5" heigh. Thanks in advance for any thoughts/input!

Last edited by ericlowney; 10-09-23 at 02:14 PM. Reason: add picture
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Old 10-09-23, 03:38 PM
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I used a Knog convertible bag on my commuter bike for almost 10 years. It was basically a heavy cloth messenger bag with a removable attachment that would allow it to clip to the bike. Reality though is the attachment was always on.

You have a rack already and detachable panniers are readily available. I'd have to ask why having a front rack for a bag that needs it is better than a back bag on something you already have. What is it about panniers you hated?

The bike rack I've used for 30 years was actually the rack that came with the baby carrier that clipped into it. The baby now is a pilot for Delta.
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Old 10-09-23, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster
I used a Knog convertible bag on my commuter bike for almost 10 years. It was basically a heavy cloth messenger bag with a removable attachment that would allow it to clip to the bike. Reality though is the attachment was always on.

You have a rack already and detachable panniers are readily available. I'd have to ask why having a front rack for a bag that needs it is better than a back bag on something you already have. What is it about panniers you hated?

The bike rack I've used for 30 years was actually the rack that came with the baby carrier that clipped into it. The baby now is a pilot for Delta.
I bought some cheap panniers off of Amazon (maybe my mistake) that felt like sails when I commuted with them on. Average 2mph decrease on the commute from them. Also, I have large feet/shoes and I really had to be mindful how to load them not to strike them with my heels. Lastly, taking them off when I got to work and putting them back on the bike at the end of the day was a crappy process that took a while, and if I didn’t take my time to do it then the straps from the panniers would hit the spokes or shift during the trip home. The front bag seems the quickest/easiest for off/on (especially for grocery store/errand runs) which is why I was considering that
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Old 10-09-23, 08:44 PM
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I agree with the above reply.

A bad rack can slow down a bike by more than just its weight along.

Different brands of racks give different smptoms to the bike.

The lightest rack does not mean its the best one.

I've come across and tried almost every brand/kind/type of rack out there, my favorites for ones that make me and my bike speedy are racks made by Axiom.
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Old 10-10-23, 03:45 AM
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I use Carradice bag and I love it! They are pricey but they last a lifetime.
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Old 10-10-23, 05:51 AM
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I rack my pack. I simply run bungee cords from the seatpost to the back of the rack and sit the backpack between them. Then I use d-clips to secure it Some backpacks have straps with snap-buckles on the sides so no d-clips needed. The bag sits behind you in your slip stream. Very aero.
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Old 10-10-23, 06:01 AM
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Old 10-10-23, 06:04 AM
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that Axiom rack is neat! I've not seen anything like it before.
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Old 10-10-23, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by RB1-luvr
that Axiom rack is neat! I've not seen anything like it before.
I am a fan of the Tortec Velocity for minimalist racks. There is a discussion here starting at about message #12 - Banjo Brothers Minnehaha Series Canvas Waterproof Pannier
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Old 10-11-23, 07:15 AM
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Lately, I’ve been using a Carradice Barley for clothes and papers and an Acorn Rando bag in the front for my lunch, glasses and A5. I’m going back to the back pack because it’s easier to pack everything together in one package to and from the bike. I also miss how the bike handles without the weight—especially in the front (and my bike is low trail). And my classroom is on the second floor now and with the luggage on the bike, it’s a little heavy. For several years, I crammed everything into the Barley and really didn’t notice the weight or wind. Get a Carradice with a long flap.
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Old 10-11-23, 07:18 AM
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You say you didn't like panniers... What brand panniers did you not like? I have had some that really sucked, but the Ortliebs I have now are really good.

Originally Posted by ericlowney
As the title suggests - I'm looking into some options to ditch my Chrome backpack for commuting and looking for advice for some bags. Some days I can bring a minimal amount of stuff (wallet, phone, etc.) that i can fit either in my saddle bag or in a top tube frame bag. The harder situation is when I need to carry a larger amount of stuff such as - wallet, phone, a 14" laptop, an A4 calendar/planner, socks/underwear, and lunch. I tried panniers and hated them, I honestly may get rid of the rear rack entirely. Now I am considering carradice or berthoud bags, either saddle or handlebar (which would require a Nitto 18M front rack). What are you folks using that causes minimal wind resistance, is easy to remove and install at work, and can hold the above items? For Carradice I was looking at either the Nelson Longflap or the Camper Longflap (simply due to the size of the laptop) and for the Berthoud I was looking at the GB 28. To be perfectly honest I'm leaning towards Carradice mostly to keep things English on the bike... Laptop is 12.75" wide and 8.5" heigh. Thanks in advance for any thoughts/input!
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Old 10-11-23, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by timdow
You say you didn't like panniers... What brand panniers did you not like? I have had some that really sucked, but the Ortliebs I have now are really good.
I bought the Dreamoon 50L Panniers from Amazon. A real pain to install, remove, wind resistance was incredible, etc. Maybe because they were large/cheap, but they also have lot more space for stuff than I realistically need to carry for the day. I also bought those panniers before I had a place to leave all my clothes at work so I needed more space than I do now since I was carrying pants, shirt, belt, shoes, etc.
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Old 10-11-23, 07:52 AM
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My opinion based on years of commuting and after trying many different bag options is that panniers are the best solution for commuting. I highly recommend you try Ortliebs (or even 1 pannier as some are sold individually). They don't suck. Easy on/off, very secure. if you go this route, and want/need a shoulder strap make sure you get a model with it. Most have it, but there are a few that don't. Not cheap, but a near lifetime purchase.

EDIT: Let me qualify that.... Panniers are best if you have a load to carry as you do. I use an insulated rack bag in the Summer when I only have to carry a lunch.

Originally Posted by ericlowney
I bought the Dreamoon 50L Panniers from Amazon. A real pain to install, remove, wind resistance was incredible, etc. Maybe because they were large/cheap, but they also have lot more space for stuff than I realistically need to carry for the day. I also bought those panniers before I had a place to leave all my clothes at work so I needed more space than I do now since I was carrying pants, shirt, belt, shoes, etc.
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Old 10-11-23, 03:55 PM
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Yeah, it's your panniers; they're way too big for what you want. If you want to stick with Amazon, Tourbon makes some nice-looking bags and panniers, like this canvas rolltop; or this leather laptop bag (maybe not, but it sure looks cool). Or this nylon one.

Roswheel is pretty good too; this 12 liter bag might work; notice it's narrower at the bottom, so less heel strike, and it even folds up! This 20 liter one might be a bit large, but it's waterproof. If necessary, I think you could attach it further back on your rack.

Why yes, I do like window shopping for bike stuff. Oh, and here's Axiom's site, if you're interested. Not exactly stylish, but excellent quality. I got a lightly used pair of Axiom panniers for stoopid cheap, and they're great.
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Old 10-12-23, 06:26 AM
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Excuse me while I climb up on my soapbox here......

While trying to save money, I tried Blackburn, Axiom, and Performance Bike's house brand of panniers, all with about the same experience (not great). Then I bought Ortlieb's, and haven't had to consider any other pannier since. If I just would have not tried to "cheap out" and bought the "good ones" up front, I would have saved myself much time and money. If the cost is an issue, and you don't mind waiting to save some $$$, they show up used on CL occasionally.
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Old 10-12-23, 08:35 AM
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I did some more research last night and I found that the Carradice Cadet will fit both on my saddle with the quick release bagman support and it also should squeeze between my handlebars as an extra option if I needed to really haul a lot of stuff. It's just barely wide/tall enough for the laptop, but deep enough I should have plenty of space for everything else (I think). So I'm going to start there. Bonus points that it's English and will match my Dawes well. I think you are both right in that I bought the 'wrong' panniers. For the price of the rear rack and the cheap panniers I could have just bought the Carradice and support from the beginning, but I was carrying a LOT more stuff back then also. I could also get Carradice panniers that would match the saddle bag later on also. I'm hoping since the width of the Cadet is smaller than the width of my handlebars there will be basically 0 added resistance, but I can keep you all posted if you are interested on how it works out. I couldn't find too much info on these bags (seems like most folks run a Nelson Longflap or Camper Longflap).
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Old 10-12-23, 02:25 PM
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Rando Rack and Swift Industries zeitgeist bag

Get yourself a randonneuring rack and a swift industries Zeitgeist bag. That thing will hold so much stuff, its amazing.
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Old 10-12-23, 07:48 PM
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[MENTION=496721]ericlowney[/MENTION], definitely show us pics when you get everything installed.

At least you can sell the rack and bags. Or keep them for longer/grocery trips.
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Old 10-12-23, 08:12 PM
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I have two solutions depending on weather and amount of gear.

I use a convertible bag from twowheelgear attached to my rear rack. Their attachment mechanism is pretty quick on and off. From their website I don't see my exact bag; the closest is their messenger backpack.
https://twowheelgear.com/products/ma...enger-backpack

The alternative is a minimalist backpack, that's basically a simple fabric bag with cords for shoulder straps something like this.
https://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/pbp/ph...istration.html
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Old 10-17-23, 03:00 PM
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I put my backpack in the basket which is mounted on my rear rack. I secure the bag to the basket with a bungee or two, though I probably don't need to.
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Old 10-18-23, 11:29 AM
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Never heard of any of those brands and you didn't provide links; I'm not going to spend my time looking them up.

I use a simple Patagonia messenger bag I got as a previous year's model from ebay. What I like about it is that it has the anti-rotation strap that keeps it from coming around. I wear it low, so I don't have the sweaty back issue that backpacks always have. When I get off the bike, the anti-rotation strap snaps into its mating buckle and stays out of the way.
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Old 10-18-23, 12:38 PM
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currently a fan of Topeak brand locking slide on style racks & trunks. fast & convenient. the unit I bought had fold out bags in the side pockets, so I just cut them out & now I have side pockets. they come in diff. sizes

no more fussing w/ velcro straps or bungee cords

fair disclosure, I still use bungee cords, but only to hold camera gear on top of the trunk or a beach towel

I like the setup so much I changed the racks on all 3 of my bikes, so I can use my trunk on any of them




the locking mechanism

this shows the channel that the trunk slides into

the trunk has a handle, so I just slide it out & walk away, carrying it w/ the handle
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Old 10-29-23, 02:29 AM
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For laptops I use a pannier bag on a rear rack. I use the Axiom rear rack shown above and over the years have used a few different pannier bags. Just look for one that's big enough for what you need to carry and attaches securely (eg, Ortlieb style). I've lost a Banjo Bros pannier bag (along with my laptop inside it) to a particularly rough pothole some years ago and have since switched to an Ortlieb-style mounting pannier bag.
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Old 10-29-23, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
…... I secure the bag to the basket with a bungee or two, though I probably don't need to.
You have experience.
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Old 10-30-23, 03:47 PM
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Well I opted for the Carradice Cadet - it was the smallest bag that I thought I could reasonably fit my laptop in. Tonight was my first ride with it installed and loaded, just a quick grocery run, but so far I am VERY happy with this bag. I think it fit a surprising amount of groceries in it and it's slightly narrower than my handlebars (so if my bars can fit through, so can the bag). I'll be commuting in with it this week and am excited to not have a bag on my back!




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