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Do-it-all panniers?

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Old 02-23-09, 04:48 PM
  #1  
Gabbo
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Do-it-all panniers?

Hi, I searched around, but couldn't really find a straight answer: is there a sort of do-it-all pannier that is pretty good for commuting, some occasional light touring, and jaunts down to the grocery store?

My main use would be commuting, but I'd love to be able to pick ups some milk for this kids on the way home from work, or do a four-day camping ride every now and then.

Muchas danke for any help or info anyone can provide.
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Old 02-23-09, 05:35 PM
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Ortlieb Back Roller Classic. I bought them for exactly the purpose you're describing and they're perfect. And waterproof, which won't matter much in your locale. Or mine for that matter.
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Old 02-23-09, 05:47 PM
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ditto what ok_commuter said.
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Old 02-23-09, 05:59 PM
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yeah ortlieb back roller or back packer panniers fit the bill
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Old 02-23-09, 06:03 PM
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I really like my Trek Interchange bags. I have the trunk and 2 rear panniers that are pretty decent in size. I used the 2 side panniers to tour cross country with. They have built in rain covers.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:11 PM
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Maybe a different angle, but a pair of Wald collapsible baskets. Put any bag in them you wish.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by X-LinkedRider View Post
I really like my Trek Interchange bags. I have the trunk and 2 rear panniers that are pretty decent in size. I used the 2 side panniers to tour cross country with. They have built in rain covers.
Same here. I like them. Easy on and off and haven't had a problem with them coming off. They fit on any rack where the struts form a triangle (typical racks). Price is good as well.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:26 PM
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Ortlieb is amazing durability. Iíve gotten my $140 worth. I've used mine hard for almost 3.5 years and about 15,000 miles in all weather. I commute almost every day and occasionally load up with, I don't know, must be close to 40-50 pounds of groceries in one bag. Gallon of milk, a six pack, no problem. I got rough with my bike one day when I was loaded heavy and broke a hanger on my pannier. I logged in and bought a new hanger. They even have replacement parts. Apparently Ortlieb hasn't learned the art of creating sales by producing schlock that has to be replaced every year.

Itís a big open bag that you canít organize very well, but you can carry quite a bit and it will stay dry.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by knobster View Post
Same here. I like them. Easy on and off and haven't had a problem with them coming off. They fit on any rack where the struts form a triangle (typical racks). Price is good as well.
+1, the only panniers I have never had fall off or come loose. And all it take to get them off is the push of a button and the pull from the top. I am pretty sure I got mine retail from the LBS for around 90-110 dollars. Was last year and I forgot.

I also have a set of AXIOM bags which are actually pretty cheap and water proof. They were only 50-60 dollars and I use them in the front if I need all 4. They are really rear panniers though.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:03 AM
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I love my Arkel Utility Basket.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:23 AM
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http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags/PannierDryBag

These are quite nice and $97 for the pair on Amazon. No complaints.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
I love my Arkel Utility Basket.
Originally Posted by DallasSoxFan View Post
Maybe a different angle, but a pair of Wald collapsible baskets. Put any bag in them you wish.
The very two options I was going to put forth.

Originally Posted by smalera View Post
http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags/PannierDryBag

These are quite nice and $97 for the pair on Amazon. No complaints.
NOOOOO! The anchoring mechanism is crap, at least for holding anything weighty (like just a laptop). Personal story, had these paired with a Topeak Super Tourist rack. Riding to work, went over parking lot lip (the normal shallow rise), but of a bump... "Cracchhkkikickkkittt...". darn thing bounced off and went sliding (with my laptop inside) across the parking lot.

At home that night, I adjusted and readjusted the darn things 20 times and every time a slap check on the bottom of the bag was all that was needed to dislodge the bag from the rack. Note, this was the case on both bags, not just the one that went off... oh, and I had adjusted the mechanism per specs when I had first installed.

Point is, if you're just packing a change of clothes, those topeak's are great. For anything weight (laptop, books, a gallon of milk) they are crap.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:43 AM
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Ortlieb Back Roller Classic..
In addition to all that has been mentioned the attachment system is incredibly adjustable and sturdy. I have had to return a few sets of panniers because either they wouldn't hold up or because they couldnt' adjust to fit the rack on my bike. Either they bottom clip would jam into the brakes or was too low to fit the racks on my recumbents. The ortlieb gets used on everything including the front rack on my Xtracycle, the rear lightweight rack on my road bike to my dual 20" (406) wheel quasi-lowracer recumbent that I use for commuting.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:44 AM
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Old 02-24-09, 10:51 AM
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Arkel Utility Basket - I've been using mine for over a year for daily commuting and shopping. They're holding up very well, and their attachment system is simple and secure.

Plenty of reflective material (especially on the sides - something Ortlieb seems to lack). Secure zipper closure for the main compartment, plus a smaller zippered compartment in the lid that's perfect for gloves, keys, etc. And the mesh pockets on the sides are excellent for a water bottle or your lock.




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Old 02-24-09, 10:52 AM
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Ortlieb is definitely one of the best in my humble opinion. I have a friend who has ridden across most every continent with those.

If you're looking for something on a budget though, I've been using banjo brothers brand panniers. The water proof ones run me around 40.00 each.

Cheers!
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Old 02-24-09, 11:18 AM
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I've used both Ortlieb and Arkel and from a usability standpoint, Arkel wins. Good use of zippers, pockets for organization, reflective material, etc. But they are not waterPROOF without a separate cover. Ortliebs were built to withstand being fully submerged in water and keeping everything inside bone dry. So it depends what's more important to you. I ran an Arkel Bug for a couple years and what I did was keep a kitchen garbage bag inside. Took up no room and if I thought I was going to get caught in a hard rain, I would put my clothes inside the garbage bag before placing in the Bug. It always seemed to be the bottom of the bug that got damp. I think the bottom would catch most of the water and eventually soak through the fabric. I still liked Arkel's solution better than the ultra simplicity of Ortieb's designs.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:28 AM
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I've hauled home two gallons of milk in this:
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?SKU=23154
It's not my everyday commuting pannier, since I usually don't need anything this big.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by d2create View Post
I've used both Ortlieb and Arkel and from a usability standpoint, Arkel wins. Good use of zippers, pockets for organization, reflective material, etc. But they are not waterPROOF without a separate cover. Ortliebs were built to withstand being fully submerged in water and keeping everything inside bone dry. So it depends what's more important to you. I ran an Arkel Bug for a couple years and what I did was keep a kitchen garbage bag inside. Took up no room and if I thought I was going to get caught in a hard rain, I would put my clothes inside the garbage bag before placing in the Bug. It always seemed to be the bottom of the bug that got damp. I think the bottom would catch most of the water and eventually soak through the fabric. I still liked Arkel's solution better than the ultra simplicity of Ortieb's designs.
Arkel sells an optional rain cover for their panniers. I used them on yesterday's 25 mile commute in 15-40 mph winds, with heavy rain squalls, and my stuff stayed dry (I wrapped my clothing in a plastic garbage bag just in case).



It's probably not suitable for an all day rain ride like you would sometimes face on a cross-country tour, because they don't cover all of the back side of the pannier (though that side is protected by their plastic support panel).

But for daily commuting and shopping, the rain covers work very well. Plus, they're highly visible.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:59 AM
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Yes, the rain cover for Arkel's is very good (I use an Arkel Commuter).

For even more positive dryness, you could use a dry bag inside the Arkel BUG. Please note, MANY manufacturers make similar light weight dry bags / back pack liners (go to a backpacking store). However, I must say the Arkel's are competitively priced.

OR one of the tricks of ultralight backpacking is trash compactor bags as backpack liners. VERY tough and completely waterproof (though not sealable on top). One could easily find a perfectly sized trash compactor bag for the bug. Note this is kind of an 'update' of the plastic bag idea.

OR (anyone get the idea that I have lots of ideas) you can use a Ziploc Big Bag... these are great.
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Old 02-24-09, 12:03 PM
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Another vote for Arkel. I have the T-42s. They're not waterproof, but for my 45 minute commute they hold off the rain long enough. Pockets are nice to have.

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Old 02-24-09, 12:08 PM
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Carradice Super-C are pretty good universal panniers. They are very tough and durable and use a good quality mounting system (Rixen and Kaul, similar to Ortleib). I have used mine daily for 9 years, carrying heavy groceries or dailly commuting stuff, with annual tours. They are also repairable.
When it comes to mounting systems I would avoid anything with elastic, there is simply no need for them. Locking-style hooks will never fall off, and if the lock mechanism does ever break they still work as hooks. They take a second to release. Hook and elastic can take 10 seconds in freezing, dark, wet nights.
There are some hooks which open at the top rather than the bottom and if these break, the pannier drops away.
Most zips eventually fail and I dont think these are neccessary.
I would keep things simple for a universal panniers. Countless pockets and dividers may be OK for commuting but not for groceries. An external pocket is really useful
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Old 02-24-09, 12:14 PM
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Here are those interchanges I said I had. If you want a pic of those axioms, I have them too.
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Old 02-24-09, 12:18 PM
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I keep an REI Round Town or whatever collapsable grocery bag pannier on my rack, i rarely need it, but it provides enough room to stop by the grocery store on the way home. most importantly it folds cleanly against the side of my rack completely out of the way when I am not using it...

I also bought a reusable REI grocery bag for $1 that I keep folded up inside it so when I go into the store I just grab that and go in. I put all all my groceries in it, since I know if they fit in the bag they will fit in my pannier....
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Old 02-24-09, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SSP View Post
Arkel sells an optional rain cover for their panniers.
Yes, that's what I said... not waterproof without buying the extra cover.
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