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Looking for a good set of commuting/touring panniers

Old 01-01-11, 09:28 AM
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Looking for a good set of commuting/touring panniers

I am looking for a good set of rear pannier bags for my Trek 520. I will probably use them more for commuting, but also some for short tours a couple times a year (less than 700 miles). The key things I am looking for are something that secures well to the bike (won't come unfastened), has a medium holding capacity (one bag will easily fit a few changes of clothes or 2-3 large college textbooks), and is fairly durable (I tend to be hard on my equipment). Waterproof is not important, as it hardly ever rains where I live, and I can always put my stuff in a waterproof bag inside the panniers. Price isn't too important as long as the stuff is quality, I'm willing to fork out well over $100 for a set of bags that will last me many years.

Also, I'm wanting to buy a front rack and some smaller panniers for the front, which I will probably use only for touring?. I don't know much at all about front pannier bags...are they usually a different size/setup from rear panniers? Anyhow, I'd appreciate any information/suggestions anyone has.
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Old 01-01-11, 10:35 AM
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Get Ortlieb. Shop for them at The Touring Store.com.

With the exception of waterproof--I need it--your requirements and mine are similar. This year (oops, I mean last year) I replaced my old commuting panniers with a set of Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus. The Sport Packers are technically a front pannier, but they're very large for front panniers. $166 per pair including shipping from The Touring Store.



On Mondays I pack in all my stuff for the week. Jeans and four shirts in one bag, four days of lunch and snack food in the other, and four to six library books split between the two.

My U-lock slides into a slim compartment that separates and protects the rest of the contents from the mounting hardware. That separator also has a small zippered pouch I use for glasses and wallet on one side, and flat repair stuff on the other.

On Thursdays, I pack home all the laundry and a few more library books, with room leftover.

When it comes time for touring, I'll already have a nice set of front panniers, and only need to get the matching rear ones.

Last edited by tsl; 01-01-11 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 01-01-11, 10:37 AM
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There's probably a lot of these threads if you search -- I use a fairly cheap pair of panniers called "Appalachian transit series", they secure just fine and I've used them for daily commuting for 2 years now....they were about $40. No issues. The sun bleached the black color to more of a weird purple, but I don't care about cosmetics .

They aren't waterproof, but I put things I need dry into ziplocks.

As far as front panniers - no experience there. I use a wald gb 198 front basket on my drop bars and strap a regular backpack to it every morning. Never used front panniers or rack.
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Old 01-01-11, 11:02 AM
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Nashbar ATB Panniers

They're inexpensive, $30 bucks, and Nashbar runs so many sales that they can be had for less. I use mine to commute to school. I actually just keep the non-drive side pannier on nearly all the time. I just slide my bookbag in and leave it on the bike when I get to school. There is a top pocket that I keep my lock in and a side pocket I keep a multi-tool and some grocery bags in for seat covers and waterproofing if need be. These panniers are fairly water resistant as well. If you need to take extra clothes or jackets or anything it gets pretty snug so then I just put the other pannier on and voila. Also if they are stolen I'm only out $30 no the umpteen dollars Ortlieb cost. Just my $.02.


Also there is a pic in my Flickr set in my signature with the pannier loaded and on the bike.
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Old 01-01-11, 01:19 PM
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I've been using Carradice Super C for 16yrs.
Like Ortleib these have evolved over many years and are in widespread daily use by many commuters and tourists. Any bugs have been ironed out and all the hardware, shape/profile, stiffening etc are just about perfect. Carradice appeal to more traditional users and the canvas is tough, durable, water repellant and repairable.

I use Carradice on the rear and smaller Ortleib in the front, it is a useful mix.

Cheaper panniers tend to use hook and elastic mounting (can bounce off), thinner flappy material, seams that fray over years, crude profiles that interfere with the heel, heavier /poorer stiffening board and a reliance on zips that fail.
Commuter panniers tend to have more compartments whereas touring panniers use one large compartment with external pocket.
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Old 01-01-11, 01:27 PM
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I've heard good things about the Nashbar Panniers. I have the Axiom Kootenay's, but they are actually to big for my needs and I rarely use them.

There are so many brands to choose from in a wide variety of prices. People also make their own out of kitty litter pails or old luggage that is not being used.
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Old 01-01-11, 01:44 PM
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I have nothing but positive things to say about Arkel panniers. I use a single Commuter bag for my commuting duties, but I wouldn't hesitate to take it touring with me. Awesome product!
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Old 01-01-11, 04:13 PM
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Plastic trash bags will make any pannier more waterproof, and help keep things separated in the bag for when you want to keep the wet/stinky and dry/clean things apart from each other. I use the Nashbar ATB's and like them, you'll find a bunch of these threads in the archives if you want more info.
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Old 01-01-11, 04:30 PM
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rack time panniers

i use the racktime travelit panniers now the ones i have on the rear are actually front panniers but they make a bigger set for the rear so far they have held up good and i have had no problems with them. they use the ortlieb ql1 mounting system which seems to be a solid mount mine never move around and they have enough clearence where you dont hit your heels.here is a pic of them mounted on my bike
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Old 01-02-11, 02:30 AM
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I just got a pair of Ortlieb Back Roller Classics in black. I'm loving them! I actually bought them with a Best Buy gift card for just under 100.00. I love the quick release so I can just carry them inside and change my load out. It helps when it's 5 in the morning and dark and freezing cold out that I can just clip them on and go. I strongly recommend them!
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Old 01-02-11, 08:19 AM
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If you are using them primarily for commuting and touring is a secondary purpose, why not use baskets? The Wald folding baskets are big enough for what you describe, cost about $20 apiece, fold up out of the way when not being used and I can't imagine they're ever being stolen or broken. The only downside they have is weight, they do weigh bout 3 lbs apiece, but that hasn't bothered me yet.

Marc
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Old 01-02-11, 09:38 AM
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I have been using a set of Nashbar ATB panniers for about 3 years -- mostly around town/commuting and for one tour in 2009. They have held up well and I have never had a problem with how they are secured to the racks. I liked them well enough that I bought a second set when they were on sale in the low twenty dollar range.
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Old 01-02-11, 09:36 PM
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Jose:

These panniers may fit your bill:

https://cristobalco.com/

Last edited by Chris Pringle; 01-03-11 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 01-04-11, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638
If you are using them primarily for commuting and touring is a secondary purpose, why not use baskets? The Wald folding baskets are big enough for what you describe, cost about $20 apiece, fold up out of the way when not being used and I can't imagine they're ever being stolen or broken. The only downside they have is weight, they do weigh bout 3 lbs apiece, but that hasn't bothered me yet.

Marc
; ) I actually already use baskets on my Trek 400, the main problem is that I couldn't think of a good reliable quick release method with which to attach them, so I attached a wire crate to the right side of my blackburn rack with hose clamps, and attached a milk crate to the top of the blackburn rack with bungee cords. I am able to remove neither quickly, and the result is that my bike loads unevenly (leans to one side) and I wear out the right side of my tire before the left and have to turn my tires around every so often. I can (and have) put a left side wire crate on there for touring, but it makes the bike too wide (and heavy) for ease of everyday use. I'd just prefer to have something that I can easily take on or off and tailor to my everyday use, so that I'm not stuck with having 5 lbs of crate to carry three pounds of stuff. The panner bags will even out the load (I'll always be able to have one one each side) without making the bike excessively wide, and will also carry the weight lower than my current milk crate (which I usually use as a main compartment), giving the bike added stability with a lower center of gravity when under loads.

This being said, I'll probably keep the jerry-rigged configuration of the Trek 400 and use that bike whenever I want to venture deep into the heart of San Antonio and give the impression that I'm not carrying anything worth stealing. 8P
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Old 01-04-11, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by irclean
I have nothing but positive things to say about Arkel panniers. I use a single Commuter bag for my commuting duties, but I wouldn't hesitate to take it touring with me. Awesome product!
+1 for Arkel. I use the BUG for commuting, I also have other Arkel panniers - first rate quality and customer service. Ortlieb are also pretty good, but I am a big Arkel fan.
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Old 01-07-11, 02:30 PM
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I ended up ordering a set of Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus panniers for daily commuting and a set of Ortlieb Touring Packer Plus panniers for touring/grocery shopping. I rarely buy such expensive stuff new, but this seems like quality stuff that will last me a lifetime. Kudos to TSL for the suggestion and the link to the touring store, they have friendly service, reasonable prices, and they even gave me a military discount.
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Old 01-07-11, 09:54 PM
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https://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...s+A+Great+Deal

Nashbar ATB right now $19.99.
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Old 01-07-11, 10:08 PM
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Panniers are niche products. Stores know it and they go for the jugular at the price. Best is to DIY it. I made 2 panniers from old knapsacks that not only hold more stuff than the standard $100 panniers, but one of them is waterproof! It costs me only $3 for parts. There are lotsa info on DIY pannier. The reward is worth it!
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Old 01-08-11, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by wunderkind
Panniers are niche products. Stores know it and they go for the jugular at the price. Best is to DIY it. I made 2 panniers from old knapsacks that not only hold more stuff than the standard $100 panniers, but one of them is waterproof! It costs me only $3 for parts. There are lotsa info on DIY pannier. The reward is worth it!
would love to see a picture of your DIY pannier. Not a bad idea at all, as I own tons of bags that are sitting around waiting to be used again =(
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Old 01-11-11, 08:25 AM
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+1 on the Carradice Super C panniers. I have the universal/front set and use them on a rear rack for 3 season commuting and (so far) light touring. The attachment system is quite secure IMO, the bags are tough, and my stuff has never gotten wet (but I don't normally ride in downpours). And they look cool.
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Old 01-11-11, 11:31 AM
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I've used Nashbar ATB's, and Axiom Lassalle panniers.
The Nashbar ones rusted and started ripping within the first few weeks. They also ejected themselves from the rack a time or two over large bumps.

The Axioms have been on a couple short tours, grocery runs, and random hauling and are doing fine.

They're water resistant, and keep things completely dry using the day-glow rain covers, if needed.
They come with one shoulder strap, which can be handy.

They're ~85 bucks, there are many other models for less, and more. I'd say they're right at the sweet spot for quality and price.
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Old 01-11-11, 06:02 PM
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This thread has your name all over it. Screaming deals on Ortlieb, including backroller classic, at Best Buy. Of all places.
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Old 01-15-11, 08:26 AM
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So far I've been commuting with the Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus on the rear, no complaints so far. They're a snap to put on and off, which is a plus for me; when I'm working 12+ hour shifts, the last thing I want to do is fight with an elaborate attachment/detachment system. I've ridden in the rain twice, and they are, indeed, waterproof (and easy to clean). I've only had one of them bounce of the rack once after hitting a bump, and I think that happened only because I had a U-lock attached to the rack and routed through the carrying straps of the bags, and when I hit the bump the U lock probably lifted up suddenly, pulling on the carrying handle which engages the pannier's quick-release system.

@wunderkind, DIY probably is the way to go, but I'm not very good at inventing/designing things, and the stuff I do invent/design tends to mess up a lot. But I applaud those who are able to make their own!
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Old 01-15-11, 09:46 AM
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See the Ortlieb deals at BestBuy thread above. They're great and at that price, hard to pass up. I was just out on the BestBuy site and the Ortliebs are back to regular price.

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