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Sell me on Panniers

Old 03-17-11, 12:57 PM
  #51  
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Sweaty back sucks for me, so I just throw my backpack in my wald folding baskets, fold them when I get to work and throw the backpack on my back. Done and done.
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Old 03-17-11, 01:00 PM
  #52  
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I'm not really happy without at least one bike with panniers and at least one bike without a rack. I only ride the racked and bagged bike about once a week - I love the carrying capacity but loathe the way it feels when I hammer out of the saddle and the lack of bunnyhop ability.

I don't have a laptop, but it seems to me like panniers would be an inhospitable place for a laptop, especially one with standard platter disc drives. That's a lotta shock for the poor things.

I've been seriously thinking about a frame bag, just gotta think about water bottle placement - probably on the bars for me.
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Old 03-17-11, 01:25 PM
  #53  
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Are you kidding? Panniers are only slightly less important than wheels (for a commuter)!

Only (minor) con is leaving the bags, but sometimes I slip a small bag with my stuff into my oversized panniers so I can take it to go. Some folks rig the panniers so they can quick release but I've found this hard to deal with because they've slid around on me. The weight dist. will be make riding a little different, you won't notice after a while.
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Old 03-17-11, 01:42 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by commo_soulja View Post
With panniers weight is low on the bike not on your back. Depending on how much you carry, it can be noticeable. In the summer or when it's hot out, your back doesn't get all sweaty from a backpack.
I second this. I was all about my backpack for the last 6 months but now that it's getting warmer, i noticed that my shirt only gets wet with sweater on my back and under the straps. I'm gonna try out the pannier today and see how that goes.
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Old 03-17-11, 01:52 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by yagichan View Post
Hey Tarwheel.

You've persuaded me to purchase a carradice bag! Thank you!

You mentioned you have used a barley for commuting. Can you give an example of what you are packing? I'm torn between the barley and the nelson and hoped you may give some insight.

Per the topic, I tried a rack and panniers before and didn't like the way the bike handled. I currently use a backpack simply because I didn't consider any other options. The seat bag seems like its worth a shot. Although I wouldn't consider it inexpensive (looking at ~$100 for the carradice bag and support), I remember a good set of panniers being costly as well. One of the nice things about backpacking is that I already have a few backpacks from school and was therefore a cheap solution for me.

Thanks again!
Here is what I typically carry in the main compartment of my Barley: shirt, t-shirt, underwear, cell phone, wallet, lunch, and eye glasses case, but it can carry more. In the side pockets, I carry tools, spare tube, CO2 inflator and tire repair stuff, extra batteries for lights, battery case for Dinotte tail-light. The main compartment is somewhat expandable and straps adjustable, so you can carry a lot more stuff if needed, plus there are tie-down loops on the top.

Also look at the Pendle. It's about 50% larger by volume than the Barley. The Low-saddle Longflap is another option. (I don't know where they get these crazy names.)

Prices for the Barley and Pendle are about $50 US at Wiggle right now, and the Carradice bag rack with quick release is about $40.

When I first got my Barley, it was after trying a backpack and racktop bag for a while. I haven't felt the need for anything else since then (4 years now). I might get the Pendle if buying now, but the Barley is really large enough for my needs 99% of the time. I have a front rack and bag that I use on the rare occasions when I need more space.

The Acorn knock-off is a nicer bag but more expensive and difficult to order.
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Old 03-17-11, 02:12 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by AltheCyclist View Post
Are you kidding? Panniers are only slightly less important than wheels (for a commuter)!
That may be true for you but hardly for the rest of us. I've been commuting for 30 years and have only used pannier a handful of times. A trunk bag handles all the stuff I need for work. More importantly it handles all the stuff I need to carry home at night...especially on days where I have to deal with sub-freezing temperatures on the way in and tropical temperatures on the way home.

I don't, however, carry toiletries, a towel, shoes and a few other items. I leave those at work. You really don't need to be schlepping that stuff back and forth everyday.
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Old 03-17-11, 02:13 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post

4. comfort - i tried a lot of packs, but eventually settled on an REI pack with multitudes of micro-adjustment straps that allow me to cinch the pack down in all the right places to get that perfect feel where the pack simply becomes an extension of my body rather than something i'm wearing. waist and sternum straps are absolutely essential in my opinion for a bike commuting backpack. it's also an airflow pack that allows for 2" of air to flow between the my back and the pack, helping to minimize sweat build-up.
Which one do you use?
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Old 03-17-11, 02:36 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
Which one do you use?
An REI Venturi 40. it's a model they no longer make, but it's similar to the current REI venturi 45 model, just a bit smaller.
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Old 03-17-11, 02:57 PM
  #59  
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Let's see some pannier photos!
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Old 03-17-11, 03:01 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by AltheCyclist View Post
Let's see some pannier photos!






I just don't use them for work

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Old 03-17-11, 03:40 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by exile View Post
I don't use panniers, I use a backpack. To me it is more convenient. However I know nothing about sweaty back or weight on my shoulders. I put my backpack in the milk crate I have attached to my rack.
Yup. I use a briefcase and milk crate. Holds lunch, tools, bear spray, water. Dry bag if necessary. Throw in and go.
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Old 03-17-11, 03:53 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but the choice isn't simply between backpacks and panniers. There are also large seat bags and rack-top bags.
I have to agree with tarwheel. After years of using different panniers, backpacks, and more recently large saddle bags, I unequivocally support the latter.

I have the Nelson Long Strap and I can carry a full winter outfit (sans a coat), a laptop, two complete meals, and all my necessary cycling incidentals. Do note, I do use the quick release, which is essential for this bulky of a load.

People certainly have their preferences, but after using the saddle bag for the last year I cannot see why anyone would use anything else (of course, save touring).
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Old 03-17-11, 03:58 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by AltheCyclist View Post
Are you kidding? Panniers are only slightly less important than wheels (for a commuter)!

Only (minor) con is leaving the bags, but sometimes I slip a small bag with my stuff into my oversized panniers so I can take it to go. Some folks rig the panniers so they can quick release but I've found this hard to deal with because they've slid around on me. The weight dist. will be make riding a little different, you won't notice after a while.
For some reason, your statement reminded me of this:
You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line"! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...
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Old 03-17-11, 04:01 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
That may be true for you but hardly for the rest of us. I've been commuting for 30 years and have only used pannier a handful of times. A trunk bag handles all the stuff I need for work. More importantly it handles all the stuff I need to carry home at night...especially on days where I have to deal with sub-freezing temperatures on the way in and tropical temperatures on the way home.

I don't, however, carry toiletries, a towel, shoes and a few other items. I leave those at work. You really don't need to be schlepping that stuff back and forth everyday.
That's the only thing I don't like about this environment. I have to check the weather every day, and look to see if there is going to be sun too.
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Old 03-17-11, 04:05 PM
  #65  
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there is no planning on the front range, only preparation. Which why my rack trunk is a waterproof drybag that will also see some boat duty this summer.
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Old 03-17-11, 04:14 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by jdswitters View Post
there is no planning on the front range, only preparation. Which why my rack trunk is a waterproof drybag that will also see some boat duty this summer.
The waterproofing will rot before it ever has to be used Besides if the stuff does get wet, it'll dry inside of 10 minutes.
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Old 03-17-11, 04:22 PM
  #67  
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My thoughts are if you carry enough crap to fill paniers use them, if not don't. I don't carry enough crap... I use a back pack, but carry on my rack. Works for me.
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Old 03-17-11, 05:02 PM
  #68  
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there is another advantage to panniers i haven't seen mentioned yet, although i haven't read every post.

when i started commuting, i used a pack and was annoyed that it blocked my helmet mirror view when I was on my drops or aerobars.

other than that and the sweaty back thing, having a backpack on does have it's advantages. it is easier to stop along the way and carry everything with you. and it's nice to not have a weighted bike. also, those extra 20 pounds of unsprung weight could mean the difference between having/not having a pinch flat when you nail a pothole. if it's on your back, you can lift out of the saddle, making it sprung weight.

in the end, i have decided to stick with panniers. only trouble is both sides main pocket zippers have ripped loose from the cloth. i am considering trying to patch them. has anyone had luck doing this? the panniers are older cannondale ones made of rather thin nylon. wish they were heavier material.
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Old 03-17-11, 05:30 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by AltheCyclist View Post
Let's see some pannier photos!

For me panniers are an essential piece of kit, but not necessarily for commuting.

Grocery run!


Touring!


Recreational riding! (great for sandwiches and extra water)
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Old 03-18-11, 07:17 AM
  #70  
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- 17" Notebook pc, mouse and power pack
- Kindle (long train ride is long)
- Inflatable neck pillow (ditto)
- Cellphone
- Change of clothes (in an Eagle Creek "Pack-It" folder, to keep them from becoming a wrinkled mess)
- Towel (for the office gym)
- Lunch in a soft-sided cooler (usually a sandwich and salad and snacks.)
- Raincape
- Jacket (during the winter)
- Small toolkit (crescent wrench, allen keys, screwdriver, spare tube, CO2 inflater, tire levers)
- Lights

This is a pretty big load for a backpack or messenger bag. I've got a Knogg Drydog, and it swallows everything on that list, and can hold more if I need it. It clips onto the rack, and I mostly forget it's even there - I have a cruiser/MTB thing, so I'm not as attuned to the finer handling nuances as a roadie going full tilt might be, but the difference between hauling it on the bike and wearing it on the back is like night and day... very liberating. I sling it over the shoulder like a messenger bag once I'm on the train.
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Old 03-18-11, 10:31 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Grim View Post
1. I live in Georgia. It gets hot and muggy here. I'm a MI transplant and a sweaty person. soaking down the back pack sucks.
+1 to the location and climate being a big factor in the decision.
There are packs that are made to ventilate (Vau'de among others) by creating an air gap, but even with such packs riding in the heat and humidity can be excrutiating with any form of restriction to airflow on one's body. Even the waistband on your shorts can make a difference in comfort level.
I've lived in the intermountain west long enough that this is no longer an issue (except on the hottest days of summer). However, having grown up in Austin, TX and lived for 8 years in the (Ridiculously humid) eastern province of Saudi Arabia, so I've ridden in some heat . In those environments, a backpack is smothering, if not a catalyst for overheating.

In Winter or in a more moderate climate, well, the playing field levels a bit and it gets down to alot of the discussion regarding personal preferences for weight on you vs weight on the bike.
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Old 03-18-11, 11:48 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by canyoneagle View Post
+1 to the location and climate being a big factor in the decision.
There are packs that are made to ventilate (Vau'de among others) by creating an air gap, but even with such packs riding in the heat and humidity can be excrutiating with any form of restriction to airflow on one's body. Even the waistband on your shorts can make a difference in comfort level.
This has become my only factor in wanting a pair anymore with NC summers coming. Maybe with a different bike, but with the fixed gear and the riding style it encourages the backpack seems like the better alternative.
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Old 03-18-11, 12:24 PM
  #73  
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Actually, the iffy weather in Colorado is why I like panniers. I can wear a ski jacket in the morning and then throw it in my pannier bag in the afternoon. Along with a case of beer.
Can't do that with a backpack.

Let's see the saddle bags commuter photos, too!
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Old 03-18-11, 02:32 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by AltheCyclist View Post
Let's see some pannier photos!
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Old 03-18-11, 04:18 PM
  #75  
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Yay! A panniers vs. backpacks thread!

First off, tjspiel and steelydan, among others, make good points for backpacks that I concur with.

Secondly, I'm glad the OP found something that works for him. And as for the other fellow (I forget the name, wa... something), and anyone else considering how to get stuff from point a to point b, allow me to add my 2 cents.

This...

Originally Posted by AltheCyclist View Post
Are you kidding? Panniers are only slightly less important than wheels (for a commuter)!
... is exactly the kind of thinking that brought me to spending upwards of 200 bucks trying to make panniers work for me, when in the end it just wasn't going to happen. Now, don't get me wrong, I think that panniers work for MOST commuters, but not necessarily all. I think it comes down to two major things:


Riding style: If you are coming from a road bike background doing fast club rides or clocking personal best times on favorite routes, panniers are going to alter the handling of your bike such that it won't be nearly as nimble as a 20 pound or less race bike. That's just a fact. Is the difference SO great that you could never get used to it? Who knows, try it for yourself and find out. But if you like riding quick and nimble bikes, chances are, you won't like it, unless of course....

Bike: ...you're riding a "touring" type bike on your commute which is more specifically made to handle things like panniers and racks. A good rule of thumb is that if your bike has no rack mount bosses, it probably wasn't designed to hold a rack. Kind of a "duh" statement, but something people often gloss over. Just google how many threads are out threads are out there asking how to mount racks to bikes with no rack bosses. Hell, I even put one up in here over the winter. There are lots of products out there to help and it's a big enough market for them to make the bucks.

But I can assure that most of the bikes people are forcing racks onto are creating a recipe for bad handling. For one, they are usually bikes made with short wheel bases, meaning short chainstays. This will most likely produce heel strike. And if it doesn't, it pushes the CG of the load (rack+panniers+stuff) rearward and past the rear axle. And you'd be surprised how much a rack and pannier set weighs by itself, much more so when you put a modest amount of stuff in it. So now, this once nimble, light bike has almost it's own weight in extra stuff sticking out of it's backside. Imagine putting 400 pounds of dirt in a set of saddle bags on a race replica motorcycle, oh and be sure the CG of the load is just past the rear axle.


I could go on, but I'll just say my bikes and panniers don't play well. For many others and their bikes, panniers are excellent and wonderful and I'm glad they are having a blast on a bike. I personally opted for the Talon 22 and hope to post a long term review at the end of the semester.

But whether you chose panniers, top rack bag, saddle bag, or backpack, please do commute and have a blast.
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