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Racks/Panniers or Trailer

Old 04-24-11, 03:53 AM
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USAF1C1X1
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Racks/Panniers or Trailer

Hey everyone. I am headed back to the states next week after spending a year in Korea without a car. I am planning on commuting by bike. I was wondering whether people preferred racks and panniers or a trailer. I will be wearing cycling gear and then changing at work. It seems like using something like an enclosed kids trailer would be the most convenient since you don't have to strategically pack your stuff. Plus it won't change the handling of the bike too much. What is everyone's personal preference?
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Old 04-24-11, 04:51 AM
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I just use a backpack for 90+% of commutes. I do have pannier and trailer options for heavier loads.

I'd vote against trailer if you have any stairs to deal with or park to shop a lot.

I'd vote for trailer if there are no stairs and you have a longer commute, say 40 minutes each way or more and you have room for it at both ends of commute.
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Old 04-24-11, 05:01 AM
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Well, if you have to ride 1,500 miles or so to work, then yeah, I could see a trailer. Otherwise, you can get quite a lot in a pannier/trunk bag combination. I don't use panniers since mine wore out after years of service. I have a seat bag now.
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Old 04-24-11, 05:03 AM
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I roll with an Xtracycle, carries more than I could ever fit in panniers. I also have a Burley flatbed trailer, for when I need to carry something that doesn't fit well on the X--such as my wife's new microwave.

I did one ride, one time with a backpack, NEVER again, it wasn't a whole lot of fun.

If I didn't have the X, I would be solidly in the rack and pannier crowd, I would also have a trailer.

As far as convenience goes, not having to strategically pack your stuff, the X wins again---Just toss what ever you want in the Freeloaders and away you go.
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Old 04-24-11, 06:22 AM
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20 lb trailer to haul 3lb of clothes. Sounds counter productive to me.


Even a BOB weighs in at 17lb. Then we get to the whole "well I got plenty of room" aspect where you end up hauling 10lb of extra junk you really dont need. After 3 years of Commuting I have gone less is more and that steep hill is sure a lot easier to deal with now LOL. I am fortunate in that I work in a place where shorts are acceptable.

If you don't wear a suit for the 9-5 I would say just pick clothes that are fairly wrinkle free and go with panniers.
there are hanging panniers that flip over the whole rack for carrying suits. Cant seem to find a link at the moment but one of those and a steamer at the office to knock out the wrinkles would work. Some folks drive in one day a week to carry in their weekly clothes need and ride the other 4 days.
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Old 04-24-11, 06:39 AM
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Panniers here.

Without any fuss or special packing, I can fit a four-day work week's worth of clothes, lunches and snacks--plus a library book or two--in my panniers. I tote everything in on Mondays, ride any bike I want without having to carry anything at all on Tuesday and Wednesday, and tote home the laundry and more library books on Thursday.

I've been car-free since 1999 and still haven't figured out why a single person with no kids or pets needs a trailer. If I had the need I'd own one. I just haven't had the need more than once or twice in 12 years.
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Old 04-24-11, 10:19 AM
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What are you carrying with you each day that you are even considering a trailer?

Get a rack/panniers combo what will let you carry your stuff without heel strike, and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-24-11, 10:28 AM
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Rack and panniers would be my vote also, unless you're planning on lugging a bunch of tactical gear back and forth in which case you might actually need a trailer.
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Old 04-24-11, 10:30 AM
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I use a rear basket (Topeak) and put my backpack in that.

It's pretty aerodynamic, being in my body's wake, and makes a convenient grab-and-go package.

Wearing a backpack cycling . . . not so comfortable.
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Old 04-24-11, 11:48 AM
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20 lb trailer to haul 3lb of clothes
what lead based tubing did you use?
The 2 I own , the current product specs..
Burly flat bed : Trailer Weight: 13 lbs.
Carry Freedom, City : Weight (with bag): 10.7 lbs
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Old 04-25-11, 07:24 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I was just concerned about stability with fully loaded panniers and I figured a trailer would help with that. Plus some panniers are pretty darn pricey. I figured if I could get a trailer for under 100 bucks it would balance out price wise. It looks like I will be going with these panniers and this rack. Anyone use them?
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Old 04-25-11, 07:26 PM
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How big of a load do you intend to carry? If you can get away with it I'd go with a trunk bag like another poster mentioned.

I like the trunk bag you're looking at. Haven't tried their racks, though.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 04-25-11 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:33 PM
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I measured up everything I need for work, and it fit comfortably in a backpack. I went with panniers just to keep the stuff off my back to reduce sweat and B/O. Unless you need to carry a LOT of stuff for work beyond a change of clothes, lunch/snacks, and a pair of shoes I don't see any reason panniers won't work. They come in a wide variety of sizes, so if you need to carry a laptop or something that can be pretty easily accommodated.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
How big of a load do you intend to carry? If you can get away with it I'd go with a trunk bag like another poster mentioned.

I like the trunk bag you're looking at. Haven't tried their racks, though.
I am in the military so I'd be carrying uniform, boots, lunch, tools, toiletries, and gym clothes so I can work out at the end of the day. Every Monday I have to wear my service uniform which is basically slacks and a dress shirt with tie and dress shoes. Those panniers might work. They look pretty roomy.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:42 PM
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Oh, you're military! You might want the trailer just because it would be easier to keep your stuff from looking ruffled.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:44 PM
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You could probably jam a boot in each side bag. You've got quite a haul there, though. Hmmm. Any chance of a locker on base?
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Old 04-25-11, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by BattleRabbit View Post
I measured up everything I need for work, and it fit comfortably in a backpack. I went with panniers just to keep the stuff off my back to reduce sweat and B/O. Unless you need to carry a LOT of stuff for work beyond a change of clothes, lunch/snacks, and a pair of shoes I don't see any reason panniers won't work. They come in a wide variety of sizes, so if you need to carry a laptop or something that can be pretty easily accommodated.
A backpack probably wouldn't work for me, plus depending on how hot it gets I might use a Camelbak to stay hydrated in the summer.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BattleRabbit View Post
Oh, you're military! You might want the trailer just because it would be easier to keep your stuff from looking ruffled.
Haha yeah pretty much. I figured an enclosed kids trailer would keep everything dry if it rained and when I got dressed I wouldn't look like I just rolled out of bed.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
You could probably jam a boot in each side bag. You've got quite a haul there, though. Hmmm. Any chance of a locker on base?
I might get a locker at work but it won't be very big. I could probably store my toiletries there and not much else.
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Old 04-26-11, 12:46 AM
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Go with the rack option. The trailer is overkill for your needs. With the rack/pannier I can fit my all of my food, uniform, and any extra items in them. Anything extra can be tied down on top of the rack. Also if you really need to take a lot of extra for those special days, you can still use a backpack. To me a trailer is just to much, (I own two of them for kid hauling.)
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Old 04-26-11, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
what lead based tubing did you use?
The 2 I own , the current product specs..
Burly flat bed : Trailer Weight: 13 lbs.
Carry Freedom, City : Weight (with bag): 10.7 lbs
Used the weight listed at REI on the Bob.
https://www.rei.com/product/722506/bo...lus-fs-trailer
Added weight for the extra wheel of the typical 2 wheel trailer.
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Old 04-26-11, 09:26 AM
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Thanks everyone! Looks like I will try the Topeak stuff I linked earlier when I get back home.
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Old 04-27-11, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
I've been car-free since 1999 and still haven't figured out why a single person with no kids or pets needs a trailer. If I had the need I'd own one. I just haven't had the need more than once or twice in 12 years.
The big reason I can see is bulk purchases. 20lbs of rice, bulk toilet paper and the like are more convenient with a trailer. But that's not a commuting issue, that's a car-free issue... and not all car free folks need trailers.

I borrow one on average about once a year.
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