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From backpack to panniers to backpack

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From backpack to panniers to backpack

Old 04-20-12, 11:14 PM
  #26  
thenomad
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24 mile round trip commute here. I started with a backpack and liked that the bike was not encumbered and was lively to ride.
I sweat a LOT so I figure I'll be soaked no matter what. It does get old to have a drenched backpack stuck to you.
Heavier loads dig into the shoulders, heavier loads also take a tole on MY sit-bits as all the extra weight and pounding goes through the saddle.

Decided to give a proper rack and trunk with fold out panniers a try (hello fenders too). Like that the weight is off ME and I get a nice breeze to dry the sweat. Also got used to the bike weight and feel fine riding it but started sitting and spinning more to keep the bike steady. Now the out of saddle hard charges feel odd on my lighter roadie.

Now my commute is going to be 4 miles round trip starting August. I think I'll go back to a backpack or mess bag for the shorter ride. This'll get me back on a lightweight bike I can toss around and let me take off after work without my gear to hammer out some longer road miles and not be stuck on my heavy commuter.


Either way, glad i'll still get to enjoy riding a bike. May even change around my bike builds to usher in the new rides.
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Old 04-21-12, 08:23 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by yep202 View Post
nice, I use a kelty redtail backpack. Works great.
My latest backpack is a Kelty Shrike, and it works great for bigger loads that aren't big enough to need a pannier or my largest backpack.
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Old 04-23-12, 06:44 AM
  #28  
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I currently use a backpack strapped to the rear rack with 3 bungee cords. Just MAKE SURE those cords and backpack straps are secure and out of the way of rear wheel. However, I have considered getting this backpack, which converts to/from a pannier. The price is reasonable at $42 and it has good reviews.
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Old 04-23-12, 06:54 AM
  #29  
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I have found out that QUALITY backpacks spread the load and really feel like you have nothing on your back. I have had cheaper backpacks, that felt heavy. The present one I got, (Aqua Quest)I can put double what I put in the cheaper one, but yet it feels lighter, and way more comfortable.

I only paid about $80 to $90 for the Aqua Quest, waterproof too. So, I can imagine how good the really high end backpacks are.

BTW, never went to panniers, baskets or racks. All my bikes are sport/racer types.. They gotta keep the cool look!!
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Old 04-23-12, 07:15 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Igo View Post
I went to Topeak MTX Explorer Rack and Trunk systems. http://www.topeak.com . I have several trunks for it. No heel strike at all.
+1 on the Topeak MTX. The fold out panniers fit my laptop or a gallon of milk and bagels when needed. I'm also on a Trek 520, has a little longer wheel base that allow for panniers.
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Old 04-23-12, 09:52 AM
  #31  
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I've had a similar journey as the OP did. I was messenger bag user, had an injury, switched to panniers for awhile while I healed, and then went to a backpack.

It's a good thing that there are as many options as there are. Personally, the pannier with shoulder strap option isn't very appealing to me. When riding in the rain or snow, panniers get their share of crud splashed on them. A wet and grimy pannier isn't something I want to swing over my shoulder.

If you want to carry something on your bike, I like the idea of throwing a backpack in a crate or something protected from road spray.

I prefer not to carry the load on the bike itself for my commute. Plenty of people would rather not carry the weight on their person. It's all good.
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Old 04-23-12, 12:32 PM
  #32  
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I go backpack/messenger bag the majority of the time, and use my rack panniers mostly for groceries or anything else I pick up while I am out
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Old 04-23-12, 12:56 PM
  #33  
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I use an Ortlieb pannier with a quick detach system. Works well. I noticed they have a backpack that uses that system now. If was more inter-modal, I might consider the backpack, but I just take the pannier off at my desk so I can carry my clothes in it to change.
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Old 04-23-12, 02:19 PM
  #34  
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I *hate* the sweaty backpack thing, so for all my rides of more than a couple miles, I've got my fredly homemade trunk on one of my road bikes and
the backback sitting on the front rack on my mountain bike.

I couldn't get photos up on this thread for some reason, they both went up ok on the DIY thread a week or two ago: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...DIY-Gear/page2
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Old 04-23-12, 02:57 PM
  #35  
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No heel strike issues at all, I have a pair of panniers on either side
of the front wheel..
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Old 04-23-12, 03:31 PM
  #36  
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Oddly, I use both. Laptop in the backtop; lunch and clothes in the pannier.

The backpack makes for lots of sweat in the summer, unfortunately.
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Old 04-23-12, 06:49 PM
  #37  
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Though my usual route is a rack and trunk (for commuting that is) I will sometimes toss a vintage REI Flash backpack in the trunk. It crumples down to the size of my fist and weighs about 8 ounces.
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Old 04-23-12, 08:16 PM
  #38  
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I just made the switch from backpack to proper panniers - they're a cheap "shopper" model that will fit in the bagging area in a check outline. It took awhile to find some with snap-down tops, though! The people who design most panniers must be from a drier area than here.
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Old 04-23-12, 08:28 PM
  #39  
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I'd really like to get one of the Ortliebs. LBS doesn't have the new attachment system, just the old system that stays on the bag
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Old 04-23-12, 08:45 PM
  #40  
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I've experimented with weight on me, weight on the bike, and a combo of both. You just gotta figure out what works best for you in any given situation.
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Old 04-25-12, 08:30 AM
  #41  
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I didn't like how the weight of a trunk bag and rack changed the feel of my ride (a Dahon Hammerhead), so I went to a backpack. The backpack (Mission Workshop Vandal) felt much lighter when I added the waist belt to it.
I just came across a couple of blogs dedicated to "bikepacking," which is about packing the bike lighter than the more common rear rack/panniers setup. I think they have something there:
http://www.bikepacking.net/
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Old 04-25-12, 11:09 AM
  #42  
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Rack and folding baskets here. I usually use a backpack for commuting, but for shopping it can be miserable getting home with so much weight on your back.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:08 PM
  #43  
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I was using rack plus panniers but I saw this nice Deuter Race Exp Air backpack at a shop and decided to go back to backpacks. Ended up removing the rack and pannier to save weight on my 55 km round trip commute.

The beauty of the Deuter Race Exp Air is that the backpack doesn't actually touch your back. The backpack is suspended by a "mesh" that lets the air through and which is what rests on your back. Initially I thought this might be a gimmick but it is not. This really puts an end to the "sweaty back" when using backpacks.

I highly recommend this backpack as it is really designed for cyclists and has built in reflectors facing back and to the sides. It even has high viz rain proof cover that you can unfurl when the heavens open up. Another feature is a mounting option for a rear facing blinky.

Last edited by cyclocommuter; 04-25-12 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:27 PM
  #44  
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Is a pannier much heavier than a backpack? I wouldn't think the rack would make that much of a difference, especially on a commuter bike.

Sounds like a nice bag though. I'm currently using a timbuk2 which has some reflectiveness but isn't so comfortable once it's loaded up. I think my ideal solution would be something like the Ortliebs people have mentioned here that are meant to come with you off the bike.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:29 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by GuyForget View Post
Is a pannier much heavier than a backpack? I wouldn't think the rack would make that much of a difference, especially on a commuter bike.

Sounds like a nice bag though. I'm currently using a timbuk2 which has some reflectiveness but isn't so comfortable once it's loaded up. I think my ideal solution would be something like the Ortliebs people have mentioned here that are meant to come with you off the bike.
My pannier is a bit heavier than my messenger bag, but it has stiff sides. One of those sides is heavier plastic to provide backing for the mounting hardware and a solid surface to hold the laptop to.
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Old 04-26-12, 01:30 PM
  #46  
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+1 on the Timbuk2 pannier messanger bag combo. On hot days I use it as a pannier. On cold days or when I take my track bike (like today), I use it as a messanger bag. Goes on and off the bike easily.

http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...nier-messenger

I tried the Topeak MTX trunk rack, but storage was awkward (not much protection for a laptop in one of the zipdown side bags, and it did not come off the bike as easily as a pannier and was awkward to walk around with.

The shift messanger bag / pannier works fine either way.

Its nice to have options. Enjoy whatever you choose!
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Old 04-26-12, 03:52 PM
  #47  
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This thread sums up my past few weeks... I started with a pack, went to a trunk bag on the rear rack, then bought nice rear panniers. Now I am using the trunk bag again. But I am finding myself tearing it off and wearing a backpack now and again. Thinking of upgrading to a better backpack and keeping that way.
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Old 04-26-12, 05:22 PM
  #48  
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Used a backpack for years. Due to a back injury, the pack wasn't working for me anymore unless I bungeed it on the rack of my touring bike. Recently bought a Lone Peak handlelbar pack and a 2nd mount. Can ride with it either on my touring bike or one of my faster rides. It unclips quickly from bike and I carry it into work on a shoulder strap. Amazed how much I can put in the thing. Yesterday I had clothes ( including a pair of jeans), sandwich, apple, some carrots and grapes, 2 bananas, wallet, phone, 7" notebook computer, rain jacket , orth. shoe insoles and spare glasses in case. Only the sandwich got a liitle squished
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Old 04-26-12, 05:45 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
+1 on the Timbuk2 pannier messanger bag combo. On hot days I use it as a pannier. On cold days or when I take my track bike (like today), I use it as a messanger bag. Goes on and off the bike easily.

http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...nier-messenger

I tried the Topeak MTX trunk rack, but storage was awkward (not much protection for a laptop in one of the zipdown side bags, and it did not come off the bike as easily as a pannier and was awkward to walk around with.

The shift messanger bag / pannier works fine either way.

Its nice to have options. Enjoy whatever you choose!
How long have you had yours? I'm sort of worried about how durable the hook system is.
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Old 04-26-12, 07:41 PM
  #50  
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Ive used my ortlieb roller plus a couple years now. I find they work pretty well. They have decent shoulder straps for dragging around, but I love them on the bike. I can carry a lot of stuff in them and I dont find they hinder my ride too much. I backpack is terrible in my experience, even for shorter commutes. Ive never had problems with them getting grime from the road as I use fenders for the rainy weather. I really like the look of the arkel bug, and may pick one of those up sometime in the future--looks like the best of both worlds. The problem is that I just love the attachment system of the ortliebs--cant be beat IMO
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