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Rear rack and pannier recommendation for commuting

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Rear rack and pannier recommendation for commuting

Old 08-30-13, 01:40 PM
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Rear rack and pannier recommendation for commuting

I recently started bike commuting. So far I have used a backpack but want the option of a rack and panniers as well, and had some questions as I have never used a rack and panniers before.

Any recommendations on a rack that can fit a road/touring bike with disc brakes? Preferable something that is reasonably strong but not to heavy. Not too concerned about price, want to get a quality product.

Also what about panniers? Will sometimes need to carry a laptop (13" MB Pro), and typically carry basic change of clothes (not shoes), tube, maybe lunch and a lock.

Am I better of with a single pannier on one side, or will that make the balance odd? Looked at some double panniers such these from Timbuk2 or bontrager
https://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...ke-pannier-bag
https://bontrager.com/model/09563

Could also do 2 single panniers and use 1 or 2 depending on what I need to carry each day.

I do want something that I can then carry from my bike to my desk easily, so a shoulder strap or good handle would be nice.

Any suggestions? Don't want anything to large. Waterproof or resistant would be nice as well, but not required.
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Old 08-30-13, 02:08 PM
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Single on the back is OK .. Cannot go wrong with Tubus Racks and Ortlieb waterproof bags ..

I modified mine to pair them together , the hook rail is screwed on , with a plastic nut on the inside

so a couple pieces of webbing the screw pierces connects the 2 bags ,easily..

Ortlieb back rollers come with a shoulder strap each..
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Old 08-30-13, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mstraus
Any recommendations on a rack that can fit a road/touring bike with disc brakes? Preferable something that is reasonably strong but not to heavy. Not too concerned about price, want to get a quality product.

Also what about panniers? Will sometimes need to carry a laptop (13" MB Pro), and typically carry basic change of clothes (not shoes), tube, maybe lunch and a lock.

Am I better of with a single pannier on one side, or will that make the balance odd?
I depends on where your rear caliper is located as to whether or not you need a "disc compatible" rack. If the rear caliper is located between the stays, then any rack should work.

I use a Tubus Cosmo on my Trek Portland with the rear disc caliper located between the stays. For top quality, you can't beat Tubus. Best pricing is at TheTouringStore.com

I like two separate panniers instead of two joined together. I like that if I only need one, I only have to take one. It also makes it easier to put them on the rack and take them off again. That's the primary reason I like Ortlieb panniers. I hang my bikes to park them at both ends of my commute. The Ortliebs go on and off one-handed while I hold the bike with the other hand. There's absolutely no fuss with the mounting system.

I too didn't want anything too large, so I use touring panniers designed for the front, even though I hang them on the rear rack. They're smaller than touring panniers designed for the back. I get four shirts and a pair of jeans in one, the week's worth of lunches in plastic containers, apples, oranges and snacks in the other. With room for a hardcover novel in each (an occupational hazard), my lock and assorted sundries. Ortlieb also makes panniers designed for laptops, but frankly I think regular ones would work just fine.

Conveniently, TheTouringStore.com also carries Ortleib. They don't have a shopping cart on the site, you have to call and talk with a real human to order. They'll also make sure things you're ordering together will work together and for your application.

EDIT: Hey, it looks like they'll be having a sale on Ortleib bags after Labor Day.

Last edited by tsl; 08-30-13 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 08-30-13, 02:42 PM
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I was hesitant to use panniers when I first started out. I didn't want to have to push them through the wind, my belly was enough resistance. I was lucky enough to work with a guy that was great with bikes. He said not to worry you already have two shins to break up the air. I already had a rack so it was just a choice of bags. I just got the best deal on what I could get.

They didn't make any difference I could tell in the pedaling effort at all. I don't know about one vs. two bags, I have two. When I don't have enough to use both of them I just split the load between them. The weight difference doesn't matter once you have a rack anyway.

My rack is just a rack......not the cheapest or most expensive. A mid-priced rack from Universal. I don't carry more than several bags of groceries and have never had a problem. I did use a seatpost clamp with mounting tabs instead of using the bosses on the seat stays. It just made for a nicer installation on my particular frame/rack combo.

You might do a search concerning racks for bikes with discs. I know nothing about the combination to offer any advice.
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Old 08-30-13, 03:00 PM
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I like Jandd duffel rack pack. I like it because it is not shaped or contoured; it's just a bag you can stuff with your stuff. I find that this bag plus a messenger bag is more than sufficient for my needs.

https://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FDRP
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Old 08-30-13, 03:05 PM
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racktime rack + ortlieb panniers (I run downtown + office (L), but I would switch to a pair of Office's if I could).

QL2 or QL3 or an Arkel system is a must if you constantly take off your pannier. I take on/off my panniers 4x/day so Ortlieb or Arkel was a no brainer.

My entire loadout was about $150 (60 for the rack - 20% REI coupon, 50ea for the panniers).

Racktime rack @ REI
Ortlieb panniers @ eBay


I looked into tubus and stuff and I don't see anything that makes a rack worth $150.
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Old 08-30-13, 03:52 PM
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I use Topeak. Good stuff, good prices.
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Old 08-30-13, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
I like Jandd duffel rack pack. I like it because it is not shaped or contoured; it's just a bag you can stuff with your stuff. I find that this bag plus a messenger bag is more than sufficient for my needs.

https://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FDRP
I use something similar, the Timbuk2 Hunchback trunk bag. (Timbuk2 doesn't list this on their site anymore so it may be discontinued now. ).

I'm able to get a lot in this bag, including my laptop.

I have two panniers that I never use now since I fit everything I need for a day at work in this bag.
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Old 08-30-13, 04:43 PM
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When I first started bicycle commuting, I tried a couple of different bags that didn't work well for me. They were too small, and I got frustrated with the velcro attachments to the rack. And they weren't really waterproof.

Then I decided it was important enough to get a nice pair of panniers. I got a pair of Ortlieb backroller classics, and they have been absolutely the best bicycling purchase I have made. Super well-designed, easy on/off the rack with the clip attachment, adjustable to fit the rack however you want them to, durable, and 100% waterproof. They solved all of my cargo-carrying problems and made bicycle commuting more systematic for me.

I'm impressed enough with Ortlieb's quality and design that I would go out of my way to buy any other products from them. If they made computers, I'd be typing this on an Ortlieb laptop, and if they made sodas, I'd be sipping a Diet Ortlieb.
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Old 08-30-13, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluish Green
. . .

I'm impressed enough with Ortlieb's quality and design that I would go out of my way to buy any other products from them. If they made computers, I'd be typing this on an Ortlieb laptop, and if they made sodas, I'd be sipping a Diet Ortlieb.
The diet ortlieb soda probably wouldn't be waterproof, though. Just sayin.
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Old 08-30-13, 05:41 PM
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Rear rack and pannier recommendation for commuting

All depends on how much $ you got...you can get away with a lot of cheap options for panniers, and they'll work. The $$$ for the good ones as the others said, is worth it if you need them. I have a $70 pair of axioms I really like and just a cheap sunlite rack that works well. Total price was 107 after taxes and i probabaly couldve gone cheaper but i bought from my lbs on these. You can definitely scrounge cl for panniers.
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Old 08-30-13, 05:54 PM
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My mid-range rack and eBarf used bags have served me well to run around town. $85 total, and I'd do it again.
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Old 08-31-13, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
The diet ortlieb soda probably wouldn't be waterproof, though. Just sayin.
just laughing
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Old 09-01-13, 01:32 PM
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There are arguments for and against Ortlieb panniers so I bought a pair of Ortlieb Classics and a pair Arkels at the same time. I have used and abused my Ortliebs and barely touched the Arkels.

I also have the Arkel briefcase and have used it extensively but lately prefer to put my laptop in a pannier as my briefcase collects weight. I typically carry my bike tools, tube, lunch, and clothes in one pannier, but when I pack my computer I fold it in my pants and carry it on the other side for the sake of my wheel and rack.

If I were looking for panniers today, I'd look first at the Ortlieb Plus series.
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Old 09-01-13, 01:51 PM
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Tubus Disco.

https://www.tubus.com/product.php?xn=10
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Old 09-02-13, 08:48 AM
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Tubus fly non evo rack and Arkel Bug backpack/pannier. If I need more room on a given day, I add the Arkel GT-18 on the other side.

J.
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Old 09-02-13, 10:49 AM
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My cheapskate approach sent me to Banjo Brothers for panniers. Had used a backpack by them which worked well. The panniers are robustly made, waterproof, and cavernous. Assailing would recommend them on performance now, and the low price makes the deal sweeter.
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Old 09-02-13, 11:10 AM
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Topeak Explorer rack and Topeak MTX DXP bag.

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Old 09-02-13, 11:55 AM
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I only have a pair of schwinns. they are ok. But real good for the price if you can find them on sale. Amazon sells them for 46, walmart more than that, but one of my local stores (Bi-mart) had them on sale for 25. They have their issues, and I would not spend 46 for them, but for 25 have been worth a gamble. Reading reviews they say the downfall is the zipper. Knowing that I use caution , and have not had one break yet in 4 months of twice a week grocery hauling.
they do come apart as carry bags and have a strap for that puprpose
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Old 09-02-13, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s
Topeak Explorer rack and Topeak MTX DXP bag.

What tire is that?
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Old 09-02-13, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero
What tire is that?
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x35.
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Old 09-02-13, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x35.
Thanks! I like the tread pattern. I've never had the Supreme version, and only run 26" wheels, the pattern on the plain Marathon I had was very different from that.
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Old 09-02-13, 05:17 PM
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Do you need a disc-compatible rack to clear a chainstay-mpunted brake or a normal rack for a seat-stay-mounted brake.
Commuting involves a lot of on/off mounting so get a pannier with a good, reliable, quick-release-locking system such as Ortleib, Rixen and Kaul. Avoid hook and elastic, velcro and anything which requires to to handle the bottom hook. The hook in a QR-locking system should be one piece of plastic or metal with an additional locking system (if the lock fails, the hook remains fully functional).
Racks need to be compatible with your hooks. This should be obvious but not to rack-makers.
Good racks have rails made of one tube/bar with a round profile. The hook goes on top, the lock slips underneath. Some modern racks have sections of twin rod welded together. The hook goes on top but the lock is blocked by the lower rod.

If you fit fenders then use an open-frame racktop. You can lash over-sized loads easily. Solid-top racks act as poor fenders and make lashing more difficult.
Some racks feature a raised loop at the front to act as a stop for large loads. Tubus don't use this feature but Blackburn do. I can slide the rounded end of my shackle lock under the stop and use a bungie to provide quick, secure lock storage.

Some racks have adjustable legs. You never need to adjust legs on a rack so get a non-adjustable one that fits. Simple is best.
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Old 09-03-13, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl
I depends on where your rear caliper is located as to whether or not you need a "disc compatible" rack. If the rear caliper is located between the stays, then any rack should work.

I use a Tubus Cosmo on my Trek Portland with the rear disc caliper located between the stays. For top quality, you can't beat Tubus. Best pricing is at TheTouringStore.com

I like two separate panniers instead of two joined together. I like that if I only need one, I only have to take one. It also makes it easier to put them on the rack and take them off again. That's the primary reason I like Ortlieb panniers. I hang my bikes to park them at both ends of my commute. The Ortliebs go on and off one-handed while I hold the bike with the other hand. There's absolutely no fuss with the mounting system.

I too didn't want anything too large, so I use touring panniers designed for the front, even though I hang them on the rear rack. They're smaller than touring panniers designed for the back. I get four shirts and a pair of jeans in one, the week's worth of lunches in plastic containers, apples, oranges and snacks in the other. With room for a hardcover novel in each (an occupational hazard), my lock and assorted sundries. Ortlieb also makes panniers designed for laptops, but frankly I think regular ones would work just fine.

Conveniently, TheTouringStore.com also carries Ortleib. They don't have a shopping cart on the site, you have to call and talk with a real human to order. They'll also make sure things you're ordering together will work together and for your application.

EDIT: Hey, it looks like they'll be having a sale on Ortleib bags after Labor Day.
I will second this recommendation. Tubus and Ortlieb is a great combination. Buy it right, buy it once. Wayne at TheTouringStore.com is great to deal with and will answer any questions you have. Great service.
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Old 09-03-13, 10:23 AM
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I've been happy with my budget-minded Avenir Metro panniers (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...TGGDY6ESHTD2JG). Might not be big enough for your MacBook though.
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