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Trek Grocery Panniers: Do They Just Suck?

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Trek Grocery Panniers: Do They Just Suck?

Old 10-30-05, 04:11 PM
  #1  
Niten
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Trek Grocery Panniers: Do They Just Suck?

I have an '84 Trek 720 touring bike with the original Blackburn racks. For a while, I was using a Jandd grocery pannier, but even if I wedged it as far back on the rack as I could, it still interferred with the cantilever brakes. Still, I needed a grocery bag, so I went to my LBS to see what I could find that would work, and the Trek grocery bag seemed like just the thing.

The Trek bag didn't have the brake interference problem, so I purchased it, and, as I was trying to put it on my bike to ride away, the elastic cord that secures the ring that hooks the bag to the bottom of the rack failed, having come loose from its grommet at one end. They quickly found me another -- it seemed fine, so I took it and left.

So, now, several weeks later, I got out my grocery bag to use it for the second or third time. As I was fitting it to my rack, it failed in exactly the same way as the first one. The LBS says they will be replace it under warranty, but if they all have the same problem, I'd really rather find one that will work for more than a couple of trips.

Has anyone else experienced similar problems with the Trek grocery bag, or have I just been unlucky twice in a row?

If this is a well-known problem in the Trek bag, can anyone suggest a bag that will work with this bike?

Thanks.
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Old 10-30-05, 05:04 PM
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- i have a friend who bought a pair... they're heinous, IMHO... no flap for rain cover? ... and to top it off, the LBS didn't even rig some way of affixing the bags to the seat stays! (he has 'em on a Marin Stinson comfort bike)...

- i wouldn't trust 'em... for my 'bags' i went with heavy, cheap, imported wire 'boxes' that fold up when not in use... (my $100 pawn shop-special Specialized Crossroads [see sig] is my shopping bike)

:-)
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Old 10-30-05, 08:25 PM
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I have a pair that have worked well for about five years. One of them is on the bike everyday. The bike sits on my front porch, exposed to heat, sun, and rain. No problems. I have it clipped to a rear rack, and use a bungee cord to keep it down flat against the seatstay. Go to the store, put my food in a large paper bag. The store bag fits neatly into the Trek bag. MY complaint was the price...the two bags may be more valuable than the bike they are on.
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Old 10-30-05, 10:12 PM
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I've got a pair of the Trek grocery bags. They're a slightly more primitive version than those on sale nowadays. I've had them for six years, and I'm happy with them-- now.

Niten's comments remind me how frustrating I found the stock attachment system. Those cheap hooks, a bungy cord, and a metal circle just don't cut it. I'd forgotten about that...

Don't despair. You can buy Arkel's attachment hardware for $15. It'll take you about ten minutes to put it on. Then the bags will give you years of reliable service. Since I ditched the inadequate stock hardware, and attached the Arkel connectors, I have been much happier with the bags.

The bags are sturdy. Their floors, especially, stand up to abuse. They're a fine specimen of what they are: open topped, single chamber bags.

Be aware, though, that the snaps on the handles that are meant to keep the outer side of the bag from sagging a long way away from the bike don't work so well. If you have significant weight in the bags the snaps won't work. The sagging is not a problem, as long you solve this next problem...

The bikeward, rear wall of the bag will bend with use, especially if you carry heavy items. The rear corner of the pannier will eventually turn back and contact your spokes.

The cure is a rear rack with a guard bar or some other means of keeping the bags away from the wheel. The Jandd Expedition racks do the trick.

So, the Trek bags have their quirks. They are, however, cheap, especially when compared to the heavier duty panniers of equal size. If you're willing to solve their problems, they are good utility items.

I like to use them for take-out food, to keep leaking sauces off of my good Arkel panniers.
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Old 10-31-05, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Niten
If this is a well-known problem in the Trek bag, can anyone suggest a bag that will work with this bike? Thanks.
--- Yes, check out this July 31st thread from the Commuting forum entitled "Pannier Manufacturers INSANE?":
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=trek+panniers
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Old 10-31-05, 10:12 AM
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I have one Gary Fisher model ... I think it's the same as the Trek, they just put a dif name on it. I also have Nashbar open top bags ... I like the Nashbar ones better--because they fold up nicer when not in use and they don't dip into the spokes when full. They do have a sag problem, but I bungee it, and the Fisher one, as mentioned, won't stay snapped with a full load either. If I ran alot more shopping errands I think I'd go with those folding metal baskets.
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Old 10-31-05, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by linux_author
- i wouldn't trust 'em... for my 'bags' i went with heavy, cheap, imported wire 'boxes' that fold up when not in use... (my $100 pawn shop-special Specialized Crossroads [see sig] is my shopping bike)

:-)
I also use folding baskets on one of my bikes. I think I paid about $20 for each basket. They hold quite a bit of weight and can easily be left on the bike since they are bolted to the rack. The only downsides are that they tend to rattle when folded and weigh about a pound each. I found that wrapping a twisty tie around the bottoms while squeezing them together reduces the rattles quite a bit.
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