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Advice on buying a rear or front rack - get the bags FIRST!

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Advice on buying a rear or front rack - get the bags FIRST!

Old 04-04-11, 05:41 AM
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Burton
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Advice on buying a rear or front rack - get the bags FIRST!

Just a heads up that all racks and bags are compatible.

Different racks have different tube sizes and different crossover support positions and when you eventually go to buy that bag you`ve picked out - you may well find it won`t go on that bike rack!!

So as well as confirming that the rack is a good fit for your bike - you might also want to confirm that it`ll actually let you use the bags you`re interested in. Easy to do in the store - impossible to do on the Internet.
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Old 04-04-11, 07:31 AM
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myrridin
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I don't know about other bags, but my Arkel (shoppers and Bug) panniers have the ability to adjust the clamps position to fit the rack spacing. Haven't had a problem with tube size either. I use the same bags on three different racks (stock on Novarra Radonee, Topeak Tourist DX, and Dahon Traveler rack).
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Old 04-04-11, 08:22 AM
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commo_soulja
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Huh, ya got burnt eh?

IMO, I'd get the rack first, then the bags. Not all racks are created equally especially cargo weight capacity limits. Also, Ortlieb panniers have adjustable rack mounts.
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Old 04-04-11, 10:01 AM
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Adjustable rack mounts are wonderful. I have four bikes with four different racks. I suffered with crappy bags for a few years until my wife bought me some Arkel touring panniers recently. I found out yesterday that I can even adjust them to fit my Dahon folding bike on it's tiny rack.
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Old 04-04-11, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
Just a heads up that all racks and bags are compatible.
You mean "NOT" compatible, right?
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Old 04-04-11, 10:18 AM
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FWIW;
Ortlieb makes a hook set with 2 inserts now.
8mm [solid alloy rod and the steel tube used in Bike Fridays racks]
and 11mm which works with Tubus and Bruce Gordon's touring racks.
[ 14mm when the inserts are removed ]
the hooks slide in the rails on the bags , clamped in place when the location is decided.
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Old 04-04-11, 04:03 PM
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Yeah - obviously I meant NOT compatible ......

So first of - glad to hear that everyone`s happy with what they have. I would imagine that`s probably the main reason you still have the stuff. I think it goes without saying though that high end bags have a lot more flexability built into the attaching mechanism. In fact most are patented.

Hoever, although the Voyager convertible bags that I personally own will fit three out of the four racks I have - they won`t fit on the Specialized rear rack because of the placement of the platform supports on the Specialized rack.

And the stack of nice general duty bags that were down the street and were on clearance for $40 wouldn`t fit ANY of them so I couldn`t recommend them to a friend that wanted a set for shopping.

But since someone brought up the Arkel brand - maybe this is a good time to do some direct comparisons as an example because before buying the Voyagers that I currently have, I spent about an hour in the rack / pannier section physically taking apart and testing several different models. The two finalists were the Voyager and an Arkel Bug Convertable both 25 liter and convertable to a backpack.

So while a few people here seem to put priority on a rack - I`m the complete opposite. Having used backpacks for about 30 years and having a good idea how a bag is going to be used both on and off a bike - the rack only gets consideration after I`ve decided the bag will do the job.

So the Arkel flunked my requirements simply because the `convertable` part was largely an afterthought and the shoulder harnesses were neither well padded, nor adjustable and lacked the sternum / hip attachments that were on the Voyager. In addition the rain cover was optional on the Arkel and an additional $19.00. The overall build quality of the bag didn`t impress me either.

The Voyager not only included the rain cover in an attached/ retractable design, it also included a seperate, removable, padded insert for a laptop and an additional 100% waterproof sleeve just for that. And although the price of the Arkel was $169.00 - that wasn`t for a pair - it was for just one. The Voyager was only $79.00 ea and if the prices had been reversed, the build quality was so superior to the Arkel that I would have bought it anyway. As it was I bought 2 instead.

And even though it doesn`t fit every rack I own and doesn`t have fancy adjustable hardware - it fits every rack I use and does everything I bought it for. Because during the spring detachable fenders aren`t compatable with any rear mounted rack so that bag gets used a lot on my back anyway.

So while I don`t believe everyone out there thinks the same way I do - I`m pretty sure there are a few that do.

Last edited by Burton; 04-04-11 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 04-04-11, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
But since someone brought up the Arkel brand - maybe this is a good time to do some direct comparisons as an example because before buying the Voyagers that I currently have, I spent about an hour in the rack / pannier section physically taking apart and testing several different models. The two finalists were the Voyager and an Arkel Bug Convertable both 25 liter and convertable to a backpack.
...
So the Arkel flunked my requirements simply because the `convertable` part was largely an afterthought and the shoulder harnesses were neither well padded, nor adjustable and lacked the sternum / hip attachments that were on the Voyager. In addition the rain cover was optional on the Arkel and an additional $19.00. The overall build quality of the bag didn`t impress me either.

And even though it doesn`t fit every rack I own and doesn`t have fancy adjustable hardware - it fits every rack I use and does everything I bought it for. Because during the spring detachable fenders aren`t compatable with any rear mounted rack so that bag gets used a lot on my back anyway.
I find the Arkel straps to be very well padded and suitable for the size of the pack and its intended carry weight. I also find the quality of construction to be quite high and well worth the price. Frankly, I would rather pay more for a bag that can be used on multiple racks (since different bikes require different racks) and not buy bags specific to one bike/rack combination.
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Old 04-04-11, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
I find the Arkel straps to be very well padded and suitable for the size of the pack and its intended carry weight. I also find the quality of construction to be quite high and well worth the price. Frankly, I would rather pay more for a bag that can be used on multiple racks (since different bikes require different racks) and not buy bags specific to one bike/rack combination.
Don`t think we totally disagree. Except that all thats REALLY important is that the bag fit the range of racks you personally own. If your Arkel does that for you then the Voyager does that for me.

Aside from that I have to suspect you`re doing a blind comparison since I`ve looked for the Voyager bags on-line and can`t find them. They`re a Canadian designed product distriputed by Cycles Lambert Inc out of Levis Quebec.

But really didn`t want to get into an argument about which bags are better. People make personal choices for their own reasons. The point of this thread was just to point out that not every bag was compatible with every rack.
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