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Quality North American made "Micro Panniers" by Porcelin Rocket

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Quality North American made "Micro Panniers" by Porcelin Rocket

Old 04-22-15, 04:19 PM
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Quality North American made "Micro Panniers" by Porcelin Rocket

I thought I would share with the group here these intrigueing "Micro Panniers" sewn up, manufactured by established and well credited, Bike Packing bag company Porcelin Rocket.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/porcelainrocket/

Micro Panniers | Custom Bicycle Bags - The Porcelain Rocket

Custom Bicycle Bags from Porcelain Rocket


I inquired seeking more details on the mounting,strap system and was impressed. They are made for single track.

Because I have been seeking a Lightweight, high quality, durable,simple 9non multiple pockets) small pannier set for two years (very hard to find) and appreciate, try to support small North American manufactured / cycling products, I ordered a pair.

* My thoughts are with the size, light weight and high durabilty (1000 cordura/top notch buckles) I will just leave them on my 29er trekking bike always for "townie/commute" mode besides tour,day trip's,bike packing

Disclaimer - Other than correspondence pre order , I have never been in contact with P.R. nor know friends that use their products. I have seen them about, recommended on the web along with other Bike Packing bag manufactures before.
This is not a add/pitch - just sharing in case others were looking for similar as I was. I nearly ordered the Arkel Dry Lites a couple times but wanted something more durable to be left on the bike.
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Old 04-23-15, 05:57 PM
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To address my need for greater capacity six months ago I ordered a US made alternative to PR made by Rogue Panda Designs in Flagstaff,AZ called the Silo Panniers.
I am very pleased with the design, durable materials and the meticulous craftsmanship. The single track and rough road stability is excellent. Volume is 8 to 10 Liters per side depending on how much you roll the closure down dry bag style. The cost for a pair only $100. I use them on a high front rack but they will work front or back.
I found RPD from a link in another bike forum comment and just called the one man operation. Service was excellent and fast even though I needed some design changes to fit the Bruce Gordon mountain rack I use.
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Old 04-27-15, 05:46 AM
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Very nice! Thanks for the links.
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Old 04-27-15, 06:44 AM
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Those Porcelain Rockets look like they'll help lighten your load too. Your wallet will be much lighter after putting those on the bike. Don't forget to buy the extra liners so that your stuff doesn't get wet. They look pretty decent, but seriously, talk about greed and trying to get the most you can Possibly get for your product containing $10 worth of material... I don't mean this against you, OP. Thanks for posting another quality option. I'm sure it fits the needs of some perfectly. Just a bit out of my rational price range.

Arctos, those Silos look sweet. Thanks for the heads-up. I have a friend that's also looking for this sort of thing.
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Old 04-27-15, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed
Those Porcelain Rockets look like they'll help lighten your load too. Your wallet will be much lighter after putting those on the bike. Don't forget to buy the extra liners so that your stuff doesn't get wet. They look pretty decent, but seriously, talk about greed and trying to get the most you can Possibly get for your product containing $10 worth of material... I don't mean this against you, OP. Thanks for posting another quality option. I'm sure it fits the needs of some perfectly. Just a bit out of my rational price range.

Arctos, those Silos look sweet. Thanks for the heads-up. I have a friend that's also looking for this sort of thing.
They're out of my rational price range too esp. since I own some pretty nice panniers but I'm not so sure this is due to "greed." These are made by an individual trying to earn a living. They look expensive compared to stuff made in countries where labor is paid almost nothing but then there's a reason why good jobs are disappearing all over the US of A.
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Old 04-27-15, 07:55 AM
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^ Well this is getting off topic, but... Did you check out the Silos posted above? $100, waterproof, quality seems top notch. And yes, I understand the foreign market aspect. It's not like it costs them Nearly $100 to get them to you. Those $100 foreign panniers are almost all profit. There's still room to make quality, reasonably priced goods in the US rather than resorting to slave labor abroad. At $250 for one set of panniers, even if it takes the local guy 2 hours to make the panniers, that's still $50/hour with $50 left to cover materials, shipping, taxes, etc. That's not just "making a living." That's making money in extreme excess of what a person needs. Hell, if he worked an 8hr day, you're talking $1000/day profit after the extra $50 per bag covers material, shipping, and operating costs... Assuming consistent business for a quality product and a full year's work like the rest of us, almost $250k/year profit. Feel free to disagree, but I say overpriced, Most likely due to greed. If he's charging that much because he doesn't get enough business to lower the price, he should probably try looking at the business model and the other guy(the Silos) who has had to reduce his product line because he can't keep up due to volume of orders on his high quality, local, hand made frame bags and panniers. According to his website, he actually just started having another local business help him to keep up with demand, feeding the local economy and providing more local employment. Not buying $250 panniers has nothing to do with jobs here disappearing. He's not charging $250 for a set of small bags, plus more for waterproof liners, "just trying to make a living." If you have the money to afford them, awesome. They look like very nice bags. I just think they're over-priced. ...Sorry for the off-topic, everyone. Now back to our scheduled programming.
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Old 04-27-15, 03:56 PM
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Disclosure: I'm the owner of Rogue Panda Designs.

Thanks for the kind words everybody. And thanks for the mini-review, arctos!

In regards to pricing, I've been finding out first-hand that overhead has a way of sneaking up on you. 250 seems high, but I wouldn't speculate myself on what the profit margins might be. I'm going to raise the price of the Silos to $120/set when I get them back into production, for example.

As for the Silos themselves, they are getting redesigned right now and will be reintroduced with a couple of improvements, including a solid way to seam seal Xpac that I've invented. I'll be doing washing machine tests at some point in the future, for both panniers and handlebar rolls. Expect the Silos in mid-summer at the latest, but hopefully earlier.

I'm counting down the days . . . 9 more until I turn in final grades and can quit my day job as a teacher and go full-time sewing. And a couple weeks until I move into a commercial space for my sewing. So lead times should be getting shorter and I'll be able to get more products into production this summer, including the Silos. Unfortunately the company I'm subcontracting here in town is also at the height of its season, so things are busy for both of us, but as summer rolls along we should be able to exceed demand a bit and get products in stock.

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Old 04-27-15, 06:02 PM
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^ Good to have you on the site! I'll keep an eye out later this year for the return of the Silos. I'm definitely interested in some before my next long tour next summer, and a few smaller "shake-down" trips with them beforehand, of course. If your plan plays out and they're back into production before Fall, I'll be on the list.

Any plans for top-tube bags that go right behind the stem? I haven't really find a decent waterproof bag to go there, but I think it's the best place to keep a phone, ID, snacks, sunglasses, etc. I'm probably just not finding the ones that are out there, but I'd be interested if that's in your plans down the line.
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Old 04-27-15, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed
^ Good to have you on the site! I'll keep an eye out later this year for the return of the Silos. I'm definitely interested in some before my next long tour next summer, and a few smaller "shake-down" trips with them beforehand, of course. If your plan plays out and they're back into production before Fall, I'll be on the list.
They'll definitely be back before Fall. Although they'll be under a different name, since I've decided to name all my non-custom bags after Arizona Trail passages.

Any plans for top-tube bags that go right behind the stem? I haven't really find a decent waterproof bag to go there, but I think it's the best place to keep a phone, ID, snacks, sunglasses, etc. I'm probably just not finding the ones that are out there, but I'd be interested if that's in your plans down the line.
I actually just worked out an improved design for that top tube bag. I needed to finalize it so I could make some Arizona Flag bag sets (see photo). I went for water resistance and easy of use over complete waterproofness - it's a pretty hard bag to seam seal well (unlike panniers or handlebar rolls). But it's super stable, has good one-handed zipper operation and is pretty big, so I'm really happy with it. It did ok in light to moderate rain this last weekend but it would definitely get a bit damp in a downpour.

I'll be doing a run of them in the first half of May when I've moved into my new shop sometime. At that point they'll be an in-stock item. Right now I'm just selling them with the AZ flag sets.





P.S. We're starting to hijack this thread - oops! But you did ask.
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Old 04-27-15, 07:54 PM
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The made to order bikepacking bag economy doesn't really work in the way that 3Speed seems to think that it does.

There are costs other than labor, materials, and taxes. Rent for a workshop, sewing machines and maintenance, r&d costs in time and materials to develop new products and methods, and possibly some form of worker's comp insurance if the company has any employees other than the owner.

Porcelain Rocket is expensive. But they also have the reputation for making some of the absolute best bikepacking bags that money can buy, and for being generally swell people, so even without any further thinking about what their costs might be, and how much profit one set of their panniers might actually make them, I would seriously doubt that their pricing scheme has anything to do with them being greedy.


***Also, I own a frame bag made by Nick at Rogue Panda, and it's been fantastic, so I bet his panniers would be great too.

Last edited by NDF86; 04-27-15 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 04-27-15, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by NDF86
The made to order bikepacking bag economy doesn't really work in the way that 3Speed seems to think that it does.


There are costs other than labor, materials, and taxes. Rent for a workshop, sewing machines and maintenance, r&d costs in time and materials to develop new products and methods, and possibly some form of worker's comp insurance if the company has any employees other than the owner.

.
+1. I am self employed in a different field, and I read that assessment of the greed of the craftsperson with a great deal of amusement. There are a lot of little overhead items that add up. Even packing time and materials, advertisement/PR, Phone/internet fees needed to communicate with customers, business vehicle expenses, and more.

For an example of how hard it can be, Walmart sells mass produced items made in china and india for less than I can buy the raw materials for here in the US. And while I don't deal in fabric items, I sew a lot of my own gear, and buying the fabrics as a hobbyist can cost more than buying something new.
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Old 04-27-15, 10:45 PM
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All good points above. I'd also like to add that Scott from PR sent me some helpful tips when I was getting started (well I guess I'm still getting started, but you know) - not really a greedy thing to do.
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Old 04-28-15, 10:31 AM
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*My Porcelain Rocket Micro Panniers arrived yesterday

SKIP TO SLIDE SHOWS AT BOTTOM OR READ ON FOR IMO.

* Because of reply's and I attempt to give back what little I can from where I receive various help, I add this ~ (photo link below)

* Initial Thought out of the box = Very nice and Very Light weight yet tough.

* The material is Cordura. Per memory it is of 1000 & 500 ct. Cordura. The interior of the fabric is treaded for water resistance/proof. They are not listed as "water proof" as in Hurricane water proof like some of the pas type bags are. You will see other fine bag manufactures that use Cordura (ex. Lone Peak) state the same. My intent is typical and objects of concern, in concerning weather go in ultra light, various size,dry bags of various bright colors for itentifying. My experience with Cordura fabric products has been 110% positive sense it came out long ago (off shoot from the Military use I believe?). I was a fly fishing guide,guide service owner and also have used Cordura in various upland hunting, camping,hiking applications. I have found the material to be about bomb proof yet light and I appreciate the fabric feel,look as compared to PVC/Plastic like although the latter is easier to clean via hose off.
The entire back (inside) bottom and part way up the front (outside) is of the heavier stiffer count 1000 material. The bottom or floor remains semi rigid which I appreciate. The upper roll is of the 500 Cordura for flexibility and feel. I have used various knock off genuine Cordura substitues as well ~ and they work pretty well also. But, much like genuine Gortex versus other waterproof breathable materials my best experiance has been with Cordura ---- enough on that

~ While putting them on/mounting them
* THESE ARE NOT INTENDED FOR QUICK ON / OFF AFTER MOUNTED like Ortliebs and other's. They are made for single track riding,bike packing,commuting not taking the bags in with you. They are made to be light weight,tough,simple. For me thats EXACTLY what I wanted with "micro panniers" and my intentions are/were - "put em on and leave em on.
They are not diffacult to mount-dismount but they are not intended to be like a Ortlieb or Arkel fine quality system either.

* I did not care about the "removable back plate stiffener which "can be used as a cutting board" - But after seeing it (photo links below,interior,red strap) - I LOVE THE OPTION ! Be it a cutting board or dinner plate while camping.

* The buckles are high quality as well.

* I am not a "camo guy" but, I ordered the "multicam black" because 1) show less dirt 2) I do NOT want my bags to look like "hey look at me come steal me" when I am in townie mode. 3) I googled the color pattern and kind of liked it = no regrets and P.R. offers several colors from red,grey,black etc.

* My service from Porcelain Rocket was excellant and my delivery was less than a week.

* QUIET - I took a spin with them mounted and some basic stuff inside and they are Silent ! Nice !

* My 3L bladder goes into/works well with the Porcelain Rocket Micro Panniers (I tried it) for when I need to carry more h2o

* As I said before - I like to buy American/North American especially,small,niche,hobby. I can't nor do I try to buy all USA made anything. Whether it's some mom thats able to stay home with the kids because of, added grocery money, a witty , highly industrious entropeneur ,etc. ~ I appreciate it........ and tend to get some really good stuff in return I appreciate for years and years

* Great warranty

* When you put on products from bike bag builders/bike packers themselves (Revelate Designs,Porcelain Rocket,etc) - and your mounting it,looking it over,loading it - YOU NOTICE REALLY CLEVER DIFFERANCES IN DESIGN AND ALSO QUALITY AT KEY AREAS - that can only come from "those that do" like us as compared to big box/outlet/mass produced/off shore. I have seen the exact same thing in flyfishing,bird dog/upland hunting,camping,hiking ,canoeing over the years

* Prices,Value For etc. in reply to some of the stuff others added here ~ For me this is EXACTLY what I had been looking for - 2+++ years now. I am well aware there is always something less costly. MEC small,similar size , water proof, inexpensive panniers and others available. So if you want to save even more "Weight In Your Wallet" @ 3speed get those or spend a ton of time on set up,searching and sew up your own. They (MEC) are like $50 bucks , per reviews= work. For off road I would have to zip/cable tie em down. Some report rips.......but hey you can buy 2,3,4 pairs for the price depending = I get that - I think we all (myself in my 50's of age) have been there and do either/or with various goods we buy depending on our needs.

SO HERE IS MY CONTRIBUTION BACK TO THIS PLACE I TO SEEK HELP FROM (Especially mechanical bikel/maint thanks!) I rolled it out into the back yard and took a bunch of pictures, loaded them up to photo bucket and made a slide show because, as they say "A PICTURE SAYS A THOUSAND WORDS" so here is a bunch of them in a slide show.

New Porcelain Rocket Micro Panniers Slideshow by BGFly | Photobucket

and here is the type off terrain I like to ride (two days ago/Sunday) along with "townie mode/commute". I can ride rural pavement from my house to here (8 miles) and similar..........

Mixed Terrain Ride Northern Most Appalachia Slideshow by BGFly | Photobucket

Disclaimer - non professional review . just an average cyclist

Take care........
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Old 04-28-15, 11:07 AM
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It appears what you add once the frame pack and handlebar roll and Big saddle bag are Full & you need more space , Bike Packing on MTB's .. Off road .
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Old 04-28-15, 11:18 AM
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I like that they are thinking differently, but I'm not sure that they are filling a void that needs filling. Its seems the there's been a progressive bloat going on in the bike-packing world. I see bikes with little doodad containers suck all over...hardly ultralight. It may just be fashion, or once-new-companies aging and needing to add to their product lines, but I'm not seeing the functional advantage.
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Old 04-28-15, 12:22 PM
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Those look nice, simple, and rugged. Sweet bags. And thanks for taking all of the pictures so that we can see all of them from every angle!

Also, I never said the people of Porcelain Rocket were big raging d-bags and aren't friendly people. And obviously I know there are other costs involved in running a business(I used to manage a corporate chain store and I'm the only employee of the very small business that I work for now), but I'm not going to write an essay here to include the smaller points and speculate as to Porcelain Rocket's finer details of business. I just said the bags are over-priced(greedy).
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Old 04-28-15, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill1227
Disclaimer - non professional review . just an average cyclist
Thanks for taking the trouble to share your experiences and thoughts. Great to get some first hand feedback on the panniers. I didn't know about the chopping board! That sounds pretty handy.

Andrew
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Old 04-29-15, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
It appears what you add once the frame pack and handlebar roll and Big saddle bag are Full & you need more space , Bike Packing on MTB's .. Off road .
For some perhaps, while others like myself will just use the pannier/rack saddle bags with remainder on top the rack as needed. My little Trout fly rod doesn't fit in frame bags but goes on the rack well as an example

More choices the better
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Old 04-29-15, 07:40 AM
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Decades of Use.. Beckman 'needleworks' bags for Bruce Gordon racks , both at the time made in Eugene Oregon , USA.

Later, Bob moved to Bend, Bruce to Petaluma.
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Old 04-29-15, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed
^ Well this is getting off topic, but... Did you check out the Silos posted above? $100, waterproof, quality seems top notch. And yes, I understand the foreign market aspect. It's not like it costs them Nearly $100 to get them to you. Those $100 foreign panniers are almost all profit. There's still room to make quality, reasonably priced goods in the US rather than resorting to slave labor abroad. At $250 for one set of panniers, even if it takes the local guy 2 hours to make the panniers, that's still $50/hour with $50 left to cover materials, shipping, taxes, etc. That's not just "making a living." That's making money in extreme excess of what a person needs. Hell, if he worked an 8hr day, you're talking $1000/day profit after the extra $50 per bag covers material, shipping, and operating costs... Assuming consistent business for a quality product and a full year's work like the rest of us, almost $250k/year profit. Feel free to disagree, but I say overpriced, Most likely due to greed. If he's charging that much because he doesn't get enough business to lower the price, he should probably try looking at the business model and the other guy(the Silos) who has had to reduce his product line because he can't keep up due to volume of orders on his high quality, local, hand made frame bags and panniers. According to his website, he actually just started having another local business help him to keep up with demand, feeding the local economy and providing more local employment. Not buying $250 panniers has nothing to do with jobs here disappearing. He's not charging $250 for a set of small bags, plus more for waterproof liners, "just trying to make a living." If you have the money to afford them, awesome. They look like very nice bags. I just think they're over-priced. ...Sorry for the off-topic, everyone. Now back to our scheduled programming.
You are serious?

$50 an hour as a pure labor rate for sewing (using your example here) for a self employed individual is like $20-30 an hour, depending on how you handle taxes, healthcare, insurance, equipment, rent, etc.

Its laughable that you would begrudge someone of charging $250 or more for handmade goods.
Seriously.

The amount of time any one of these guys spends answering questions, going to the post office (not to mention time on packing, etc. filing tax paperwork, making sure their accountant is doing their taxes correctly, paying for their healthcare, shopping for insurance, etc.) eats into that 'pure labor' rate of $50 or whatever YOU think the math works out to.

If he billed $50 an hour over 2000 billable hours that is only $100,000 - (50x2000). Which as a self employed owner of an LLC (I'm the only employee) isn't happening. He's likely only billable at that rate is less than 1000 hours. At best. And then you subtract out all the other expenses as noted above... and yes, typically craftspeople (in almost any specialty based business) truly are 'making a living'.

Profit - its not what you think it is.
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Old 04-29-15, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
I like that they are thinking differently, but I'm not sure that they are filling a void that needs filling. Its seems the there's been a progressive bloat going on in the bike-packing world. I see bikes with little doodad containers suck all over...hardly ultralight. It may just be fashion, or once-new-companies aging and needing to add to their product lines, but I'm not seeing the functional advantage.
there are more considerations that just ultralight... riding single track i don't want panniers front or rear (although for some routes these micro panniers would be sweet... and i'd put them on my rando / road rig for touring, for sure).

there's also a logic to the small bags in key positions - what do you need to access on the go? what can be tucked away? what is stable at load and not bouncing around?
i hate having to dig through panniers to get at items... for me, even if i use front panniers on my road / rando rig i like using the small gas tank, feed bag, etc.

and yes, i'm about as fashionable as they come. i wear a rapha jersey given to me as a gift, keep a tidy beard, wear prana shorts, mtb shoes, an old fox helmet, and i roll down the road / trail with all sort of crap stuck to my bike. hardly fashionable.

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Old 04-29-15, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bmike
there are more considerations that just ultralight... riding single track i don't want panniers front or rear (although for some routes these micro panniers would be sweet... and i'd put them on my rando / road rig for touring, for sure).

there's also a logic to the small bags in key positions - what do you need to access on the go? what can be tucked away? what is stable at load and not bouncing around?
i hate having to dig through panniers to get at items... for me, even if i use front panniers on my road / rando rig i like using the small gas tank, feed bag, etc.
Ok, I do agree that tucking things away when doing single-track makes sense, but I can't see (and you point out too) using those micro-panniers for that. I guess my problem is I liked the minimalism originally brought by bike-packers, but I see that fading away.

BTW: I like your blog. Looks like some very cool adventures.

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Old 04-29-15, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
Ok, I do agree that tucking things away when doing single-track makes sense, but I can't see (and you point out too) using those micro-panniers for that. I guess my problem is I liked the minimalism originally brought by bike-packers, but I see that fading away.

BTW: I like your blog. Looks like some very cool adventures.
Just because a bike packing bag maker offers panniers doesn't mean the spirit on minimalism is being lost. Really depends on the trip, the goals, and what / how someone like to ride and pack.
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Old 04-29-15, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
Ok, I do agree that tucking things away when doing single-track makes sense, but I can't see (and you point out too) using those micro-panniers for that. I guess my problem is I liked the minimalism originally brought by bike-packers, but I see that fading away.

BTW: I like your blog. Looks like some very cool adventures.
FWIW
They were made for and tested on single track amongst other
Rack saddle bags (my prefered over panniers) have been used along with dry bags for decades on single track. Some just needed better syncing down

See that guy in my avatar ? Recognize him ? Its not me. He is one of a couple credited with developing the 29er Mountaimbike
See the small pannier / saddle bags on the back?
In fact he is noted for riding through the woods no track at all on 47mm /1.85"

If they don't stick out beyond your legs - no issue - just follow you a d perhaps spare your detailer if you go down

Never seen a dirt bike (motorcycle) with small saddle bags in tight stuff ?
Hell I have seen guys with Harley Sporters , saddle bags, ride tight stuff off road

Guys on bicycles have done it for decades - long before mohntainbikes

As usual - its the rider not the bike

These micros are cake on mild single track. A good CX rider and bike could easily - no problem. Ditto with the good rigid 26er riders from circa 1990 ish and on deer trails to boot

Nothing personal - just way off. They were made for tested on - I asked specifically in email. And the kid/guy that owns PR (great guy !) has been all over Timbuktu (world) on all sorts of bicycles unlike my lowly,local yocal self. but I have ridden with some incredibly good mtb'ers, especially early 90s and its the rider not which bike nor bags he/she are touten. Its not like P.R. Or R.D bag makers dont ride and test what they offer they both ride all over heck and back on all sorts of bikes


Sorry lots of grammar,spelling errors > from my phone

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Old 04-29-15, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill1227
FWIW
They were made for and tested on single track amongst other
Rack saddle bags (my prefered over panniers) have been used along with dry bags for decades on single track. Some just needed better syncing down

See that guy in my avatar ? Recognize him ? Its not me. He is one of a couple credited with developing the 29er Mountaimbike
See the small pannier / saddle bags on the back?
In fact he is noted for riding through the woods no track at all on 47mm /1.85"

If they don't stick out beyond your legs - no issue - just follow you a d perhaps spare your detailer if you go down

Never seen a dirt bike (motorcycle) with small saddle bags in tight stuff ?
Hell I have seen guys with Harley Sporters , saddle bags, ride tight stuff off road

Guys on bicycles have done it for decades - long before mohntainbikes

As usual - its the rider not the bike

These micros are cake on mild single track. A good CX rider and bike could easily - no problem. Ditto with the good rigid 26er riders from circa 1990 ish and on deer trails to boot

Nothing personal - just way off. They were made for tested on - I asked specifically in email. And the kid/guy that owns PR (great guy !) has been all over Timbuktu (world) on all sorts of bicycles unlike my lowly,local yocal self. but I have ridden with some incredibly good mtb'ers, especially early 90s and its the rider not which bike nor bags he/she are touten. Its not like P.R. Or R.D bag makers dont ride and test what they offer they both ride all over heck and back on all sorts of bikes


Sorry lots of grammar,spelling errors > from my phone
I like your passion. I'm not as adamant that it's the wrong direction, but I'm not sure.

Here's a cool photo from 1898:
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