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Pannier Fabric Life

Old 06-15-18, 02:04 PM
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Pannier Fabric Life

Have you been on a 1-5+ year tour? Does pannier fabric degrade? I'm considering upgrading from inexpensive 600d polyester to a PVC coated Ortlieb or cotton Carradice Super C.
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Old 06-15-18, 03:03 PM
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I"ll bring a roll of duct tape.
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Old 06-15-18, 03:15 PM
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Fabric life hasn't been an issue for my Ortliebs (backroller plus). I've instead had the following points of failure on extended trips:
-- plastic brackets/clips breaking
-- drawstrings breaking
-- sewing coming undone, tearing out
-- not wear, but I got doored in Arequipa Peru, splitting open the front panniers
The fabric does fade a fair amount.
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Old 06-15-18, 03:16 PM
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It definitely depends on the panniers. I have a pair of Axioms that couldnít get me through one 1,500mi tour and a pair of Arkels that are much thinner material(dry lights) on that same trip that still look like new. Iíve heard the Ortliebs last forever, so you should be good there. Theyíre heavy, though. If you want to save some weight, Iíve heard lots of good things about Arkel too. My friend has Arkels with lots of hard use on them. The attachment system is the best, imo.
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Old 06-15-18, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by longtemp
Have you been on a 1-5+ year tour? Does pannier fabric degrade? I'm considering upgrading from inexpensive 600d polyester to a PVC coated Ortlieb or cotton Carradice Super C.
Both have very good reputations. The Super C might need periodic re-waxing to maintain water resistance. I do not have the long experience you seek.

I have a set of Carradry panniers, I think they use the same hooks and rack hardware as the Super C model. They do not attach to my Tubus Logo rack very well, the lower hook is the problem. My 10 year old Ortlieb Frontroller and Backroller attachment hardware is more adjustable to a variety of racks.

Super C are also bigger in the rear than Ortlieb, I do not know about the front.
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Old 06-15-18, 03:56 PM
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onyerleft- Ahh, such drama. What exactly is assplode?

If you can deal with all your small stuff falling to the bottom of a duffel bag-type pannier, and you can justify the price of those Ortleibs, go for it. However, O is not the only pannier out there that will last a long time. My Lone Peaks, which are made in the states, were great and I highly recommend them. The longest tour I took with them was my first which lasted half a year. In total, they got a usage of 14 months of touring. Departed from them not due to wear and tear. The set I just had stolen from me lasted 2.5 years (of living on a bike) and I never expected that. Made by Ibera, a new upcomer, they've actually done away with the model I had bought, but I was quite surprised by how long they lasted. Now they only make the duffel type.

I replaced those with a set of Axiom's (55 ltr size), so hope what was stated above is not true.
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Old 06-15-18, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
onyerleft- Ahh, such drama. What exactly is assplode?
...
wrong terminology.
only crabon assplodes.
pannier fabric gets anylonated.
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Old 06-16-18, 11:16 AM
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UV deteriorates the polymers in synthetic fabrics, but in your 2 examples
1 the PVC completely surrounds the actual fabric,

and Carradice C uses a heavy cotton canvas, only synthetics are trim the sleeve under the flap,
and the webbing attaching the plastic buckles.



seems red goes faster than black maybe Blue is not absorbing UV as much ,
but the visible color band is fairly narrow when compared to infrared and ultraviolet, that cannot be seen..





..
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Old 06-16-18, 12:17 PM
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I have not completed a 1- 5 year tour. However, my Orlieb Backroller panniers have been used for close to 20 months of touring. The fabric has not noticeably faded, and is still in good condition. As has been mentioned above, the Ortlieb Packer Plus material tends to fade, but it does not affect the waterproof characteristics of the fabric. My wife uses the Packer Plus series. Her red front panniers have faded quite a bit, but she not only tours with them, they stay on her bike year-round. Her yellow rear panniers and bar bag faded some, but not too bad.

Last edited by Doug64; 06-16-18 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 06-16-18, 04:51 PM
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I have Ortlieb Front Roller Classics that have over 30,000km on them. They have a few scuffs from rubbing them against curbs (user error) but still work perfectly.

I had a set of Vaude rear panniers that are basically a copy of Ortlieb Classics that completely disintegrated on me after maybe 15,000km. First the clips started falling apart, then the seams all separated. In the end they were more duct tape than pannier I think. I've seen newer Vaudes though and the issue with the clips has been addressed. No idea about their durability otherwise though.15,000km is pretty good I guess, but when the older Ortlieb on the front were (and are) still going strong it was disappointing that the Vaudes fell apart.

I replaced those with a set of Back Roller Plus panniers. These are noticeably lighter than Ortlieb Classics but they also don't seem to be nearly as sturdy or abrasion resistant. I have about 5000km on this set. The color has faded in the sun for sure but they don't show any other signs of wear. They are quite a bit lighter, but I think I'd buy Classics if I had the chance to make the decision again.

So from what I have experience with (two different Ortliebs and Vaude) I think Ortlieb Classics are the best for durability, but as others have mentioned there are other options. The Lone Peak stuff looks nice for sure. Perhaps onyerleft can tell us about either of the two different sets of panniers they say they bought to add some more options.
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Old 06-16-18, 08:21 PM
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I read that "Continuous exposure is a more serious problem than intermittent exposure, since attack is dependent on the extent and degree of exposure." wikipedia:UV_degradation . Only a long tour of continuous exposure qualifies to judge fabric life compared to short tours and daily use.

Changing color is a sign of degradation in both fibers and PVC. Ortliebs appear to have PVC coating on the front and top material, but not the side and bottom material. gcrio.org/UNEP1998/UNEP98p62.html Maybe Ortieb fabric is manufactured with UV resisting chemicals. These chemicals are used during manufacture to "stabilize" the material against UV light. wikipediaolymer_degradation I've read that after-market UV sprays are not effective.

I may use black Gorilla Tape to seal the 600d front pannier fabric from UV light. It may create other problems for the fabric, such as excessive grip and tear of the fabric or fall off and have a sticky spot on the fabric. Black Gorilla Tape will also look bad and be stiff like Ortliebs. Because my front panniers will have less weight and space, I prefer to replace them when necessary. Their contents may be temporarily shifted to the rear rack using dry bags.

Last edited by longtemp; 06-17-18 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 06-16-18, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by longtemp
I read that "Continuous exposure is a more serious problem than intermittent exposure, since attack is dependent on the extent and degree of exposure." wikipedia:UV_degradation . Only a long tour of continuous exposure qualifies to judge fabric life compared to short tours and daily use.
Current tour is 19,000km and counting. The Front Roller Classics have seen every day of that, the Vaudes did about the first 13,000 or so before falling apart, and the Back Roller Pluses have done the 5 or 6000 since the replacement.

But it sounds like you have your panniers sorted. I really like the Carradice stuff. A friend has their handlebar bag of the same material and it's very well built.

Last edited by DanBell; 06-16-18 at 09:40 PM. Reason: Added something I forgot to include the first time.
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Old 06-16-18, 09:32 PM
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Being a pannier is a hard life. The materials are exposed to UV light, heat, cold, mud, dust, water, snow, slush, vibration, gravity, abrasions, wear-and-tear on the mechanical bits, etc. No pannier is going to last forever, unless, perhaps, it's fashioned from stainless steel and held together with bolts!

My first set of panniers, made of denier nylon by Cannondale, lasted about ten years. I managed to squeeze a few more years of use by patching them, but eventually they became too threadbare to be serviceable.

So if you use your panniers every day, you will probably need to replace them regularly -- maybe every year or two or three.
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Old 06-17-18, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by acantor
Being a pannier is a hard life. The materials are exposed to UV light, heat, cold, mud, dust, water, snow, slush, vibration, gravity, abrasions, wear-and-tear on the mechanical bits, etc. No pannier is going to last forever, unless, perhaps, it's fashioned from stainless steel and held together with bolts!

My first set of panniers, made of denier nylon by Cannondale, lasted about ten years. I managed to squeeze a few more years of use by patching them, but eventually they became too threadbare to be serviceable.

So if you use your panniers every day, you will probably need to replace them regularly -- maybe every year or two or three.
I'm certainly not qualified to provide input on the topic here, but your comments make sense. For what its worth, it seems reasonable to assume that replacing your bags after an extended tour may be just the way it is. Also in that regard, one may be better off with quality but cheaper bags like Jand.
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Old 06-17-18, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by longtemp
...
I may use black Gorilla Tape to seal the 600d front pannier fabric from UV light. It may create other problems for the fabric, such as excessive grip and tear of the fabric or fall off and have a sticky spot on the fabric. Black Gorilla Tape will also look bad and be stiff like Ortliebs. ....
That is the last thing I would do. Even if you had to replace them after several years, that can't be a huge problem.

When I did my Pacific Coast tour, I met a gal that was in year seven of her long tour. She said that one of her two pairs of Ortliebs were with her for those seven years. I do not recall which they were, but I suspect the back panniers are the ones that were seven years old in the photo. I do not know how old the newer panniers were.

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Old 06-17-18, 08:42 AM
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My Arkels have held up well under tens of thousands of miles of use over more than a decade.
I still thing they are too heavy and clunky - but they ARE sturdy.
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Old 06-17-18, 01:33 PM
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Sewn together nylon bags need rain covers when it rains, you can use them as a sun cover too,
then the UV only really affects the covers, not the bags within.
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Old 06-18-18, 08:52 AM
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I dunno about continual use, but I've got a set of 30+ year old red fabric Schwinn panniers, that were used by various family members touring summers back in the 80s and 90s. Old and worn, but it hasn't stopped me from using them, doubt they 're falling apart anytime soon. Realistically, if a set of panniers wears out after a couple years of continual touring, I am going to be glad for the use I got out of them and by a new set, it is a relative pittance comparatively to touring for years on end.

Originally Posted by onyerleft
Only Ortlieb pannier fabric will last. All other panniers will assplode and turn to dust within the first 14.3 minutes of use. This is a proven, scientific FACT.
Glad you've finally seen the light
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Old 06-18-18, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
As has been mentioned above, the Ortlieb Packer Plus material tends to fade, but it does not affect the waterproof characteristics of the fabric.
Good to know. I have had mine for 7 years now and the tops of the Back Packers have faded noticeably.
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Old 06-18-18, 03:22 PM
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If you don't mind a conversation piece that is free you can use kitty litter buckets for panniers. I've been using them for that past several years full time, even when not on tour. They work great and you can't beat the price.
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Old 06-18-18, 11:29 PM
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I've owned Jandd, Axoim, and Arkel. The Axioms didn't last one touring season. For me, they were worthless. I do know people who love their Axioms. I've owned several different sets of Jandd panniers. They don't wear out, I just make excuses to buy new ones. IMO, a good pannier lasts ~10 years, even with round the year use on the bike.
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Old 06-19-18, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Good to know. I have had mine for 7 years now and the tops of the Back Packers have faded noticeably.
From what I've read and heard when I still sold cycling gear the main difference between both materials is UV-resistance/sunshine and heat.

The Classic's PU-coated fabric has a softener in it that evaporates in sunlight over the years so eventually the material stops being waterproof. High temperatures speed up this process.
That's why the Classic models are available in brighter colors such as white so it doesn't heat up as fast in the sun.
If you ever find a 20 year old model it will be very stiff in comparison to a new one.

The Plus's Cordura fabric doesn't have that issue but is more susceptible to fading. That's why older models were only available in black and grey.

When it comes to wear and tear there are negligible differences though the Classic has a tiny edge on scuffing. But a complete set of Plus panniers saves you 1.5 Kg or so.
Modern materials have closed the gap a little bit so I'd let it come down to the preference for budget or weight.
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