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switched from seat bag to panniers and rack

Old 04-23-22, 04:40 PM
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Symox
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switched from seat bag to panniers and rack

Am very glad i just made the switch. Not only can i carry more (two Ortlieb front rollers used on the back = 25L vs 14L of seat bag) I found the following benefits

- handling is better (no wag)
- weight is lower on the bike (which helps handling and making it seem less obvious you are carrying weight)
-I can hold more (and heavier) stuff - even hanging stuff on the bags and/or rack
-it is easier to get to my stuff and remove the bags from the bike (thanks to Ortlieb's excellent design)
-with an Axiom Streamliner Road, the aerodynamics don't seem to suffer much, if at all
- it looks better imho
- it is much more stable

If you are contemplating a seatbag or pannier/rack setup, I highly suggest the latter.
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Old 04-23-22, 06:02 PM
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I was recently considering a large bike packing style seat bag. I looked up the weight, and found out: not so light. I've come up with putting all camping gear on the front (cause it doesn't change weight/ keeps steering consistently good) On my rear custom super light rack, I have a bag with tools, shower kit and food with my clothes bag on top. I am looking forward to it because of the narrow profile/ stability.
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Old 04-23-22, 06:51 PM
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I think it is a matter of application. If going into the wild, pans can hang up on roots, limbs and berms. On the road, just high curbs. For my commuting, pans rule! But the one time it was necessary to off road around a construction site, the bags snagged on a root and I was lucky not to rip the bag.
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Old 04-24-22, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Digger Goreman View Post
I think it is a matter of application. If going into the wild, pans can hang up on roots, limbs and berms. On the road, just high curbs. For my commuting, pans rule! But the one time it was necessary to off road around a construction site, the bags snagged on a root and I was lucky not to rip the bag.
good points
most if my rides are on road or wide gravel roads
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Old 04-24-22, 04:21 AM
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I assume you do not have the City version, thus have the strap that goes over the top. If you have not thought of this yet, I store my rain gear on top of my front loaders under those straps.

When it starts raining, I do not want delays getting my raingear out and I certainly do not want to have my waterproof bags open catching rain when I am getting my raingear on.



I usually fill my front loaders. If they are part empty, the straps might not hold stuff on very well. In that situation, rain gear inside the panniers makes more sense.

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Old 04-24-22, 06:57 AM
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I think it greatly depends on how much stuff you are carrying. The more weight and volume the more the benefits you mention kick in. It often strikes me that some of the setups I see with either seat bags or with bikepacking bags had way more stuff than those setups were really suited for. When I am carrying 9-14# of gear how high or where it is on the bike doesn't seem to matter very much. As the weight gets heavier I start to think maybe panniers make more sense for me. I can't say exactly at what weight that happens. For moderately light touring, I kind of liked front only panniers or front panniers with a bit of gear on the rear rack (at the time I was using a tent rather than my current bivy so it was on top of the rear rack). It can be a pretty light duty rack in that usage.

I figure that a seat bag probably avoids most of those problems when the load is light enough, especially if the load is split between it and a bar roll or handlebar bag.

I am not speaking from direct experience on the carradice style seat bag though, just general experience with lighter loads in general. Maybe someone who has used the bags in the way I suggest can pipe up and either confirm or shoot down my impression.
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Old 04-24-22, 07:16 AM
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I've always wanted to try out bikepacking bags but since I have 28" legs** there isn't any room for a frame bag on bikes I ride and even seat bags are a problem as there isn't generally enough room between the seat and the tire once the bag has any weight in in. So racks/panniers it has been with great success.

That said I'm thinking of going in another direction... something like the Burley Nomad would allow me to ride to town to get feed, even if only 1 40kg bag at a time. That would be a real workout. lol

** my thighs are bigger around than my legs are long.
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Old 04-24-22, 09:08 AM
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For those touring off road on skinny single track or those that are "Race touring" and looking for even the most minute improvements in aerodynamics, bike packing makes more sense, but for the other 90% of cycling tourists, I think a pair of panniers is more functional for the reasons you mentioned.
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Old 04-24-22, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Symox View Post
Am very glad i just made the switch. Not only can i carry more (two Ortlieb front rollers used on the back = 25L vs 14L of seat bag) I found the following benefits

- handling is better (no wag)
- weight is lower on the bike (which helps handling and making it seem less obvious you are carrying weight)
-I can hold more (and heavier) stuff - even hanging stuff on the bags and/or rack
-it is easier to get to my stuff and remove the bags from the bike (thanks to Ortlieb's excellent design)
-with an Axiom Streamliner Road, the aerodynamics don't seem to suffer much, if at all
- it looks better imho
- it is much more stable

If you are contemplating a seatbag or pannier/rack setup, I highly suggest the latter.
All good points that Iíve made in the pastÖand be roasted for them

If Iím traveling on rough roads, bikepacking bags are far superior because of their narrower profile and higher mounting points. I donít like their high load point however. And they are a royal pain to remove if you need to unload the bike. I did a trip where I rode a bus to the start point and had to remove all the bags from the bike before I put it on the rack (per the orders of the bus driver). I had a frame bag, handlebar bag, seat bag, fork bags, and small panniers as well as a helmet and Camelbak to carry onto the bus. None of the bags meshed together so it was a constant juggling act to move all that stuff down a narrow bus aisle.
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Old 04-24-22, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Bearhawker View Post
I've always wanted to try out bikepacking bags but since I have 28" legs** there isn't any room for a frame bag on bikes I ride and even seat bags are a problem as there isn't generally enough room between the seat and the tire once the bag has any weight in in.
...
A friend of mine was commenting on that. About six years ago on a bike tour I saw someone had a home made bracket to keep his bag off the tire. I took a few photos. I would have designed it differently but essentially used the same concept with slightly different hardware.



Even if your saddle is a bit lower, you might be able to do something like this. Also, Happy Feet on this forum has cut a rack down to smaller size to support a saddle bag, he did not need the entire rack for that purpose.
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Old 04-24-22, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I think it greatly depends on how much stuff you are carrying. The more weight and volume the more the benefits you mention kick in. It often strikes me that some of the setups I see with either seat bags or with bikepacking bags had way more stuff than those setups were really suited for. When I am carrying 9-14# of gear how high or where it is on the bike doesn't seem to matter very much. As the weight gets heavier I start to think maybe panniers make more sense for me. I can't say exactly at what weight that happens. For moderately light touring, I kind of liked front only panniers or front panniers with a bit of gear on the rear rack (at the time I was using a tent rather than my current bivy so it was on top of the rear rack). It can be a pretty light duty rack in that usage.

I figure that a seat bag probably avoids most of those problems when the load is light enough, especially if the load is split between it and a bar roll or handlebar bag.

I am not speaking from direct experience on the Carradice style seat bag though, just general experience with lighter loads in general. Maybe someone who has used the bags in the way I suggest can pipe up and either confirm or shoot down my impression.
Touring, I have only used my larger Carradice bag (Nelson Longflap) sitting on top of panniers, so that does not test your senario.

I have used that bag for shopping a few times on one of my bikes that did not have a rack at that time. I think the most I had in it at one time was probably 12 to 15 pounds. It hung from the saddle and was close to the saddle, so I think the extra weight felt like it probably would feel if I gained 12 to 15 pounds.

There are lots of ways to hang a Carradice bag.
  • I mentioned in a post above that Happy Feet used a cut down rack and I posted a DIY bracket that someone used. Those supports would clearly steady a bag from moving.
  • Carradice makes a couple different ways to mount a bag from either a holder mounted to the seatpost or a small carrier mounted on the saddle bag loops, some Brooks saddles have those loops but most saddles lack them.
  • Or just hang the bag from the saddle loops.
  • I did not like the bag hitting my thighs when it hangs from the saddle loops and part of the bag hangs forward, I put a shimmed stem on the seatpost with a bit of a dowel (sprayed black) to push the saddle back further so my legs do not hit the bag. I do not have a photo of my Nelson Longflap using this seatpost attachment, the photo below has my Carradice Pendle bag that is much smaller.

This is the way I mount my Carradice bags from my bikes. Supported this way it does not sway at all, it might if I did not have that seatpost for the lower strap. Even when I had my Nelson Longflap on there it was very stable. that said, the saddle has to be quite a bit higher than the rear fender to for clearance. I am a bit under 6 foot, inseam pants size usually 32 or 33. I also have a Coroplast sheet inside the bag to act as a stiffener so it does not hang down like a wet pillowcase when empty.



My road bike does not have saddle bag loops. I made a similar alternative to the above, but that is getting off topic so I will skip that discussion.
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Old 04-24-22, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Bearhawker View Post
I've always wanted to try out bikepacking bags but since I have 28" legs** there isn't any room for a frame bag on bikes I ride and even seat bags are a problem as there isn't generally enough room between the seat and the tire once the bag has any weight in in....
I just remembered one more option. Someone on this forum, maybe Staehpj1 had suggested a small rack that was designed to mount on a front fork that had canti brake posts made by Nashbar, he suggested you could mount that on back if you had canti posts to support a bag up off the tire.

Sunlight also made those racks. But since no new bikes have canti posts any more, not sure if the racks are still made.

If your bike has those, that may work for you.
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Old 07-28-22, 06:54 AM
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Oh one other thing... My light setups really are not lacking for anything functionally. I couldn't help but notice that when I was camping with a group and some item was needed but not at the ready for someone in the group, more often than not I was the one that had it at hand. Possibly it was because when you spend so much time going over a packing list hundreds or thousands of times the list is really well thought out or possibly because it is because I had less stuff to search through. In any case It was almost never if ever the guy with a hundred pounds of stuff that found the needed item in his stuff first.
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Old 07-28-22, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I just remembered one more option. Someone on this forum, maybe Staehpj1 had suggested a small rack that was designed to mount on a front fork that had canti brake posts made by Nashbar, he suggested you could mount that on back if you had canti posts to support a bag up off the tire.

Sunlight also made those racks. But since no new bikes have canti posts any more, not sure if the racks are still made.

If your bike has those, that may work for you.
I have used those racks with a home made bracket with two p-clamps on a bike with no canti bosses. I wouldn't try it with carbon fiber, but on metal tubes it would work on front or back. They are desighned for the front, but I have used them on the back as welll when I wanted a little short rack.

You can still find them for sale, but maybe not still in production so maybe new old stock. They used to be everywhere for $10-12, but I think they are a little more now.
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Old 07-28-22, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Symox View Post
- handling is better (no wag)
- weight is lower on the bike (which helps handling and making it seem less obvious you are carrying weight)
The way it was explained to me, oh, a half century ago or so: the higher the weight, the slower the oscillation.

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Old 07-28-22, 10:46 AM
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Very useful info. My understanding of seatpacks is that they were solving specific problems (rear suspension or carbon bike = no rack, narrow trails = snagging on vegetation) but they've also become somewhat of a cycling fashion/lifestyle statement. I see a lot of racers and bikepackers switching to the Tailfin rack with a rack bag or mini-panniers.
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Old 07-28-22, 03:42 PM
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Panniers are less aerodynamic and will slow you down a bit.

The main advantage is ease of use. All those little bikepacking pouches are a pain in the ass to load and unload. It comes down to how much you need to carry. If you can fit everything into two bikepacking bags, fine. But I see people with 5-7 pouches strapped everywhere like mushrooms on their bikes. At that point it's just ridiculous. Get a pair of panniers and be done with it.
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Old 07-28-22, 06:24 PM
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The vast majority of people that I have seen using bikepacking gear were wearing small backpacks. I never see that with people that are using panniers.
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Old 07-28-22, 07:13 PM
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Symox, if you like getting out of the saddle to climb tough hills you can take loaded bike handling another step that is just as big. Put those panniers in front on LowRiders. Now you can rock the bike side to side all you like and not even notice the bike is loaded. (Well, you legs will object! but the bike handling is virtually the same as with the weight off.)

One caution, this is much harder on front rims and tires. Use a sturdy wheel and nice big tire. There is no shock absorption through the frame. (Delicate stuff needs to be packed carefully.)

I've used racks front and rear for medium weight touring and put cooking gear, tools, all metal, tent if it is small enough in the front panniers, sleeping bag, bulky and delicate stuff in back.
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Old 07-28-22, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Panniers are less aerodynamic and will slow you down a bit.

The main advantage is ease of use. All those little bikepacking pouches are a pain in the ass to load and unload. It comes down to how much you need to carry. If you can fit everything into two bikepacking bags, fine. But I see people with 5-7 pouches strapped everywhere like mushrooms on their bikes. At that point it's just ridiculous. Get a pair of panniers and be done with it.
Both systems have their place. I use them both but would never consider bikepacking bags for anything other than rugged off-pavement travel. And even there, bikepacking bags have issues. The high load makes steep downhills tricky and makes even flat surface handling iffy.

Packing them is a pain. Thereís no real good way of organizing them and equipment doesnít really fit all that well given the odd shapes of the bags. Thereís a whole lot of empty space in the bags or there are a lot of unrelated items stored together to make the space useful. Thereís a whole lot of rummaging that goes on finding items you need. That said, Iíve tried just about every packing method around. Off-road with panniers doesnít work all that well. The bags donít stay on well.



Trailers are heavy and make the bike handle squirrelly.



Panniers for road are my favorite methods of carrying a touring load for pavement to mild gravel.



For off-road, however, bikepacking bags work best (with some warts) but I keep using different configurations.



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Old 07-29-22, 12:12 AM
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My Carradice saddlebag puts the weight in front of the rear axle. My Brooks or Ortlieb panniers put more of the weight behind the rear axle. Most of our body weight and most of the weight of the rider/bike combination is above the saddle.
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Old 08-08-22, 04:19 PM
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Super smart to have the rain gear on top like that!
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Old 08-09-22, 10:30 PM
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As mentioned numerous times; depends on the route. When on my MTB and off road, I use a seat post mounted rack with a bag strapped on top, handle bar bag and a backpack. When road touring, both racks and full panniers.
There is the trend to road tour with gravel bikes and covered in frame, bar, saddle bags, but it does seem like a lot of work to look like a bike ad.
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Old 08-10-22, 06:06 AM
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I keep waffling between systems as trips and bikes lend themselves to different applications and don't forget the third axis ;-) basketpacking. I am in love with front basket inclusion into trip carrying capacity.
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Old 08-10-22, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
I keep waffling between systems as trips and bikes lend themselves to different applications and don't forget the third axis ;-) basketpacking. I am in love with front basket inclusion into trip carrying capacity.
I do have one concern about that. The only times I have had theft issues when touring were when stuff was right out an easy to grab. I'd think that a basket might be a bit tempting to casual thieves. I don't leave my bike unattended in setting I find too sketchy and am careful about leaving tempting items in plain sight. I'd think a basket might require a bit more caution in that regard. I can see the utility of one though and can see where one might consider it worth the extra caution (if they don't already employ that level of caution anyway).

A basket would bring back the days of my youth when we had baskets on our bikes and hauled all manner of stuff in them.
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