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Ortlieb Classic vs Plus fabric

Old 03-28-08, 01:48 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by FlowerBlossom View Post
umm, I think dioxins are actually worse than traveling in an RV--unless there's more PVC in an RV than the PVC bags.

Dioxins are just nasty.


And, I'm a little surprised (level of 'WTF') at the analogy about poor in other countries taking apart computers and being exposed to toxins? Oy! The computer situation is NOT relevant to panniers. Double Oy!

In the case of panniers, we have a choice. No PVC or PVC.

In the case of computers, (I'm 99% certain) we don't have a choice of materials being used. We can't order a mercury/lead/silicon/etc-free computer. We can do things like cut back on how many computers in our lifetime we own, replace parts instead of buying a new computer, do research on the companies who recycle computer parts and find out what type of OSHA standards they are following/not following, and/or determine how much is recycled overseas (and thus likely no OSHA standards being followed).

Attempting to use only poison-free computers would end many of our careers. Using PVC-free panniers won't end our careers, won't end our biking, and our stuff would still be dry.

It is okay to point out the effects of non-green products, but lets not condemn those who don't have the same point of view.

So your career is more important than the environment? Everyone draws the line in the sand a little differently.

My point is that nobody likes to be preached to.

Let's all get off our collective (low-phosphate) soapboxes and talk about bikes.

Last edited by rgbrooks; 03-28-08 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 03-28-08, 02:11 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by NeilGunton View Post
All in all, having played with these bags a bit, I might say that from a pure usability point of view, the thinner Plus fabric is probably easier to work with when rolling up the panniers. I'm somewhat surprised that nobody brought this up.

...snip...

Thanks,

/Neil
I've rolled the tops on my classic panniers many times in hot and cold temps and never noticed that they were hard to close nor had any issues with stress cracks. The older set of classic back rollers I gave to a friend are going strong at 10years+. That's why I didn't mention it - I haven't had a problem to date.
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Old 03-28-08, 04:20 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
I've rolled the tops on my classic panniers many times in hot and cold temps and never noticed that they were hard to close nor had any issues with stress cracks. The older set of classic back rollers I gave to a friend are going strong at 10years+. That's why I didn't mention it - I haven't had a problem to date.
Hey Vik, we just got our new classics (and after a couple training rides are very happy with them). Since you've been using the classics for such a long time would you recomend closing them by making a loop over the top or using the shoulder strap. So far we've found it much simpler to just roll them up and make a loop over the top than having to deal with the strap.
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Old 03-28-08, 04:53 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by rgbrooks View Post
It is okay to point out the effects of non-green products, but lets not condemn those who don't have the same point of view.

So your career is more important than the environment? Everyone draws the line in the sand a little differently.
I'm entitled to my opinion, just as you are.

Nope---never said that---read again carefully. PVC panniers are luxury items....we have other options. I aruged those options from many different points.

In contrast, currently, computers are not options for many people. Disassembling computers elsewhere---like making those who use computer disassemble them---that I like. But, that's a bit off-topic, probably should be in P&R, so I didn't go there.

Originally Posted by rgbrooks View Post
My point is that nobody likes to be preached to.
Then don't.

Originally Posted by rgbrooks View Post
Let's all get off our collective (low-phosphate) soapboxes and talk about bikes.
This is 100% about bikes and biking. Pollution is a major factor in the biking experience, especially bicycle touring. Bicycle tourist are probably closest to the environment, biking and living right in it, eating and drinking our way through it. As bicyclists, unless we are willing to bike through the dioxin-filled regions, then, I don't think we should be using PVC.

And, the thing about dioxins, it's very nasty stuff. It doesn't go away. Once we are off our bikes, we are still living in it, training for our next ride in it, carrying our stuff to work in it, buying energy bars and other groceries in it. Not good. Not good at all.
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Old 03-29-08, 03:33 PM
  #80  
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I don't know if it matters, but I think my one and only set of panniers will be the plus fabric, even if REI doesn't sell them
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Old 03-29-08, 04:03 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by xilios View Post
Hey Vik, we just got our new classics (and after a couple training rides are very happy with them). Since you've been using the classics for such a long time would you recomend closing them by making a loop over the top or using the shoulder strap. So far we've found it much simpler to just roll them up and make a loop over the top than having to deal with the strap.
Glad you are enjoying your new panniers - you'll still be enjoying them in 2020!... I've used them both ways and other than not having the carrying handle handy it doesn't really matter to me which I method I use. I don't find the shoulder strap particularly cumbersome, but my panniers see a lot of non-touring action as shopping bags where the carrying them with the strap makes sense.
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Old 05-30-08, 05:42 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by NeilGunton View Post

I need to take myself back to the TransAm I did, and remember the big lesson I took away from that - keep it simple. I really, really liked my Ortlieb panniers on that trip. I guess I'm talking myself into getting the Rollers again, and I'm curious as to whether the Classics would be more durable... seems to me they might just be, kittens aside.

So now I just need to figure out just how I feel about kittens.
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Old 05-30-08, 06:46 AM
  #83  
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I just picked up a set of front roller classics to work with my rear Arkel's, which gives me the option of waterproof and breathability. The ortliebs are pvc, but so is my messenger bag and it's been a godsend considering the bad weather its been through (protecting books, laptop, ect.) I'm not saying that its justified, but I bike everywhere now and the damage caused by my purchase is minimal considering my, hopefully, lifetime commitment to cycling over driving.
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Old 05-31-08, 10:52 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by FlowerBlossom View Post
This is 100% about bikes and biking. Pollution is a major factor in the biking experience, especially bicycle touring. Bicycle tourist are probably closest to the environment, biking and living right in it, eating and drinking our way through it. As bicyclists, unless we are willing to bike through the dioxin-filled regions, then, I don't think we should be using PVC.

And, the thing about dioxins, it's very nasty stuff. It doesn't go away. Once we are off our bikes, we are still living in it, training for our next ride in it, carrying our stuff to work in it, buying energy bars and other groceries in it. Not good. Not good at all.
Flower Blossom, I'd like to thank you for putting forward the anti-PVC argument in such a cogent, logical, reasoned manner.

I have the Carradice "Super C" panniers both front and rear on my bike, and I can assure anyone who might be worried about their ability to shed water that they work just fine without any PVC. I've been through several nasty storms with them, I always wash them off in the shower, and nary a drop has worked its way inside. While it's true that I live in a rather arid region, I've noticed that most of the British touring cyclists I see use them, too. If they can handle the nasty weather common to Great Britain, it seems to me they can handle just about anything.

I agree with you that there is no valid reason to buy PVC panniers when such a good alternative is available.
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Old 05-31-08, 11:45 AM
  #85  
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I just today received my carradice super c rear panniers and barbag to match the super C front panniers I have owned for years.

They are incredible. Durable, waterproof, handmade in England. Pricey, but they will last me a lifetime of heavy use. Highly reccommended
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Old 05-31-08, 12:29 PM
  #86  
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I have the Ortlieb Classic Back Rollers, and I never remove the strap. I leave it buckled when I am rolling and unrolling the bag.
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Old 11-03-10, 08:21 AM
  #87  
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Two things.

1) I have front roller clasics that I use on the rear rack. Love 'em. The strap bugs me a little too and I have recently started just clicking the two sides together over the top like many others. That bugs me a little too though. Don't know why.

2) This forum served as material in a post I did in April of 2009 about "cycling forum hell"... perhaps the best example of a post getting hijacked and spinning out of control ever. Thanks to all who contributed.
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Old 11-03-10, 10:11 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by jo8243 View Post
...See Genesis. The earth was in fact, made for us only days before the first man was created...I am in in fact a scientist myself and used to buy into the whole evolution thing until I did some research...
This should go into Wikipedia as as the prime example of an oxymoron.
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Old 11-03-10, 05:51 PM
  #89  
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Anyhow , back on topic, Utilitarian Classics. weigh more and cost less .

than the Cordura Plus Fabric, which is Custom for the manufacturer,
the liner coating needs to have thermoplastic characteristics,
as that is how they are held together,

the coating is heated and the coating glues the seams together.
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Old 10-12-20, 05:01 PM
  #90  
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Below is an exceptional article that was posted by Robert Ewing to the www.crazyguyonabike (CGOAB) site. I came upon it when trying to find info on Ortlieb fabric construction in order to perform a repair and I found it so informative that I saved it. The article seems to have been subsequently deleted from the (CGOAB) website.
I'm reposting it here in hopes it may aid cyclists in understanding Ortlieb's pannier materials better as it addresses some questions raised on this thread (and frequently raised elsewhere).
All credit and is due to the author Robert Ewing.
[If the moderators deem it an inappropriate post, please kindly remove it]:


"Waterproof pannier fabrics
More than you ever wanted to know!


Topic: Bicycle Touring
Categories: Bags & Packing
Permalink: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/coated_fabrics
Copyright © 2010-2016 By Robert Ewing

I started to write a reply to a forum post by Neil about the differences between the Ortlieb Classic and Plus lines of panniers and bike bags. I couldn't figure out where to stop so I decided to make it an article instead. I made my living in marine, industrial, recreational and aerospace fabric design and production for more decades than I care to admit to. I figured I better get some of my knowledge written down some place before I forget all of it. Most of the comments can be applied generally to all waterproof panniers.

Here is a ULR is from the Ortlieb German website https://www.ortlieb.de/t-material.php?lang=en. It gives some very useful technical information of the properties of the various fabrics used in the Classic and Plus lines of bike bags. During my working career as a fabric designer, I worked with many German coated fabrics, some of them probably from the same mills that supply Ortlieb. Quite bluntly, with the possible exception of some Swiss coated goods, the German goods are the best in the world.

The tables in the ULR give valuable comparative data for the different fabrics. You don't have to know what the tests entail to get the general relationship of the various fabrics.

There are a couple of test results I used to depend on in selecting a fabric that are not given in the tables. The most important by far is the adhesion rating. It is what separates the looks really good stuff from the stuff you can literally bet your life on. I am surprised they don't show it because it is where the Germans surpass the rest of the world. It is a measurement of how well the coating sticks to the woven substrate, which is called the scrim. A second test is how many pounds per square inch (or here grams per square centimeter) it takes to peel a weld apart, sometime called the peel load. I used to have a visual pocket knife test I could do in fifteen seconds, and if the fabric failed I would politely show the salesperson to the door. The best polyurethanes have adhesion and peel ratings two to three times higher than the best PVCs and infinitely higher than some of the cheap junk I saw coming out of Asia. The very best white water rafts are made out of polyurethane and they can withstand unbelievable beatings.

There are some basic similarities and difference between polyurethane and polyvinylcloride (PVC). PVC has a well deserved reputation as a environmental and worker catastrophe in the United States, but in Germany they produce PVC under very strict environmental controls and there is very little toxic effluent, in Switzerland there is zero. Polyurethane does not present the same environmental dangers as PVC and in theory can be recycled although you would be hard pressed to find anyone willing to do it.

Both PU and PVC are thermoplastics and this property is why they can be welded together providing a waterproof seam. PVC is a volatile thermoplastic and PU is stable. The offgasing of PVC plasticizers can be strong enough to notice with your nose when open up some PVC panniers on a hot day. The thin greasy film you can get on the inside of your car's windshield is from the offgasing of the dashboard plastic and why it gets so brittle on an old car that has lived outside in a hot climate. These plasticizers are what keep PVC soft and pliable and as they disperse the vinyl become more and more brittle and susceptible to cracking. The industry has developed stabilizers they add to the PVC polymers to slow down the effects of this offgasing. The phthalates that have been in the news in recent years raising concerns about baby toys and some plastic water bottles are one group of these plasticizers. Polyurethane has no offgasing so it is inherently more stable.

To really control this offgasing deterioration the very best PVC coated fabrics put a thin coating of urethane or other stable plastics like acrylics on top of the PVC to completely seal the plasticizers inside the fabric. The Ortlieb Classic series seems to use an acrylic top coating, which gives it a shinny slick look and feel.

If you look at a PVC pannier without a top coat it will have a dull finish and you will probably smell the offgasing when you open it up. It is also hard to keep clean.

Another test they don't report is tongue tear, sometimes called trapazoidal tear resistance. Without getting into the test this would translate into how resistant the fabric would be to getting a gash from say something like a blunt bolt sticking out of a fence that your bike was leaning against. On my Seattle Sports Rain Riders the outside face is the lightest material on the pannier and this is the most susceptible area to this kind of tear. On the Ortlieb Classic it is the heaviest fabric. The Ortlieb Plus uses a very light fabric facing panel but this is deceptive. The thickness and polymer type of the coating adds very little to the tongue tear resistance in fact can reduce it.


(This is a point in the favor of the non-waterproof panniers.) The Plus has a 0/100 coating where all the coating is on the inside of the fabric. This allows for a heavier scrim or woven portion of the fabric and therefor a higher tear resistance on a gram per gram basis, and Corduras in general have very good tear resistance.

Cut resistance by a sharp object like say a pocket knife of a thief seems to be a concern to some cyclists. In general terms the thicker the coating the harder it is to cut, but don't count on it. You would have to go to a Kevlar type fabric make any real deterrence, and you don't want to know how much Kevlar based polyurethane costs. Kevlar type fabrics have lots of characteristics that make them difficult candidates for flexible panniers.

Pliability (It is called "hand" in the industry.) is raised as an issue by many cyclists and the pannier makers. I personally think it is a red herring or imagined problem. PVC is less pliant than urethane. Because of this property most quality PVC coated good are made with a polyester base fabric which is also stiff by nature. Polyurethane is much more elastic and the tendency is to use nylon as the scrim, which is softer and more elastic than polyester. Because both polymers are thermoplastics they get stiffer as they get colder. The inherent characteristics of PVC make this more pronounced. That said, most top rated PVC coated goods have a "cold crack" rating down to minus 30 or 40 deg C where urethane will go to minus 50 to 60 deg C. I think there would be agreement that if you were caught out in those temperatures you would have other more pressing problems to deal with than how hard it was to close your panniers. It might be a legitimate issue for some Canadian sister and brother riders.

Ultraviolet or UV resistance, and heat in general are much greater concerns than cold to the touring cyclist. Most PVC and PU coatings have UV stabilizers added to them. It is my experience that the price of the fabric is directly related to the amount of UV resistance. Back in the old days when I was a sailmaker in Hawaii, the difference between polyester and nylon fabrics in terms of UV resistance was ten to one and there was really only one polyester to consider, DuPont Dacron, everything else would quickly "sun rot" under the Hawaiian sun. In the last two decades there have been great strides in improving nylon's UV stability. It is still not as resistant as polyester, but it is closer. On the CGOAB forum recently a person questioned why the sides of almost all panniers are black, when it seemed to him you would want a bright color for safety. UV is the reason. The black dye acts as a UV filter protecting the fabric yarns from the sun.

Here is a real dividing line between the Ortlieb Classic and Plus series. For maximum sun life with an uncoated outside you want a dark color, and this is true for non-waterproof panniers as well. For panniers using a coated fabric on the outside you want a light reflective color. This is particularly true of PVC coated fabrics. As PVC heats up the plasticizers offgas faster. Notice the color choices available in the Classic and Plus lines. I think Ortlieb has thought this one through pretty well.

The thin acrylic top coat on the Classic series mitigates the above mentioned problem to a great extent. But it is a very thin coating and as it get chafed and cracked in daily use these areas will tend to become brittle and develop deeper cracking and it can kind of spread like a fungal infection and there is no cure to stop it. One of the byproduct of UV deterioration of PVC is an acid that attacks the woven scrim. Top quality coaters add buffering compound in the coating to neutralize this effect.

Another point of offgasing is at the seams where the scrim is exposed. This is a very minor concern for the most part and shouldn't sway a purchase decision one way or the other. Unless, you find a near mint set of Classics that did the Trans Am in '88 and were stored in an uninsulated garage attic in Arizona for the last two decades. I have seen this effect one time where very old PVC welds would crumble to the touch but most of the fabric was still in good shape. But again this is not a concern for most of us. The Plus series similarly stored should be soft and sound when your grandchildren have your estate sale a very, very long time from now.

Abrasion can effect the lifespan, appearance and waterproofness of a fabric. Polyurethane has significantly higher abrasion resistance than PVC. To compensate for this PVC coatings will need be thicker to achieve the same abrasion resistance and that is what Ortlieb does with the Classic line. Cordura fabric is basically the same weave as 'pack cloth' that shinny nylon fabric that lots of day packs and gym bags are made out of. The difference is the yarns have been combed to creates a fuzzy layer, which very effectively resists scuffs and abrasions. It does not increase tear strength over standard pack cloth. The fuzzy layer makes it harder for the coating to to stick to the base fabric. Many reader, I am sure, have pulled the cheap urethane coatings off the fabric on a day pack with their fingers while muttering unkind remarks about the retailer who sold it to them. The best coated fabrics are first coated with an adhesion coat and then the polymer is powder coated and baked onto the fabric. The Germans wrote the book on this process. The best Asian goods that I would get samples of would openly advertise that they were using German coating equipment. And just to be inclusive there are still a few American mills that do a good job.

That is the short version. I could go on and on, but if you made it this far I will give it a rest. As for a decisive reason to buy the Classic or Plus here are my recommendations. If you want to save every gram possible get the Plus. If one or the other has an attachment system that works better with your racks that's the one for you. If one color really matches your bike and puts a smile on your face you better buy it. I don't have too much experience with other brands of panniers, but hopefully I have given some general information that might prove helpful. As I said earlier I have Seattle Sports Rain Riders and they work pretty well. They are made from urethane coated goods. My main reason for buying them is I used to do work with the company's owner, who was a true genius in fabric design. The Rain Riders were not his best effort. My wife has the Classic Rollers. They are really well designed and a joy to use. Axiom panniers seem to be popular here in rainy Portland, Oregon. I noticed they have come out with a new light weight version that they claim meets all the European environmental standards, which should translate into high quality products.

For the record I have no axe to grind with Arkel and their panniers or any non-waterproof pannier. I have not see a set of Arkels on the road, but from the reviews I have read I take them to be of top quality design and craftsmanship. My article is limited to waterproof panniers and I do take exception to the Arkel essay and conclusions on waterproof panniers unsuitability for long distance touring."

Last edited by Lovegasoline; 10-12-20 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 10-13-20, 08:27 AM
  #91  
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Ten year old thread resurrected.
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Old 10-13-20, 09:03 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Ten year old thread resurrected.
With a link that does not work.
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Old 10-15-20, 06:06 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
With a link that does not work.
Correct, as I mentioned the essay seems to have been removed from the site.

And although the thread is 10 years old, the info contained in the essay I've copied goes to the heart of many questions cyclists have regarding the two fabric types and is rarely - if ever - stated elsewhere. I wanted to to share the info but I don't think the world needs yet another 'which Ortlieb material should get" thread ... so I added it here ... a long but useful footnote.
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