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Pannier descision

Old 06-30-08, 11:07 PM
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Pannier descision

I currently have a set of 40L mec Panniers, which i don't think will be enough for touring (i use them for shopping and stuff right now, and they're often not enough), and i'm planning a camping trip later in july.

I'm trying to decide on what panniers to add. The mec ones aren't anything fancy, but have worked well so far. They're one big compartment with a rear pounch and zipper pocket in the top flap. I'm thinking i should get front sized panniers, and getting water proof ones sounds nice. So far i'm considering the Ortlieb Front Roller Plus and the Arkel GT18 (bp)'s
If price wasn't an issue, i would have probably already bought the GT18's, because they look pretty awsome. But the ortliebs are cheaper & fully waterproof, and also have an optional backpack thing.

Has anybody used the Ortlieb backpack system or the arkel GT18bp as a backpack?

One other reason i'm leaning towards the arkels is that they have a mesh pocket on the outside, which seems pretty useful, and my current mec bags don't have one. If it's not a terrible idea (not sure what it would do to the fabric or anything), i could just sew a mesh pounch on the outside of my current mec panniers. Is this a bad idea?
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Old 06-30-08, 11:15 PM
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My Axiom Lasalles are 40L and are ample for touring. I also use a trunk bag and a handlebar bag for anything extra I need to carry. Are you sure you need something larger? Have you tried packing the things you want to bring into what you've currently got?

Incidentally, the Axiom Lasalles, have the mesh pocket on the outside you're looking for.

Last edited by Machka; 06-30-08 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 06-30-08, 11:50 PM
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There's no problem adding things to your panniers.Put on net pockets,cargo straps,whatever.Use 100% polyester thread,and seal the seams/stitching when your done.
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Old 07-01-08, 12:39 AM
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My Axiom Lasalles are 40L and are ample for touring. I also use a trunk bag and a handlebar bag for anything extra I need to carry. Are you sure you need something larger? Have you tried packing the things you want to bring into what you've currently got?
No, i haven't tried, because i don't have all the stuff i need. I don't even have a sleeping bag . I'm basing the expecation of needing more pannier space off of one of my friends, who was unable to make due with his set of 56L panniers, so he brought a messenger bag. I'm a pack rat kind of guy, so i'd be suprised if i'd be able to make due with 40L.

The other reason i was thinking of another set of panniers is because some can double as a backpack for hiking and stuff. Although a trunk bag that doubled as a backpack might be an option, but i read it's better to spread the weight out instead of having it all on the back.

There's no problem adding things to your panniers.Put on net pockets,cargo straps,whatever.Use 100% polyester thread,and seal the seams/stitching when your done.
Ahhh, thanks.
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Old 07-02-08, 08:05 AM
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I've been using my MEC panniers for thirteen years now, and they're great. They're simple but they work. Because they're simple, there's not much that can go wrong.
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Old 07-02-08, 08:47 AM
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40L panniers are plenty big enough for rear panniers IMO. If necessary you can carry stuff like the tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag on top of the rear rack.

On the TransAmerica we started with WAY too much stuff and we still had plenty of room with similar sized rear panniers and front panniers about half that size.

The MEC panniers are nice enough panniers. I advise wearing them out before replacing them years down the road. If you like to carry more I would probably add some small front bags to be able to get some weight forward and add a bit of capacity, but you can certainly tour with just the 40L bags.

BTW... if price is an issue the Nashbar or Performance waterproof bags are nice. Three of us used them for 73 days last summer and were quite satisfied.
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Old 07-02-08, 09:21 AM
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I'd go Otlieb rollers for the front. Just so you have some waterproof. or I suppose you could use the MEC waterproof, though they cost more or about the same and have zero rep.

I use the MEC ones, probably smaller than you have in mind, since mine are "special" for MTB use where one doesn't need to carry as much, I gather. MEC does make a mega fornt pannier that you might consider. Waterproofness isn't a big deal, since there are workarounds that work well like bag liners or covers.

In normal use the tent and sleeping bag go outside the bags, which puts certain demands on your racks, but I don't think it is unreasonable to live out of 4 medium bags, think of the size of the average back pack.

Pack rattism is understandable in certain contexts, but it is in-elegant and stupid in bike touring. I don't mind pushing a little bike weight it's sorta fun, but it really does cut into your performance and enjoyment of the terrain we cycle over. Geometry wise, hill height isn't all that relevant. If you cycle over endless 100 foot hills or one big hill a day, you may find the feet climbed is the same per day. Worse in places like our native Ontario, there is littlei ncentive to grade the shorter hills and they tend to be steeper than hero routes out west. Don't underestimate the nastiness you can find close to home and ditch the weight and clutter if possible.
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Old 07-02-08, 10:49 AM
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Hi AngrySaki, nice to see someone online from the local area.
I use 40 l rears and 32 l fronts and have lots of room. The only thing strapped to my rear rack is tent poles and a rolled up sleeping pad, everything else is in the panniers. The more room you have the more useless stuff you will pack.
I am also currently looking at a new set of panniers and have decided that I want waterproof. I am tired of packing everything in a garbage bag in my pannier. I stopped in at Wild Rock Outfitters in Peterborough on Monday and they had a set of ARKEL Dolphin panniers. Nice looking set and waterproof. Rear - 48 l $249 CND Front - 32 l $189 CND and Canadian made.
You may want to check them out.
Happy touring!
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Old 07-02-08, 11:01 AM
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Hey cyberpep
I did check out the arkels, but i was looking more at the ones that offered the backpack option. I would have liked to check out wild rock's stuff before ordering, but i was running out of time and i'm too crippled to make it to peterborough right now .

I decided to go with a set of Ortlieb Back Rollers (40L) after feeling the "oh crap i'd better order these now or else they won't be here in time", and eyeballing what my current mec panniers would be like as fronts (they fit fine). I am going to try to not overpack, but i thought it'd be nice to have the extra room, even if i don't use it all, or it gives me the option to throw something big, but light like a soccer ball in there.

Last edited by AngrySaki; 07-02-08 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 07-02-08, 12:56 PM
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I've been looking to replace my 30 year old Rhode Gear panniers.I was going to get 4 Axiom Lasalles,but they were to big for me.So went online looking to see what was out there.

Well,I found a place that had Axiom Seymore Panniers(transit series).The size was correct,made out of 600 denier cordura,I can live with that and they were $53 delivered to the door,FOR ALL 4!Even if I hated them for touring,I could still use them around town,so I bought them.

They arrived yesterday.I really wasn't expecting too much for $53,so I tore the box open.To my surprize,they are very nice.Stitching is fine,material is fine,workmanship is great.The inside of the material is coated with what looks like pvc(guessing),so so mounting hardware(would be fine around town,a little wiggly for touring)and a little outside pocket with a velcro closure.In my opinion,well worth the money.

So in order to get them ready for the road,I will make new stainless mounting hardware,add zippers or a buckle to the outside pockets,a couple of cargo nets on the front ones,and some tie downs on the back ones,good to go.

A very nice product for the money.
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Old 07-03-08, 10:14 AM
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Hey AngrySaki
You won't be disappointed with the Ortlieb, they have been around a while I see many people using them. I am likely going to go with a set of Ortlieb Packer Plus front and rear, just have to talk myself into spending the money. Wild Rock doesn't sell Ortlieb so you would only be looking at the Arkel Dolphin and Touring series panniers that they have in stock.
Are you planning a upcoming tour? Hope you are not crippled at that point.
Where did you order the panniers from and did you get a deal?

Happy touring and good luck with the soccer ball!
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Old 07-03-08, 10:31 AM
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I ordered from www.calhouncycle.com, because i needed to get a rack for my bike, and they were one of the few people who the rack in stock, and are geographically close. They didn't have a big selection though, (i would have gotten the "plus" model instead of the classic if they had it). I ordered the backpack attachment from www.biketrailershop.com who seem to have a better selection, and discounts if you buy a bunch it seems. I got fedex shipping for a rack & the backpack system for $18 from them too, so you might want to check them out.

I'm planning on riding to Tobermory on the 18th, i'm pretty sure i'll be ok, i wiped out and bent my knee sideways 2 saturdays ago, and i can almost walk properly now...
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Old 07-03-08, 10:51 AM
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I just ordered a set of Ortlieb Bikepack Plus panniers from https://www.therandonneeshop.com and they showed up two days later. Really good experience all around plus they sold them at a great price.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:47 PM
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Hey AngrySaki,

I see that you have a recumbent and a Cannondale. I couldn't see what model the Cannondale is. I have a Cannondale T2000 new last year and long over due. The Cannondale is a much better bike for me being a clyde. Me + bike + stuff = 310lb
Are you using the Cannondale or the recumbent to tour with?
I have never heard of a backpack system, what is it?
I hope Fedex doesn't hit you with a brokerage fee for shipping from the US, I try to use USPS whenever possible.
You will really enjoy the trip from Bobcaygeon to Tobermory, some very nice riding along Georgian Bay.Hope that you get some better weather then we have had lately, heat and no rain would be nice.
Happy touring!
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Old 07-03-08, 04:19 PM
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My cannondale is an older bike (~2001), but most stuff has been replaced, or will be once i can get the bottom bracket loose , i have a whole new drivertrain here sitting in a box for it. I think this is the original model.
I'm somewhat on the heavy side myself, (220 right now, was 235 in the winter).

This is the "backpack carry system i was talking about.

I hope Fedex doesn't hit you with a brokerage fee for shipping from the US, I try to use USPS whenever possible.
Funny you should mention that, I just got hit with a big unexpected brokerage fee from UPS for an AV reciever i bought from the US. When buying stuff, i never considered brokerage fees before, i guess i've gotten lucky in the past. Maybe i'll stick with USPS unless i need something asap.

I'm still trying to decide which bike to take. Right now i'm leaning towards my recumbent, i sort of can't take my Cannondale until i fix it up (drivetrain & the wheels need new spokes/truing), so my procrastination might decide for me .
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