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Bicycle Addict 12-06-12 02:00 AM

Hey Guy's Ortleib or Axiom?
So I am going to buy some panniers and I can't decide between Ortleib or Axiom, can anyone offer feedback between the 2? Thanks

stevage 12-06-12 06:23 AM

They're probably both good, but if you buy Axioms, everyone will always assume you couldn't afford Ortliebs.

Cyclebum 12-06-12 07:26 AM

Thought: I did my first tour about 8 years ago. Little did I know that it would be the first of many. If I had known, I'd invested in the best out there. Axioms are good panniers(I have 4.) Ortliebs are better. Go with Ortliebs. If you only use them once, they'll sell quickly. If touring becomes your avocation, their cost/mile will drop to pennies. Not to mention the pride of ownership you'll enjoy.

Consider the weight of any panniers you buy. Can be significant differences. Every ounce counts when climbing hills.

BigAura 12-06-12 07:47 AM

Originally Posted by Cyclebum (Post 15021114)
Go with Ortliebs. If you only use them once, they'll sell quickly. If touring becomes your avocation, their cost/mile will drop to pennies.

+1. I agree with this, it's virtually impossible to make a mistake choosing Ortliebs.

indyfabz 12-06-12 09:01 AM

The Axioms top of the line seem to have more external pocket options than at least some of the Ortliebs. That may be your style, or it may not be.

I have Ortlieb's Bike Packer Plus and Sport Packer Plus. I find them lacking in the area of compression. When not stuffed to the gills, the compression straps on the lids don't cinch down tight. I also need to make some modifications to the racks to keep them from rattling. This is the result of the wide gap created by the lower "hook" of the QL-2 mounting system. And if you want to get something out, you have to unclip and fold back the lid and then loosen two sets of draw strings.

Take my compliants with a grain of salt if you like as I was spoiled. My first set of panniers were Beckmans. Rock-solid, seven-point mounting system with zero rattle. Easy access, with outside pockets, including mesh pockets up front for wind-drying items. Superior compression and bag stiffness.

tarwheel 12-06-12 09:31 AM

I've got Ortlieb Classic Rollers, front and rear, and have never regretted the decision. You can often buy them on sale on-line for not that much more than lesser brands. They are waterproof and relatively light weight. They come in a range of colors. They also are extremely easy to mount and adjust to fit as well as remove. If you don't like them or find you no longer need them, they are easy to sell with higher resale values than other brands.

robow 12-06-12 10:07 AM

How can you say a bad thing about Arkel or Ortliebs but on the other hand I just ordered my 4th set of Axioms, which I really like because they hold 12% more and weigh 33% less (theoretically) for a few less dollars than the comparable Back rollers.

contango 12-06-12 10:19 AM

Originally Posted by Bicycle Addict (Post 15020823)
So I am going to buy some panniers and I can't decide between Ortleib or Axiom, can anyone offer feedback between the 2? Thanks

Can't comment on Axiom but can confirm that when Ortlieb say "waterproof" they mean it.

I've ridden mine through downpours, hailstorms, thunderstorms, and they haven't let a drop of water in. I rode through a flooded river so the water level came slightly above the reflective patch on the back and they didn't let a drop in.

Unfortunately the flip side of that is that when the water bottle I had inside the pannier fell over and emptied itself, they didn't let a drop out either :(

contango 12-06-12 10:21 AM

Originally Posted by Cyclebum (Post 15021114)
Every ounce counts when climbing hills.

True, but depending on the rider it may or may not make a practical difference. For example I've got more than a few ounces of surplus baggage around my middle so for me it's not worth spending a lot of extra cash to save a few ounces on my panniers.

staehpj1 12-06-12 10:37 AM

Originally Posted by contango (Post 15021709)
True, but depending on the rider it may or may not make a practical difference. For example I've got more than a few ounces of surplus baggage around my middle so for me it's not worth spending a lot of extra cash to save a few ounces on my panniers.

Aren't the Axioms cheaper?

KirkBeiser 12-06-12 10:55 AM

I haven't even decided which touring bike to get but I bought a set of front/back rollers and handlebar bag. I didn't even research too much and jumped on REI's 25% off sale last month because of their reputation. The one drawback that I see is that the rolltop would be a hassle to open everytime you needed something but that's where the handlebar bag comes in. The deciding factor was that they are a no doubt waterproof pannier and I didn't want to be messing with covers and garbage bags inside.

Machka 12-06-12 11:19 AM

Axioms! I love my little Lasalles. They've taken me through all sorts of touring and travelling ... months on the road and thousands of kilometres of riding ... and they still look as good as new.

I also like exterior pockets for smaller things. With the Lasalles, I could put red blinky lights in both rear mesh pockets so they could be used quickly and easily in dim or dark conditions. That pocket was also handy for carrying things like cheese, crackers, and bottles of soft drink ... easily accessible and not in among all the clothes or bedding.

They aren't waterproof, but Sea to Summit (and others) have such lightweight drybags now, the lack of waterproofness isn't an issue. And I used those lightweight dry bags in our waterproof panniers (not Ortlieb) anyway, to divide and contain the things I was carrying.

I didn't actually notice that they weren't waterproof on a week-long tour of Wales (and it did rain ... it was Wales, after all), but I did notice it after getting caught in an all-day, heavy downpour in Tasmania, roughly 6 weeks into my Australian tour. I had encountered quite a bit of rain before that (it rains in Australia when I'm there), but not so heavy ... so it wasn't till the rain became unrelenting and heavy that water got into my panniers.

fietsbob 12-06-12 11:55 AM

Ortlieb has better spare parts access..Internationally, should you lose any mounting bits..

TheSergeant 12-06-12 12:13 PM

I was in the same boat as you and decided to go with Axiom LaSalles Deluxe and really like them. I got them for less than half what I would have paid for the Ortlieb Backroller Classics at REI even with the 25% off. I'm incredibly impressed with the quality, materials and design of the Axioms. I chose the Axioms for the following reasons: No Roll Top, External pockets, Bungee cord top, compression straps, simple yet effective mounting system, and the fact that the bag is tapered slightly (widening at the rear)

I had to be honest about myself about how frequently I was going to be riding in the rain and how necessary fully waterproof panniers were for me. I live in California, mostly tour around the west and prefer to ride in the late spring, summer and early fall. I've only been caught out in the rain a handful of times. I figure I'll pack the sensitive stuff in lightweight drybags and between those and the pack covers I should be pretty good.

Truthfully, can't go wrong with either.

Doug64 12-06-12 12:38 PM

We have used our Ortlieb panniers a lot in the last 5 years. Our previous panniers didn't last 5 years! During that time we have used them for more than 9,000 miles of touring, and countless grocery runs. We do a lot of riding in the rain. My wife also used her front panniers for commuting for about 3 years. They are all still in really good shape. The Packer Plus front panniers my wife used are a little faded, but that is just cosmetic.

I use the Front and Back Roller Classic, and my wife has the Packer Plus front and rear. I prefer the rollers, while she prefers the Packers. I do not miss the additional pockets other brands of panniers offer. I have my gear well organized and actually prefer the flexibility the Ortlieb rollers offer. The Packer Plus seems to provide easier access (without removing the Rack Pack) to the rear panniers while on the bike. This is more important to my wife because she seldom uses front mounted panniers. She does use the smaller panniers on the rear when travelling light. I keep things that I want access to in the front panniers, which are very accessible. However, I do have to admit the cable and lock that my wife carries in one of her side pockets is really handy. Ditto with the sunscreen.:)

Our panniers have been carried on all modes of transportation as checked baggage as well as piled into trains, cars, ferries, airplanes, buses, and construction vehicles. Ortlieb's clean design (minus a bunch of pockets and straps) makes it easy to handle them in a lot of situations (aircraft carry-on).

They are definitely waterproof, durable and well designed. We are happy with them and believe they are worth the price.

On this trip it rained 35 out of 90 days. We were on the bikes most of those wet days.

The place where we stopped for the evening had a hose available. I just rolled the bike up and hosed the mud from the bike and the panniers at the same time. This is not usually a good idea with "almost waterproof" panniers.

This resulted when my front pannier had a high speed encounter with a high curb. While it looks bad, it is just a flesh wound", and does not leak at that point.

Did I forget to mention that they are waterproof?

indyfabz 12-06-12 01:23 PM

Originally Posted by fietsbob (Post 15022093)
Ortlieb has better spare parts access.. should you lose any mounting bits..

That actually happened to me back in May. I rented a car and drove to the start of a three-day. When I went to mount one of front panniers, I discovered that the lower hook had fallen off at some point. I must not have tightened the nut enough. Don't know where or when it had fallen off. My sleeping bag stays put on my front rack with just one bungee. Used the second one to secure the bottom of the bag to the rack.

indyfabz 12-06-12 01:27 PM

Originally Posted by robow (Post 15021636)
How can you say a bad thing about Arkel or Ortliebs....

In addition to what I noted previously, one of the side compression straps of one of my Sport Packers ripped off after about four days of use. Fortunately, I had bought them from The Touring Store so an exchange was easy and didn't even cost me shipping.

robow 12-06-12 01:58 PM

Originally Posted by fietsbob (Post 15022093)
Ortlieb has better spare parts access.. should you lose any mounting bits..

Actually when you buy a set of Axiom Panniers, they come with spare parts as part of the deal. You get extra hardware in case you ever lose a hook, bolt, or something else, though I've yet to have that happen. Nice and thoughtful touch.

Bicycle Addict 12-06-12 03:27 PM

Wow . . . . 17 replies in 12 hours, great. Thank you all for the information, I did order the Front City Roller to try on my commuter bike, thinking that if I liked them I would buy rears too.
Axiom bags would do most probably but with the weather in Auckland it is impossible to predict the days weather, quite windy one minute then no wind but extreme humidity(sometimes up to 99 percent in the shade) then rain cloud's,then heavy rain,hard and fast, though long enough to soak you to the bone . . then sunshine?! I have had all this happen in about an hour!
I think I am going to try to get my boss to let me order Ortlieb as he said OK when I ordered them and then well . . . We have Axiom waterproof at the shop now,which I think he wants me to take but I am going to hold out though.

Any pics of bikes with Axiom bags that people would be willing to show?

PeregrineA1 12-06-12 06:15 PM

I use Axiom La Salle's on my daily commute. Second the above comments with regard to build and utility. My laptop and work clothes have stayed dry in torrential summer thunderstorms with the "raincoat" Axiom supplies. No worries for me in 2 years at ~5K miles.

Machka 12-06-12 10:21 PM

If Axiom has waterproof panniers now, those might be my next panniers.

As for photos ... this set is of my 3-month Australian trip in 2004, and is full of photos with my bicycle loaded with Axiom panniers:

And there are a few more photos here from a month-long France tour in 2007:

And some from my Wales tour:

Booger1 12-07-12 02:04 PM

Do you like Koolaid?.....Get the Ortliebs.....I've had the regular Axioms for a couple years now,no complaints.Holding up just fine and dandy.

Many people make some fine panniers,Ortlieb being one of them.....depends on what your looking for.

mr geeker 12-07-12 03:32 PM

axiom makes a darn fine pannier. i personally own their dutch shopper model; they never leave my bike. my only complaint would be that the velcro bottom attachment system sucks and is easily taken care of by using zip ties in their place. they're waterproof enough for light rain, but don't expect it to hold up to a multi-day down pour.

Bicycle Addict 12-07-12 03:57 PM

Thanks to one and all for the responses, Thanks for the photos Doug64 & Machka I am a bit envious of the major tours that people go on,my health is on the mend so I am hoping to do more than over night trips.
We can only get the Black city rollers in black, so I will need to use some clear reflective paint to make them a bit more noticeable at night.

chefisaac 12-07-12 04:01 PM

I love my Ortliebs for commuting! Love them.

Buy them from a place called

Wayne owns the store and he is so very helpful and great prices. He really backs his products up!

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