Author Topic: Panniers and Racks  (Read 5642 times)

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Offline HWP

Panniers and Racks
« on: August 04, 2012, 12:05:22 pm »
Looking for recommendations/confirmation on racks and panniers for my new Gunnar Grand Tour bike.  I plan to do a few unsupported and supported tours per year of 1-2 week duration, perhaps longer, and may do a TA in 2014.

Considering Tubus Tara Low Rider front and Cargo Evo rear racks with Orlieb Front Roller (25L) or Sport Packer (30L), Bike-Packer or Roller (50) and Medium (7L) handle bar bag.  I am thinking Front Roller as 82 L total capacity seems like plenty (too much?...don't want to be tempted to over pack), but I have no experience packing for tours longer than a week.  I would use just the front or rear for lighter touring.

The Packer's inner compartments may be a convenience.  The Roller doesn't need to be completely filled, which may prevent over packing (less weight)...and probably overs the best protection against the elements.  Is it just a matter of preference?

Both panniers are offered as Classic (nylon fabric / Q1 mounting) or Plus (Cordura fabric / Q2 mounting). On websites the Cordura fabric looks nicer to me, not as shiny as nylon?  Again just a matter of personal preference?

Anything else I should consider?  Also, is http://www.cyclocamping.com a reliable supplier?

Thanks for your help....HWP

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2012, 02:35:03 pm »
I bought panniers (Pacific *something*) with inner pockets thinking they would help keep things organized. I ended up putting stuff in plastic bags, which was better for organizing. (Mostly 1 gal and 2 gal kitchen zip-locks.) It was nice to have a defined space for spare spokes, which defy placement in plastic bags. And the interior side pocket kept my Bowshield T-9 chain lube upright. (That stuff dissolves plastic.) But other than that, the interior pockets just got in the way. I'm convinced I could have packed better with just plain panniers. Next time, I'll get panniers without pockets. One feature my panniers had that I found unexpectedly nice was the top covers. The covers themselves were a pain. But they included net bags, which were surprisingly good for drying my alternate clothes. If my next panniers don't have net bags, I'll find another way to implement that feature.

The medium Ortleib handlebar bag was good for me. It was a good trade-off between too much stuff and not enough room. Ortleib has a standard and a deluxe bag. The deluxe bag includes a few useless features and one great interior zipper pocket. The pocket is just the right for my cell phone and wallet. A couple of times I parked my bike badly and hadn't snapped the lid closed. The bike fell over and a bunch of stuff fell out. But the wallet and cell phone were safely tucked inside the zipper bag. Also, I could always find these two most important items quickly when I wanted them. The Ortleib handle bar mount is very stable. Removing the Ortleib handlebar bag is easy for when you go in a store & leave your bike outside. Replacing it is equally easy and is accompanied by a most satisfying "snap". There's no question about whether it's secured. It's just too bad about the obnoxious and mostly useless strap feature. I guess the world isn't quite perfect yet.

For a supplier, check out TheTouringStore.com. Dave has been doing this for a while. He knows what your questions will be before you do. He's very helpful, and he stands behind what he sells. He doesn't sell the panniers I selected. But he sold me my rack and handlebar bag. His advice on mounting the rack to my Trek 520 was spot-on. When I had a minor problem with the Ortleib, he had an elegant solution that worked quite well. He even gave me good advice on mounting those panniers I didn't buy from him.

Offline Pat

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 01:03:36 pm »
We are happy with the Ortlieb Roller Classics...absolutely bullet proof for water!!!!

No outer pockets, but that is what a trunk bag or a handlebar bag is for.  There is one mesh pocket inside for smaller stuff...and a place to slip papers or solar arrays behind against the plate.

No inner pockets.  But, we find we pretty much take everything out when we camp except for clothes and have to repack in the morning.  So it doesn't make that much difference.  We are sold on plastic bags to keep things organized.

Happy trails,

Pat

Offline Mark Manley

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 01:13:40 pm »
I have Altura Orkney panniers which are universal, left or right, front or rear, they are cheaper than the nearest Ortleib equivalent and I think just as good quality, the are also made in Germany.
For racks I would recommend Tubus, again German quality.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 06:44:51 pm »
The Bikepacker and Sportspacker panniers don't need to be filled.

The older plus fabric faded in bright sunlight (aka Kansas); at least the red did.  Having the polyurethane on the outside (the non-plus version) might ameliorate that somewhat.

I'll second Old Guy -- thetouringstore.com is a great supplier.  When I needed a new mount (because of an unexpected bike change), I called Ortlieb's U.S. customer service.  They didn't have it in stock, and wouldn't get it for a while, but they referred me to thetouringstore (and looked up Wayne's number for me).  That was one of the drama-free mail drops from my trip.  Highly recommended.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2012, 10:05:24 am »
I'll second Old Guy -- thetouringstore.com is a great supplier.  When I needed a new mount (because of an unexpected bike change), I called Ortlieb's U.S. customer service.  They didn't have it in stock, and wouldn't get it for a while, but they referred me to thetouringstore (and looked up Wayne's number for me).  That was one of the drama-free mail drops from my trip.  Highly recommended.

Last year I bought a set of BikePackers and SportPackers from Wayne. Couldn't agree more. Fast shipping and good prices. More importantly, service after the sale. When I was having a little trouble getting a solid fit, he told me to send him some photos of my racks (not Tubus). We then had a detailed conversation during which he gave me some specific ideas on how to get a more secure fit. During the second use, one side of the compression strap of on one of the BikePackers tour out of its seam. Wayne replaced it no questions asked. In fact, since I need a replacement in a hurry, he sent me one before I returned the defective one, and he picked up the shipping for the return.

I like the QL-2 for the most part. What I don't like is the bottom hook. First of all, it's not as stiff as I would like it. Second, there is a pretty wide gap between the underside of the hook and the back of the panniers. This leads to some rattle even with 10 mm rack tubing. To correct this, you can wrap some cloth tape (like the kid you would use on a tennis racket) around the areas of the racks where the hooks make contact to fill in the gaps. Finally, make sure you tighten the hooks thoroughly. This May I drove to the start of a tour only to find that at some point in time the hook of one of my SportPackers had fallen off. I compensated by securing the bottom of the pannier to the rack with a bungee cord. Interestingly, during the second day of that tour, I ran into a woman out for a day ride. She does a good amount of touring and noticed my bungee cord. She made the same comments about the hook flexibility and rattle.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2012, 07:32:41 pm »
pdlamb and indyfabz are absolutely correct. It is Wayne, and not Dave as I posted earlier. Sorry, Wayne! How could I make a mistake like that?

Offline dkoloko

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2012, 08:54:53 am »
I have Tubus Tara and Cargo racks and Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus bags. I prefer the lack of shine on those bags. Durability is excellent. I find the inner pockets useful, but could get by without them. I do not recommend small front bags combined with large rear bags. Weight front and back should be equal, or more on front. I use four rear bags, two on front. I find the Bike Packer Plus bags just the right size. Wayne, The Touring Store, recommends against Bike Packer Plus rear bags on front. I disagreed with that recommendation, and have had no trouble over thousands of miles with my setup. I used to use an Ortlieb handlebar bag, but sold it after using it on part of one tour. I found I could do fine with just the four bags mentioned.

Offline HWP

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2012, 03:38:49 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions.  I purchased Tubas racks and Ortlieb panniers from the Touring Store.  As noted, Wayne and Cormac were very helpful in making selection and provided useful advice on mounting....very pleased with their service and the quality of the products.  Just got back from a 3 day shake down trip...all went well.  Looking forward to 2-3 week tour of WI and MI...leaving Tuesday.

Offline Huli

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2012, 10:17:19 pm »
I have Tubus Tara and Cargo racks and Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus bags. I prefer the lack of shine on those bags. Durability is excellent. I find the inner pockets useful, but could get by without them. I do not recommend small front bags combined with large rear bags. Weight front and back should be equal, or more on front. I use four rear bags, two on front. I find the Bike Packer Plus bags just the right size. Wayne, The Touring Store, recommends against Bike Packer Plus rear bags on front. I disagreed with that recommendation, and have had no trouble over thousands of miles with my setup. I used to use an Ortlieb handlebar bag, but sold it after using it on part of one tour. I found I could do fine with just the four bags mentioned.
+1... just call The Touring Store.

Love my Tubus rack and Ortlieb bags!

Offline PeteJack

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2012, 07:53:11 am »
This summer I put my old, faded Sportpackers on the front and my Front Rollers on the back so I could use an Ortlieb Rackbag. (The clips on the Rackbag are designed to work with Roller type bags) This all worked fine with one major gotcha: I took way too much damned stuff. After bashing into headwinds through Norway, Denmark, Germany and Holland and a big chunk of England where the headwinds became tailwinds I mailed a pile of stuff I could live without, including the Rackbag, weighing 29 lbs(!) to a friend. Boy did that make a difference.

Point I'm trying to make - Smaller paniers mean you tote less weight. Sort of obvious but human nature being what it is, if you have space there's a tendency to fill it.

I second the positive stuff about Wayne, a really helpful guy.

I think I might try a Tubus rack to get the paniers a bit lower. Currently I'm using the one that came with my 520. Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 07:56:32 am by PeteJack »

Offline dkoloko

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2012, 04:00:45 pm »
"I think I might try a Tubus rack to get the paniers a bit lower. Currently I'm using the one that came with my 520. Any thoughts?"

Rack front or back? Front bags should be centered on hubs; rear high (Blackburn study).

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2012, 09:26:39 am »
The biggest disadvantage to the rack that comes with the 520 is that it doesn't prevent the rear corner of the pannier from flopping into the rear wheel spokes. As a result, my panniers were always acting like those playing cards we used to attach to our bikes when we were kids to make a motor-like sound.  If you compare the Tubus to the 520 rack, you will see the Tubus has an extra bar on both sides in the back of the rack that comes down, then bends in to the main support just above the mounting area.

The second big advantage of the Tubus is that is sturdier and can support more weight. This is thanks to a combination of a more robust rack and superior mounting system/hardware.

The last advantage is the vertical bar that runs across the back of the rack. The pre-drilled holes match up with mounting brackets for the Planet Bike Superflash and Portland Design Works Radboot rear lights. (Both use the same bracket. It is included with the Portland Design Works and can be ordered separately for the Planet  Bike. See the Planet Bike web site. I think it's $5.) I suppose other rear lights also match the available mounting holes, but I don't know from personal experience.

I may be mistaken, but I don't think the Tubus or any other rack is significantly lower  because of the space needed for fenders.

Online John Nelson

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2012, 01:12:14 pm »
Quote
I may be mistaken, but I don't think the Tubus or any other rack is significantly lower  because of the space needed for fenders.

I assume he's referring to the Tubus Logo with the second mounting rail, rather than the Tubus Cargo. I personally prefer the Cargo.

Offline newfydog

Re: Panniers and Racks
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2012, 02:57:03 pm »
We just finished what must be our 15th tour with Old Man Mountan racks and Arkel Panniers.  They work as well as the day we bought them.

Ortlieb makes some very waterpoof panniers but for the rough riding we do we find the are a bit of a floppy sack.  We pack our clothes in  Sea To Summit drybags which make  a super light waterproof liner bag, lighter than many stuff sacks.