Author Topic: Bob Trailer and Panniers?  (Read 3355 times)

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Offline bikeflu

Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« on: March 19, 2010, 12:00:24 am »
I have used a bob trailer for my previous two tours, and I am planning on using it again this summer. In the past, i have wound up backpack containing a few additional items bungeed to the top of the bob. I am not maxing out the capacity of the bob bag or anything, there are just certain things I like being able to get to a little easier and they won't fit in my handlebar bag. It is also nice having the backpack for going into town once I've set up camp. It works great for laundry and food runs when I don't want to pull the trailer. The downside is, I just don't really like having it bungeed on top of the bag. It moves around some, and the backpack isn't water proof so I have to put it in a trash bag.

I am thinking I would like to use rear panniers in addition to the bob. Does anyone have experience with a set up like this? If so how did it work out? Would front panniers be better? Any advice would be appreciated!

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2010, 12:31:33 am »
Adding panniers sounds like too much stuff for me.  If you use a Burley Nomad instead of a Bob, access is immediate.  This is one huge advantage to the Burley over the Bob.  We kept all our stuff in the trailer and you can get to anything in, literally, seconds.  Of course if you already own a Bob, you don't want to have to buy another trailer.  I would sell the Bob on ebay and go for the Burley.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline JimF

Re: Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2010, 08:57:01 am »
I've used a Bob for a number of tours, including the TransAm. I, too, wanted to add more convenient storage for the usual daily access, e.g., food, repair tools, clothing, and ????. I just finished adding a Tubus Tara front rack and some inexpensive front panniers. It works great. I've loaded the panniers with the maximum weight (15 kg) with little noticeable effect on steering when riding.

Offline rvklassen

Re: Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2010, 12:36:01 pm »
My first reaction was that what? A Bob isn't enough without adding panniers too?

I see your reasoning.  There are two kinds of pannier folks - those who like pockets and those who don't.  Most of the pockets folks are put off by the "one big bag" nature of the Bob.  And that's where you are finding yourself, although presumably not as black and white as I may have put it. 

So, your two choices are to work a little harder at making something that works with the Bob to achieve what you want, or to add a rack (front or back) and one or more panniers. 

Loaded panniers on the low-riders on the front make a bike, if anything, more stable (unlike your bar bag, which has the opposite effect).
Putting more load up front also evens out the wear on your tires (somewhat).  Rear panniers have the option of more capacity (which in your case doesn't seem like what you want).  Most "front" panniers can be mounted in either position, but are smaller than "rear" panniers.

The Bob is heavier than most combinations of front and rear rack plus four (empty) panniers.  But you could go without either rack, and with no panniers, you are only gaining on the order of a pound.  A front rack is lighter than a rear rack, but racks are pretty light, so that should be a small consideration.  You can bungee things to the top of a rear rack, but not to low-riders.

Finally, a recommendation: some panniers convert to a day-pack.  I can give you a good and a bad example.  First the bad: Nashbar had (has?) a pretty nice day pack that they call a pannier.  The hooks are insecure, and the back plate isn't stiff.   It was cheap.  It fell off once too many times, it caught itself in my spokes.   I still have it as a day-pack.   The good: Arkel GT18s come with a day-pack option.  You buy them singly, and can get either or both of them (or just one) with what it takes to do the conversion.  I don't have a day-pack version, but I do have a pair of GT-18s, a commuter, a pair of TT84s, and a large bar bag from them.  Their quality is unimpeachable, so I would expect the day-pack conversion to have the same standard.

Lots of trade-offs.

One other thing: not all front racks are created equal.  You want one that is rock solid, if you go with the front (Arkel carries one that works well), and secure mounting for the panniers.  There's nothing quite like a front pannier wobbling in the front and threatening to (or succeeding to) run into your spokes.   


Offline bikeflu

Re: Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2010, 04:07:31 pm »
Thanks for all of the feedback! I think I am going to go with some sort of front panniers. The The Arkel GT-18 Backpack panniers look really nice, but they are kind of pricey. They are still in consideration, but I am also considering the Ortlieb Front Roller Classics. They seem like a steal at $119 a pair vs. the Arkel GT-18 Backpacks which go for $159 each.

I was also briefly considering this http://www.biketrailershop.com/catalog/300-greenspeed-rack-for-bob-trailer-p-160.html but figured it wouldn't do me much good when I don't want to pull the bob. The Ortlieb panniers come with a shoulder strap, so I  could take just one off and strap it around my shoulder, but with a front rack, I can easily, and more comfortably have two.

Offline rvklassen

Re: Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2010, 04:25:34 pm »
You would presumably get only one of the back pack version.  Looks like you're checking at bike bag shop dot com.  They generally have the best prices I've seen.  On top of that, you can figure 5% off a pair of GT18s, so with one as a back pack, and the other not, you're looking at $280.  Still a lot more than the Ortlieb, but it gives you six compartments, plus the large inner compartment can be divided into two with the loose lining bag that can keep the clean from the dirty laundry (for example).   If you just need a little more compartmentalization than you already have, and you're OK with something that isn't breathable (don't put something wet inside and expect it to dry out any time soon), the Ortlieb is certainly cheaper.  Esp. with their price.  They list at more like $149, based on the REI price.

A pair of Ortliebs are about a pound heavier than a pair of GT-18s, and have a volume of 25 litres, to the 36 that the GT-18s hold.  So you get more volume at a lighter weight for your money.  Of course if you fill that volume on a regular basis, there goes the weight savings...

I forgot to add that the Arkel warranty (as spelled out in full on the card that actually comes with each article) is worth something in literary value.  Well maybe not the greatest literary work, but they list all sorts of failure modes that they cover, with a thoroughness I've not seen anywhere else.  And then there's that great piece of fabric that comes with each article, along with the dare to tear it. :)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 04:43:33 pm by rvklassen »

Offline Rep

Re: Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2010, 06:37:38 pm »
I have used a bob trailer for my previous two tours, and I am planning on using it again this summer. In the past, i have wound up backpack containing a few additional items bungeed to the top of the bob. I am not maxing out the capacity of the bob bag or anything, there are just certain things I like being able to get to a little easier and they won't fit in my handlebar bag. ...

As far as the first part of the post, I have a partial solution.

I run with a BOB as well as front panniers.

Within both systems I use colored nylon bags for packing all gear and supplies.  I use a color coded system and it works very well.  Then, BOB and panniers are packed by general time of use.
Bicycling, Brewing & Backgammon...What a life.

Offline sid

Re: Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2010, 08:22:48 pm »
I have had good experiences with using a Bob and front lower rider racks. It is nice to move a little of the load out of the Bob.  It seems to help in long climbs to keep the front down.  I think the lower rider racks also help keeping things more stable on descents.

The best part, and the main reason I started using the front panniers with the Bob, is to give easy access during the ride to stuff I need, like rain gear, lunch, tools, spare tube, water filter, etc.  Much easier getting this stuff out of a pannier  than digging into the Bob for every little thing.

Just be careful, with the extra room, is not to take more stuff.  The Bob has lots of room already.  I usually keep the front panniers to less than 10 pounds.


Offline Tourista829

Re: Bob Trailer and Panniers?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2010, 11:54:51 pm »
Sid I like your idea. The only thing I might consider is using rear Ortlieb Roller Classics up front. They are 40 liters*. With the trailers, you could handle more weight in the front and when the trailers is not in use, you could use them on the rear for commuting, lighter tours or grocery shopping, once camp is set up and you go into town. It is a little more than the front $16 but added versatility. At the Bag Shop in Flagstaff we did very well on price and Lick Bikes.com in Chicago had a good price $135. I believe you can use them as a backpack, with an accessory item from Ortlieb. *When using them up front you don't have to fill them to capacity. Purchase an inexpensive 50lb fish scale, from Walmart for $5, it will help you with weight and balance.