Author Topic: which panniers?  (Read 11347 times)

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Offline cfessler

which panniers?
« on: January 24, 2007, 07:33:03 pm »
I have a couple questions.  I'm doing a loaded tour next summer on the Northern route and am doing some research on different panniers.  Will ~2400 rear panniers, and ~1000 front panniers be pleanty of room for a longer tour.  I do plan on living pretty simply, but don't want to overdo it.

Now, on different brands.  I have been looking at several different brands, Arkel, Orlieb, etc.  I am leaning towards the Arkel bags because of the extra pockets for water bottles, gear, etc. But I don't think they are water-proof. Will rain covers be fine if I plan on bagging all of my clothes inside?

Also, I've seen several brands that I have not heard of on ebay, although they seem ok. These brands are Transit, Nashbar, and the Seattle Sports. Any input would be great.

Offline wanderingwheel

which panniers?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2007, 10:49:56 pm »
Is that volume per pannier, or per pair?  If it is per pannier, I think that's more than enough, and probably bordering on too much -- at least for my loads.  If it is per pair, I think it is ample, but you may have to become a skilled packer in order to get everything inside.  I now prefer smaller panniers because it prevents me from loading up my bike with too much junk I don't need.

I've never felt the need for fully waterproof panniers such as Ortleib; I don't even use rain covers.  However, I do make sure to pack everything that I don't want to get wet in a dry bag or in a plastic bag.  If it's really dumping, I will put a garbage bag into my panniers first and then load as usual.  Works fine for me.

I'm not familiar with the other brands.  In general, I've found the weak point of any pannier to be its mounting system.  If that that looks adequate, then the pannier should be fine overall.  I would be very skeptical of any mounting system that has the bottom hook attached to the rest of the pannier by a simple spring.


Offline biker_james

which panniers?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2007, 08:02:33 am »
Check out the Arkels lineup. They are very well made, and have a great attachment system. The ones my wife and I got are not waterproof, and its never been an issue, either here on the West Coast, or on any of out three week trips across Canada. The GT54 does have a waterproof liner for the main bag I see.
We've had our Arkels for 7 years, and they look like new except for a little scuffing where the bike waas crashed and slid along on them. They came out better than the rider. I wouldn't look at anything else if I were ever to replace them. They have a good variety of sizes and features too.


  • Guest
which panniers?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2007, 09:38:11 am »
+1 on Arkels.  Consider buying four T42's.  If your bike has a longish wheelbase they will also fit on the front.  You get about the same volune as the GT set, but you get more usable space and spend 35% less.

This message was edited by cyclesafe on 1-25-07 @ 5:40 AM

Offline cfessler

which panniers?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2007, 09:43:28 am »
I was talking about 2400 per pair for the rear and 1000 per pair on the front.  I do plan on living pretty simply and have had experience packing backpacks for hiking, travel, etc.  

I did not think about two pairs of T-42's, I'll have to consider that.

Offline RussellSeaton

which panniers?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2007, 11:38:16 am »
I have the Nashbar ATB panniers.  Same ones front and rear.  Bought back in Spring 1992 for about $50 a pair.  At the time they were made in Pennsylvania somewhere, according to the label.  I suspect Cannondale was making them at the time for Nashbar.  Newer versions are made in SE Asia, according to the label.  Bought a set for my Aunt a year or two ago.

These are the top load one big area panniers with one side pocket and a pocket in the flap.  Top load one big area style has the ability to hold lots of stuff.  It can be cinched down if you don't need the space.  Or expanded if you need to accomodate something extra.  Top loading on the back can be inconvenient if you have stuff on the rack or overhanging the rear panniers such as a tent, pad, sleeping bag.  Plan ahead so anything you need out of a top loading panner during the day is in the front panniers.

As for size, these are advertised as 2,350 cubic inches.  I presume for the pair.  Fit just fine front and rear.  Size seems right.  Not too big like some of those Arkel ones.  But not too small either so you can carry plenty of extra food if you are going through an uninhabitated section.

I always lined my panniers with a garbage bag.  Then put everything into Ziploc bags.  Rain never bothered anything.  And the panniers have been rained on more than a few times.  Ziplcoc bags also help to keep stuff organized.  I'd do that even if I had waterproof Ortleib panniers.  I've considered getting rain covers since they are yellow and will make you and the bike stand out even more.  My blue panniers are sort of bright, but not overly bright.  Yellow or orange rain covers would be more useful for being seen than rain protection.  If I had rain covers I would use them all the time.  And try not to ride on rainy days.  Its not enjoyable riding in the rain.  I've done it.  I prefer my biking to be enjoyable.

Material on mine is some kind of Cordura.  Its held up very well over the years.  Its been dropped and skidded on the ground a few times.  Spent lots of time in the sun without any bleaching.  Seams have all held just fine.  I don't abuse my stuff.  Panniers have been on a 100 day 4,000 mile trip of Europe.  2 weeks 800 miles in Colorado.  10 days 600 miles in Portugal.  1 week 500 miles in Iowa.

Attachment method is via a hook and bungee cord on the bottom of the bag.  And two hooks along the top.  It came off once after hitting a bump in Europe.  Maybe I did not have the bag secured correctly that time.  I recall riding the worst pothole rode ever in Portugal with a tailwind going 25 mph and the bags stayed on fine.  I did break the stainless steel front rack mounting clip from the potholes.  Had to fix it with a piece of wire that night.

Offline bruno

which panniers?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2007, 04:01:52 pm »
anyone ever use the carradice canvas ones? they claim they're waterproof. i have a handlebar bag from them and it's pretty water tight i have to say. i'm in the market for some panniers and i like the canvas. anyone have an opinion? thanks

Offline wanderingwheel

which panniers?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2007, 06:15:07 pm »
I tried one of Carradice's under-seat bags.  Can't say I was fond of the bag itself, but the material and quality seemed good as you already noted.


Offline John Nettles

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which panniers?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2007, 03:17:56 pm »
If you are going simple (no cooking, not a huge tent, etc.), it should work.

Along with Arkels, consider Robert Beckman (aka Needleworks, RBD Designs, etc.).  He was some standard sized packs, but will custom add-on from there (solar rechargers, special requests, etc.  Extremely simple hookup but you can literally lift and swing bike by packs while they are attached.  As they are all hand made by him, you know what you are getting.

Very pricy, but very very good.

Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!


Offline jnorth

which panniers?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2007, 04:38:23 am »
ortlieb! a great attachment system, and they keep out all water and dust. the only downfall is very hot weather-your food will cook inside of them. they last forever-i rode 600 miles with the front rollers attached improperly with nary a problem. it may be a decision between pockets and plain. good luck!

Offline litespeed

which panniers?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2007, 01:16:22 pm »
After a few years of touring in the rain I got thoroughly sick of fooling with the rain covers on my Bruce Gordon panniers and bought Ortleibs all around. They are a fine, simple design and very reasonably priced. Besides being truly waterproof I love the easy way they can be yanked off the rack and taken to the bathhouse. I special ordered them from REI in yellow for maximum visibility. I still have the excellent, sturdy Bruce Gordon racks.