commuting - need bag/rack/panniers(?) for light load in wet weather- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    commuting - need bag/rack/panniers(?) for light load in wet weather

    so i'm going to be doing a good bit of commuting, basically 18 miles each way, 5 days/week. I have a 2012 Salsa Fargo 3 and I will need to transport "business casual" to and from class each day. By business casual, I mean basically khaki type pants, and a button down shirt with $50 shoes. Nothing expensive, but for class we have to dress up more than standard college classes, i.e. no jeans, t-shirts, etc.

    i will be commuting through December here in western Washington, where it rains a good bit and I obviously don't want my stuff getting all nasty. i'll also be transporting a day's supply of food (i.e. peanut butter sandwiches and such).

    i'm really torn between going with a rack and panniers, which seem like overkill, or going with a frame bag, which I have no experience with at all.


    priorities:

    1. Keep my clothes from getting jacked up by the weather
    2. Not make the ride problematic due to weight shifting while riding (road will be mostly paved, some gravel and potholes)
    3. Reasonably lightweight (the lighter the better, of course)


    So lemme know your opinions. Help me make my decision.
    just ride.

  2. #2
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    Have you thought about a handlebar bag and front rack?

    Search for porteur bags, randonneuring bag, or large handle bar bags. For loads under 15# a front bag/rack combo is great. Handling is better with a small front load than with a small load on the back. Frame packs are nice but the space is limited and they're often not easy to remove from the bike.

  3. #3
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    I have front and rear racks, but mostly use the rear with 1 pannier/backpack. And in backpack ,mode its easy to carry around at the mall or where ever. A rear rack gives you options to carry a second pannier and trunk bag incase you want to pick up a few things. I have no issues riding with 20lbs worth or more on just the 1 side. If your using a front rack and panniers make sure the weights balanced or you'll be driving like a drunkman.

  4. #4
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    I haven't tried any of the front racks, it seems like a fair option for a smaller load. No experience with frame bags, but it looks like the SUV Vs Pickup debate. Rear racks with panniers, or trunk bags with pannier- like pockets have worked well for me with a change of clothes, a few bike tools, and the occasional larger load.

  5. #5
    guy
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    Are you averse to using a backpack? I use an Ortlieb waterproof back pack to commute 15 miles each way to work. In it, I pack dress shoes, clean socks, underwear, undershirt, pants, button down, pack of baby wipes, deodorant, belt, u-lock, and my lunch for the day with no problem. At my old job I had to wear dress pants and a dress shirt every day and found that rolling them tightly kept them wrinkle-lite enough that it was never an issue.

    The backpack hits all of your priorities as well. Bag is 100% waterproof so it keeps your stuff from getting wet/sloppy. It has a chest strap and waist belt to secure it on your back so you don't have to worry about weight shifting. Being a backpack, you don't have to worry about the weight of a rack (although, I personally don't see weight as an issue, since you are packing all of your stuff for the day and its not like your bike is a featherweight).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kleebs View Post
    Are you averse to using a backpack?
    yeah, I had C6/C7 surgery and I've had some remaining nerve "issues", and I just really don't do well with any type of weight back there for any period of time while riding. The center of gravity is too high, it pulls on my shoulders (2 shoulder reconstruction surgeries on one side, a torn pec on the other), so I tend to avoid backpacks for anything heavier than a rain jacket.

    Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this conversation, we'd be discussing which backpack I wanted because I agree with everything else you said
    just ride.

  7. #7
    guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtrobo View Post
    yeah, I had C6/C7 surgery and I've had some remaining nerve "issues"
    Ah. Well thats a pretty airtight reason for not using a backpack...

    I personally think a frame bag would be kind of a pain in the ass because its not easy to take on and off your bike. Every time you get where you are going you'd have to unload all your stuff. Another option if you want to avoid the traditional rack+pannier or trunk bag combo would be something like the Blackburn Outpost Saddle Bag. The inner stuff sack is removable from the main harness so you could unbuckle it and take it with you. Keeps the load centered without affecting handling. Just a thought. Good luck with your search.

  8. #8
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    It is funny, as I was going to suggest a roll top messenger style back pack as well. The back surgery/issues is a problem though as mentioned. I like having the stuff attached to me rather than the bike so when I lock up, I just go. Nothing to mess around with as far as removing panniers, etc.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  9. #9
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    how do you folks lock up your bags? I'm about 99% positive I'm goign to go with a set of reflective waterproof Ortlieb bags. How do you lock them up when you leave them outside?
    just ride.

  10. #10
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    Would you consider a trunk bag? I have an Ibera quick release trunk bag and it literally goes on and off in a few seconds. I bounce it around a decent amount and haven't had any issues. I've ridden in the rain quite a few times and it's probably not as waterproof as Ortilebs but I've never had anything get wet inside. You do need to use the Ibera brand rack with it, but it seems pretty solid.

    Amazon.com: Ibera PakRak Bicycle Quick-Release Commuter Trunk Bag

    I can carry a change of clothes and lunch, plus all my usual repair tools no problem.

  11. #11
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    Where and when are you leaving the bags on the bike? I am quite happy with a single zip tie securing my Thule bags while I am in the grocery or hardware stores, often enough I don't even bother with that. On campus I either run a cable lock through the handles (the same one I have securing my saddle and front wheel) or take the bag with me.

    Ortleib, Axiom, and Thule bags, among others, are designed to come off the rack pretty painlessly.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtrobo View Post
    How do you lock them up when you leave them outside?
    Are you not able to bring them with you? Because I'd think that's what most people do - it's what I do, anyway.

    Otherwise you have to empty out all your stuff and carry it freehand, and that includes any lights/tools that you don't want to leave outside all day.

  13. #13
    Did I catch a niner+?
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    A problem with panniers is carrying them off the bike. They are quite terrible at this since you basically have to carry them in each arm, some have straps and I do not know if this would be an issue with his back.

    I had a trunk bag for a while (Ibera) and it was handy, I however did not like their racks much. Since then I use a simple Seattle Sports Fast Pak or carry what I need in a Chrome Chekhov most days. I keep my clothes at work for the week anyways along with my shoes.

    Can OP keep anything at school? Do you have a locker room you could secure a weeks worth of clothes at your school? I realize in university/college we are grown up and do not get lockers.
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  14. #14
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    Bummer you can't go with a backpack. I recently got a Timbuk2 Especial Medio, and it is waterproof, comfortable, and hauls exactly what you describe for me every day (except the shoes, I keep the shoes stashed at work).

    I'm a huge fan of backpacks and do not like stuff strapped to the bike at all...BUT... my Salsa Mukluk fatbike came with a Revelate frame bag, and I really really like it. I think it would do nicely for what you're talking about. It's waterproof, very well made, and has quite a bit of room. Probably not as much room as the backpack, so I'd seriously recommend stashing the shoes at school if you can... but I would totally recommend checking out a framebag. The good ones are stupidly expensive, but you get what you pay for.

    Edit: hadn't thought about removing it when at work. I am spoiled and have secure parking just a few feet from my desk. It's a bunch of velcro... You could pull it off and carry it... maybe use less than all of the straps?
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  15. #15
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    well I went with the Ortlieb, and I am locking them up outside. I take one bag off, and using a combination of a U-lock, a thick cable, and a combination cable lock, I've managed to secure them pretty well.

    of course, I say that now....with the knowledge that if an experienced knowledgeable thief wants my bike and/or my bags, he's going to get them. All I can do is make it a very un-enticing target, whcih I believe I've done. (at least I hope so)
    just ride.

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