Panniers and Water / Grime Splashing- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Panniers and Water / Grime Splashing

    Hello all!

    I am currently using a backpack on my daily commutes, but am really thinking about going to a rack / pannier setup. My backpack works out great for going to / from work, and for doing small shopping trips, but doesn't have the capacity to do a full grocery store run on it's own. Secondly, back sweat is not attractive / fun - and I'm the type to sweat with something like a pack against me.

    My only concern is whether I will get water / road grime splashed onto the panniers during my rides. I don't own a car and I do ride in any weather conditions - and Chicago has a lot of them . Half of my commute is through an industrial park, and I think this is where I get most of the road grime - diesel, rubber from tires, oil, etc. My Pasela tires are already covered with a black grime so horrible that if I brush up against them my hands will be stained black beyond what average hand soap can clean. When I get to the end of my route I would ideally like to disconnect my pannier and bring it inside with me. If it's covered with water and nasty road grime it's not going to happen. My bike has full fenders, so it keeps the water and gunk off me, but with the pannier being 'right there' will it still suffer from splashing and road grime?

    Along these same ideas, can anyone recommend any good racks and panniers? I don't really need anything ultra-heavy-duty as far as the rack goes. Again, probably the heaviest load on it will be a few bags worth of groceries, but I do tend to go overkill for durable parts

    As for the panniers, I will only buy waterproof - please don't try to suggest one that isn't in addition to using liners. I do not want to carry a waterlogged bag into work with me, nor do I want to deal with the extra hassle of garbage / ziplock bags every day.

    With my above criteria in mind, I do not want to spend an arm and a leg on top-o-the-line gear. I would like to find some companies who make quality products without going over the top on cost.

    Thank you all!

    - Woody

  2. #2
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    I am in for some responses as well... rack and panniers are on my "must buy" list.
    "I have one speed. I have one gear: Go." -- Charlie Sheen

  3. #3
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    I just went from backpack to rack, and I must admit it was well worth the effort. It also frees you (and your back) from all that weight, making the ride a bit more pleasurable. If your using full fenders your rack is probably going to stay dry on top.

    I paid $17.98 for mine on pricepoint.com. I had to slightly modify it to get it to work with my bike. It's called the Delta Mega rack and it's made of aluminum so it's light.



    I agree with you idea on the panniers. Maybe you can find some that are basically just cases or heavy duty bags on the side of your bike, that should keep your stuff nice, clean and dry.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doughnut Spaghetti View Post
    I just went from backpack to rack, and I must admit it was well worth the effort. It also frees you (and your back) from all that weight, making the ride a bit more pleasurable. If your using full fenders your rack is probably going to stay dry on top.

    I paid $17.98 for mine on pricepoint.com. I had to slightly modify it to get it to work with my bike. It's called the Delta Mega rack and it's made of aluminum so it's light.

    I agree with you idea on the panniers. Maybe you can find some that are basically just cases or heavy duty bags on the side of your bike, that should keep your stuff nice, clean and dry.
    Right. As you mentioned, a trunk or rack-top bag may work out well if the pannier idea doesn't pan out I know the top of the rack would stay clean, but I am still wondering if panniers are going to get covered with water and road grime as I ride. My hopes are that most of the crud comes off the spinning tires and won't get thrown / splashed sideways into the bags. If anyone has any experience with commuting using panniers and whether they acted as crud catchers I would really appreciate some input.

  5. #5
    Wierdo
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    I use a Topeak Explorer Rack and a Topeak Trunk bag that has zip-down panniers. In the summer when I carry less gear I zip the panniers up and just use the trunk bag. In the winter I zip one or both of the panniers down - they have an elastic loop that secures to the corresponding hook on the rack.

    I find that the panniers don't get too dirty. I have a full coverage front and rear fenders on the bike. This is probably the biggest single factor in keeping the gunk off the panniers (and frankly me). I also bought the Topeak rain cover that fits over the trunk bag and panniers and this helps to keep things clean when I ride in the rain.

    The Topeak stuff is widely available, reasonably priced and Topeak sells a variety of trunk bag/pannier sizes. I've been commuting with my combination daily for three years and have no plans to change.

  6. #6
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    Just a caution about this type of rack:



    Depending on the size of pannier and your riding style you may find that the pannier flops into the rear wheel. I used one of those racks for two years with an 18L pannier and it worked great. But then I switched to a 28L pannier, and it was basically unrideable - if I moved the pannier forward I got healrub, and if I moved it back it fell into the wheel.

    To fix the problem I had to get a new rack with a rear brace like this one:



    Not much heavier, or much more expensive, but a little more versatile. The simpler rack can definitely work, but any new rack that I buy will have the brace.

    As for how dirty panniers get, in the winter the back of my pannier can get gross because it faces the wheel and I don't have full fenders. That's only really a problem if you think of those combination pannier/messenger bags - for 6 months of the year I would never want my pannier touching me. For just carrying it by a strap it's fine though, and the bottom/front/sides all stay pretty clean.

  7. #7
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    I have full fenders and a rack with two banjo brothers waterproof panniers and my bags haven't gotten very dirty at all. I went pretty simple with the Planet Bike K.O.K.O. rack for like $40. So far I haven't had any problems with it. I think that if you have full coverage fenders, you are in the clear on the grime. Its not going to come off the tire and take some turns that are against the laws of physics and hit your panniers. At least that doesn't happen to me anyway.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    I find that the panniers don't get too dirty. I have a full coverage front and rear fenders on the bike. This is probably the biggest single factor in keeping the gunk off the panniers (and frankly me).
    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    As for how dirty panniers get, in the winter the back of my pannier can get gross because it faces the wheel and I don't have full fenders.
    Thanks for the input here guys I do have a set of full-coverage PlanetBike Hardcore fenders, so I think that is going to help a lot. I think I'm pretty set on going for a set of Ortlieb panniers at this point.

    I'm still looking for input anyone may have on racks or manufacturers to get or avoid. Again, I would like to find something sturdy and reliable, but I don't need it to carry 100lbs or go for a cross-country trek.

    - Woody

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalton View Post
    I have full fenders and a rack with two banjo brothers waterproof panniers and my bags haven't gotten very dirty at all. I went pretty simple with the Planet Bike K.O.K.O. rack for like $40. So far I haven't had any problems with it. I think that if you have full coverage fenders, you are in the clear on the grime. Its not going to come off the tire and take some turns that are against the laws of physics and hit your panniers. At least that doesn't happen to me anyway.
    I like that rack! That is just what I was looking for and at a nice price point to boot. I also like the nice, big back plane which I could use to mount reflectors, lights, etc. (I work nights and am a big fan of visibility ). With a weight limit of 55lbs it should handle any loads I'll need it to.

    - Woody

  10. #10
    Still want a fat bike....
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoody View Post
    I like that rack! That is just what I was looking for and at a nice price point to boot. I also like the nice, big back plane which I could use to mount reflectors, lights, etc. (I work nights and am a big fan of visibility ). With a weight limit of 55lbs it should handle any loads I'll need it to.

    - Woody
    Its also very easy to mount a PB Superflash or PDW Radbot since the plate is there and the holes are right. Its a good buy in my opinion. Of course if you're a fan of overkill, you should go with a Tubus.... haha

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoody View Post
    Thanks for the input here guys I do have a set of full-coverage PlanetBike Hardcore fenders, so I think that is going to help a lot.
    Yeah, even without full fenders it's really not that bad. I just wouldn't want to actually wear the pannier after a winter ride.

    As for racks, do you have disk brakes? That would limit your choices a bit. I've got the Planet Bike Versarack on my hardtail:



    It doesn't have the rear brace, but my large pannier (mostly) stays out of the wheels because the rack bows out around the disc caliper. The type of seatstay mounting on the KOKO rack is much nicer, though.

  12. #12
    Wierdo
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    The Topeak Explorer rack comes in a disc-ready version. That's what I use on my bike.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalton View Post
    Its also very easy to mount a PB Superflash or PDW Radbot since the plate is there and the holes are right. Its a good buy in my opinion. Of course if you're a fan of overkill, you should go with a Tubus.... haha
    Well... those Tubus racks look nice However, for a fraction of the price I think I'd go with the KOKO and put the rest of the money towards something more useful on the bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    As for racks, do you have disk brakes?
    No, I don't have disk brakes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalton View Post
    Its also very easy to mount a PB Superflash or PDW Radbot since the plate is there and the holes are right. Its a good buy in my opinion. Of course if you're a fan of overkill, you should go with a Tubus.... haha
    Does the rack come with the bracket to mount the lights, or do you have to buy that separately? I know it didn't come with my PB SF Turbo.

  15. #15
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    I've used a Bontrager BackRack II with one of the Bontrager City Trunks for the past year, 5 days a week commuting. The trunk looks nice, easy to carry around, quick on and off, and holds more than they say it does. It is pricey though. I haven't had any splash from the road on the trunk and I ride in all weather. The rack has a place to mount lights.

  16. #16
    Still want a fat bike....
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoody View Post
    Does the rack come with the bracket to mount the lights, or do you have to buy that separately? I know it didn't come with my PB SF Turbo.
    No, the rack has the mounting holes in the right place, but I got the mount with my Radbot.

  17. #17
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    I use the above Delta racks, which for the money, cannot be beat. A waterproof pannier I would recommend would be the Banjo Brothers Waterproof Pannier; note the mounting sytem to a typical rack.....

    Panniers and Water / Grime Splashing-p-01110b-lrg.jpg

    Panniers and Water / Grime Splashing-p-01110c-lrg.jpg

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TraumaARNP View Post
    A waterproof pannier I would recommend would be the Banjo Brothers Waterproof Pannier
    I noticed those have a waterproof liner instead of the bag being waterproof by itself. Does the bag itself get soaked during heavy rain?

  19. #19
    Still want a fat bike....
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoody View Post
    I noticed those have a waterproof liner instead of the bag being waterproof by itself. Does the bag itself get soaked during heavy rain?
    I have a pair of these and the bag really doesn't seem to get soaked. Its a nylon bag, so its not going to be too bad. I think I would still like to have something that is not lined, but is actually waterproof.

  20. #20
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I have a set of Seattle Sports Titan panniers. They're basically an Ortlieb knockoff - the bag is constructed like a drybag, and so far, the inner compartment has been totally waterproof. The outer pocket resists a mist, but a real rain will get its contents wet. There are limitations to a waterproof zipper. The Titan pannier retails for $50. I got a set for $60 on REI Outlet, but it doesn't look like they have any left there.

    One of the things I like about the Titan is that the mounting system is very simple. Rather than the business with a bungie cord and a hook, which I hated on my previous set, there's a horizontal plastic hook that catches the stays on the rack, and the upper hooks have a catch to keep the bag from popping up. Like I said - Ortlieb knockoff. A sharp tug and I can remove the bag, while with the ones I owned before, I used to have to spend a lot of time messing with the bottom hook and it drove me nuts.

    I think it's a great commuting pannier. And like you asked - no baggies, no garbage bags, and the material doesn't waterlog. Just don't use the outside zip pocket if it's raining heavily.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    That's a heck of a deal as well I really wish they still had those in stock, I would be seriously considering them. The quick-release system sounds very handy, too. As my riding radius is only a couple miles - work, groceries, etc. - it would be a hassle to have to fight difficult mounting systems all the time.

    Are there any real differences between the Titan and the Rain Rider? I like both the yellow and orange colors they have, but haven't seen any differences besides the RR not using PVC.

  22. #22
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    Dunno - I don't have the Rain Rider. Looks like size is the main difference.

    No H2O Bike Gear - Seattle Sports Company
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Dunno - I don't have the Rain Rider. Looks like size is the main difference.

    No H2O Bike Gear - Seattle Sports Company
    Sizes listed on that site for RR and Titan are identical, that's why I was asking

    Thanks for your input though! Do you think it would be easy to attach a shoulder strap to the Titan? That may be the only criticism I would have of it.

  24. #24
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    I think if you stitched a shoulder strap to the front and back black nylon parts of the Titan and sealed the seams it would work out alright. I'd like a shoulder strap too...

    Re-looking at the web site, it looks like the coating on the side panels is the difference - PVC vs. urethane. And the rain rider is a lot lighter. Personally I don't mind adding 2 lb or 4 lb to my bike if I'm also going to be loading several pounds of groceries or text books onto it. But there you go.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  25. #25
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    Thanks for the input everyone

    After reading a bit more into all the suggested manufacturers I think I am still swayed towards the Ortlieb bags. My choice is between the Classic rollers or the Vario. The Classics have the QL1 system, whereas the Vario has the QL2 system. Also, the Vario has the helmet holder and external pockets (which may be large enough for a water bottle?) for truly hands-free carrying around town without worrying about condensation from a bottle or rain on a helmet going inside the bag. The Vario seems to offer the most convenience for carrying, but with the additional Ortlieb Backpack System I can basically turn the Classics into a backpack as well. For only $40 more this option would double my carrying capacity (from the 20l Vario, to the 40l pair of Classics) while allowing easy carry options.

    Has anyone had a chance to test out both of these? I am wondering if either one has less of a chance of heel strikes. The Classics may be better 'shaped' for panniers, but I am curious if the Vario's QL2 system would allow me more variation when being mounted.

    AHHH!!! All the options! I can't decide!

  26. #26
    namagomi
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    Pannier don't make good backpacks(grimy for one), external pockets are excellent idea on the oretlib. One thing i find cumbersome is constantly rolling and unrolling and then running the shoulder strap around which always seems to fall to the ground while i'm juggling it. The QL1 system is more than adequate if you don't plan to lock stuff.

    I bought some MEC pannier which aren't waterproof but it's one buckle system is nice and i use those when i have only small loads and the weather is nice.

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