front pannier advice?
I’ve recently started riding a Salsa Casseroll, which has a lovely little front rack that looks like this http://salsacycles.com/files/blog/Cass_front_rack.jpg and i’m shopping around for some good waterproof panniers. I’ve got a job riding around the city delivering posters, which get heavy and need to stay dry and clean. Can anybody suggest a set of front panniers that would suit this rack? So far I’ve looked at these: http://www.rei.com/product/604990/ortlieb-front-roller-panniers which seem pretty nice and are about at the top of my price range.
I don’t know anything about front panniers in particular, but you really can’t go wrong with Ortliebs. Excellent waterproofing: I have the Bike-Packer Classic rear panniers and have no concerns at all about throwing my fancy laptop and important papers in mine and commuting in pouring rain. Super-durable (and even if you somehow manage to damage them, Ortlieb will gladly fix it, from what I hear). And I wouldn’t worry about weight at all with those: in my experience, the bags hold plenty more weight than I can really lift/carry in my arms, and more than my bike itself can carry without causing weird handling issues. And they’ll adjust to fit pretty much any rack (although I admit I don’t know much about front racks).
You might want to look at them up close before choosing roll-top vs. another closure system, depending on exactly what you’re going to be carrying around. The roll-tops are popular and perhaps more waterproof in the most extreme cases (i.e., immersion), but I found the Bike-Packer/Sport-Packer design to be better for me. The drawstrings under the buckle flap (image: http://www.hammerkauf.de/images/product_images/popup_images/17515_3.jpg) allow for flexibility, i.e., some serious overstuffing, which makes it easy to carry weirdly-shaped things or absurd volumes of stuff. Doesn’t matter so much on a day-to-day basis, but helps with things like shopping for groceries. If that kind of thing may come up for you, it’s worth looking at the other design.
ETA: link to the Sport-Packer front panniers since it looks like REI doesn’t have those: http://www.ortliebusa.com/CartGenie/prod-27.htm
Hmm, I just realized… I’m not sure whether the Ortlieb mounting system will work on that rack… I’m having a hard time picturing it, anyway. Somebody else probably knows better than I do, though.
thanks, pearmask. i watched a video of the ortlieb mounting system and it looks super handy, but it is indeed a petite front rack. i should probably just check one out in person the next time i get to rei.
Yeah, I think you’re going to have to physically try bags on that front rack to see what will work. Is it meant more for having a handlebar bag on top? I’m just not sure how panniers would work with that kind of mid-fork-mounted rack.
Get the ones Nashbar makes. They don’t have the fancy mounting system, but otherwise they work as well as the Ortliebs and they’re way cheaper. I always load in the front when I’m traveling, and the lower they’re slung the easier it is to handle.
I’m told that later this month we’ll see a 20% REI coupon. I will be sorely disappointed if it doesn’t happen.
How easy is it to unlatch these from their mountings? I am going to be routinely popping my bike on the front of a bus, and in doing that, need to be able to get that bag off in just a few seconds. A, I do work while on the bus and need the stuff. B, I’m aware of drivers’ getting miffed about bags on bikes because it blocks vision. C, if it’s real easy to get off, I don’t want someone swiping the bag WHILE I’m on the bus.
OTOH, we had a situation a year or so ago of a theft of a bag as the rider was on the bike, in motion, climbing a hill [link]. Before I drop a C-note or two on a bag, I want to make sure I continue owning the thing, i.e., I want theft to be not that big of an issue.
Is all that, that much to ask?
Last month I got a pair of Ortlieb Front Roller Classics, as in Parvipica’s original REI link, for $85 on sale at Biketek in Squirrel Hill. I don’t know if they have any more.
They’re about as quick to remove as a water bottle. Takes a few seconds to put back on though. I find it’s easy to put the bike on the bus rack and then lift off the panniers.
One note: It looks like REI is selling Front-Roller Classics, but calling them simply Front-Rollers. There are also Front-Roller Plus and Front-Roller City models with more features (anti-theft device and shoulder straps, respectively). Make sure you don’t wind up with a model you don’t want.
If you’re transporting posters, you might alternativeley consider just replacing the little rack with a big flat Wald rack/basket, in combination with some kind of generic waterproof bag, or even just a garbage bag. Big flat front baskets are mighty handy.
Depending on the geometry of your bike, loaded panniers may best be left to a large rear rack.
I prefer a basket up front, which is just a cheap, USA-made Wald ziptied to a front rando rack similar to your Salsa’s. A bungee net keeps anything loose from jumping out and lets me save room in the rear panniers for heavy things or simply leave the panniers at home if I’m just carrying small/light stuff.
Here’s my rack set-up, unloaded, while camping-
For some reason I think Ortlieb’s demo videos for their mounting systems are extremely adorable. They sort of make me want to dance. And they also answer Stu’s question, I think. There are three systems, as far as I know: QL1, QL2, and QL3.
I believe mine have the QL1 system. It really is as easy as it looks in the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tUy4Q7-AJA
The QL2 is similar, maybe a little fancier/more adjustable.
ETA: I forgot: QL2 can lock to the bike, which would be perfect for concerns of in-motion theft.
I want one of the commuter bags with the QL3 (leaves most of the hardware on the rack so that the hooks don’t poke your back if you carry the bag like a messenger off the bike):
Anonymous 05/12/2012 at 4:38pm #
I don’t know if this helps, but what sizes of posters do you routinely deliver? The reason I ask is because if it were me, I’d look at building something uber-practical, safe, dry, low-cost, etc., just to carry them during work hours. It would have to be something easy to remove but secure and securable, as well. Is there any chance something tubular would work much better than panniers? PVC could be a bit heavy but depending on what you’re carrying on any given day, you could even put together a couple different sizes, and still spend less than buying panniers, that don’t even work as well. I’m interested in hearing your answer/opinion on whether that would work. I’ve used PVC for fishing rod carriers and they also make great burial caches. I envision something cut to the right size for the cargo, and mounted in-line with the frame, to a rack behind the seat, for steer ability in traffic and such. An upright tube could be even better if you needed something larger, as it would be out of the way behind you, and the upright position would negate center-of-gravity/steering issues. A simple friction cap would not bounce or blow off, keep rain out, and be easily removable. by hand. You could rig something different such as a threaded cap or something, if you needed to be able to put a padlock on it or something.
thanks for everyone’s responses. val, the tubes idea is a fun one. i would need a whole lot of tubes to carry all those posters. i usually have several hundred cardstock heavy posters on me that are quite big. i checked out a few front panniers and decided to just get myself a super gigantic waterproof bookbag. http://www.chromebagsstore.com/bags/packs/ivan-rolltop-pack—medium.html#
Not only can i fit all the posters, but i reckon i could also fit a few watermelons, a case of beer, a small fawn, and still have room for a change of socks!
as for my cute little front rack, i’ll probably just get a basket for carrying puppies and kittens. if anyone ever needs a puppy or kitten delivered anywhere, hit me up.
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