Some of you may know that I've developed an unhealthy interest in panniers. Receiving sage advice, I've concluded that a robust, reliable, and simple means of attaching the pannier to the rack is an area of great interest. Conveniently enough, bike school was located very near our local REI, and even more conveniently, I had an REI rebate check burning a hole in my pocket - and REI has a good variety of panniers. Less conveniently, I was a bit low on other funds, but it doesn't cost anything to look and do research. So I did. Most times, you see photos of the outside of panniers. But here are a comparison of a number of the inside that will make you love the pannier for the way it stays on the bike - or not. First up was the Timbuk2 Bulitt Pannier, shown above. It had some real serious looking steel hooks. They looked, however, like they'd start working out of the fabric if ever the pannier was overloaded. At $75 per pannier "on sale" (remember, this is an REI sale), they seemed a bit spendy, considering the suspicious looking hooks and the lack of other gew gaws.
Next up, was a stylish looking pannier; the Detours Grassy Pannier. That looked like it might work for a sunny day on the right kind of bike and the right kind of rider, but none of those three describe the way I'd use such an article. Besides looking silly on my Tricross, can you imagine getting that grass clean after running through a mud hole? Also "on sale," this article cost $60 for a pannier. That seemed steep for a straw bag.
Detours Toocan Grassy Pannier
Proving that style costs money, as well as that Detours knows more about panniers than their first candidate let on was the fourth bag, a Detours Toto Pannier, costing a mere $45 per bag even without claiming a "sale." Besides not using grass to encourage a mud buildup, the latches looked a lot more businesslike than those on the Toocan.
Detours Toto Pannier
Fourth on the rack to catch my eye was an Ortlieb Classic Backroller Pannier pair. I shall have to go back and revisit Ham's photos to compare the latch design with the ones he thought were lousy. This Ortlieb appeared to have a different configuration of latch. These puppies look well built and I know that Rantwick has been pleased with his, or at least he was until he went all tubby on us. He claims that the tub only gets used in the winter, but Ortliebs seem expensive for the one-day long Ontario summer. These particular Ortliebs didn't even make a pretense of being on sale at $165 for a pair of panniers. Still, that's only $7.50 more than the Timbuk2 bag on a unit basis. REI had 22 reviews of this bag on their site, with only one bad review. The problem with that bag was a clip that broke repeatedly, as Ham reported.
Ortlieb Backroller Red/Black Panniers
Which brought us to the last bag I remembered to take a photo of, the REI House Brand Novara Commuter Pannier. At $84.50, it seemed the most rugged of the lot, but it was also the most expensive. The "buzz yellow/carbon" is something I think I'd have a hard time learning to love. Still, carbon panniers - they MUST be light, eh?
Novara Commuter Pannier in "Buzz Yellow/Carbon"
Oh, I did see one other bag. It looked and felt a lot like the charcoal ones and I don't recall the brand. The price? $50 for a pair. Hmm, what's the catch? They aren't on the REI website, either.
Subject Matter Mostly it's about local transportation cycling, as it exists in the here and now. It's got a smattering of other gratuitous toy recreation thrown in to keep y'all a little off balance. For those that don't know me, toy recreation means English & Italian cars, aircraft - and downhill skiing.