Author Topic: Really big panniers, which to buy?  (Read 8115 times)

mickeg

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Really big panniers, which to buy?
« on: February 20, 2015, 01:41:16 AM »
I am considering a off road trip where I might fit a suspension fork to my Nomad Mk II that would complicate the use of front panniers.  Thus, I would likely put all my gear on the rear rack, handlebar bag, and possibly a small bikepacking type frame pack.  For past trips I have used Ortlieb Classic rollers, front rated at 25 liters and rear rated at 40 liters.  Sometimes with the Ortlieb 31 liter duffel on top in back, sometimes the Carradice Longflap Nelson on top in back, and sometimes no additional bag in back.  Thus, for past trips I had a capacity (without handlebar bag) that ranged from 65 to 96 liters of gear.

I am looking at the following rear panniers, considering which to buy:
 - Carradice Carradry 58 liter.
 - Altura Dryline 56 liter.
 - Altura Orkney 56 liter.

All of the above are in my price range with shipping cost.  I am in USA, have never seen any of these panniers, none of these are sold in stores here.  Thus I would be buying without an opportunity to compare them in the store.

Those of you that have used the Carradry or Altura panniers, please provide some advice on which you think are the best.  They would be used off-road away from civilization.  I have not ruled out the Super C, but for now I am not leaning in that direction.  But if you think the Super C is the best, feel free to say so. 

At this time I am leaning towards the Carradry, simply because I like the construction of the Ortliebs and if the Carradry uses similar materials and seam welding, that is a positive to me.  But, I have read some on-line reviews of the front Carradry that spoke of low quality, but the reviews for the rears all were very positive about the quality and durability.  The Altura reviews I have read were also quite positive on quality and durability.  One older link on this forum indicates that the Carradry are made in Asia (unlike the cotton ones made in UK), I do not know where the Altura bags are made but I am more interested in quality than country of manufacture.  It is my understanding that all of them are of comparable weight.

I have several different racks I can use them with, I think the Tubus Logo EVO is my most sturdy rack.  If they did not fit well on that rack I also have the Surly rear rack and a couple different RackTime racks.  I do not have a Thorn rack.

Thank you in advance for your advice and suggestions:

Danneaux

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2015, 02:38:04 AM »
Mickeg,

I have no experience with the bags you asked about, but can offer the suggestion that if even more space is needed, Ortlieb's detachable accessory pockets can be fit to any pannier or backpack without compromising waterproofness. They have roll-top dry-bag construction and are waterproof with a capacity of 3l. More information on them here:
http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/ortlieb-outer-pocket-small-for-ortlieb-rear-panniers-of91s-prod5847/?geoc=us

An even larger 3.5l size recommended for use on luggage other than panniers (see SJSC's note) is also available:
http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/ortlieb-outer-pocket-large-for-backpacks-and-drybags-of91l-prod19371/?geoc=us

Perhaps such pockets would prove handy on your backpack if not on the panniers. They detach and can be used on a belt for hikes away from the bike. Ortlieb also offer a mesh bag for storing damp items/helmets and another detachable accessory for the same mounts that holds bottles. If those allowed you to move items from the inside of your panniers to outside, whatever bags you choose would be made effectively larger. I have all three items but have not yet attached them to my panniers.

Hopefully helpful,

Dan.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2015, 02:39:57 AM by Danneaux »

RonS

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2015, 03:12:53 AM »
Arkel make a 54 liter  pannier. Not sure if it fits your price range, but, keep in mind that it would ship free from their US warehouse, so no import fees required. I have a smaller set of their panniers and can vouch for their quality.

Arkel also have a fairly good US dealer network, so you may be able to have a look at them before purchase if you are fortunate enough to live near one.

Best of luck

Ron
« Last Edit: February 20, 2015, 04:24:36 AM by RonS »

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2015, 09:09:06 AM »
I used the Altura 56 litre on my 30 day around Scotland tour last June.
Plenty of very wet weather at times. No leaks.
Quite a basic design. One outside pocket and an inside flap kind of pouch.

All I can say it that it did exactly what was expected of it.
I'm not sure how it could have been better. Can these things be exciting?

For my next tour to Tajikistan I'll be taking them with front Ortlieb panniers.
Only Ortlieb because I picked them up cheap on eBay a few years ago.

Matt
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rualexander

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2015, 09:10:38 AM »
Polish company Crosso make a couple of 60 litre pairs.
http://crosso.pl/en/item/bicycle-equipment/

in4

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2015, 09:55:29 AM »
Additional thought: Carradice do their old man mountain rack system that accomodates full sus forks and disc brakes. http://www.carradice.co.uk/~carra/index.php?page_id=category&category_id=35.

fossala

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2015, 10:24:48 AM »
I use Super C bags for all my needs (saddlebag/handlebar bag/front/rear panniers). I love them, they wear well and I've never had a problem with them being waterproof enough.

Templogin

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2015, 11:09:00 AM »
Don't forget to buy some spare spokes for the extra weight that you'll be carrying.

Kuba

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2015, 11:44:14 AM »
Silly question maybe, but have you considered downsizing your gear instead of increasing load in the back? Lightweight tent etc. can make a great difference in the load capacity you need...

mickeg

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2015, 05:02:23 PM »
I am aware of the outer pockets for the Ortliebs, but would rather not go that route.

Spare spokes, yeah already packed.  I use 36 spokes, not 32, thus a bit more strength.  Rohloff wheel is undished which adds some additional strength too.

Arkel make a 54 liter  pannier. Not sure if it fits your price range, but, keep in mind that it would ship free from their US warehouse, so no import fees required. I have a smaller set of their panniers and can vouch for their quality.

Arkel also have a fairly good US dealer network, so you may be able to have a look at them before purchase if you are fortunate enough to live near one.

Best of luck
g
Ron

Thanks.  A friend has the Arkel GT-54, he took them on a 78 day trip.  I went on a 6 day trip with him so I have seen his Arkels in use.  Also, I went on a group trip (16 people) and one guy did not use front panniers, he had all his gear on the back rack of his Americano, he used the GT-54 panniers too.  The Arkels look nice and have quite a following, plus local stores sell them.  But they are about 3 to 4 times more costly than I want to pay.

On Crosso, I had found almost no information on them in my research so they fell off my list.  Nobody mentioned the really big Jandd panniers, but they also fell off my list due to cost.  I am also aware of the really big Axioms.  In my research I got my list down to Carradice and Altura before I posted this question.

I used the Altura 56 litre on my 30 day around Scotland tour last June.
Plenty of very wet weather at times. No leaks.
Quite a basic design. One outside pocket and an inside flap kind of pouch.

All I can say it that it did exactly what was expected of it.
I'm not sure how it could have been better. Can these things be exciting?

For my next tour to Tajikistan I'll be taking them with front Ortlieb panniers.
Only Ortlieb because I picked them up cheap on eBay a few years ago.

Matt

Great.  Thank you.

Additional thought: Carradice do their old man mountain rack system that accomodates full sus forks and disc brakes. http://www.carradice.co.uk/~carra/index.php?page_id=category&category_id=35.

Yes there are racks that fit onto the skewer, but a front suspension really works best if you don't have a lot of weight on that end of the fork.  Motorcyclists talk about "unsprung weight" on this issue.  Tubus used to make a rack, I think it was called the Swing, that would hold front panniers with a suspension fork that got around this problem.  But I think that rack is no longer available.  Last summer I saw one of those racks on a bike that had 100,000 km on it, the rack had been repaired a few times but was still in use.

But, for simplicity and compactness, I am trying to get my gear down to two panniers and handlebar bag.  A bikepacker frame bag is also a possibility.

I use Super C bags for all my needs (saddlebag/handlebar bag/front/rear panniers). I love them, they wear well and I've never had a problem with them being waterproof enough.

Thank you.  Yesterday I looked at some Thorn brochures and saw several photos of (I think it was Andy Blance?) cycling in far off places with a suspension fork, Super C rear panniers and no front panniers.  I also take that as a strong recommendation.  If it was Andy in the photo, I assume he is familiar with all of the various pannier options and took what he felt was best.

Silly question maybe, but have you considered downsizing your gear instead of increasing load in the back? Lightweight tent etc. can make a great difference in the load capacity you need...

Yup.  My last tour, excluding food and alcohol, my Carradice Nelson Longflap only carried two inner tubes.  Thus, I had gotten down to 65 liters, not counting handlebar bag and two inner tubes that could have gone into the handlebar bag.  But with several days of food the Longflap was full.  On that trip I even took an air mattress instead of my self inflating Thermarest, the air mattress weighed more but was more compact to fit in the pannier better.

I have seen people that carry very little gear but I am not the kind of person that would enjoy a trip if I had to eat all my food with a spork out of a single aluminum cup.  I want a second pair of shoes for when the first pair gets soaked, I want enough warm clothing so that I am comfortable when I have to scrape the frost off my bike, etc. 

I plan to get my gear down to two panniers (big ones), handlebar bag, possibly a frame bag like bikepackers use.  Then my expendables like food and water would either go into the Longflap or a drybag on top of the panniers.

If I make a bikepacking frame bag, that would likely be about 9 liters of volume.  I have sewed camping gear before, I am sure I could make a nice frame bag, that is on my list of "maybes", but I would like to get my gear down to the point where I do not have to make that bag - plus then I would not lose two water bottle cages.

Thank you everyone.

tt2cycletours

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2015, 12:48:46 AM »
I have used both the Altura Orkneys and an earlier version of the dryline.

Regarding Orkneys:

The rack hook is flimsey and they tend to come off eventually, they are no comparison in strength to Ortlieb and Vaude designs.  (Not the top hooks but the lower to stop bags swaying).
I am convinced by there waterproof-ness but fabric is more vulnerable to been cut than alternatives.
They have very limited structure in the back panel so if you have a minimal rack support and they are not full they can sway into rear mudguard/wheel. 
The protective feet on bottom of panniers are sewn on so inevitably the threads get cut over time and they come off.

Otherwise good panniers which did not wear out in 4,000 miles of touring.  I would pay more for the tougher fabric of the orkneys.

John Saxby

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2015, 01:44:38 AM »
Quote
A bikepacker frame bag is also a possibility.

Mikeg, I'm thinking of getting a Revelate Tangle frame bag (large), which will fit my Raven nicely, swallow a lightweight tent and have space for the inevitable odds & ends as well.  Looks like a great product for about USD 70.

DAntrim

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2015, 09:58:15 AM »
I have used the Altura dryline 56ltr bags the past 3 years and have never had an issue with water ingress, neither are they showing any signs of wear and the mounting clips have never worn loose.

The only downside for me is that they are a bit large for my needs, so will be getting a set of Supper C's (28 ltrs) and couple them with the longflap saddlebag will provide all the space I need.

A review on the carradice.....
http://tomsbiketrip.com/carradice-super-c-rear-pannier-review/


Lemming

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2015, 12:53:28 PM »
A note on the CarraDry panniers - I believe that these are not made by Carradice themselves, but imported.
However, as the UK made cotton duck ones are, at best, of "agricultural" quality, this need not make any difference!

Having said that, the canvas ones are sufficiently waterproof in real world use and are the most resistant to damage panniers I have used.
And cotton duck ages nicely and just looks right!

julk

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Re: Really big panniers, which to buy?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2015, 01:10:28 PM »
I have tried a few brands of panniers but have ended up with Carradice Super C panniers, augmented by a Revelate Tangle bag in the frame and a Revelate Sweetroll under the handlebars with my Exped Downmat and chair kit in it.
Julian.