Which bicycle bag is suitable for you?
What will your choice for your bicycle panniers? As it goes, there are as many types, sizes and formats of bicycle bags. Which one is good? Which one to avoid? I can only talk from 20 years experience. But I think that should be enough for you to get the main idea.
Before you buy any type of bicycle pannier, you need to ask your self a couple of questions. The first and probably most important question is how many you need. If you consider a long journey, you will front and back panniers. For short journeys you may need only a set of small ones or even a handlebars bag only.
The weather condition is also to be considered. You will most likely suffer some rain. Good waterproof panniers are essential. However, you can go around this with cheap panniers and put your stuff in plastic bags. Remember, price and quality go hand in hand.
Ortlieb is a German product. The Ortlieb panniers are my favorite panniers. The Ortlieb bags come in different sizes and qualities. For the most of my cycling journeys I have used the Backroller Classic for the back and Frontroller Classic for the front. This combination is a winner. You can not go wrong with these two. There is no need to get better quality bags, no need to spend more money.
The Backroller Classic series is as all Ortlieb products very waterproof and has a solid and easy to use mounting/dismounting system. There is simply no other type of pannier that beats the Classics series of Ortlieb.
Some claim Ortlieb panniers are not convenient because they have no extra pockets. That may be true, but if you use handlebar bags too, you don't need extra pockets in the front or rear pannier.
Ortlieb panniers come in black, blue, read and yellow colors though it depends which type you choose.
For the handlebars I am using the Ultimate 5 Classic handlebars bag. This bag has a few pockets for valuables and a map reader on top. If you are going out for a long time, choose the big bag instead of the inconvenient smaller. For the handlebars, this is your choice. Here is more about bicycle handlebar bags
Lone Peak Bicycle Touring Panniers and Packs
There are more brands offering quality panniers. Lone Peak Bicycle Touring Panniers and Packs, made in USA, belong to some of the more popular brands, especially for American cyclists. The Lone Peak bags belong to some of the best sewn panniers and packs made in the USA.
Some people I met on the road had similar ideas about the Lone Peak bags as I have with Ortlieb. The Lone Peak panniers are waterproof, contain several pockets and
Arkel is another very popular and excellent brand. Like the Ortlieb and Lone Peak panniers, Arkel offers panniers for long distance cyclists. Arkel has 4 series: Touring, Mountain, Urban and allround series.
If you are up for a long journey, the touring series should be your choice. Arkel is especially famous for the GT-54’s and matching GT-18’s series.
Advantage of the Arkel bags, there are lots of pockets but they are also a bit more expensive. Still, they're an excellent choice for the ultimate trek.
Several travelers I met were using Vaude panniers. The Vaudes' look very decent. There are 5 lines: Discover, Aqua, H20 Proof, Roadmaster, and Traveler, all in several different colors.
The set up of the Vaude is similar to Ortlieb, it has similar mounting too. And they're similar priced. I think it's a good choice.
MEC is a Canadian company producing very good waterproof panniers. Some claim they don't look nice but they're very efficient in use with several pockets. With a capacity of 56 liter, you will have a solid bicycle bag.
Best of all, they're cheap compared to other brands.
Bicycle Handlebar and saddle bags
What sort of handlebar and saddle bag you would choose? Here are some ideas why you would want (or not) a handlebar and/or saddle bag.
Bicycle Panniers on EBay
Good panniers are not cheap. However, EBay has always panniers in different brands and prices available. Have a look at today's EBay auction on bicycle-adventures.com
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