Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Tangled Metal
Posts: 4012
Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 Sep 2018, 3:28pm

I use a tortec expedition pannier and Ortlieb back roller classic to carry work clothes, essentials like pump / toolkit and work stuff. Nothing excessive but it sometimes fills the 20 litres in the pannier and probably weighs a few kilograms.

So my first optionsl are a lighter rack like velocity hybrid 440g iirc compared to 850g or so and the Ortlieb. But I got thinking of school Carradice saddlebag. I personally don't like them. If rather not go that way but...

So I'm consulting the collective on this site. I know there will be Carradice fans but I'm hoping there's more options. I'll be looking again at the Carradice site, I've got their carradry bar bag so I'm not against the brand. Although that bar bag isn't anywhere close to the finish quality of the ortlieb equivalent I must say.

Innovation must be out there. What is new? What is an option?

My first thought is toolkit and pump attached to the frame. Dig out the pump bracket and I believe the Topeak toolkit I have came with a velcro frame mount or bottle cage mount like the pump did. This takes out a bit of volume. The lock can come out too. That leaves a bit less. I have a full frame bag but that limits bottle carrying. Plus it's a pain to put on again. I could just decant into a lightweight dry bag and leave attached.

So IMHO it's a seat pack as most practical of it's quick release. Spesh do a 20 litre bikepacking version.

What's your views? Rack less and rucksack less commuting is the aim. Suggestions needed.

User avatar
NUKe
Posts: 3361
Joined: 23 Apr 2007, 11:07pm
Location: Suffolk

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby NUKe » 17 Sep 2018, 3:36pm

Carradice saddle bag with a QR system or one of these new bags that straps to the top tube, It depends how much capacity you need. I have always used a light weight rack and small pannier for Commuting on an upwrong. I use a rucksack on the bent for most journeys(hung on the back of the seat) and banana bags or panniers for bigger loads.
NUKe
_____________________________________

whoof
Posts: 1390
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby whoof » 17 Sep 2018, 3:45pm

You can put some tools/tube in one of these and pop it into a second bottle cage. Currently £1.99 sometimes more sometimes £1.
https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/BOJOBSBC/ ... e-tool-bag
You could even get two, personally I don't need to drink on a 20 km long commute.

There are a lots of bikebacking bags available. I've got a 17 litre Apidura one which is relatively expensive. If they are too big and you completely fill one it might start to wag when riding. You also need a fair amount of seat pin showing.

This 11 litre one is £30 but currently sold out.
https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CCPDWSB/p ... addle-pack

Tangled Metal
Posts: 4012
Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 Sep 2018, 4:29pm

Got plenty of seatpost showing I'm tall and planetx don't make bikes any bigger than 60cm when I got it. Only trouble is I've got a really good light for the seatpost that needs height to get the lasers clear of the rack. Although perhaps rack less it's not an issue being below the seatpack.

Just looked at the bagman support. It's about as heavy as some of the lightweight racks that take 25kg loads. It only takes 20kg. So perhaps a light rack with light pannier is better than Carradice options.

I bought an apidura bar bag once. Sent it straight back as it didn't fit 440 drop bars when filled.

I've got a custom frame bag estimated at 11 litres capacity. They're great for tours when you're only going to empty it at the end of the day. IMHO commuting you'd have I decant the contents into another bag on arrival because it's a pain to put back in if you take it off. Plus you lose the bottle space.

I've heard of seatpack sway. Are there better ones for preventing that? I guess the load is clothes and euro stuff like portable hard drives, USB sticks, pens, lunch, etc. Add in waterproofs, locks, spare gloves in winter / autumn. It can add up to an ortlieb full pannier bag.

So far there's nothing really much better than a rack and pannier. Just a case of getting lighter versions perhaps?

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 42814
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby Mick F » 17 Sep 2018, 4:37pm

First thing is the essentials for every single time you go for a ride.
Multitool that fits EVERYTHING, a couple of innertubes, set of tyre levers, and a couple of CO2 canisters and a connector unit.
If you don't have QR hubs, you'll need the correct spanners for the track nuts too.
All that will fit in a small seat-pack which can be fitted permanently to your bike, and that's all you need.
Small, light, just there and ready if required.

As for what you need to take to work - lay them out and see how much space they require.
Only then, do you need to worry about which bag and/or rack system you need.
Maybe you need a lock. Buy one that is stowed on your bike frame, or leave it at work which is far better!

My general dodge, was to take enough in on the Monday to see me through the week. I had the luxury of a locker, plus a cupboard near my desk. I could store my shoes and clean shirts and trousers and socks etc easily. Once or twice, I'd pop in by car early one morning at a weekend and load up/replenish my stuff.
Mick F. Cornwall

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 10462
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby mjr » 17 Sep 2018, 4:41pm

NUKe wrote:I have always used a light weight rack and small pannier for Commuting on an upwrong.

I prefer lightweight racks and rack-top bags. When I'm being really lightweight, that rack-top bag is an alpkit dry bag. You can get even lighter but I wouldn't trust them to stay waterproof. Most of the time, I accept the 200g(!) penalty and it's a satchel, either simply strapped to the rack if it's one that closes at the top somehow, or as a saddlebag resting on the rack if it's an open-top. It's nice to have the option to put panniers on when I want to carry more.

As others say, you can use dry bags as a saddle pack without a rack, but they do wag when you put even a mild amount of stuff in them.

If you're carrying clothes in any of those rack-top options, a specialist packing board or a packing cube in between two slightly-larger rigid boards is probably a good idea, but make sure the boards have no rough edges that'll wear through the bag.

Mick F wrote:All that will fit in a small seat-pack which can be fitted permanently to your bike, and that's all you need.
Small, light, just there and ready if required.

And when you require it, you'll discover it's been part-emptied while parked!

Mick F wrote:My general dodge, was to take enough in on the Monday to see me through the week.

That's a good tip, though, IMO.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

whoof
Posts: 1390
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby whoof » 17 Sep 2018, 8:09pm

Seatpack sway depends on how you pack them, I don't carry tools in one and heavier items would go in first. It also depends on how you ride, seated smooth pedalling will give little sway as opposed to side to side gear churning.

I've got a bar bag based on a stuff sack. For dropped bars if you completely fill it you can't get your hands around the brake levers. The solution is don't fill it.

If I were you I would look at what you are carrying. If you want to travel light then for instance consider if you need spare gloves on a commute, anything other than a lightweight jacket as 'waterproofs ' and can you have a pen at work. I'm not trying to go super light but have plenty of space in a single 17 litre pannier and have done a weekend camping with a bikepacking saddle bag and semi-filled bar bag.

User avatar
TrevA
Posts: 1821
Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby TrevA » 17 Sep 2018, 9:03pm

Tools and spares in a small pack under the saddle, pump on the frame (I use a Specialized Air Tool that fits next to the bottle cage). For commuting I use a very small rucksack - similar to a small Camelbak bladder pack with the bladder removed. I can get my Thinkpad laptop, shirt, underwear, socks and lunch in there. No need for a rack or any other bags. Waterproof in a cut off bottle in one of the bottle cages. I keep trousers and shoes at work.

My commute is 8.5 miles and that bag causes me no problems. I don't even feel it. If I need to take more stuff, I have a small rack top bag and use my winter bike that has a rack on it.

I've also successfully used a handlebar bag in the days before I had to lug my laptop around with me.

1982john
Posts: 254
Joined: 3 Nov 2012, 9:29pm
Contact:

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby 1982john » 17 Sep 2018, 9:19pm

Alpkit has recently put on sale a sway prevention rail seat post for use with their bags.

I use the carradice SQR tour for a bike w/o rack eyelets. Its lasted really well with daily use for commuting and short tours.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 42814
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Alternatives to rack and pannier for commuting?

Postby Mick F » 18 Sep 2018, 11:37am

mjr wrote:
Mick F wrote:All that will fit in a small seat-pack which can be fitted permanently to your bike, and that's all you need.
Small, light, just there and ready if required.

And when you require it, you'll discover it's been part-emptied while parked!
I have a Topeak Clickfix thingy.
It pops off at the click of a button.
I swap it from bike to bike as they both have the fixing.

This bag:
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/topeak-aero-wed ... addle-bag/

This clip, I have one on each bike:
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/topeak-fixer-f2 ... edge-bags/
Mick F. Cornwall