Reviews: Accessories > Luggage > Cycling Bags and Cases > Panniers (Front and Back)
Hi-vis luggage carrier
Tough touring totes
They'll give you a fighting chance of keeping your kit dry
Rigid bike luggage, but rather bouncy
Tiny but function little panniers
Most panniers aren't so practical off the bike. Cannondale's CyPod is a funky pannier that morphs into a briefcase. 14.4 litres in capacity, it features a computer sleeve that's padded on one side.
High quality, tall panniers with plenty of features but limited adjustability
While most watertight panniers use ultra high-frequency welding, Vaude's new Ultra Seam Tech allows different fabrics to be used, rounded shapes to be created and weight savings too. The proof of the pudding is the minimal Discover back, a rear pannier set weighing just 1,640g for £70.
The Revolution Adventures are made by Vaude, so they inherit the excellent back plate and mounting system, very similar to that on the Discover.
The Venturas have simple but effective R and K mounts, with a screw that adjusts the tightness according to the diameter of the rack. There's no adjustability in positioning, so check they fit with your rack, though the stabilising arm offers plenty of lateral movement and a Velcro tab acts as a safeguard to keep them on. The Agus have a nice, user-friendly shape. They open up wide and are easy to get into. The material is thin and lightweight but hardwearing and abrasion resistant, with good stitching. There's a roomy outside front zippered pocket and side Velcro pocket, plus big reflective strips on either side. But they're not waterproof and there's no cape.
Both a commuting and touring favourite, Ortlieb pioneered the fully watertight, seam-sealing process. The Back Roller Pluses use a lighter-weight Cordura finish, fully backed by a laminate, which is more eco friendly and expensive than the heavier, arguably tougher PVC versions (Classic Top Roller, £82.50). The design is incredibly simple - they're easy to get into and straightforward to shut - a lid version is also available. The mounts are very easy to adjust, requiring no tools, and have loads of range for positioning. Although the feel is more plasticy than the mounting system used on the Classic range, we haven't had any problems with durability. With the insert supplied, the clips are a touch tight for a standard 10mm diameter - a basic carry handle releases it. There are two big reflective patches, an internal pocket and a shoulder strap.
The Topeak is one in a range of quick fit trunk bags, designed for commuting, errands and touring, though you'd have be pretty small to fit everything into its 7ltr capacity - I couldn't even fit a shoe in there! All of them work only with Topeak's beam racks (£30). As usual, quality and attention-to-detail is really good. There are two fold-out dog-ear panniers on either side, with reflective strips. The main cargo area opens up wide and is padded with an elasticated pocket. It's also expandable, with a carry handle, shoulder strap and a bungee cord on top. The back has a reflective strip and light tab. The Topeak Trunk Bag is sleek and compact when folded down but is rather limited in carrying capacity.
From the cycling-as-a-lifestyle streets of Holland, comes this quirky handbag pannier. It fits just like a conventional pannier, with two large basic and non-adjustable clips that can be zippered away when in handbag mode. Without a stabilising arm, it's not super stable, but then again we don't imagine it's designed to be taken off road. The outer is coated polyester, which repels water - though it will certainly get wet through the zip or seams. There's a nice, satiny feel to the lining in the one, simple main compartment with reflectors on the outside. The bag has five feet and opens up well for loading and is roomy enough to fit an A4 folder. What the Basil lacks in traditional pannier features, it makes up with its unique styling. Great fun! Big, simple mount that has room for 10mm.
The first thing we noticed about the Drylines is their durable, two-layered construction, which effectively creates a waterproof bucket inside a tough, Cordura outer. What we liked about these panniers is how easy they are to pack - they keep their shape really well, are lightly padded and have great rubber feet that add stability and durability.
Carradice have long been associated with their super tough, old school Cotton Duck panniers. This year, they've joined the seam-sealed fold - though the Cotton Ducks are still available. Construction is tough PVC - similar to Ortlieb's Classic. There's one big, main compartment with a small, zippered pouch, a drawstring skirt and a lid over the top, along with a small mesh pocket strapped to the outside - good for drying pants and socks! The back uses Carradice's traditional, replaceable mounts. They ratchet in to the rack and are a bit stiff to use but very solid, and can be moved along aluminium rails. A stabilising clip also slides backwards and forwards, with a plastic bumper to protect from any skewer damage. The back panel is reinforced with a light but stiff corrugated plastic. However, one of the reflective logos has peeled off.
The New Looks have, as fortune would have it, a distinct look. Made in Holland, quality is good and they're an easy bag to go shopping with: they sit well and load up easily. There are handy pockets on the outside to carry keys and a wallet, with a larger front mesh pocket too.
The Avenirs have something of a deluxe look and feel. They're packed with features too. There's a pocket on the lid and two side pockets with smooth-running, weatherproof zips, and a reflective LED tab.