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Ortlieb Back Roller Load Size Adaptability

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Ortlieb Back Roller Load Size Adaptability

Old 03-21-19, 03:21 PM
  #1  
michaelm101
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Ortlieb Back Roller Load Size Adaptability

I've chosen to overlook the 'Bikepacker' design due to load size adaptability.

Sooo, can the Back Roller Classic and City models be rolled down to efficiently accommodate and scrunch down to the size of the load? Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-21-19, 03:57 PM
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Bottom to top of stiffened back panel is 13"..
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Old 03-21-19, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelm101 View Post
I've chosen to overlook the 'Bikepacker' design due to load size adaptability.

Sooo, can the Back Roller Classic and City models be rolled down to efficiently accommodate and scrunch down to the size of the load? Thanks in advance!
I often see commuters that use a Backroller or Frontroller that is only a third or half full, it is readily apparent that it is not full from the looks of it.

I can't comment on the City version. A friend of mine has them for touring but he fills them.

About three years ago on a tour I took a empty Backroller to a grocery store and mostly filled it up, it was not a problem carrying it on the bike mostly empty, the brackets still hold it to the rack.

As far as rolling it down further, you can do a few extra turns, but I am going to guess that you can't shorten the height of it by more than about five or six inches.
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Old 03-22-19, 07:29 AM
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Yep, like they said, it's going to look a little saggy, but the back is stiff enough to keep it out of your spokes. The extra carrying room is nice, but after riding with 4 large panniers, and then paring my gear down to two large panniers, I decided that I'd rather distribute my load across the bike, so I got smaller panniers (Front-Rollers) and use them on the rear rack. Everything else goes in more bikepacker-style bags: frame bag, handlebar roll, fork cages if I really need them. If I were to return to a four pannier set-up, I think I'd go with four Front-Rollers before I'd go back to the Back Rollers. If I don't need the space, I don't want the biggest panniers.
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Old 03-22-19, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Bottom to top of stiffened back panel is 13"..
I think this is your answer. I have back rollers myself and can report that they have no size adjustability or compressiblity. If you don't have enough in them to fill them out, they just hang off this panel with a lot of dead space in them. (Think of putting something small in a large paper grocery bag and rolling the top down a few inches)
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Old 03-22-19, 11:51 AM
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mine go empty into the grocery store and come out full.. 1 goes inside the other when stored @ home..
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Old 03-23-19, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by michaelm101 View Post
I've chosen to overlook the 'Bikepacker' design due to load size adaptability.

Sooo, can the Back Roller Classic and City models be rolled down to efficiently accommodate and scrunch down to the size of the load? Thanks in advance!
to an extent, but if you go to a store and play around with an actual pair in your hands, you will see to what extent you can reduce their size.
To me, this is not a problem, but when I ride my faster bike, I like to use smaller panniers I own, especially if I am only using one, so that the profile is smaller when I'm riding faster--but again, to me this should not be a major factor in choosing panniers, but thats up to you.
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Old 03-23-19, 11:17 AM
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City has the F part of the top roll closure bonded into the sides of the bag , M part of the buckle on both ends..
the other one, rolls closed the same way,

but has 1M & 1 F buckle to either snap together or snap into the 2 ends of the shoulder strap,
that on the road hooks into the cleat on the lower outside of the bag..
and does include a zip pocket inside that is against the stiffener panel..


You are free to add a girth strap of your own choosing to go around the bag ...
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Old 03-23-19, 11:19 AM
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Interesting question that I considered last summer.

I found that with my rig as it was, I often had to put my sleeping mat between the aeros and really had to pare down what I carried.
But I also did not want the big profile of rear panniers.




So I looked at smaller front panniers to go on the rear instead. I was all set to buy Ortlieb front city rollers but couldn't for the life of me source any locally. Then I looked on the Carradice website and saw some front panniers on sale in the same waterproof style as my Carradry saddlebag so I bought them. Even with shipping $20 they were less than the city rollers. Arrived in 3 days from England!




One thing I like about them is that they have tensioning straps to suck in the belly of the bag if it is lightly packed.
Now, with a hybrid bikepacking/touring set up, I can pick and choose what I bring or leave home each trip.


Last edited by Happy Feet; 03-23-19 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 03-23-19, 01:52 PM
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I ride my Ortlieb Rollers empty at times, for commuting, errands, grocery, etc.

Empty to full they work fine.
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Old 03-23-19, 02:31 PM
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I'm not sure I understand the question. I use my fronts (on both front and rear racks) and never consider how full they are except that if I do not want the items to rattle. I roll down the top. My bags, last purchased 9 years ago, roll down well past the top of the backing plate. I put in an item of clothing or or backpack if I need more. For example, if one front pannier only has 10 apples and pears on a farmer's market trip, I include the light backpack I roam the market with.

This is entirely in consideration of the contents of my panniers. Ortleibs care not at all what or how you carry stuff as long as very sharp items do not contact the fabric. (I put a neat 1/2" slice in my first pannier carrying a very sharp, long kitchen knife. Contacted a local rafting company and they told me exactly how they repair a cut like that on a raft, what to get and where to get it. I now have a certified rafting repair and that 19 yo bag is as good as new.)

Ben
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Old 03-23-19, 03:02 PM
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I have a pair of Front Roller Plus (aka Sport Roller) and Back Roller Plus. I've so far used them extensively for running errands and shopping. I have a Trek 520 (circa 2010) with the stock rear rack (no front rack) and typically ride with one rear pannier. If you're looking for scrunching down, it doesn't really do that and as mentioned upthread the plastic stiffener board inside will limit how far it can be rolled down. However, you may be able to rig a homemade compression strap setup to flatten and compress an empty bag. At the other end of the spectrum I often overstuff the pannier beyond full capacity so the closure straps cannot be connected and it works brilliantly (esp. for food shopping).

Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Ortleibs care not at all what or how you carry stuff as long as very sharp items do not contact the fabric.
One problem I've encountered is when my rear pannier is empty and I place my very heavy (8lb) chain in it, occasionally if I’m riding very aggressively, the bottom rear corner of the pannier will flex and rotate/swing into the spokes. It happens because the pannier is empty/floppy except for a very heavy weight in the bottom, so I think the thin interior plastic stiffener plate flexes to and fro with the forces of aggressive riding, and if it flexes too much the bag makes spoke contact. This has occured a few times ... no permanent damage but the plastic plate in the bag will get tweaked a little. It occurs due to the design of the rack’s struts (only two rack struts located rather close together and the rearmost one at a diagonal) and how I have the pannier hook located (the hook location is the best overall placement for placing and removing the panniers).

I plan on upgrading to Tubus front and rear racks. The Tubus rear rack has struts placed wider apart to offer a broader contact surface to support the back face of the pannier. My current rack’s rearmost strut pretty much crosses the pannier diagonally, so with an empty pannier and heavy weight in the bottom, the pannier flexes along that diagonal. If there’s other stuff in the pannier along with the lock to bulk up the pannier it reduces the flexing. Bear in mind that mine are the 'Plus' versions of the panniers, which feature a thinner/lighter Polyurethane fabric and not the 'Classic' version made from thicker/heavier PVC fabric, the latter of which I have no experience using ... I'm not sure if the slightly thicker/stiffer fabric* of the Classic would make any difference in this scenario.

This is not at all an Ortlieb complaint, rather it's a cheap poorly designed rack for my purposes.
I love these panniers. The only thing I'd improve on the Ortlieb's is a better handle to carry it like an attaché case for when I'm walking around (I leave the shoulder straps at home).


*As an aside ... I'm not a materials expert and the following is not my analysis, but I recall when researching Ortlieb fabric repair options I came upon a discussion of the two types of Ortlieb materials and the fabric industry from which they're sourced. In addition to puncture, tear, and abrasion discussion points it claimed that from a longevity view the Classic material was inferior as the PVC material typically degrades faster from UVB exposure and slowly hardens from loss of plasticizers which can eventually result in cracks developing (another example that was given was PVC car dashboards in the sun cracking with age). I'm confident both versions of pannier fabric will serve most bike tourers well for many years. Bear in mind the Classic version may(?) become a little stiffer over the years as it ages which could impact the form of the bag when unloaded/partially loaded ... and that could be either a good or bad thing depending on how you prefer the pannier to behave.

Last edited by Lovegasoline; 03-24-19 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 03-24-19, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
(I put a neat 1/2" slice in my first pannier carrying a very sharp, long kitchen knife. Contacted a local rafting company and they told me exactly how they repair a cut like that on a raft, what to get and where to get it. I now have a certified rafting repair and that 19 yo bag is as good as new.)
I'm curious, what material are your panniers made from, Classic or Plus?

https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-mechanics/1104357-real-know-how-repair-tear-ortlieb-plus-pannier-polyurethene.html
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Old 03-25-19, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Lovegasoline View Post
I'm curious, what material are your panniers made from, Classic or Plus?

https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...yurethene.html
Classic. (Though the pannier I repaired wan't "Classic" yet, just "classic", not capitalized. The only pannier Ortleib made.)

Edit: I went to your link. Never answered your question as to whether the Aquaseal repair was to be considered a permanent repair. Yes, it is. (Now if the rip is big enough, you may need fabric for structural strength as well.) The repair I did 8 years ago is now just part of the bag.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 03-25-19 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 03-25-19, 03:43 PM
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good resource there guys on repair. The search function on this site never really works for me, but hopefully it will one day if I need to find the details of what you guys did.
My first set of Ortliebs are Plus versions, back in 93, so they were making the two fabric types back then anyway. The lighter weight appealed to me, even though they were more expensive back then too.
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