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Lightest front and rear panniers

Old 06-26-22, 04:22 AM
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PedalingWalrus
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Lightest front and rear panniers

Has anyone done any comparison and weighing of front and rear panniers?

i am wondering who makes the lightest pair? My only requirement would probably be that the top hooks must be locking or permanently tied or. Velcroed to the rack
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Old 06-26-22, 06:29 AM
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Look at Arkel DryLites. No locking arrangement though. They're Velcroed together at the top and secured with bottom hooks.
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Old 06-26-22, 10:37 AM
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He may be retired, but Bob Beckman made a line in lightweight, high modulus fabric that looked pretty light. they zipped together to make bigger or smaller panniers to fit the tour. Years ago, he made panniers expressly to fit Bruce Gordon racks. They were way over built, and my set is heavier that my Ortliebs. He used large zippers, removable dividers, they were limed in bright yellow, and had a set of compression straps. Altogether state of the art for 1985-95. The fabric on mine has had a lot to its laminated waterproofing peel off, but the have removable covers that work fine.
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Old 06-26-22, 01:31 PM
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I went back to look at your Scotland photos. I could not tell who made your panniers, they do not look like any I have seen? The printed on label looks familiar, are they Revalate? What do they weigh? Is your only complaint the capability to lock them to the rack?

I bought some Axiom coated nylon ones at a garage sale. I decided to try them along with some Carradry on my last tour. They worked. Both also leaked a bit in the rain, but I assume any coated nylon ones (Axoim) will leak, so that was not a surprise. The Carradry had a unsealed seam that I have since sealed. Prior to that tour I usually used Ortliebs, but decided to try the Axiom and Carradry for the sake of trying them on my last trip. I think the Carradry ones are seven or eight years old.

My weights are as follows:
  • Ortlieb Front Rollers - 25 liters - 1640 grams (about 12 years old). They will not come loose from a rack.
  • Nashbar coated nylon, about 15 years old, I think they used velco to hold to rack, coated nylon - about 30 liters - 1240 grams. Have not used for about 14 years.
  • Axiom DLS30 - 30 liters (coated nylon) - they had a hinged hook to lock to the rack - 1310 grams.
  • Cannondale Overland (vintage, never used, bought recently at a swap meet) - I think about 33 liters but rated at 41 liters, 1570 grams. I think they only use the spring on the lower hook to retain to rack.
  • Ortlieb Backrollers - 40 liter - about 15 years old - 2140 grams.
  • Carradry rear - roughly 50 liters - a very good locking mechanism to hold to rack - 2260 grams.
This is what I have. Can't offer more than that.
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Old 06-27-22, 04:12 AM
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that is excellent info. thank You! I should also just weigh my bags to know where I am starting from.

Yeah in Scotland the only complain was that the front bags would fall off if I hit a bumpy road. Otherwise I like those a lot. They are made by Swift. There were a couple singletrack section I would have loved to do but I just could not.

I also have Arkels the heavy duty ones. Those are great, never fall off but not really lightweight

and I have some leftover Ortlieb Backpackers that always worked fine. Those have not fallen off although the plastic hook has broken on one pair.

This past weekend we have done a one night tour right out of our house to test our new tandem bicycle that was finally finished after 13 months of waiting. During the tour I was thinking what I would change and add to the setup...
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Old 06-27-22, 09:52 AM
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If the panniers you have are light enough to keep them, maybe you just need a better way to mount them to the rack.

The first post at this thread shows a piece of aluminum that appears to be something you can rotate under a rack rail to lock a pannier from lifting off of the hooks.
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...nier-rack.html

If I was trying to come up with a solution, I would make a trip to the hardware store to buy the parts I need to make something like that and bolt it to the panniers that you already have. But I often try to make various parts for DIY projects.

Good luck.
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Old 06-27-22, 10:04 AM
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We use these on our panniers..they seem to work perfectly as the bags never bounce off the racks. Simple, cheap, easy to install. Two Wheel Gear ships fast.

https://www.twowheelgear.com/product...ock-vario-hook
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Old 06-27-22, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
We use these on our panniers..they seem to work perfectly as the bags never bounce off the racks. Simple, cheap, easy to install. Two Wheel Gear ships fast.

https://www.twowheelgear.com/product...ock-vario-hook
I thought those looked familiar, they are identical to the ones on my Axiom panniers, which never fell off.
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Old 06-27-22, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I thought those looked familiar, they are identical to the ones on my Axiom panniers, which never fell off.
Yep..they work.
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Old 06-27-22, 11:37 AM
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yeah that seems pretty simple and as a workable solution. I ordered a pair. Many thanks!
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Old 06-27-22, 11:47 AM
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I recently made some fork harnesses that let me strap my tent base (without poles) on one side of the fork, strap my mattress and other inflatables on the other side. I put a small rack on the front to hold my sleeping bag. I used to have low riders and my front panniers were three pounds. This new set up has me loosing close to five pounds. With my panniers, I made a "pannier lock", just a simple wing nutted cam that held the top of the panniers down, so there's no way they would ever jump off.
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Old 06-27-22, 03:09 PM
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The Rixen & Kaul twist hooks are another easy retro-fit. They completely circle and lock around the circumference of the rail. Here they are on an old set of Madden panniers ...

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Old 06-28-22, 09:22 AM
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I made a spreadsheet for this a few years back and I'm probably missing lots of options, but here are the some of the lightest I found:
  1. Arkel Drylite - 28L 540g 19.3g/L - By far the lightest pannier per liter of carrying capacity. And it's waterproof and inexpensive.
  2. Bedrock Hermosa - 26L 630g 24.2g/L - Boutique brand if you like supporting a small business.
  3. Nashbar waterproof rear - 62L 1700g 27.4g/L - Not sure if they're made anymore or if they're any good, but they are the lightest really big pannier.
And now for the some of the heaviest per liter of space:
  1. Ortlieb fork pack - 6.4L 550g 85.9g/L - Wins the award for heaviest panniers per liter of space.
  2. Ortlieb sport roller classic - 25L 1590g 63.6g/L - The heaviest medium sized pannier.
  3. Arkel T-28 - 28L 1780g 63.6g/L - Very similar to the Ortliebs above.
If you combine the Arkel Dry Lites and the Revelate Pronghorn handlebar harness, you can carry 39L of stuff for 770g. The Ortlieb Back Roller Plus can carry 40L at 1681g, over twice as heavy.
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Old 06-29-22, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
The Rixen & Kaul twist hooks are another easy retro-fit. They completely circle and lock around the circumference of the rail. Here they are on an old set of Madden panniers ...

Sort of OT, but is that a Bruce Gordon?
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Old 06-29-22, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Sort of OT, but is that a Bruce Gordon?
Yep, the frame is 28 years old now and still going strong! Re-powdercoated once. It's my everything bike ... road, touring, gravel/light MTB. I just use the appropriate tires on three sets of wheels, two now electrified. That's a new 700x43 Rock & Road tire pictured, still available from the folks who acquired Bruce's inventory and maintain the website.

Last edited by BobG; 06-29-22 at 11:51 AM. Reason: frame is 28, not the entire bike!
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Old 06-29-22, 05:00 PM
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Mine is my everything bike too. I recognized the tire, and after a second look, the rack. Mine was built in 1992 and has Beckman panniers of that era. The mounting is just simple hooks and a tightenable strap that goes around the bottom of the rack. As I said above, the panniers are on the heavy side, but durable, and they go with the bike. Where in NH are you?
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Old 06-30-22, 05:03 AM
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Just a thought from experience -

I am not sure "light" panniers are the best option.

Not that I like to, and not that I would want to expect this for anyone, myself included - I've gone down a few times on my bike. I have Ortleib panniers and they have survived.

If you have lower quality construction panniers you might end up ripping them to shreds if/when you go down.

Like I said - just a thought. Something to toss in the mix for a more thorough evaluation of your options, goals, and expectations.

Happy touring!
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Old 06-30-22, 05:44 AM
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with me it is the opposite. I have panniers to equip 4 bikes already and sometimes I need them all when the whole family goes out on tour ... but at times, usually when I have to work and can't tour I keep tinkering and rethinking how I could improve this or that and what equipment would be ideal for this geographic location or that ... and so it goes on and on just like the circle of life :-)
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Old 07-07-22, 02:12 PM
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My recent experience may provide another option. I have some 29 year old panniers by Bob Beckman, they fit the racks on the bike of the same vintage. Over the winter I had a new set of rain covers made by a sailmaker. She used modern, waterproof fabric, like that used in tents. They weigh just about half what the originals do. For the four panniers, this is only about 200 grams, a little less than half a pound. But the principle could be extended to the full pannier. Take a set of panniers you like to a sailmaker, or other canvas worker, and have him or her copy them. You could probably cannibalize the prototype panniers for the new super light versions.
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Old 07-09-22, 02:09 PM
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New on the market are MLD ultra poco panniers, 4.9 oz each.
https://mountainlaureldesigns.com/pr...ltra-panniers/
https://bikepacking.com/news/mountai...poco-panniers/

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Old 10-03-22, 07:49 AM
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I did order those MLD panniers. Have not had an opportunity to test them yet but I will when they come in. For longer distance trip I am planning on bringing them to South Korea next spring.
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Old 10-03-22, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
I did order those MLD panniers. Have not had an opportunity to test them yet but I will when they come in. For longer distance trip I am planning on bringing them to South Korea next spring.
Keep us posted on how they work out.

Somehow I missed this portion of the thread and didn't see that these were available. I own and like some other MLD stuff. I may consider them when outfitting for some future tour. I own a ton of panniers and various dry bags, but the panniers are all inexpensive Nashbar/performance stuff so a bit heavy for my UL style.. I could see these fitting into my system nicely.

I like the way they are attached for the trip since I leave my panniers on for the duration any way (when I use panniers) and it is just as well if it is awkward for a would be theif to take a bit longer to snag them. Seems like there would be little doubt about security of the mounting while riding, not that I had much issue with even the cheap hook and bungee setup on the nashbar panniers. If going on rougher unpaved surfaces that could be a plus.
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Old 10-03-22, 08:32 AM
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yeah. the absolute worst thing is having your pannier fly off on a downhill and getting all scratched up (or worse)
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Old 10-04-22, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
yeah. the absolute worst thing is having your pannier fly off on a downhill and getting all scratched up (or worse)
No doubt. 🙁 That's why I stopped using my cheap Axioms that I had a few years ago. Broke a nice bong, lol. 😉

The springs on my old Cannondale panniers add a little weight, but they never just fall off, no matter what I hit. 😎
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Old 10-04-22, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
yeah. the absolute worst thing is having your pannier fly off on a downhill and getting all scratched up (or worse)
I've spaced, not pushed my Ortleibs down full and shed them a number of times on downhills. They absolutely don't care. Between the complete waterproofing to rafting standards, the laughing at abuse and the so easy on and off (I carry them around at the farmer's market and into grocery stores). I've been sold on them a couple of decades. So far, all fronts, one pair 21 years old, the other 11. They've gotten new hardware and I've done one rafting style patch when I put a very sharp kitchen knife through one of the older ones.
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