Hopping onboard the bike pannier rack bandwagon

Twitter recommendations for good bike pannier racks

I recently put the question out on Twitter about which bike rack I should get. Here is what my Twitter followers had to say:

With the Tubus being such a highly recommended brand I took a look around. A little expensive for my first bike rack. So I tried out Blackburn and Topeak. I most liked the look of the Topeak ones so I’ll be testing out the Topeak Super Tourist DX F/Disc which fits both bikes with and without disc brakes.

I'm going with the Topeak Super Tourist

Why buy a bike pannier rack?

With the bike being my main mode of transport and a weekly visit to the supermarket on the cards for the foreseeable future it seems like a logical choice. Carrying all that supermarket shopping weight on my back is simply not an enjoyable experience. Also, as I go on more long distance cycling trips it is illogical for me to still be carrying everything on my back. Therefore, the panniers are a good addition that for now I have only resisted for weight and appearance reasons.

I’ll let you know how I get along.

UPDATE: I’ve now tested out the Topeak Super Tourist DX and given my thoughts.

See also:

  1. Make your escape in 2010
  2. Abus Granit Steel O Flex Review
  3. 7 mistakes you are making with your cycling
  4. Bike repair straight to your door

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25 Responses to Hopping onboard the bike pannier rack bandwagon

  1. Caro 14/06/2010 at 11:03 am #

    Topeak do a rack that’s similar (including a disc brake model), only it has a second rail on the side about an inch down from the top. It’s proved pretty hardy for inexpensive non-steel. Fitting the panniers to the second rail means that they are almost flush at the top and, therefore, if I’m putting my tent, bag, etc across the rack there was no undue pressure. Just a thought, have fun on your longer trips and thanks for the blog!

    • Andreas 14/06/2010 at 11:50 am #

      Hey Caro – thanks for the recommendation. I’ll see how this one treats me and otherwise will experiment with some different models.

  2. Tim 14/06/2010 at 12:22 pm #

    I get really peeved when on other cycling sites when they talk about securing your bike and making it thief proof they suggest buying a rack and panniers. The suggestion being they are so unfashionable no self respecting bike thief would be seen with them! I love them and have always had them on my bikes and currently use the Topeak ones you are trialling. I find I use soft panniers that are quite light and hold A4 files unfolded for work. I have a set of BikeBins though for supermarket shopping. They are big and robust and can sit in the trolley as you shop be packed at the till and then just slipped on for the journey home. Completely waterproof and are lockable. If you have two their flat tops and your rack platform make a sizeable surface area for carrying even heavier loads.


    • Andreas 14/06/2010 at 3:29 pm #

      Thanks for recommendation Tim!

  3. welshcyclist 14/06/2010 at 4:55 pm #

    I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know what make my pannier rack is, but it does the job. I got it, when I got the bike through my company’s Bike2Work scheme. Halfords fitted it, and I’ve had no problems at all. Just been out to the shed to have a look, mine’s a Bikehut model, 25 kgs maximum load. Don’t think I’ve had anywhere near that weight on it, but it’s been invaluable for my commuting.

  4. Filippo Negroni 14/06/2010 at 6:28 pm #

    I use a 16-inch folding bike at times to travel into London. The bike cam with a pannier rack but I have never found pannier bags that fit such small ground clearance so I end up using a backpack.
    Do 20 inch folding bikes give enough clearance to fit pannier bags?

    • Adrian 18/06/2010 at 11:40 am #

      I really struggled with this as well. Either there wasn’t enough ground clearence or you kept banging your heel on them. You could try a top mounting bag, or one of my collegues went with one of the “angled” bags that gives you more heel clearence.

  5. Andrew 14/06/2010 at 6:47 pm #

    Andreas – My girlfriend and I were very happy with our Topeak pannier racks we used on our trip down the pacific coast highway in California. Sturdy, not too heavy and easy to attach (and then remove when the journey was complete). I think you will be happy with Topeak but look forward to hearing how you get on.

    • Andreas 17/06/2010 at 1:41 am #

      Thanks Andrew – I’ll get back to you with my results soon!

  6. Su Yin Khoo 15/06/2010 at 6:28 am #

    Hi Andreas, I have this Topeak pannier rack—not the disc brake model though—and couldn’t be happier! Almost two years now.

    There are also Topeak-specific bags and baskets that slide-click to the pannier

    • Andreas 17/06/2010 at 1:41 am #

      Good, these comments are filling me with confidence for Topeak 🙂

  7. Phil 15/06/2010 at 1:24 pm #

    I have a Topeak disc rack on one bike, and still use my Karrimor panniers from 1992, although they are only attached by the top hooks, because the plastic discs broke years ago and spares are unavailable. On the Mundo I use either a tough plastic box and bungees for my commute, or a pair of 64l crates and ratchet straps for larger loads, with the odd shaped/sized loads ratchet strapped on.

  8. Brian 16/06/2010 at 1:06 am #

    Will you be reviewing pannier bags in the near future? I’m hoping to buy some soon and would love to see an article about what to look for in a good bag.

  9. Murray 18/06/2010 at 11:13 am #

    My Topeak rack is still in one piece after a good few years of regular use.

    The problem is with panniers. I got some relative cheap panniers about seven years ago, from Argos. They were good. They clips were metal and could be adjusted, made tighter, so that they wouldn’t bounce off when I hit a pothole. They lasted a good five years of going to work, carrying 100s of CDs for instance, twice weekly supermarket visit, all sorts of stuff.

    I replaced them with more expensive panniers from Halfords, with plastic clips – as the one at Argos is now not the same, not so good.

    I hit a pothole, it bounced off, got run over by a bus, my phone which was in the zip up pocket was totally squashed. The one that wasn’t damaged by the bus is now fraying at the edges, the seam coming away. And this is after just one year.

    Why do companies delete a product that is perfectly good and replace it with something not so good? I guess the newer one that Argos now sells is cheaper to produce…

    • Andrew 18/06/2010 at 1:58 pm #

      I’ve had the same problem with Halfords (BikeHut brand) panniers. Hit a pothole on a roundabout, bag went flying and cars ran over it. Luckily my phone was in my pocket, not the bag. They are cheap but are a good size and fine for light commuting loads and the occasional supermarket load. Part of the problem is that my (Tortec brand) rack has very small diameter tubing. Otherwise a good solid rack.

      For touring or wet weather, I can only say: Ortlieb. Pricey but strong, well made and 100% waterproof. Good SECURE latching clips and different sized inserts for fitting different diameter tubing on racks.

    • Andreas 20/06/2010 at 7:52 pm #

      Interesting to hear about two bad experiences with this one. Hopefully people will avoid the Halfords Bike Hut panniers.

      I agree with Andrew – if possible to spend more money then go for it. For now I’ll see how the Topeak treats me

  10. hugomac 18/06/2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Just a word for Carradice original saddle bags from Nelson up north. Nigel in my office called mine a “satchel”. A littel retro in green canvas duck with leather straps but practical enough with the quick release frame. Capable of a 10kg load so it can carry a fair bit. Not up to a full supermarket shop like my pair of workhorse alturas. I took a “Nelson longflap” to Paris and it carried what I needed for the journey. They will age with dignity. Carradice also do the usual panniers. I ordered mine direct from them and they delivered next day thru the post.

  11. Roy 18/06/2010 at 2:41 pm #

    I have got a rack, which is not on at the moment, I tend to use it more in winter than summer. It’s a Halfords one fitted when I got my bike also through bike to work scheme some 3 years ago now, it works just fine & the bag I got clips onto the top of it very secure, there are pokcets either side which open to reveal adequate bags for carrying with strong clips to hold them in place the bag also has a zip all round to raise if more volume is needed.

  12. tanoshii9NO 19/06/2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Panniers? Shmanniers.

    As Archimedes famously said:


    “Give me a big enough messenger bag, and I will move the shopping.”

  13. Robert 02/06/2011 at 9:22 am #

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