Choosing the right pannier is not always an easy task because you’re not planning to do just one thing. Here are some pointers on how different needs may affect your choice.
Volume is one of the most important aspects. Don’t buy bigger than you need because it’ll be dead weight - and cumbersome too. The same holds true for touring or commuting.
Pockets are mostly a personal choice, but be sure to have enough pockets for your basic needs. Trying to find the keys to your house at the bottom of a pannier is never fun.
Access is also highly personal just as pockets are. Top loaders (like the XM-45 or Dolphin 48) are inherently versatile but sometimes a pain to use, while front loaders (like all our GT-54's, GT-18's, T-42's and T-28's) are easier to organize but contents shift more inside.
Price is always a factor. Just as quality. We always build the best, strongest panniers for the money. Features will be the determinant factor as price is concerned. Buying a more expensive pannier in our line does not mean stronger or better, but more features. Choose within your budget. You’ll get the best pannier you can have
how will you use your panniers?
We have the largest line of panniers available because we know not one model will satisfy everyone. Depending on your activity we feel some models are more appropriate than others.
Heavy commuting, daily, whatever the temperature: We’d have to say the XM-45. It is a highly versatile volume and a very durable package. It doesn't have some of the “user-friendly” features of some of our other panniers, but you’ll gain in versatility.
Light commuting, when the temperature permits: Probably volume is not critical and simplicity is an advantage. The T-28 is a no-frill pannier, easy to use and with enough chic to satisfy the ego. That could be your best bet. For a bit more features the GT-18 is a sweet one too.
Occasional commuting and weekend errands: The XM-28 offers a bit more volume than the above-mentioned T-28 and has the versatility of the XM-45. It is a top loader, meaning it will compress or expand readily to carry bigger loads, such as for a picnic to the park. The quality is unmatched because we know you're not planning to buy any other pannier soon
School and all-around errands: School has its own set of requirements, one of which being the need to carry big books. Another would be to comfortably walk long distances. The Bug is more rectangular in shape and converts in a daypack for easy walking. We are the only one offering this, to our knowledge. It is quite perfect to walk the mall too.
Business needs or clean presentation at school: Another option to the Ladybug is our Briefcase, which is quite clean and professional. For office workers the briefcase is the best solution, with enough space for files and spare clothes in separate compartments.
Weekend picnics, B&B touring, occasional touring: Built like tidy suitcases, the T-42 are well-mannered and organized panniers allowing for all the amenities of civilized touring, be it for one day or many. It is easy to live in and out of these panniers, even for weeks during organized trips. Match them with the versatile T-28 for extended capabilities and some self-supported touring.
Touring, from B&B type to months-long on the road: Being self-supported requires more organization then during a day ride. What is easy to live with during a day can be enormously annoying after a week. The GT-54 is the most developed set of panniers ever created for self-supported touring, along with the GT-18 front offering. Removing some pockets also makes them usuable to replace the T-42 in many occasions.
Touring in need of a huge volume: Sometimes bigger volumes are needed. It may be for tandem bikes because two people share the same panniers, or because certain types of touring require more water, food or gear. For these occasions we designed the TT-84 the largest rear panniers we know of. They are bigger because the volume extends downward, not upward, thus leaving the top of the rack free for more stuff.
Rack Fit Guide
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Waterproof - Facts & Myths
Front Loading vs Top Loading
How to Pack
Bike panniers and their care