Thursday, 13 August 2009

Ortlieb

Finally, my old Vaude panniers gave up the ghost so I decided that now is the time to splash out on a new set just before our (not so epic) Dorset holiday.

Though the Vaudes have been good they do have a few niggling design flaws (Vaude, are you listening?)

  • The side pockets are so tight as to be practically useless for stowing anything but the thinnest maps in them.
  • The zips on said pockets are quite flimsy.
  • The strap lengths that fasten down the top covers are short and poorly fitted to the pannier body.
  • And, finally - my biggest gripe - the hook mechanism that attaches the pannier to the bicycle makes the pannier very difficult to remove. The only way I ever found to remove a pannier from my bike was to give the handle a really rather violent tug. Similarity re-attaching the said pannier was difficult as the mechanism and claws are so tight.
Anyway - Evans Cycles managed to provide me with a lovely set of Ortlieb panniers (Ortlieb have been referred to as the 'Rolls Royce' of pannier makers). I must say I really am impressed with these panniers so far (1 Dorset holiday and 2 weeks of cycle commuting later). They address all of the niggles listed above. I particularly like the mechanism for attaching to the bicycle rear rack - it is designed to be robust yet easily adjustable without requiring any spanners or keys of any sort. The detach-attach mechanism is so smooth as to leave you wondering whether the bags really are firmly attached to the rack. Needless to say , all the time I have been using them, and that's over some rather rough terrain at times, I have never dropped an Ortlieb pannier. On top of this there is the legendary Ortlieb waterproofability and a set of carrier straps which can be hooked onto the pannier so one can carry around as a shoulder bag.

Of course - I've not had these panniers too long to make a decision about their durability, but I'll keep this blog informed as to how they are getting on.