Need a bag or a bicycle rack? Our expert has found the best on the market for 2021
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A pannier is a bag designed to attach to a bicycle, providing an easy and comfortable way to carry items while you ride.
Saddlebags are usually attached to a component called a luggage rack, which itself is attached to the frame of the bike. Most racks are designed to attach to a specific part of the frame, usually at the rear, but sometimes at the front, of the bicycle.
We get the word “basket” from Old Frenchbasket, which originally referred to bread baskets carried in pairs by beasts of burden. Bicycle panniers are used by all kinds of cyclists these days, from commuters carrying their work supplies, to adventurers taking provisions on a bicycle tour.
How to choose a luggage rack and a saddlebag?
We recommend that you choose a luggage rack first, as only certain racks will fit your bike.
First, you will need to identify the parts of your bike’s frame that could accommodate a luggage rack. Some bikes have eyelets on the dropouts, which are used to mount many “standard” racks. For bikes without this feature, it is sometimes necessary to mount a luggage rack on the seat post or on the front of the bike.
If you are new to saddlebags and racks, try to get advice from someone who has relevant experience before making a decision. Bicycles vary widely, and sometimes a tiny detail, such as the presence of disc brakes, can make a certain bike incompatible with a certain pannier.
Once you have chosen a luggage rack, you can move on to selecting the ideal saddlebag (s) for your needs. You need to consider factors such as the load you will need to carry and the types of saddlebags that are compatible with your rack.
M Part ATP3 Trail rear rack
Attached to : shrouds and legs (eyelets)
Made from a strong and lightweight alloy, the M Part ATP3 Trail is a brilliantly efficient solution for carrying your panniers.
The luggage rack attaches to the dropouts and seatstay, which means it’s only suitable for bikes that have eyelets on the dropouts.
The adjustable arms used to secure the rack to the seatstay slide a good distance, providing the ability to attach the rack to a variety of bike frames.
Shiny and stylish, this would be an ideal rear rack for daily commuting – although mechanically it is also suitable for getting muddy during a road bike ride.
The texture on the top of the rack adds a bit of extra grip, while the struts on each side do a great job of keeping side-mounted bags away from the rear wheel.
Halfords rear rack
Attached to : shrouds and legs (eyelets)
This is a great value rear rack from Halfords.
Constructed of lightweight aluminum, the luggage rack is perfect for riders who want to carry a lot of gear without adding too much weight to their bike.
Mounting the rack is nice and easy, with simple hardware to attach the front of the rack to the bike seat post, as well as an attachment eyelet at the bottom.
The brushed finish of this rack tends to mark quite easily, but that shouldn’t detract from its functionality.
Please note that this rack is not suitable for bikes with disc brakes or rear suspension.
Blackburn Outpost Front Rack
Attached to : frame and front legs (eyelets)
Designed for cycle tourists across the globe, the Blackburn Outpost Front Rack is a great option for riders looking for a smart way to load a lot of gear onto the front of their bike.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of this rack is its adjustability.
You can load your saddlebags on the luggage rack at different heights, which will help you get a saddlebag bag as low as possible, resulting in a desirably low center of gravity.
Plus, the top of the rack is removable, allowing for a more streamlined design when needed.
The only questionable downside to this premium rack is the price. Nonetheless, it’s a great option for serious touring.
Ortlieb Back Roller Classic QL2.1 Rear Saddlebags (Pair)
Ortlieb’s classic saddlebags work great, and they look great while they are at it, with a choice of stylish colors including orange, red, black and gray.
Rather than breaking the mold, this bag absolutely nails the basics. Its waterproof material is reliable and durable, and the roll closure is both very effective and easy to use.
Another important advantage of this bag is the sophisticated “QL2.1” system it uses to attach to the luggage rack.
This incorporates secure and adjustable fasteners both at the top and near the bottom of the rear panel.
These bags are sold in pairs, with one for each side of your luggage rack.
Madison RT20 pannier bag
Attached to : luggage rack top and seat post
There’s a lot to love about this nifty Madison shoulder bag.
While the bag may look neat and small, it makes for a really efficient use of space, with flip side pockets that can increase the overall capacity to 14.6L.
Another useful feature is the pair of zippered mesh compartments on the inside of the bag shaft – ideal for stashing essentials such as travel documents or spare batteries for bicycle lights.
The exterior of the RT20 is just as feature rich as the interior, with Scotchlite reflective stripes for improved visibility, a loop for your bike’s rear light, and convenient carry handles for off-bike use.
Type: classic (sold individually)
This bag covers the essentials very well and at a very modest cost.
Mounting on a luggage rack is simple: just use the strong clips on the rear panel of the bag, and optionally also the Velcro strap on the same side, depending on the style of luggage rack used.
We were impressed with the space and resistance to the elements of this bag.
The three compartments provide ample space for all kinds of luggage, from camping gear to laptops and lunch boxes.
And the water resistant panels on the bottom and back did a great job of keeping our things dry during a test drive.
We recommend that you use two of these bags per pair, with one on each side of your rack.