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Best bike panniers 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated May 1, 2019
Best bike panniers of 2018
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Following is the list of top three bike panniers of 2018. After carefully examining the reviews and ratings of the people who have used them earlier this listicle has been made. We’ve narrowed down our options based on the customer feedback (read positive reviews), functionality, material and size. In other words, we’ve put all fundamentals into consideration to come up with a comprehensive list that suits various needs.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this bike panniers win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days.
Why did this bike panniers come in second place?
Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office.
Why did this bike panniers take third place?
This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.
bike panniers Buyer’s Guide
Classic touring bikes
These emerged with the growing popularity in Britain of cycle touring as a pastime way back in the 19th century, which led to the formation of the oldest national tourism organisation in the world, the Cyclists’ Touring Club (recently rebranded to Cycling UK).
Looking similar to an old road bike, a traditional touring bike will often have a steel frame, leather saddle, extra water bottle mounts, full mudguards, front and rear pannier racks, a broad range of gearing, and wide touring tyres. Their classic good looks have many fans, and the steel frame they can be repaired almost anywhere.
The position is usually less backside-up than on a road bike, making them easier to ride on busy streets, and there is a weight penalty compared with more modern machines. They aren’t as widely available as they used to be, but there are a few companies still making them.
Next we come a much more modern (and fashionable) type of bike that goes by many names – gravel bike, adventure bike, all-road bike, enduroad. What they all have in common are modern frames, disc brakes, wide tyres and off-road capabilities.
You’ll find a range of frame materials on bikes in this category, from advanced steel tubing through modern alloys, up to light-but-crazy-expensive carbon. There’s even a smattering of titanium bikes to be found, usually by boutique builders and out of reach to many.
The appeal to many people of these bikes is that they offer huge versatility – they can be fitted with a set of slicks and keep up with most road bikes, or the tyres can be swapped out and mudguards fitted to take you on a month-long backpacking tour. Or they’ll serve admirably as a reliable commuter.
Flat-bar hybrid bikes
Very popular with tourers in continental Europe, these typically combine heavy-duty tyres with flat handlebars and light-yet-strong alloy frames, loaded with mudguards and pannier racks, using modern components like V-brakes to good effect.
One segment that’s fast winning friends for bicycle touring is e-bikes (the ‘e’ stands for electric, as they’re motor-assisted). They’re commonly based on a hybrid bike chassis, and can massively expand your touring range. Bear in mind though that their secret ingredient does ramp up prices (and weight) considerably, and you’ll have to find somewhere to charge up the battery when it runs out. A typical range in ‘normal’ mode for a 1amp hours model is around 100km.
The technology is improving all the time, and for people who are daunted by the idea of hills but still want to enjoy riding a bike, they can be an excellent solution. That might apply if you’re older, just returning to cycling, or you want to cycle with your partner but he/she is much stronger than you. Haters gonna hate, but e-bikes are here to stay.
If you want to modify your existing bike, there are units available like the Rubbee Drive or Semcon bike engine that’ll drive the rear wheel. We haven’t tried these yet so can’t vouch for them, but they are an option you might want to try.
Oh, and don’t think that you’re going to be breaking the national speed limit anytime soon: all e-bikes sold in the UK only work by applying power when you’re actually pedalling, and won’t deliver assistance above 15mph.
There are also a few other items that you definitely might want to consider taking: a GPS bike computer for keeping you on the right path and logging your miles, a solar charger for getting juice into your gadgets, and some decent lights for when you’re riding in the twilight.
You can outfit most bikes with a rack, a basket, or a combination of the two, significantly increasing how much you can carry and making your commute a whole lot more comfortable.
If you’re just planning on running small errands around the neighborhood, a front basket might be all you need. These containers can hold up to about pounds of stuff, but going beyond that can negatively affect handling.
No matter what carrying methods you choose, some assembly is required. Unless your ride is designed primarily for sport (say, a high-end road-racing or mountain bike), you’ll likely find pairs of brazed-on (or welded, or molded, depending on your bike’s construction) eyelets, threaded for a 5-millimeter metric screw, on the seatstays, at the rear dropouts, and at the ends of the fork. These are the attachment points you’ll use to install a rack or basket, and other accessories, like fenders, on your bike. But even if you don’t have these connectors, there’s no need to worry: You can in most cases use P-clamps, small rubber-coated metal loops with a bolt hole, meant for tacking down bundles of cables in construction and available at any hardware store. Wrap them around your seatstays to add a pair of mounting points. Most front baskets can mount directly to a front axle. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The rear triangle of our test bicycle, showing rack mounting points and the components of a typical rear rack.
The front end of our test bicycle, showing mounting points and a Wald basket mounted to the handlebar and front axle (in this case, a quick-release axle with a locking skewer).
From the rider’s perspective.
Altura’s seatpack is quite literally an eye-catching option thanks to the built-in iLume LED fitted into the rear.
This tiny button has three settings – slow, fast and constant – and runs from a watch battery, all packaged into a shape not much larger than a pound coin.
With a diagonal length of 20cm it’s a good-sized bag that will hold a multi-tool, mini-pump and a couple of inner tubes, or a few energy bars if you’re planning a longer ride.
At just 4cm wide it’ll mount snuggly behind the seatpost and shouldn’t rub as you pedal.
Ideal as a ‘hamster transporter’ if you need to go to the vet’s.
Another of our smaller options, this one coming in with a simple design and, therefore, price tag.
Measuring 16cm, it has plenty of noteworthy details, including black reflective patches, a rear-facing loop for an LED, and a brightly coloured interior with an internal pocket on one side to stop items from rubbing.
External pockets, one on each side, are closed off thanks to the side strap that holds the whole system to the rails and compresses the contents to stop rattles – all useful details.
Arundel Dual Seatbag
The Dual is designed to carry two inner tubes along with the necessary inflation equipment and maybe a small multi-tool as well, depending on your inner tube size and how good you are at packing.
With a different shape to most, the Arundel attaches to the seat rails alone and has a leather patch for durability where it touches the seatpost.
Made from black canvas, it’s certainly not waterproof so will need to be removed and dried after wet rides but thanks to the single velcro strap that’s hardly a chore.
The Dual measures 14cm by 5cm so it should avoid leg contact.
Pro Saddle Bag Medi
One of the smaller seatpacks in the round-up, the Medi is the second-smallest of four in the Pro range and measures around 17cm in diagonal length.
That’s about right for a spare tube, tool and COinflator.
With an internal net and light blue fabric, finding what you’ve stuffed into the pack shouldn’t be too difficult, and there’s an additional pocket down one side for extras, such as a patches or some cash.
A well constructed bag, it has three mounting points: one for each saddle rail as well as the seatpost.
A rear facing loop allows the use of a clip-on light, too.
Lezyne S-Caddy Loaded
First off, don’t be put off by the price, this seat pack is ‘Loaded’, which Lezyne means it comes with a multi-tool, tyre-levers and patch kit.
This little 12cm-long bag has a neoprene pouch underneath for the Vtool (Philips head, 3, 4, 5, 6mm Allen keys) as well as internal pockets for the supplied levers and inner tube repair kit, and one for folding cash.
That means you just need to add your inner tube and COpump for a basic pack to be covered for the worst eventualities.
Think of it as the equivalent of buying a food mixer, but with all the food supplied.
FWE Medio Saddle Pack Pro
What the makers say – The FWE Medio Saddle Pack Pro is made from durable water-resistant, ripstop nylon with a waterproof zip to keep everything dry when the weather turns horrible.
What we say – On undoing the water-resistant zip, a couple of mesh guards deploy either side of the opening, making sure the contents don’t spill out. Along with a holster for stashing your house keys inside the lid, it’s one of several features that help this cheap pack shine. Discreet reflective detailing and a light loop round off a neat package.
Ortlieb Saddle Bag
What the makers say – Tucking neatly under the saddle, this 100% waterproof saddlebag provides room for equipment, snacks, extra shells and lots of tools. The roll-top closure features buckles and D-rings for locking the bag.
What we say – A quick-release mechanism makes detaching this medium-sized pack a doddle. Great construction and a roll-top closure keep out the water, while D-rings and an additional mount underneath allow you to lash more gear to the pack. Its stiff fabric slightly amplifies things rattling around inside, and the otherwise sturdy release mechanism can also be a little noisy, although neither should put you off.
EH Works Essential Canvas Tool Roll
What the makers say – Made of waxed canvas with leather trim and a leather toe strap, carrying everything you need for any ride. It’s a real cinch to fit under your saddle.
Altura Arc Seat pack
What the makers say – The Arc seat pack is a waterproof, seam-welded, roll-top saddlebag. Using the roll-top closure ensures the content will stay dry during adverse weather conditions.
Lezyne M Caddy QR
What we say – A neoprene holster underneath the main pack neatly stows a multitool, saving you from having to dig through the rest of your kit in the event of a breakdown. Inside the main compartment are several dividers, helping to keep everything neat and tidy. The sturdy quick-release mechanism attaches with a clunk and, as there’s no post loop, it pops off instantly.
Increased tyre clearances on the frame and fork – A cyclocross bike frame has increased clearance for tyres on the front and rear of the frameset. This is so that you can use larger volume tyres, for increased grip and traction; as well as allowing the wheels to keep turning, even when they are carrying significant quantities of mud or trail debris in the tyre tread.
Frame geometry – Cyclocross bikes often have more relaxed geometry angles, to give them a more upright riding position than a road racing bike. This position helps with shock absorption off-road, but it also allows you to utilise the bike across multi-disciplines, such as touring and commuting.
Frame material – Many modern high-end road bikes are now made of carbon fibre, due to its light weight and vibration absorbing characteristics. Cyclocross bikes have followed this trend too, with many high end models made of carbon. However, aluminium and steel frames are also still popular; because they provide a lower cost option, and provide a more durable frame if the rider wants to use the bike for touring or commuting.
Frame sizing on cyclocross bikes
As with all bikes, the sizing of cyclocross bikes is vital to maximising comfort and performance when you are riding. This is especially important if you are going to be using the bike for long distance touring or winter training as well.
Check out our Wiggle bike size guide for more advice on this area.
Cable routing on cyclocross bikes
On most modern road bike frames, rear brake cables and front derailleur cables are routed along the underside of the top tube – providing a cleaner look when you are seated in the saddle. On a cyclocross bike however, you will often see these cables routed along the top of the top tube, or routed internally within the tubes; this is to reduce the chance of them being contaminated by mud and water, but also it makes the bike frame more comfortable to shoulder and carry.
Brakes on cyclocross bikes
Traditionally, cyclocross bikes were fitted with cantilever or V-brake options; these provide more mud clearance than standard road bike caliper brakes, however they still have a tendency to clog up and reduce in effectiveness, when the conditions are wet and muddy.
Increased tyre clearances on the seat/chainstays and fork legs of cyclocross bikes means your wheels can keep turning in all but the most extreme conditions, when your tyres are carrying a lot of debris in the tread.
Frame Geometry: Cyclocross bikes often have more relaxed geometry angles, making them a more comfortable bike than a racing bike. This helps with shock absorption and allows you to utilise the bike across multi-disciplines such as touring and commuting.
As with all bikes, the sizing of cyclocross bikes is vital to maximising comfort and performance when you are riding. This is especially important if you are going to be using the bike for long distance touring or winter training as well. Check out our sizing guide.
Certain areas of the bike attract certain buzzwords, and the phrase beloved of marketing departments when describing the efficiency of the chainstays on their latest offering is “power transfer”.
The chainstay has an influence on the performance of the bike that belies its simple appearance. Its length and shape will depend much on the purpose of the bike. For a racing bike, says Steward, where the only consideration is performance, the general principal is that shorter is better: a bike with shorter stays will offer good acceleration and efficient climbing.
The pros of this are that these pure ebikes are often better looking, and are lighter in weight. However, they often lack the abilities of other electric bikes, because without gears and no chain they are harder to ride without electric assistance. The Gtech Ebike, for example, is one of the best British pure ebikes available and is considerably lighter than most other ebikes, but because it has been stripped down the battery capacity is limited to 30 miles maximum. This may be fine for most journeys but add in a few steep hills and the rider may have some difficulties or run out of battery assistance later in the journey.
Electric Commuter Bikes
With the costs of owning and running a car around 40 pence per mile, electric bikes provide a much cheaper alternative at approximately 5 pence per mile.
You may be concerned about the weather and yes that will take some adapting during the wetter months of the year (which is most months nowadays), but with the right waterproof overalls, you can arrive at work dry and relatively fresh to start your daily grind.
In major city centres, particularly London, you may be able to complete your journey faster on the seat of an ebike as opposed to the bus or your own car. For starters, you can cycle right up to the front door of your office, no finding a car parking space or walking from the nearest bus stop, and also you can stick to the cycle paths (yes you are allowed to use your electric bike on cycle paths) and avoid the traffic jams and many main roundabouts and traffic light junctions.
You could use any electric bike for your commuter journey, but depending on certain factors there are some ebikes that may be better than others for you.
If you journey to work includes some rougher terrain, like a mud or gravel path, or plenty of hills you may be wise to opt for an electric mountain bike or a hybrid bike.
Folded All Seasons E-compact electric bike
Alternatively, if you’re short of storage space in your flat or an element of your journey will also be on public transport you could opt for a folding electric bike. They take up less space than a standard bike, have smaller wheels and often folding pedals so the overall space is much smaller and the bike easier to carry and lift.
For those who intend to commute year-round, and will be travelling during the darker mornings and evenings of the winter months it may be wise to opt for an electric moped. They have fuller light systems, wing mirrors and a wide leg panel to protect better against rain. Other advantages are that they often have storage space under the seat, or an attached storage box on the rear, and they have full stands so you can park them alongside motorcycles and mopeds in designated parking spaces. But because they have no registration plate you don’t need to pay parking fees like anyone else. They can be used on cycle paths like other electric bikes and aren’t eligible to pay any congestion charges.
The Winner of our 201Electric Commuter Bike Award was the All Seasons Emoto 48v electric moped, pictured above.
Hybrid Electric Bikes
Hybrid bicycles were invented to bridge the gap between road bikes and mountain bikes. Often people can only afford to buy one bike, so better to buy one that you can use on the road, on gravel paths, and the occasional diversion off-road.
Cyclamatic GTE 1
There are plenty of gender-neutral electric bikes on the market, but because women are on average shorter than men, and would prefer a step-through crossbar configuration, there are also plenty of women’s ebikes available to buy.
Some of these are overtly feminine in styling, using pastel colours, and having baskets, high sprung leather seats and oversized wheels. These are designed for upright cycling at lower speeds and are more appropriate for leisure riding and perhaps shopping. They often lack fork suspension and gears. However, if you want to keep up with children on their bikes or a male rider on another electric bike you may struggle. Of course, the electric motor will assist with speed and acceleration but will still lag behind other bikes. These bikes because of their styling often need a more solid frame and add to that the accessories they often weigh more than other electric bikes, 25kg+ which can make them hard to lift around. They also usually have very narrow tyres with less grip, so are only suitable for flat paths and road surfaces.
Richbit Fat Bike
A recent trend in cycling has been the introduction of “Fat” bikes, which essentially have wider tyres than standard bikes. These were originally designed for sand and snow, providing more traction. They have been adopted though by street and mountain riders who want to make a visible impact, and take on more extreme cycling.
There are now some fat electric bikes available. The addition of an electric motor to fat bikes is a good idea because due to more weight and higher traction they are harder to cycle than a standard bike. So, the motor provides power within what is often the full speed range of more extreme cycling terrains. While the battery and motor do add extra weight, as long as the motor is used this should be more than compensated for.
Right now the issue with many of the fat ebikes on the market is that the battery and motor are limited to comply with road laws, and therefore are a bit under-powered for more extreme surfaces. But you can buy some fat ebikes with more powerful motors and larger battery capacity, although officially you shouldn’t ride these on the road.
Fat bikes must have modified frames and forks for the wider tyres, and this also provides more space for accommodating the larger battery required. Some manufacturers have thrown the design book out of the window and designed radical fat ebikes which will certainly draw the eyes of many passers-by. The Tucano Monster below was our favourite Fat Ebike of 2017, awarded our Class Award for Fat Electric Bikes.
Zephyr E-light Folding Ebike
Folding electric bikes have been a welcome addition to the ebike range, and account for a high percentage of electric bike sales. Folding bikes have often been ideal for leisure travellers such as motorhome, caravan and canal boat owners, but the complaint has often been that their folding bikes are too heavy and are hard to cycle because of smaller wheel and frame size. An electric motor solves the main problem, in that you are provided with the extra power required to pick up speed faster and maintain an overall higher speed.
However, the weight issue is still at large! Because folding bikes need to use heavier metals to ensure the frame is strong enough to support the folding mechanism, and then add to that the electrical components, foldable ebikes can often weigh more than a standard electric bike. Which is annoying when they’re supposed to be portable. Thankfully there are some ebike manufacturers who have taken on this challenge and designed much lighter folding bikes. For example, the winner of our 201Folding Ebike Class was the Zephyr E-light which weighs in at just 15kg.
Folding bikes are often well equipped with some extras such as a pannier (some hide the battery under the pannier), mudguards and lights. But you will be doing well to find one with suspension or a sprung seat, so folding ebikes aren’t really designed for long distances. This is often reflected in the battery capacity coupled to folding ebikes, with around 30miles per charge being good, and often 20-25miles average. Some do come with larger battery units, but this of course does add maybe a Kilo to the overall weight of the battery.
Meijs Motorman Electric Moped
Electric Bike Battery
With electric mopeds the battery is often hidden either under the foot panel or under the seat.
The form factor of the battery can affect the overall look of your ebike, but it can also affect how easy it is to remove the battery to charge it, or to secure it when leaving your bike outdoors. Also, consider that if your ebike has an unusual battery form factor it may be difficult to replace it in the future or buy a second one.
V x Ah = WH
But what really does all that mean? Well not much to most of us. What it does do though is allow you to compare one ebike’s battery against another.
However, what you need to consider is that depending on the motor, the weight of the bike, and the PAS (pedal assistance system), two bikes with the same battery capacity may actually differ greatly in how many miles you get per charge.
Battery Charging Times
Depending on the quality, capacity and current charge volume of your battery the charging time can vary significantly. From empty, a small branded battery could take as little as hours to charge, whereas a cheap large battery could take 1hours.
This isn’t such a big issue if you plan ahead and charge your battery overnight before each use, but if you have limited time between rides, or you forget to charge your battery one night and need a quick 30min boost then you are better opting for a branded battery like Samsung, Phillips or Panasonic.
Electric Bike Servicing
One thing to consider though is that with the extra power being driven through the wheels, and the extra wear that has on the brakes, it is important that you regularly check your brakes and tyres on an electric bike, and change them whenever there is noticeable wear. This is especially true if your ebike is reliant on a V-brake system rather than disc brakes, as v-brakes become less and less effective as the brake pad wears down.
Electric Bike Components
When choosing which electric bike to buy one of the factors that will come into your decision is the specification of the components. Below is a description of the main components and what you need to look out for in your decision.
Typically ladies bikes have wider and deeper seats with under-springs for maximum comfort when sitting in an upright position.
Rear Shock Suspension
Rear suspension is usually in the form of a single shock absorber unit which gives the rear wheel some separate vertical movement from the frame, allowing even more ability on rough terrain.
While ladies bikes and folding bikes often have a smaller form of spring suspension in the seat which gives some amount of vertical shock absorption on bumps in the road.
Pedal Assistance System
The Pedal Assistance System (PAS) on your electric bike is what controls your motor. Some basic electric bikes just have an ON/OFF switch while the majority, like the one pictured above, have an ON/OFF switch as well as 3-speed settings to change the motor speed. The PAS is usually located on the handlebars for quick and easy access. Some electric bikes also have a throttle so you can push a trigger or twist the handlebar to affect the amount of assistance by the engine.
Another setting often on the display is the amount of battery charge remaining, so you can monitor how many more miles you have left before it runs out.
Electric Bike Computer
On more expensive electric bikes the PAS system is part of the computer system and can even be touchscreen operation.
For computers without PAS setting, you can buy this separately and add them to your electric bike after purchase. If you plan to ride off-road it may be worthwhile buying one with GPS, and good quality ones like the Garmin Edge 2with GPS start from as little as £80, a worthwhile investment to track your off-road route.
Electric Bike Accessories
The accessories that come with your electric bike or that you buy yourself can make all the difference to switching from another form of transport to an electric bike. Obviously, bikes have less storage and are more open to the elements than cars for example. But if you invest in the right accessories you can use your electric bike for a lot more journeys and throughout all four seasons of the year.
If you plan to do much cycling in Britain, and in particular replace your commuter journey on public transport or by car with a journey on your electric bike, then an essential accessory is your waterproof gear. If you wear the right waterproof clothing you should arrive at your destination dry and fresh for the day ahead.
Bear in mind that a waterproof jacket for cycling tends to have a longer back to cover the full length of your back when you are leaning forward, so not all waterproof coats are suitable for cycling.
How to set your electric bike budget
If safety is your main concern then look no further than the Kryptonite New York Standard. It is the one we both use to keep our bikes safe in London and has served its purpose time and time again. It comes with sets of keys and a code to register should you lose them all. The two downsides are the additional weight (1.9kg) and the limited number of objects you can secure it against due to its diameter.
Secondary bike locks
We also recommend that you have a secondary lock. Having two different types of lock means a thief will need different tools to free your bike. It does not make your bike impossible to steal, but chances are there will be a less secure bike nearby. Sad but often true. Secondary locks also mean that you can secure accessories and both wheels, although it is worth considering locking skewers for the wheels as well.
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Power & Range
Calculate the distance you need to cover and ensure the bike has sufficient battery capacity to get you there. If you regularly commute to the same location and have the ability to charge at each end, a second charger may mean you only need sufficient range for a one way trip.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your bike panniers wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of bike panniers
- №1 — BV Bike Panniers Bags
- №2 — FEMOR Waterproof Bike Bag Bicycle Panniers
- №3 — BV Bike Bag Bicycle Panniers with Adjustable Hooks