Picking the correct pannier for your bike rack can seem daunting, especially if you’re relatively new to cycling. The good news is, we’ve put together a guide to take you through what you should be looking for, as well as ten brilliant recommendations for all budgets. From large and waterproof to lightweight with space for your laptop, you'll wonder why you didn't pick one up sooner!
Without further ado, let’s dive into the world of bike panniers. We’ll take into account what you're using them for, the capacity, whether a single or a pair is a better acquisition, and that all-important waterproofing.
First up, you’ll want to consider which type of pannier you need based on the riding you plan on using it for. We can split the types into two categories – commuting (and general daily use such as heading to the supermarket), and bike touring.
If you’re looking for a pannier to help carry your laptop and other goods to and from work, then you’ll likely be looking for a single commuter pannier. You’ll want something close to around 20 L in size as a minimum, though you can consider less if you need to.
Many commuter-style bags come with the capability of transforming into a backpack once you’re off the bike, which is handy if you're also planning on hopping on the train or using it for food shopping.
You may also like to look for those with organisers on the inside, such as laptop sleeves and other pockets to keep your assets arranged and easily accessible.
When it comes to touring panniers, you’re going to want a bag that is robust and lightweight, but most of all reliable. Depending on how long you’re travelling for you could look for a product that comes as a pair, as these will be more useful and will save you a bit of money too.
Unlike commuting, touring panniers are less likely to have pockets and sleeves in them. This is because touring cyclists don’t usually carry goods in the panniers that need to be as readily accessed. They also tend to be larger, so they may be a bit bulky for general daily use.
Next, you’ll want to consider the capacity. This is important because it’s likely that every now and then you’ll have to carry a bigger load than usual. So, while we don’t think everyone needs the largest size available, it's always good to give yourself a little wiggle room.
Generally, pannier sizes vary from 15 litres to 80 litres. The most common size is around 40 litres, which is a good all-round capacity that can be used by those commuting or hauling the food shop, but who could also be tempted by a bit of touring, should the opportunity present itself.
Last but not least, we would certainly say it’s worth looking for a pannier made from a waterproof material. We’re all aware of how unpredictable our country’s weather can be – you’re almost guaranteed to get a splash each morning when riding around London amongst the traffic and the potholes!
If the product you choose to go for isn’t fully waterproof, then water-resistance is the least you should pick up. Thankfully, water-resistant panniers often come with an extra waterproof cover to slip on as needed. If they do not, you'll probably want to secure the contents in plastic bags inside the pannier to keep them safe.
Now that you have an idea of what type of panniers will work the best for your needs, it's time to show you our top 10 favourites to buy in the UK!
|Waterproof||Water-resistant (comes with waterproof case)|
|Commuting / Touring||Commuting|
|Waterproof||Water-resistant (waterproof cover included)|
|Capacity||40 L (each)|
|Weight||500 g (each)|
|Capacity||25 L (smaller size available)|
Two Wheel Gear
Waterproof Messenger Bag
Back-Roller City Bicycle Bag
3-in-1 Waterproof Bike Bag
Classic Waterproof Bike Bag Pannier
Thunderstorm City 20
Pannier Backpack Convertible
Single Rear Bicycle Pannier Bag
Dryline 2 Pannier
Probably the Best Commuter Pannier Available Today
A Brilliant Commuter Pannier That Doubles as Several Styles of Bags
For Those That Like to Hit the Open Road
Creating a Lower Profile With Some of the Luggage Behind the Rider
Safety First With This Pannier
Thunderstorm by Name, Thunderstorm-Protector by Nature
Perfect for Those That Frequent Coffee Shops or Co-Working Spaces
For Those Working on a Small Budget
A Pannier for Those Who Love to Be Organised
A Choice of Coloured Panniers With Reflective Properties
|Capacity||20 L||25 L (smaller size available)||40 L (each)||75 L||17 L||20 L||22 L||Unknown||56 L||14 L|
|Waterproof||Yes||Yes||Yes||Water-resistant (waterproof cover included)||Yes||Yes||Water-resistant (comes with waterproof case)||Water-resistant||Yes||Yes|
|Weight||880 g||780 g||500 g (each)||2.2 kg||1.1 kg||840 g||1.3 kg||Unknown||2.2 kg||500 g|
Looking for more recommendations of the best cycling gear you can snap up this year? Stay safe and dry on the road with a little help from our related articles.
Picking up a bike pannier or two can really make a difference to your journey, whether that's a 20-minute commute to work or a 2-week cycle trip down Danube cycle path. We think if you follow our buying guide, you'll easily identify which panniers are best for you and your needs. Best of luck, and be safe out there!
Author: Lewis Clark
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