Racks & panniers vs. fashionable bike-packing

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  • Racks & panniers vs. fashionable bike-packing
  • cynic-al

    An mtb def. looks coolerwith various roll-bags, frame bags etc stapped to it, but does it rise any better than one with panniers?

    Or what are the other benefits (if any?)

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    I think having the weight more within the wheelbase affects the handling less and also makes it less prone to catching on stuff at the side of the trail.

    Premier Icon geoffj

    Aerodynamics (especially on a tandem :mrgreen: )

    Premier Icon MSP

    Panniers and racks come to 3-4kg alone, and then put all the weight at the back, so doesn’t ride at all well.

    frame bags etc balance the weight out much better.


    If on road / slight off road Panniers ftw as they’re easy to apck


    I’m yet to be convinced.

    A combination of panniers/rackbag and a handlebar bag or tent strapped to the bars largely compensates for any rearward weight bias.

    No frame bag also leaves room for water bottles, otherwise you’re looking to strap them on somewhere else or carry a pack.

    Panniers are also easier to pack with bulky items. Any frame bag is gonna limit the size of the items to be carried.

    However, those long-distance guys in the States have a lot more experience of this than I do and the framebag options seems to be catching on…..


    Pannier rack with a rollbag bungied on. Cheaper, waterproof, light enough.

    As has been said, panniers alter the bikes C of G more than the frame bag option. It’s a bit of an aside but panniers also encourage you to take more stuff than you really need 😉

    There was an interesting article in an issue of Adventure Cycling mag last year about the best way to carry weight. They concluded that if you are using panniers you’re better with them on the front rather than the rear.

    I’ve also seen panniers ‘ripped’ off on technical trails … small gaps and panniers don’t always mix.


    my rack stripped the threads off road – left me with ziptieing a rack back on – not good. the inherent wobbliness of the bags gives them a bit more give imo.


    Would you want to ride:

    Peak – the beast, Jacobs ladder, stanage plantation or causeway, chapel gate, cutgate and cavedale.

    With panniers?

    These are all on my bikepacking rides.

    Frame bag and rucksac are the way to go.


    Fair enough gents, looks like the frame-bag option allows for easier off-roading, which is what I suspected.

    *buys lots more stuff*

    Premier Icon valleydaddy

    Having done the last STW bivvy ride with a rack and panniers I would safely say frame bags, bar bag, seat bag is the way to go.

    I just found having all the weight on the back caused my HT to fishtail which was awesome on the snow and ice, plus I ripped a Ortlieb bag – expensive fall 🙁

    Therefore I have committed to try the framebag option with the aim it will make me carry a lot less too.

    Premier Icon MSP

    Even road touring I wonder what the hell people carry in their panniers, I have my kit down to 2 lowrider panniers (which I put on the back) and a drybag strapped to the handlebars. I really do thing its a case of filling the available space rather than taking what is required. Unless going somewhere far more remote than western europe.


    Id happily ride my 29er around say a trail centre with drops and jumps like GT with a frame bag containing cooking kit and food with small tent/hennessy hammock under seat and sleeping bag 3/4 theramrest on the Bars no probs but i imagine with panniers the balance would be all wrong.
    i only carry 2 litres of water on my back but could add 2 bottles to forks instead,
    Panniers front and back carry alot more stuff low down which is fine for wheels on ground riding,
    So Horses for courses maybe? 😮
    All the long distance offroad events and races in the USA (winter and summer) seem to show riders using frame bags…
    One day i will get a nice tourer and it will have nice panniers, for the MTB now on its the frame bag everytime 😮
    personal preferance 😮

    Premier Icon mustard

    I don’t use cages or a camelback for water with my frame bag. Bladder in the frame bag* to keep the weight low and a normal bike bottle at the front of the frame bag. A light tug of the zip and the bottle is in your hand, no more challenging than getting it out of a bottle cage.

    *or in the case of the hottest days of my trip through Spain that would be bladder plus extra two litre bottle in the frame bag and another two litres strapped on the back!

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