One pannier to rule them all.

Introducing the Ortlieb Pannier.

When you are out touring or on a long distance bike trip, the last thing you need is your possessions you are lugging about to be damaged by water.  The R&D team at Ortlieb have developed a waterproof pannier system, the Back Roller Classic, to make sure ‘your’ stuff stays high and dry.  The roll top closure system is designed so that even if the pannier is submerged in water if for some reason it was, and if folded correctly, it should stay dry inside.

Ortlieb Pannier
It’s in the box.

The lightweight yet durable construction is perfect for long distances, where energy conservation is critical. Wherever you take your bike, take your Back Roller Classic with confidence that it will last the length of your journey and then some.

I bought myself a new set of panniers to go on my new front rack, the pannier of choice this time was the Ortlieb Back Roller Classic in eye catching yellow.  I got my latest set from ProbikeKit for $103 AUD delivered.

Features of the Back Roller Pannier.  The important ones are in Bold:

  • Cordura fabric for durability
    Ortlieb pannier
    The Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Panniers
  • Release handle for attaching and detaching the Quick Lock 1 (QL1) system
  • 3M Scotchlite side reflectors
  • Buckles at the top or for connecting the shoulder strap
  • Additional closure with buckle and D-ring
  • QL1 bar for quick fastening and release
  • Edge guard with slots for mounting the Ortlieb carrying system
  • Adjustable anchoring hook for providing lateral movement of the bag
  • Shoulder strap with padding for comfortable carrying or for fixing to the hook
  • Sold as a pair
  • Waterproof
  • Size: 42 x 32 x 17cm
  • Capacity: 40L – that’s 20L per pannier.
  • Weight: 1750g Per pair
The roll top closure makes sure no water gets inside the bag and the strong fabric looks like

Ortlieb Pannier
Bits and Pieces

it will last longer than my bike.  Things I was concerned about before they arrived:

Would these panniers actually attach to my rack?
How would they fit on my rack?
How much fluffin about to put them on and then take off?
Would I need assistance from my 15 year old, just like the video recorder?
No wucken Forries at all, the QL1 fitting system is as easy as posting a misspelled blog post.
Ortlieb Pannier
Front and Back

Yep, they come with insert clips so that you can use racks can go down to 11mm and 8mm size racks (from 16mm) or do what I did and place some clear tubing over your rack bars and save losing your inserts.

Mmmm let’s see what else? oh yeah they are waterproof, reflective, wipe clean and no zips or complicated fasteners to let you down.  Easy installation with one hand, the fitting mechanism is simplicity itself.  I went with the hi viz yellow my next set will most likely be danger red if I ever buy that Extra Wheel trailer (insert hint for wife).

The top QL1 rail of the bag hooks over the horizontal bar of your rack (the hooks can be moved laterally using a 3mm Allen key), there’s another movable hook at the bottom of the bag to stop that flapping about – it neatly slips over one or another of the racks uprights.

A smart handle release system means the top hooks won’t jump off – the hooks encircle the rack bar until you pull the handle, releasing the clamp.  The same clever handle means it’s a no-fuss operation to get the bags off the rack once your journey is done – you literally grab that handle and pick the bag up, no mess, no fuss.
Time for a few educational youtube clips I think:
by OrtliebGmbH
by Antranik DotOrg
A few of the maker’s videos on the Quick Lock systems they use and the differences.
QL1 System
QL2 System
A very good article on the website on the 3 different QL systems used by the Ortlieb Panniers.

There is also a front rack version of which I do not own and have no plans to buy but Aushiker has done a blog post on the front panniers so if you duck over there for a gander

These quality Ortlieb panniers won’t leave you by the side of the road picking up your belongings and looking for something to put them in when your cheaper bag has split or blown it’s arse out.

A pannier, a pannier, my kingdom for a pannier.

My Tioga Panniers

I brought these Tioga panniers back in May 2012 and have done many miles with them in all sorts of weather and with all sorts of loads.  Going back through my emails I discover that I bought them from the Pushy’s eBay store for $110 (they are cheaper now).

I cannot find the model name for these Tioga panniers but the picture is worth a 1000 words and most sites refer to them as ‘rear panniers’ but I have had them in both positions and they work just as well.

I remember my deciding factor for buying these panniers was that they were waterproof without having to fit a rain-cover on them, for which when you are riding your bike the last thing you want to do is stop and cover your panniers.

Anyhow on to the my article:

For the touring cyclist or commuter who’s looking for 100% waterproof protection, then the Tioga Panniers are good value for money with a combined capacity of 42 litres, plus they are well made and sturdy and built to last.

The Tioga pannier is made with waterproof material with sealed seams and a quick release locking mechanism to enable fast, easy removal and attachment to the bike, but not as good IMHO as the Ortlieb quick release system.  The locking system comes with plastic inserts to help reduce the movement of the bags on racks, although I use 10mm clear plastic tubing on my rack as the plastic inserts have a habit to falling out and then going MIA.

Although I have lost 1/2 of the plastic inserts for the racks and no longer used them.  When the pannier is fitted to an unsuitable rack and you cannot use the bottom clip, while they may flap about a bit when going over bumps these panniers have never fallen off.  Flapping about is not a problem now with the new Tubus rear rack that I have fitted to the bike, it’s like they were made for each other.

The zipped mesh pocket that resides on the other side on the top flap. The rolling top and velcro strap.

The pannier’s top can be rolled over and held in place by a velcro strap and the top weather flap locks down to ensure weatherproofing.  It has 3M reflective panels although why they chose to use black I don’t know, and they have a chunky carry handle which sometimes gets in the way when trying to put the pannier on and off the rack.

The panniers also come with a shoulder strap each and (4) plastic inserts for the rack connections.

I would like to rate them as 10/10, but the weight is a little much for its size, but not enough that I would go out and buy a lighter replacement.
You can’t really get the best of both worlds, it’s either heavy and waterproof or light and water-resistant.  If you are concerned about the weight, then these bags are not for you.
If you want a cheapish (compared to other panniers out there), strong and reliable bag and do not care about the weight, then this bag is for you.

These Tioga panniers can used as a work bag without the bike 🙂 These are good pannier bags and I doubt you would be disappointed.

Features & Specifications

  • Quick release style attachment.
  • Sealed Seams.
  • Hard Back.
  • 1 Main compartment: with mesh top pockets for your essentials.
  • Fold over and velcro strap/buckled closure.
  • Heavy duty Anchor points moulded on to bag to enhance waterproofing.
  • Chunky carry handle.
  • 3M Reflective panels.
  • All mounting hardware included (Philips screwdriver required).
  • Capacity: 42 Litres.
  • Dimensions:  40 x 15 x 36cm (height x depth x width).
  • Weight: 2.25 kg (mine weighed in at 2.084 kg without the straps).
Tioga Pannier
My, what a big mouth you have.
Tioga Pannier and Otlieb pannier
Locking system compared to the Ortlieb QL1 system. The Tioga pannier only goes up and down, the Ortlieb side to side.
Tioga Pannier
The Tioga clip and the Tubus rack, almost made for each other.
Tioga Pannier
Both Tioga panniers fitted but with nothing in them.
Ortlieb review to follow shortly.
PS: In case it isn’t obvious, I don’t get paid for my reviews and I have only review products which I have bought unless otherwise stated.