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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I built up my current bike, I had commuting in mind with the eventual goal of getting rid of the backpack and switching to carrying the weight on the bike instead of on my back. Well, I just started a new job this past week and my commute went from about 11 miles to about 17 miles each way. I am going to use that change to pick up the luggage that I want. So here are the specs and the questions:

The frame is a Soma Doublecross (full rack support front and rear) and I would like to take advantage of that - not use a seatpost mounted rack. Does anyone have a preferred brand or feature that I should look for? I am thinking that I want to go rear instead of front, but I am willing to listen on that one. Where I am really having trouble deciding is if I do go rear - do I go largish truck (need to carry jeans and shoes) or panniers? I expect it to be relatively light but bulky most days.

Any experience is appreciated.
 

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Shrewdest Unit Mover
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I ride the same thing and went from a backpack to mess. bag to pannier (Jandd Commuter) to saddle bag. I used the pannier for about 5 years before recently switching to a Carradice Nelson with the quick release setup. I am able to fit the same amount in the saddle bag that I could in the pannier with the added benefit of being able to carry bulkier items (e.g. six pack, sammiches, etc). I also like how the weight stays inline instead off to the side, making some riding a bit more predictable.
 

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I ride a Kona Dew Deluxe with one of these on the back attached to a Topeak compatible rack that is capable of clearing my disc brakes. The trunk/pannier quick release on these are just the ticket for a longish commute (mine is about 20 miles round trip) where I need to stop at the gym accross the street from work and shower up. The quick release and integrated rack is the shizzle....Also important for me was the ability of the Topeak racks to fit over my disc brakes on my Kona. Not many racks are compatible with this set up. It has a trunk AND retractable panniers that fold up and out of the way when not in use.

2 Thumbs up for this Topeak set up.

CD

http://www.topeak.com/2007/products/bags/mtxtrunkbagexp.php
 

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Big is relative
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I tried both panniers and a trunk. I preferred the panniers, even if I was only using one side. My route had lots of intersections and traffic so I was frequently out of the saddle accelerating and the panniers kept the weight at a lower center of gravity. I use the Jandd commuters as well. I always have the option of adding the trunk to the setup if I have to carry a lot of stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That MTX setup from Topeak was one of the ones that I was looking at this past weekend. The attachment mechanism seemed like a sweet thing - as well as keeping it all together so that I could lug it in to the gym to shower off. My shoes totally filled one of the size zip out panniers though - so nothing smaller than that would work. I'll also check out the Jandd stuff - thanks for the suggestion.

I am leaning towards the trunk right now though - does anyone tow a kid trailer while using panniers? I wouldn't think that it would interfear but first hand experience is better than my guessing.
 

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Kalrog said:
That MTX setup from Topeak was one of the ones that I was looking at this past weekend. The attachment mechanism seemed like a sweet thing - as well as keeping it all together so that I could lug it in to the gym to shower off. My shoes totally filled one of the size zip out panniers though - so nothing smaller than that would work. I'll also check out the Jandd stuff - thanks for the suggestion.

I am leaning towards the trunk right now though - does anyone tow a kid trailer while using panniers? I wouldn't think that it would interfear but first hand experience is better than my guessing.
I tow a kid trailer with panniers but no trunk. The key was to move the kid trailer coupler as high up on the seatpost as possible. The trunk still wouldn't fit, however. Getting on and off the bike is a chore but really no big deal.
 

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I found that when riding with only one pannier the bike weight got skewed to the heavy side so I'm going to vote for a trunk. Generally what I'll do on my commute is keep a few changes of clothes in a drawer. Over a few months of taking a clean shirt here & there I've collected 3 pair of jeans and 5 or 6 shirts. It's not like I'm getting my clothes real dirty at work and when they are dirty I take 'em home. So I have some wardrobe options when I get to work :)
 

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Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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I have different bags for all occasions, but for my work commutes I just bought the Carradice Bike Bureau and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. Right now I have the Ortlieb Office Bag and am frustrated by its lack of outside pockets.
 

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The Bug

I also have a Topeak Quicktrak rack attached to the braze-ons on my Specialized Hard Rock. I mainly use the quicktrak trunk bag for weekend rides with the family.

I commute 36 miles roundtrip and shower at a 24 Hour Fitness health club across the street from my office. I researched this extensively a few months ago when I started to commute and went with Arkel's "The Bug". I easily fit a full change of clothes, dress shoes, shower sandals, small toiletry kit plus the usual wallet, keys, cellphone, work papers etc.

A couple of features I like about the bag:
- When you lay the bag flat on a gym bench you can zip (btw best sealing zippers I've had on a bag) open the flap and have full unfettered access to the main compartment.
- I love being able to put the helmet in the outside strap mechanism and not have to carry the helmet in my hands (leaving my hands free for a coffe or a smoothie) as I leave the gym.
-The mechanism for attaching the bag to the rack is as solid as I've seen - no reliance on Velcro.
-There is an interior elastic pocket that lays against the flat hardside of the bag which is perfect for papers/folders, etc.
- I started using the shoulder strap as I walked from the gym to the office but now use the hidden backpack straps which are pretty comfortable (and leave my other hand free for the pastry that goes with the coffe).
-The outside gusseted pocket is surprisingly roomy and easily fits my wallet and cellphone.
- Plenty of places to hang flashing lights which with fall coming soon will be important.
-The top of the bag aligns just below flush with the rack so if I wanted to use my MTX Trunk Bag with the Quicktrak and the the Arkel Bug it can be done. I've tested this and they are compatible. I may start doing this if I start to take lunches to work with me.
- My only regret is that shortly after buying the bag last year, Arkel came out with a new and improved Bug that has a 3rd outside pocket and integrated rain cover!

Its a pricey bag but with many well thought out features. I can see the merit of going with a large saddle bag and not installing a rear rack but if you got one installed already I would go with the Bug.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
FrontRanger said:
The key was to move the kid trailer coupler as high up on the seatpost as possible.
Ahh - I should have specified. My trailer attaches to the chainstay so it would be a different set of problems than what you have. Thanks though!
 
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