5 Best Bike Panniers for Touring and Commuting 2018

By Kevin Arnold | Bike

Jul 09
Best Bike Panniers

Introduction

The backpack is not a practical and convenient option for bike touring or commuting. You often end up with sore shoulders and a sweaty back after long hours of cruising. Which is why you ought to consider buying best bike panniers for yourself.

Right bike panniers will double up the comfort and fun of your bike rides. Rear bike panniers carry your gear for you, distribute the weight evenly across the bike rack and do not interfere with the ease of your ride. But how to know which bike panniers is best for your type of cycling?

That’s where we jump in. In this article, we’ve reviewed best bike panniers, ideal for touring as well as commuting. We will walk you through every feature and specification of these panniers so that you can make your final decision. Let’s begin.

​Name of product

​Battery Life

Rating

​Price

​Ibera PakRak Bike Panniers

No 

 (Water-resistant + Rain cover)

​Kolo Sports Bike Pannier Bag

Yes

​ArcEnCiel Bicycle Pannier Bag

No

(Water-resistant)

​BV 14L Bike Panniers Bags (Pair)

No

(Rain cover included)

​BV Bike Bag Bicycle Panniers

No

Reviews of the Best Bike Panniers in 2018

1. Ibera PakRak Clip-On Bike Panniers - Best Bike Panniers in 2018

 Ibera PakRak Clip-On Bike Panniers

Ibera is a well-received brand in the market and is famous for manufacturing premium product lines. Although Ibera PakRak might be a bit of an investment as compared to other products in this review, it is indeed worth every penny!

Ibera PakRak, with its intuitive 3-point connection, clips on and pops off the bike within seconds. And, that’s why it is so convenient and happens to be one of the best bike panniers today.

Quick-Release Bag

Ibera PakRak does not feature any complicated mounting system or straps, it clips-on and releases quickly within just 3 seconds. You can use it as a pair, or even a single bicycle pannier.

Thanks to such quick-release system, it becomes an ideal choice for commuting to school or work.

Each bag is tightly secured by strong 3-point connection system- one clamp on the bottom and two hooks on the top. Patented Lever Lock Mechanism in PakRak secures the bike pannier from side swing.

Storage Capacity

This pannier has 30L of total storage capacity (15L each bag), featuring a top zippered pocket and two spacious internal pockets to store small items.

Flyaway buckle straps on the front are secured down with elastic bands for a neat and stylish look.

For easy carrying when not on the bike, there are fold-down handles provided on each pannier.

Water-resistant Nylon

Although not waterproof, Ibera PakRak is made from fairly water-resistant 1680D Nylon and can be further protected by a built-in rain cover.

Overall, the maximum load bearing capacity of each bag is up to 9 Kgs. (19.8 lbs.).

Things We Liked

  • ​Water-resistant
  • Compatible with most of the carriers
  • Reflective trim provides night-time visibility
  • safe 3-point interlock system
  • Includes a Rain cover
  • 30L of large capacity
  •  

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Not waterproof
  • No shoulder straps or back straps
  • Carrying handle is awkward to hold

Customer Reviews

Customers rave about how Ibera PakRak stands up to daily abuse without showing signs of wear and tear. The clip-on system makes it very quick to load and unload the Ibera PakRak from the bike, and that’s why most of the customers are loving it for commuting purposes.

Regarding protection from water, yes it is water-resistant but not fully waterproof. Meaning, heavy rain might get your belongings wet, say, users. However, the included rain cover does a pretty good job of protecting the panniers. Not to forget, users have loved how the interiors are very roomy, allowing them to carry laptops, lunch bag, work clothes and so much more.

Final Impression

To summarize, Ibera PakRak offers a bit expensive but sturdily built panniers that can withstand rugged use. More than anything, these are best bike panniers for commuting to work or school, given its large capacity and intuitive quick-release system. 

2. Kolo Sports Bike Pannier Bag

Kolo Sports Bike Pannier Bag

Want a pannier bag that doubles as a tote bag or a shoulder bag? Here’s an exciting option for you. Kolo Sports has launched a versatile bike pannier bag that secures to any bike rack. Its multi-functional design allows you to use it for picnicking, hiking, grocery shopping and so on.

Waterproof

Durable like no other, this Kolo Sports pannier bag features high-quality 600D Nylon fabric construction that holds your gear safely. Its waterproof design and double cushioning padded foam on the bottom provides firm support and protection to your belongings.

In short, it retains its shape well, even when fully loaded!

Ergonomic design

Everything about Kolo Sport Pannier bag is designed by keeping ‘utility” in mind. Two zippered pockets are made to hold your valuable items like iPhones, credit cards or cash. Whereas, the spacious internal compartment holds any of your traveling gear and side case with elastic drawstring accommodates your bottle.

The bag measures 14” in length, 7” in height and 9” in width.

Velcro Attachment

Worried about its stability? This pannier bag has strong Velcro straps on its bottom that attach firmly onto any bike rack. You can quickly release the Velcro and carry the bag around with the help of either the top handlebar or the shoulder strap.

Things We Liked

  • ​Spacious compartment
  • Pockets for different sized items
  • Multi-functional use- Pannier, Messenger bag, Tote bag
  • Durable 600D Nylon fabric
  • Waterproof; Can resist heavy rains
  • Bag retains its strong shape
  • Reflectors on three sides


Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Velcro Straps fall short for most racks; One size does not fit all
  • Zippers are of poor quality

Customer Reviews

One thing that is most-appreciated by customers about this pannier bag is that it retains its shape well. Also, most of the users are utilizing the Kolo Sports for commuting purposes as it holds different sized items perfectly. The bag does not budge from its place at all.

The only complaint is that the Velcro straps are too short for most of the racks.

Final Impression

Conclusively, we would say that Kolo Sports offers best bike panniers for people who seek versatility and want to convert it into a tote bag or shoulder bag. It falls between price ranges of $25 to $30, so that’s impressively affordable.

The best thing about this pannier bag is that it has many compartments to hold different items and does not lose its shape.

3. ArcEnCiel Water-Resistant Bicycle Pannier Bag

ArcEnCiel Water-Resistant Bicycle Pannier Bag

ArcEnCiel is one of the prominent brands in the industry today, and it manufactures all sorts of high-quality bags.

The most popular model from ArcEnCiel has been deliberately made for long journeys. It has an ultra-large capacity of 50L and is built to handle 130 pounds of maximum load. Just by the looks of it, you can tell that ArcEnCiel offers a rugged and durable pannier for all your traveling needs. Each bag measures 14.6” in length, 12.6” in height and 7.9” in width.

Shock-resistant and Rainproof

Shaped from highly durable Retro canvas material, this pannier bag is sure wear-resistant and rainproof. To make it resistant against road shocks, it has been reinforced with PE foam board.

The real question is, will it survive in the rain? Yes. With its water-tight binding and PU coating, ArcEnCiel pannier bag ensures good protection against water.

Large compartments

Most of your gear needed for wild biking adventures can fit into this pannier bag, as its structured with two large compartments and two back pockets. Its Y-shaped Strap-on fastening system snugly keeps the bag and your belongings in place.

Thanks to the rolling type of opening and closure, the bag becomes compact to fit. For night visibility, there are wide leather reflectors on the sides and back.

Things We Liked

  • ​Two adjustable belt on top creates more space for storage
  • Light reflectors
  • Includes Rain cover, Top handle
  • Large 50L capacity
  • Shock-resistant
  • Ideal for touring
  • Easy to mount and unload

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Not ideal for bumpy rides, latch opens frequently
  • For commuting, loading/unloading with straps gets annoying
  • Tends to rub against the spokes

Customer Reviews

Many users claim that ArcEnCiel has the most spacious interiors ever and the strap attachment system is also quite rigid. Although not so practical for commuting, this pannier bag might be great for touring due to the large compartments, say users.

Final Impression

ArcEnCiel Pannier bag has a unique acute angle design on the front so it won’t interfere with your pedaling. With its roomy internal compartments and back pouches, the bag sure works great for long journeys.

For it to remain upright, ArcEnCiel reinforces it with PE foam. However, it is not as waterproof as claimed.

4. BV 14L Bike Panniers Bags (Pair)

BV 14L Bike Panniers Bags (Pair)

BV is another famous brand known to manufacture good-quality bags for commuting, touring and recreational purposes. New redesigned BV Bike Panniers are convenient, stylish and rigid in structure.

3- Point Attachment

There are two durable hard-plastic hooks provided at the top that flex slightly so that you can attach it onto your bike rack and push it down. Further, you can secure the bag with quick-release Velcro strap system on the bottom for extra stability.

Given its 14L of capacity (each bag) and easy attachment system, BV offers one of the best bike panniers for everyday commute to work or school.

The detachable shoulder straps allow you to carry it as a messenger-style bag when not on the road.

Nylon Construction

Each bag has been crafted from durable nylon, and its back is reinforced with a rigid panel, so it maintains its structure well. You can store all your small sized essentials in two zippered side pockets.

Another zippered pocket on the bottom hides a rain cover to protect your gear in bad weather conditions.

Each pannier bag measures 14.6” in height, 12.6” in length and 5.5” in width.

Things We Liked

  • ​Simple hook and strap system
  • Multiple compartments
  • Carrying strap doubles it as a messenger-style bag
  • Reflective trim
  • Ideal for commuting
  • The built-in Rain cover is hidden in a bottom pocket

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Top handle wears off after few months of use
  • Hook clips and Velcro strap system are of poor quality
  • Detaching the bag is cumbersome

Customer Reviews

Several customers have found BV Bike Panniers to be sleek and spacious enough to hold daily essentials needed for work or school. Although the hook with strap attachment system is not so quick to attach/detach, it is quite secure and does not let the panniers budge from its place, say users.

Few users have complained about the panniers not being durable and the parts starting to come off just after few uses.

Final Impression

All in all, we can say that BV Bike panniers are ideal for occasional commuting to school or work. With 14L of capacity each, the panniers can accommodate most of your gear with ease, without losing their shape. But for touring, you might want to look elsewhere.

5. BV Bicycle Panniers with Bungee hooks

5. BV Bicycle Panniers with Bungee hooks

Another pannier bag from BV is deliberately made for those who are low on budget. It comprises two panniers connected by a 4.5” wide middle shelf that sits on the rack. You can attach this shelf onto the rack with the help of 4 straps.

For extra security, each pannier comes with the adjustable bungee hook that attaches it to the rack.

Spacious Zippered Pockets

BV Bike Panniers are primarily made for everyday commute, as its total capacity is about 26L. But, you can use it for short touring events. To be honest, we would not recommend these panniers for carrying heavy loads given its weak material. Anything that’s lightweight will do!

The panniers have large zippered pockets for your day-to-day belongings and a front pocket for small items. Each pannier features zipper pull tabs on both sides, which also doubles as a hanger for keychains, light, etc. These pull tabs make its opening and closing a breeze!

Design Aspects

Shaped from 600D polyester and 1000D Cordura, the BV bike panniers are fairly durable but not as rigid as other panniers in the market.

The solid back panel in each pannier tries to maintain its structure well, even when off the bike. For off-road use, there’s an extra top carrying handle provided with the panniers.

Altogether, each pannier measures 12.5” in length, 11” in height and 7.5” in width.

Things We Liked

  • ​Very affordable
  • Reflective trim
  • Angled design- does not interfere with pedaling
  • Top carrying handle
  • Detachable/Height Adjustable Bungee hooks on each pannier
  •  

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Material is cheap; Frays easily
  • Not waterproof; Does not include a Rain cover
  • Zippers are of poor quality
  • Does not hold its shape well

Customer Reviews

Seeing its price, many users have found BV bike panniers to be suitable for casual commuting, but not for serious commuters. That being said, many customers say that the large pockets are spacious enough to fix most of your gear, whereas small pockets are good to store keys, light, tools, etc.

On the downside, several customers have complained about the material is weak. The corners tend to flop inwards in the spokes. Only the rear part is supported with a panel. Still, the bag sags a lot.

Final Impression

To sum up, BV bike panniers stand up to their claim and are good for commuting purposes, but don’t expect it to excel in durability and rigidity. Given its low price, it is ideal for carrying lightweight gear. And, it is easy to install.

Buying Guide for Bike Panniers

How to choose Best Bike Panniers?

The word ‘pannier’ basically means a basket or box carried in a pair. With regards to bike panniers, these are equipment used for carrying day-to-day essentials, clothes, etc. for urban rides, commutes or long-distance tours.

Panniers can be hung on either side of the bike and can be quickly attached/detached from the rack via a mounting system. You can use it as a single pannier or in pairs. All of the panniers reviewed here are to be attached to rear racks.

Before buying your best bike panniers, there are few factors you need to consider. What are those? Let’s learn:

Mounting system:

How the pannier bag attaches to your bike is of utmost importance, as it will decide whether it will stay put on a bike or not.

The mounting system needs to be such that:

  • It should allow easy attaching/detaching from the bike rack
  • It should keep the panniers secure and steady in place

We have found that hook and strap style attachment system is secure and easy-to-use. It is not overly complex to install, nor is loose on the bike rack. Such system has a clip-on system on top and an extra fastening system (clamp or buckle strap) on the bottom for absolute security. Many manufacturers define such attachment system as “3-point Connection system”.

Mounting system that only incorporates Velcro straps to latch onto bike rack is not reliable on rough terrains, and the panniers might fall off eventually. Such system is least secure out of all.

Storage Capacity:

Naturally, the total capacity of bike panniers is significantly considered by every customer. But what about its security? And does it organize your stuff precisely?

Extra zippered compartments, padded inserts or water bottle holder on the outside of panniers are always good features to have. It allows you to keep your stuff well-organized.

Apart from this, some loops to hang small gear or compression straps are also much appreciated.

Now, coming to the storage capacity:

  • If you are going to use panniers for long-term touring, look for large capacity viz. 40L or 50L of bike panniers with a solid attachment system.
  • If you’re planning to use it for commuting, then 25L or 30L of capacity would be enough.

Durability

Not much in urban rides, but bike panniers are abused a lot during long tours, and it gets even worse during heavy rains. Is your best bike panniers durable enough to endure such rugged conditions? That’s the question you need to ask yourself before buying one.

The durability of the bike pannier bag depends on its fabric, construction quality and hardware used.

  • If used for touring, look for bike pannier that has strong nylon coating, reinforcements such as padded inserts for extra support and a solid mounting system designed to take abuse.
  • Commuter panniers are generally not designed with much durability as a touring pannier. Also, commuter panniers might not have padded inserts or strong stitched seams as well. But a good commuting pannier will be made from durable material, have an intuitive mounting system and will be easy to carry around.

Weatherproofing

Hardcore cyclists would want their bike panniers to accompany them through all weather conditions, be it snow, rains or sleet. Many times, a water-resistant feature of a bike pannier is often misunderstood as waterproof.

You need to understand that there’s a difference between waterproof and water-resistance.

  • Most of the bike panniers are water-resistant, meaning they can keep your belongings dry under spitting rain.
  • Very few bike panniers are fully waterproof. Meaning, no matter how heavy the rain is, your stuff will be dry even if the pannier falls in a puddle.
  • On a side note, weather-proof pannier means that it can handle all weather conditions such as sun, mud, rain, etc.
  • Waterproof panniers are usually more expensive than water-resistant panniers.

Ease of Use

User-friendliness, ergonomic design factors, and convenience are three factors that define user satisfaction.

Look for features that are designed to improve the functionality of bike panniers. Overall the visibility, accessibility, and comfort of the panniers must be good. Check the following design aspects:

  • The angled design of the pannier on the front provides clearance for smooth pedaling.
  • Check whether the pannier is ready-to-use right out of the box or whether it needs any complex assembly.
  • Panniers that have shoulder straps or top carrying handle make it easier to carry it off-road.
  • Hidden pockets, reflective trims, zipper pull tabs, mesh pockets, etc. are all features that somehow enhance user experience and add value to the product.

However, some panniers might have poorly designed features. Instead of being functional, such features might ruin your whole experience. One example being, a Velcro buckle-strap mounting system with no hooks and no clips. Such system is time-consuming and cumbersome to attach/unbuckle every time you’re on a bike.

Frequent Asked Questions about Bike Panniers

Q. Do you need a pannier? 

If you don’t like to carry your work bag on your shoulders and have a sweaty back, then bike pannier bag is for you!

It takes the weight off your back and puts it on your bike frame. Additionally, it makes your ride more comfortable and balanced.

Q. What is the difference between a Touring pannier and Commuter pannier?

  • Touring panniers are mostly designed to be waterproof or at least weather-resistant so they can endure much abuse. Such panniers are crafted from durable and rugged materials to withstand daily biffs on long tours from destination A to B. Best touring panniers also feature powerful mounting hardware.
  • Commuting panniers are primarily made for people who will use it to commute to school, college or work. Such panniers are not made for long journeys; rather they are comfortable, easy-to-use and lightweight in design.

They might or might not be water-resistant, but most of them come with a rain cover. Because users will attach/detach it quite frequently throughout the day, commuting panniers ought to have easy attachment mechanisms. They also ought to have shoulder straps/top handle for easy maneuvering when not on the bike. Best commuter pannier will have padding for laptops, several inner/outer pockets and quick-release attach system.

Q. Are bike panniers safe to use?

There are two possible threats posed by bike panniers:

  1. Pannier is falling off the bike frame: To avoid this situation, make sure you choose panniers with a strong attachment system. If attaching system is loose or fragile, pannier might fall off while on the go and harm you or people around you.
  1. Pannier getting stuck in the spokes: Although this is not as dangerous as the primary one, it might still cause a crash when your bike halts suddenly in the middle of the ride. Generally, panniers getting stuck in the spokes happens when the bag does not retain its shape well. If pannier bag does not come with reinforcements (rigid panels) that give it support and solid shape, the bag might curve or sag towards the tires. So, look for a well-structured bag.

Apart from these two possible cases, bike panniers are completely safe to use.

Conclusion

Depending on what type of biking you will be engaging in, you will have different requirements from a bike pannier. Seeing myriads of options available in the market today, it can get daunting to pick one.

Be it for commuting, touring or grocery shopping, make sure you choose a model that incorporates necessary features has quality construction and is amply spacious. You might be wondering, which one amongst the reviewed panniers is the best?

We see Ibera PakRak as best bike panniers out of all and a clear winner. From its smart clip-on system to roomy compartments, every design feature manages to appeal to you with its functionality and performance.

Its streamlined and classy look speaks volumes about its craftsmanship. And, nothing else compares to its secure and convenient 3-point connection system!