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Monday, 20 August 2012

Perfect panniers

The search for the perfect bike panniers continues. The ETC ones I'm using are good, but they're still getting chewed up at the base, and I've been reinforcing them with steel places and duck tape. That's not ideal.

So I did some extensive googling, and came up with:

1. An Avenir product which mostly goes on top of the back rack, but can be extended with a fold-out on each side.
2. The Mwave top box, which is just large enough for a spare battery.

Unfortunately, when I checked the bike, I found that I can't put a box or bag on top of the rack, because that's where the battery is.

So I continued the search - what I'm looking for is something that can hold one or two spare bike batteries, which are 25l x 19h x 9w cm, but which doesn't hang down so far that it fouls the bike parts that will wear through the fabric. After an hour or two, I'd come up blank, but seeing one delightful looking bag that had been custom-made by its proud owner, I thought, I can do that.

So I've bought two army surplus haversacks, 27l x 19h x 9.5w, so they'll be just big enough for one battery apiece. Then I have to work out a way to link then together and drape the pair over the back rack, and find a way to stop them sliding backwards or forwards, and I feel sure I can do that, probably velcro.

In the course of doing all this, I measured all the panniers that I currently have, and to my surprise, the Atura bags that I got five years ago for my first electric bike, which is 30h by 30l, looks like they will fill the bill, because they're supported on the back rack with hooks, so don't hang down the full 30cm, and are well clear of the bike parts. And I tried taking them on and off a few times, and they remove quickly and easily, which is important, because when I'm going to lift the bike over an obstacle, I want to take off the heavy spare batteries first, otherwise the weight is just too great.

How much weight? Well, I did a bunch of weighing.

I'm 230.5 lb. Batteries are 7.5 lb. The bike is 51.75 lb = 23.5 kg (without battery). The panniers are 8lb (that includes the spanners etc that I'll need to change an inner tube). So, the panniers plus three batteries are 30.5 lb. So you can see why I want to remove the panniers before lifting the bike, and sometimes also the battery currently on the bike.

So I'm going out tomorrow with SimplyPaul, to do a trail that's 26 km long. That's going to need two batteries, but I'll take three because it's not much more trouble than two. Plus several bottles of water, and puncture repair tools, plus food. 74 caches, I hope.

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