Review - My cheap rack/pannier setup


Large Member
After a lot of procrastinating (and a fair bit of drooling over expensive shiny things) I've finally made the switch to panniers. I went the budget route and I'm really pleased with everything, so thought I should post a review:

The Rack

£11.99 from Amazon
Stock and price are both a bit erratic, and it seems to come from Amazon's German warehouse. Also available in silver

Really easy to fit, just a case of bolting the legs to the rack, fastening everything loosely, levelling it off then going around tightening the bolts up. Comes with loads of fittings, including p-clips and brackets for bikes that lack the dual seat-stay bosses. Also comes with two lengths of bolt for the bottom fastening, so I was able to use the longer one and have rack and mudguards attached through the same hole.

Once set up it's rock solid - I've not had a single wobble or rattle from it. The spring clamp wasn't something I was really looking for, but I'm glad it's there because it means I can stash a waterproof jacket there and not have to fiddle about with the bags if a sudden shower hits.

The Bags

I got these from SJS on eBay for £10.50. They keep listing them in auctions (search for "11550") and they tend to go for £10-£14. Also available from their store for a little more. Some other sellers have them too under a range of different names.

They looked quite small when they arrived, but they're actually quite Tardis-like. The inside is covered by a drawstring, then the top closes over with adjustable straps. With small loads, the inside tucks in under the cover to make for a very compact bag. With larger loads you can pull the straps out a long way and the top will still fasten and keep everything covered. There's also a zip pocket so you can quickly access keys, cake, wallet, cake, phone, cake, etc.

Attaching to the rack is really easy. You just hook the bungee bit onto the loop at the bottom of the rack's legs, then slide the metal hooks at the top of the bag over the edge of the rack (I've put some electrical tape on the rack to prevent it scratching). Once on, the bags seem very secure, and I haven't noticed any movement whatsoever. Removing them is also very easy, and each bag has a carrying handle; if you're using both bags you can fasten the handles together and carry them as one big bag.

I'm really, really happy with both the rack and the bags. They were bought for occasional use, but within a couple of rides I'd decided to ditch the messenger bag and backpack for good. The only negatives I can think of are that they're not sold as waterproof (although they have survived a heavy shower, and you can always put your stuff in a plastic bag inside the pannier to keep it dry) and they could be a little easier to carry off the bike (although I could get a spare shoulder strap from an old holdall and attach that to the loops on the back of the bag).

For a total of £22.50 it's a steal :thumbsup:
I've got those panniers, bought them for my two lads when we went touring. So far so good. They have a few faults which are fixable.

- The elastic is a bit weak and you may need to replace it at some point, I'm at that stage now. Watch you don't lose the hooks either.
- The back is a bit flexible and doesn't remain straight when you stuff them making the pannier hooks a bit awkward to clip on. I was thinking about putting some extra stiffness in across the hooks.
- Don't pull too hard on the drawstring hood, it will rip off the main pannier (duct tape is your friend if this happens)

Apart from that, they are pretty good for the price. Done two tours now and I think they'll manage a few more, though long term durability is probably not great.
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