Two panniers or four

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Cathryn, 14 Oct 2007.

  1. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Slight case of over-forward planning but I've been thinking (again) about next year's big trip across Europe. I'm going to TRY to be disciplined in my packing, and only take a sensible amount - as a gauge I'm going to try to fit everything into one pair of panniers plus my other box thing that goes on top of the pannier.

    Assuming I manage this, should I a) keep everything in the two back panniers or :biggrin: split out the load between two back and two front panniers, although they would technically be half empty?
  2. pw2389

    pw2389 New Member

    I think this depends on your bike. Personally, I'd see if I could get away with just two rear panniers (for the convenience), but it may be that the bike handles better with the weight distributed across the four panniers.

    The best way to find out is to have a practice pack and go off for a local test ride of an hour or so with each combination.
  3. redfox

    redfox New Member

    Bourne End, UK
    I always chuck stuff away until it fits into two back panniers and a rack bag, which can make the bike feel unbalanced for the first day or so at least.

    I have often considered evening the load across four panniers but, so far, I prefer being able to carry everything from the bike at the end of the day in one trip.
  4. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    I vote for four (if you are carrying a camping load)

    The bike is more balanced, and if your bags have handles/straps in the right places it's not difficult to pick them all up at once (I was able to carry all four bags and the bar bag and mat in one trip). Another reason is to provide room to buy stuff as you go along like food etc.

    I did try to get it all into just two bags before I left but the bike felt bad to me...and really dragged it's arse up hills.

    But if you are not camping I'd be surprised if you actually needed more than two rear bags anyway.
  5. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    That's it, we're not camping so don't NEED four panniers. What I can't decide is if it would be smoother to have four half packed panniers than two loaded ones. I know i could buy the extra panniers etc and try it, but that's an expensive test!!!!
  6. Danny

    Danny Legendary Member

    If you have a lot of weight at the back of your bike your steering can feel a bit light and twitchy. But in my experience this really only happens when you seriously overload - for example by packing loads of camping gear in addition to clothes. Two rear panniers full of clothes shouldn't be a problem

    The only time I tried riding a bike with panniers at the front I found it a bit unnerving as it made the steering feel a bit heavier. But I guess it is something you get used to it.

    Finally I would agree with PW - try packing everything you need into two panniers and go for a test ride to see if your bike still feels stable.
  7. Brock

    Brock Senior Member

    How about two rear panniers and a bar bag? A lot of weight at the back shouldn't be a problem as long as you're aware of it. Careful honking up steep inclines!
  8. pw2389

    pw2389 New Member

    Sorry, hadn't appreciated you didn't have the front panniers already. Do you know anyone you could borrow a pair from for testing purposes?
  9. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    I used to have just two rear panniers but now prefer to share the load around four. The handling is much improved, both when actually cycling and when pushing the bike around pedestrian areas etc. Also it is nice to know you have a bit of extra baggage space for tour souvenirs.:biggrin:
  10. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I might see if I can blag a pair for a weekend!! Feels like a sensible idea.
  11. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    It all depends on the size of your rear panniers. If everything fits, then there's no need to go to the expense of extra panniers. There are advocates for the use of four regarding weight distribution. I've used two and four panniers on tour and have not found a great deal of difference in the handling of my bikes.

    A bar bag might be a handy addition for things like wallet/purse, camera, phone and passport. You can detach it and carry it around with you when away from the bike. You also have quick access to your camera should you see something of interest.
  12. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I suppose the worry about the two pannier thing is that all the weight goes on the back wheels. I have good Mavic wheels...would they be strong enough for two panniers of clothes etc?
  13. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    I always carry spare space. You never know when you will have a hot day and require to carry water, or a long remote day when you have to carry food, or to even space to carry bits and bobs for that evening.

    There are also the occasions when you make a rash purchase and carry it to a post office tp send home.

    It is also nice to be able to keep wet or dry clothing separate.

    I find this useful.
  14. Brock

    Brock Senior Member

    I believe that depends as much on the quality of road you intend to travel as the weight you're carrying. The only sure way to cover yourself is to carry spare spokes and a hypercracker. That said I'm sure a decent pair of properly built wheels should be more than upto the task of carrying a couple of bags of tutus and blouses, or whatever it is you girl cyclers carry. :biggrin:
    Wish I was coming with you.
  15. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Aw, thanks!! It'll be fab - assuming I get the time off from work anyway.

    I got kicked out of ballet class aged 3 for being flat footed, so personally I don't carry tutus, but I do carry too many shoes...I once carried a pair of heels across the alps to go to Oktoberfest...goes to say I never wore them!!
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