Would you like this...?

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New Member
I have a quick market research question, mostly aimed at commuters or touring cyclists, but really for anybody that uses a rucksack when cycling.

Would you be interested in having a rucksack that, when taken off, you could place it flat against the TOP of your pannier rack to clip in place?

It would:
  • Save you a sweaty back (any cyclists with a rucksack on should know this!)
  • A single pannier bag on one side of your rack (problem for commuters squeezing through traffic)
  • Actually being able to wear the rucksack once you unclip it (as oppose to most panniers that you have to carry).
Instead of some pannier bags that have detachable straps, and look like you're wearing a suitcase on your back, this would actually be a rucksack first, but then work like a top-loading pannier.

I hope this is clear for some to visualize, I would really appreciate all and any response!

Happy cycling :smile:


If you aiming at tourists or serious load carrying, then for a quality made bag, you will be competing with the Topeak style beam racks and bags which slide in and out and just click in place. These types of bags are very good, but also very expensive, but there could be a gap in the range for a rucksack with a fitting that would click into such a rack.

It might be better to think about the thousands of cyclists that are already using a rucksack for commuting and develop a universal rack where any style bag could be dropped in and made secure in seconds with a simple click fitting. All the rear racks that I've seen have a flat top and just use elastic bungee straps to secure a bag. I am visualising a rack with uprising side supports that would hold a bag in place securely.

One consideration must be size. Rucksacks have a pretty large capacity, so the rack will need to be quite broad and thought must be given to placement of rear lights. A high load can conceal seat post fitted lights.

Hope this helps



Rollin' along
Manchester way
I am struggling to visualise it, I see either a squareish quite small sandwich box poking out of my back or a very floppy rack top bag not keeping the contents particularly stable and wallowing down the side of the rack.

I don't see the 2 ideas being compatible size wise. I have a rack top bag, which incidentally Velcro's on and off in a matter of seconds and has a shoulder strap, it even has small pannier fold out pockets, it carries a days worth of bits with ease. If I need more capacity I have a proper pannier set.
What capacity are you thinking your product will carry and in what dimensions?

I've never considered the width of panniers to be an impediment to my commute even through city centre Manchester at rush hour or on quiet paths with kissing gates. What is your issue on pannier width? Is it getting through gaps or proximity of cars? Either way I suspect you perceive it as a bigger issue than many commuters will.

I tend to use a rucksack only if I'm carrying a laptop but it is a proper padded one, will yours have internal padding and be big enough to safely accommodate a laptop and onto a normal (tablet sized) rack top?

How will you provide the structural rigidity of a rack bag - usually quite firm boxy structures - from a generally more floppy rucksack?

How will you accommodate the different requirements where it contacts with something else of it being comfortable and moulding to the back and needing to be flat and rigid on the bike?

Will it have a mesh backplate or sit flat on the back. I suspect rucksackers who can't/won't put a rack on but are sufficiently bothered about sweaty backs will have gone the mesh route already.

How will it attach on the rack without the arm straps either adding bulk & height underneath (&losing rigidity on the base?) or flapping about loose - I assume they will have to tuck in or zip on somewhere -? Faffy and time consuming?

I always have a light on my rack luggage as their height will often impede a seatpost light, will the rucksack accommodate a light when on the back without it assumedly being on the bottom or top end and either stopping you putting the rucksack down or getting in the way of access to the contents? I know lights can for to racks, I have one there already, I like to be well lit at the back. I also fix a light to rucksacks etc.

I'm not seeking to be deliberately critical, I'm just not getting the vision of how these 2, in my mind, quite incompatible bits of luggage can be made to work well as both simultaneously & just trying to put across some thoughts as an every day commuter on what I look for in carrying stuff.


Legendary Member
Redneck Country
Not me.

I use a rucksack or panniers, depending on the bike I'm on. Last thing I'm going to drag around is the dead weight of a rack if I can just slap the rucksack on my back.


Tattooed Beat Messiah
Rides Ti2
A single pannier rack is not a problem for filtering (squeezing through traffic) in fact, 2 panniers isn't either as they don't extend further then the width of the handlebars usually.
A single pannier, mounted on the off side, also gives you more width/perceived road presence from behind.


Full time tea drinker
Armonmy Way
Wouldn't a side pannier bag that can be carried as a rucksack be as useful? Or, for no rack riders, a seat-post bag that can be used as a rucksack? If there was a demand for top-of-the-rack rucksacks I'm sure I'd have seen people using standard rucksacks bungeyed to the rack. But I don't remember ever seeing anybody doing this.


Rural Kent
I quite like this idea - I have a briefcase-style bag that clips onto my rack in pannier style, but I find it heavy to carry as a bag and it was chuffing expensive. Mind you, I am always amazed at the price of bike bags - I sometimes think there needs to be a cheaper range for people who just commute a short distance and don't need expedition-quality stuff.


I've been commuting with my laptop in a knackered old rucksack, which had the sole redeeming feature of being large enough for the laptop. Post-Christmas I now have an embarrassment of choice, as I bought a new rucksack in the sale and didn't even notice that it has a hidden padded compartment for a 17" laptop, and my OH bought me a rack and a pannier laptop bag-thing. The pannier bag is perfect for days when I'm going to work and coming home again, but there isn't much room in it for anything else, so I've got hold of some short bungee chords so I can also strap the rucksack to the rack and use that instead on days when I want to take more stuff.

What I think I'm saying is that I don't see the advantage over having a normal rucksack and some bungees. That said there are plenty of people with more money that sense and if you can spin it so that they think your click in system is better (perhaps by suggesting that bungee chords are dangerous or don't hold things on well, or are fiddly etc) then I'm sure you'll find a market, although I'm not sure how big that market will be.


New Member
Well let me start by apologizing for a late response - I was getting email notifications to an unused email address.

I reaaaaally appreciate all the comments! Luckily, most things suggested were no surprise. I suppose my point on pannier bags was not really valid when I guess it doesn't really get in the way. My issue is probably more that it's aesthetically unappealing. Maybe I just like symmetry.

This might be a long post but I'm sure some of you will manage it ;)

Sharky - I like the idea of a universal pannier rack that would fit a bag inside. I suppose more like a basket on the back of your bike. Something like this perhaps? http://www.nailseacycles.co.uk/pannier-racks/minoura-gamoh-king-rear-pannier-carrier-rack.html

While that looks pretty awesome, I think that'd do the job, although you'd still have to bungee cord a bag in I image, just to keep it secure.

And on that note, the suggestions with bungee cording your rucksack to your rack - I wonder if that argument could be used for any type of pannier bag - why not just bungee a couple of rucksacks to your side instead of pannier bags? I suppose it's ease of use - not having to DIY everytime you want the bag on your rack . Also, I've found my rucksack lopsided when I've tried bungee cording it to the top. Oh, and I can count about 3 times where my bungees flinged off and wrapped in my bicycle wheel. Maybe I'm just terrible at bungeeing. Maybe I just didn't use enough bungees. But what I'm certain of is that I don't enjoy doing it. Not to mention it was near impossible to access my stuff once it was bungee'd in place, as it was so tight against the rack.

John The Monkey mentioned the Altura Morph Backpack. Funnily enough, that was the first bag I noticed that was anything close to the idea I had in mind. Apart from side loading (as oppose to the top loading idea I had in mind), there are actually a few features I don't like about this, which I've tried incorporating in my design (which you'll see below!)

One thing I want to make clear is that I imagine this bag to be a rucksack FIRST, and the cycling bag SECOND. What I mean by that is that, yes, there are plenty of adapters for your panniers, but it still looks like you're wearing a plastic box on your back (and we all know that cycling is all about fashion, c'mon!):


I am looking for a bag that you would actually wear for every day use, so you would take it on the train when it's raining or use it to get shopping from the corner shop next door. I'm hoping it's a bag that you want to use when you're not on your bike, as well as on it too.

Hopefully I can clear a few more things/features with the design attached:


Here's a link for larger: http://i356.photobucket.com/albums/oo1/Kiran_Jay_Babla/accuratesizing_zps371f0023.jpg

The main thing I wanted was to make sure it's a roll top bag. I've found similar bags much more ergonomic when you can slightly alter the height depending on how much you pack in. The other thing I rarely see in rucksacks like these, are a front loading zip too. This would be able to completely open on the front of the bag. So, once rolled down and flat against a surface, you can simply unzip the top to access your stuff at the bottom of the bag.

The closest thing I've seen is the Chrome Industries Cardiel - http://www.chromeindustries.com/us/en/bags/backpacks/cardiel-orp
My issue with that is lack of any other features, and it's made of cheap rip-stop nylon, which is flimsy (just look at the picture of it on the cyclists' back!) and probably digs in if you've anything rigid inside.

I digress...

There would be a front snap-buttoned pocket, the dimensions of which would fit the largest Kryptonite D-lock pretty snug. That way you can replace your D-lock hold for a bottle holder instead!

Looking at the side view, you can see a zip which will access a pocket against the back of the rucksack. This would be felt-lined, as will the top loading pocket (see the top view), so it will keep your tablet/iPod scratch free.

There are two compression straps on the front. Not only to compress the items inside, but also to hold the straps back when the rucksack is placed on your rack. I didn't like the faffing about unfolding and clipping a cover over your straps in the Altura bag mentioned above. On this rucksack, you'd just fold the straps back and use the compression straps. You can use one if you're feeling lazy. (Note: every strap you see will have an elastic band to tuck in any excess strap, so nothing flaps about)

Also, taking into consideration where bike lights would go, on the bottom of the bag will be a reflective patch, with a bicycle bike loop above to clip on your bicycle light. This would be seen when the bag is flat on the rack.

The main use for the small plastic loop above the front pocket would be to store your helmet. You just clip your helmet strap through the loop and it'll hang on the back. But hey, you can hang whatever you want off it - a carabener with a wireless Bluetooth speaker? It'll have it's use.

Finally, those four extruded holes on the back of the bag - They will extrude INTO the back of the rucksack (so you won't feel it on your back) with metal bars across each of them. The only work you'd need to do is to screw the clips on your rack in the right place. Once they're in, you can click the bag on top of the rack (clipping onto the metal bars in the extruded holes) whenever you please! I hope you don't mind I haven't shared the clip mechanism as it's something a little different I've designed, and I'm a newbie on patenting issues and whatnot.

Hopefully you can see what I mean by the 'rucksack first, bicycle bag second' description. I personally think, albeit a biased opinion, the features appeal to me, regardless of the rack-clipping ability. Hopefully you feel the same!

Materials - While I'm no expert, I've done a fair bit of research on this. The back would be an aluminum stay, so it's rigid and upright, but enough padding to feel awesome on your back. It will also help keep your laptop/books upright inside. Other than that, there are felt lined pockets and the main bag would 1000D Nylon Cordura which is tough as hell, and practically 100% waterproof (with waterproof lined zippers too).

Price wise - I'm actually in contact with a manufacturer about getting a prototype made. I'm really for getting it ethically produced, I don't like the idea of some chinese kids sweating their days away for me to have a sweat-free back when cycling. So I imagine it won't be in the far cheap end of cycling gear, but it most definitely wouldn't be in the Ortlieb end of the spectrum.

I think I'm quite picky when it comes to my bicycle bags (hence I want to get this made), so I'm going on the simple risk that if it's a product I will use, I'm sure at least a few others will too. I'm looking at probably getting a bulk of 1000 bags made, if a Kickstarter campaign is relatively successfully. As noticed from your comments, it's going to be a niche market, but hey, I'm okay with that, I'm not in it to make big bucks. I just hope that if I can make something I'm content with, at least some other people in the world might be too.

A little bit about me quickly (if you've made it this far, why not?) - I'm a 22 year old student and I came up with this idea last summer. A few friends and I cycled across the States, and I found it a huge pain in the --- to keep carrying my pannier bags anytime we wanted to go exploring. Eventually I bought a rucksack and bungee'd it on every morning, but as mentioned in a few points above, that was really annoying (bungee crushing my food inside/couldn't access anything without unzipping the entire blah blah blah... it was frustrating!). So hopefully this rucksack would be a nice 'look ma! I did it!' - A little bit of confidence in my idea doesn't hurt, although all your comments have been awesome.

Please rip it to shreds - tell me if you like it, but mostly if you hate it. I'd like to know features I could add/remove, I'm only going by my experience. Though I'll keep in mind the saying - 'The camel is the horse designed by committee' ;)

Cheers for getting so far!

Ed Phelan

Active Member
I have no problem using a rucksack, I'd be a bit worried about the contents of my bag spilling out if I laid it flat and cycled.

That being said, your concept art is pretty smart! Reminds of a durable bag I used to have from IKEA. Nice one, I'd buy that without the pannier clipping.
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