Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ortlieb Waterproof Back Roller Classic Panniers Product Review- Long Distance Biking

Cycling this summer has really meant two things to me: wet and wet. Would the Ortlieb Waterproof Back Roller Panniers hold up on my week long bike trip through Maine?
As mentioned in my previous post about the Ortlieb Waterproof Panniers, I was concerned about: waterproofness, durability, and everyday use. These panniers are pretty expensive comparatively coming in at $165 for the pair. Here are my thoughts on the panniers on the road:
These PVC-coated Cordura really held up in some serious rain conditions. Nearly every day we experienced heavy showers and my stuff stayed dry throughout. Some of the other panniers that my fellow cyclists carried had pack covers, but their stuff on the bottom got soaked from the splash back of pedals and tires.
One particularly brutal night, three of us ventured out to the local store for a shower (I know- store- shower- what?). Anyway, I carried all our towels and dry clothes in my Ortlieb Panniers and we got caught in a torrential and scary thunderstorm. The trusty panniers kept it all dry.
The one slight user drawback to the waterproofness of these panniers is totally dependent on how carefully you roll down the top of the pannier. The panniers close by rolling the top over several times and then buckling it. If you pack it up too high or don’t roll the top down enough, water seepage is likely.
Ease of use
Quick and simple to use. They came with directions that I didn’t even read. Pull up on the handle, place over the rack and release- the locking hangers work well and help keep the panniers securely on. Rural Maine can be pretty bumpy at times, and I didn’t experience any wiggle or shaking of the panniers.
This was an initial concern for me. The most obvious drawback to the Ortlieb Panniers is that they have only one zip pocket located inside of the panniers. I wasn’t sure if it would cause me to go crazy having to open and close it, digging around for sunblock.
Overall, I managed to stay organized and didn’t consider this a drawback of the panniers. That being said, I am a pretty experienced camper and backpacker and this may have been influencing this. Also, I had a large camera bag on front of my bike where I stored snacks, sunblocks, and wipes. If you aren’t a very organized person or don’t have a lot of camping experience, this may drive you nuts.
Summary and More Details
So overall I would give the Ortlieb panniers two thumbs up for long distance bike trips. Since I can’t imagine getting out for more than one bike trip a year, I want to be sure these panniers are practical for trips to the store and commuting. I’ll be giving an update about this soon as well as a final product review summary of all the pros and cons of the Ortlieb Waterproof Panniers.
My Loaded Bike on Day Two
Prepping for Bike Trip
Ortlieb Panniers On the Road
Ortlieb Panniers On the Road
Read initial thoughts on Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Panniers
Read What I Packed for the Trip
Read Day One or Day Two of Bike Trip

Disclaimer: Product Reviews are based on opinion only and are not intended to condone, encourage, or promote a product. Some products are sent to me by the manufacturer or affiliates and are mine to keep. I mention this specifically on products sent to me. Compensation and/or product and/or services never interfere with the review of the product. Otherwise, products and services are purchased by me for personal use. Panniers were purchased by me.

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