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The Two Wheel Gear Guide to Bike Panniers

Whether you’re commuting through a city, thrill-seeking in the mountains or clocking up some long distance miles, riding is one of the most versatile ways to get around. Because everyone has different needs, there’s a bike bag for every ride.

Panniers are one of the most consistent types of bag you’ll spot on all types of bike. But what are they, and why do you need one? This week’s blog will clarify why they’re useful, how you can get the most out of them and the different types of pannier you can choose from.

What is a Bike Pannier?

Bike panniers - sometimes referred to as ‘saddlebags’ - are designed to maximize the amount of storage you have on your bike.

While other bags attach to the bike frame, on the handlebars or under the seat, panniers are kept on a bike rack. Check our earlier post: Bike Bags and Bike Racks: How to Choose. Typically, panniers hang over the sides of the bike (and on the bike rack), positioned over the wheels.

Bike panniers are generally built to weather any terrain and on average (in our experience) last about five years with heavy use. Because of their design features, quality of mounting components and typically larger size, panniers are often more expensive than other smaller bike bags.

Why Should I Get One?

If you’re transporting anything of any weight - bikecamping gear, a laptop, work materials or even groceries - carrying a heavy load on your back for any extended length of time can cause you back or shoulder pain, or begin to affect your posture.

By using a pannier and letting your bike take the weight, you can save yourself a lot of issues further down the line - as well as any embarrassing sweat patches!

If you’re planning a cycling trip and find yourself struggling to figure out how you can fit everything you plan on bringing on your bike, pannier bags may be the solution you are looking for.

Remember though, traveling with traditional panniers isn’t the best idea for people who also plan to do a bunch of walking once they arrive. The Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible allows you to easily transfer your load to your back by converting from pannier to backpack. Traditional panniers can get awkward to carry while walking.


Types of Pannier 

Rear rack

Most panniers are designed to fit on the rear rack as they allow you to carry much more cargo on the road. Lots of cyclists use rear panniers when they’re bike commuting, touring or camping.

Usually rated to carry loads between 20 and 50 pounds, rear racks work well for most cycling uses. For serious touring cyclists, there are a few heavy-duty touring models which can accommodate up to 80 pounds, and typically have three supports per side, rather than two.

Front rack

Popular for cyclists who carry a lot of gear, the front rack is a great secondary option to mount your pannier. However, putting a lot of weight on just one side of the front rack can affect your steering and balance, and even impact your ability to brake.

For that reason, it’s best to use panniers on both sides of your front rack to even the load.

Find out more about bike racks in our blog, Bike Bags and Bike Racks: How to Choose


Two Wheel Gear Panniers

If there’s anyone who really appreciates the quality and versatility of a pannier, it’s us! We designed panniers made for commuting and touring, so you can make every destination achievable by bike.

Pannier Duffel 

A classic new Two Wheel Gear hybrid design to accommodate maximum storage, the Pannier Duffel is the perfect travel companion for commutes, trips and activities that require more gear in an easy off bike duffel format.

We love bags that are easy to carry (and can carry a lot). The Pannier Duffel is lightweight, extremely water resistant (with Coated Waterproof 600D Polyester) and comes with a high visibility rain cover and exterior reflective loop for an additional light. It has a large separated pocket to keep things like shoes, helmets, or dirty laundry divided when travelling.

Its unique features include:

  • Separated shoe/helmet compartment to keep items organized
  • Two internal mesh zip pockets with key clip
  • Rolling luggage attachment straps
  • Removable shoulder strap and duffel handles
  • Zip-away KLICKfix pannier system

Setup as the perfect weekend, sports or travel bag, this bag can pull off bike camping, biking to the airport, or riding to your friend’s house. The Pannier Duffel Bag is the solid choice for anyone carrying loads of gear with the convenience of a travel duffel.

Shop the Pannier Duffel


Pannier Backpack Convertible 

This longtime customer favourite transforms from pannier to backpack in a quick clip and unbuckle. It’s perfect for commuting, touring and bike packing.

Save yourself a sweaty, heavy ride by unclipping the backpack straps and tucking them into the back compartment. Then position the bag on your bike rack with the secure KLICKfix locking mechanism.

We designed this bag with a multitude of pockets and organization, including 15″ of padded laptop storage and a weather guarded design offers high water resistance. We also included a neon rain cover, and the bag features the Modular Attachment System for carrying helmets and extra gear. This bag is available in two sizes: the LITE (22 Litre) and the PLUS (30 Litre).

Perfect for an urban professional, this product was voted “Best bike pannier to hold a mobile office” by the New York Times’ Wirecutter.

Shop the Pannier Backpack Convertible


Pannier Laptop Messenger 

Perfect for office commutes, the Pannier Laptop Messenger gives you all the organization you need to get door-to-door on your bike.

Securely attach the Laptop Messenger to any standard bike rack and easily transform it to a messenger bag. Clever features like a 15-inch padded laptop pocket, four pocket sections, expandable bottle pockets and reflective accents with loops for light make it a strong choice for office and travel. 

Plus, its waterproof polyester and weatherproof design makes it an all-weather commute frontrunner.

Shop the Pannier Laptop Messenger


Classic Garment Pannier - 3.0

Your best friend across the seasons, this all-weather garment bag was designed for pretty much any ride to work. With a 15” laptop pocket, internal mesh organization and four exterior pockets for shoes and accessories, the 3.0 transforms from bike pannier to carry-on sized shoulder luggage. 

With a smart, streamlined look and padded shoulder strap, it’s also polished enough to carry into the boardroom or airport lounge. 

For anyone who’s ever wished they could stop rolling, folding and wrinkling their clothes en route to the office, the 3.0 Garmet Pannier is the bag you’ve been waiting for. Hang your work clothes so they remain dry, crisp and ready for the day ahead.  

Shop the Classic Garment Pannier 3.0



Remember, all of our bags come with a two year warranty and 30 day guarantee! For more information, check out the FAQs section of our website.

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