What is a Pannier? The Definition & Purpose of Bike Panniers!
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
The demand for panniers is on the rise in the US, UK, and Canada, reflecting a growing consciousness about eco-friendly and health-conscious bicycle commutes. As some seek reliable methods to carry their valuable items to work, others hunt for cost-effective storage solutions for their outdoor adventures. Panniers offer the ideal answer to these needs.
A pannier is a basket or bag used as an attachment for your bicycle or beast of burden. It's either slung over both sides of your bicycle or fastened to one side.
In terms of practicality, it offers extra space and safety for items that you cannot place in the rack or front basket of your bicycle, like a laptop, shoes, or an extra change of clothes.
Modern panniers from Two Wheel Gear come equipped with straps that allow them to be transformed into backpacks. This feature not only provides versatility in how the pannier can be carried, but also ensures comfort for the user when worn on the back.
In essence, a pannier serves as an invaluable companion for outdoor enthusiasts, cyclists, and adventurers alike.
The origin of the word “Pannier” can be traced back to the Latin word “Panarium,” which translates to “bread basket.”
Following the Norman conquest in 1066, the French language began to influence English, especially within the Anglo-Norman courts.
Over time, the word “panarium” evolved into “panier” in Old French. This transformation didn't happen immediately after the conquest but occurred gradually over the centuries.
By the 13th Century, “Panier” was used to describe saddlebags, large baskets, or bags that were slung over the shoulders or on the back of a beast of burden. The term has somewhat retained its original meaning, as today it refers to bags or baskets attached to mechanical beasts, such as bicycles.
Over the centuries, the use of panniers has changed. Nevertheless, a pannier still serves the purpose of decreasing your burden and making your journeys through the great outdoors more effortless. Some modern uses of panniers are:
In essence, panniers have transformed from mere storage solutions to multifunctional accessories that cater to a wide range of needs for today's cyclists and adventurers.
Bike panniers are more advanced versions of traditional panniers. These are made from durable, waterproof material, and are slung over the back wheel of a bicycle like the Garment Pannier – Classic 3.0.
With enough protection against the elements and convertible off-bike backpack functionality, these panniers are perfect for commuters and outdoor enthusiasts.
Motorcycle panniers usually come in the form of durable boxes created using deep-drawn manufacturing processes. These panniers also come with the essential heavy-duty pannier racks that hook onto the rear wheel of your motorcycle.
Motorcycle panniers are designed to have more storage capacity. You can use them to carry heavy luggage, cargo, or essential repair items on long drives and expeditions.
Equestrian panniers are special, one of a pair of bags made for mounts and steeds. These are slung across the back of the beast of burden, usually near the saddle and girth straps.
Compared to saddlebags, these have more storage capacity and are more durable. These are great for long-distance rides, outdoor camping, or packing.
Generally, panniers are used with straps or hooks that keep the pannier locked to the rear carrier.
However, Two Wheel Gear panniers use high quality adjustable hooks with a secure locking mechanism to keep the pannier securely mounted to the rack.
The adjustable hooks also allow the rider to turn the pannier into a detachable backpack or handbag.
Read more about what a pannier rack is in our article.
Using a pannier offers three major benefits for people commuting around town or on long-range journeys. You get increased storage, better weight distribution, and a more comfortable commute.
Here's a rundown of what you can expect with modern panniers.
Pannier bags allow you to store more items more securely while you commute to work or soar on a bike trail in the woods. Pannier bag capacity is measured in liters, and some offer up to 35 liters of storage space.
Some pannier bags also come with special slots or pouches for modern electronics like laptops and mobile phones, that you cannot carry as easily in a backpack while riding your bike.
The Garment Classic 3.0 comes in a pair to be slung across the rear rack of your bicycle. It's an all-weather-protected bag made from Ripstop fabric.
With seal-tight zippers and a 25-liter storage capacity, the Garment Classic is perfect for biking and commuting.
The Pannier Backpack Convertible comes in two storage sizes, 22 Liters (Lite) and 30 Liters (Plus). These waterproof panniers are made with durable Ripstop fabric and have extra pockets for organization.
The KLICKfix pannier system allows them to latch onto most racks. The durable straps turn them in to backpacks that you can carry around with ease.
The Boundary Duffel Pannier offers 35 liters of space and a tight zipper to keep everything secure. This collapsible duffel can store all of your items with ease.
It's made from a reflective, durable material and comes with rolling luggage handles and straps for easier transport. The Boundary Pannier is perfect for camping enthusiasts and adventurers.
These were our top choices, but you're welcome to browse the extended list for more options. Find a pannier that can make your life easier and ride on!