The Top Retro and Repairable Pannier: Carradice Super C

The Top Retro and Repairable Pannier: Carradice Super C
The Top Retro and Repairable Pannier: Carradice Super C

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Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Panniers

Take a load off your shoulders with the best pannier bags for touring and commuting.

Panniers are a utilitarian solution for carrying luggage on your bicycle. Allowing the bike to take the weight rather than your shoulders, they’ll also allow you to carry far more in terms of both weight and volume compared to using a backpack.

They can be used alone or as a pair, ensuring you arrive fresher at work or helping you haul your camping gear with you on holiday;. However, if you’re carrying lots of weight, you’re best spreading it between two (or even four) for the sake of balance.

Jump Best panniers at a glance:

  1. The top all-round panniers: Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic: RRP £120
  2. The top budget panniers: Elops 500 Waterproof Bike Bag: RRP £24.99
  3. Best large volume panniers: Thule Shield : RRP £130
  4. The top retro and repairable panniers: Carradice Super C: RRP £135
  5. Best mid-priced pannier: Overboard Classic waterproof: RRP £54.99
  6. The top pannier that’s also a backpack: Blackburn Wayside Backpack Pannier: RRP £74.99
  7. The top functional waterproof: Arkel Dolphin 32LRRP: £175

How do cycle panniers work?

Most panniers work on a basic and near-universal system of attachment. A pannier rack bolts onto fixing points on your bike; the panniers then hang off the rack via a series of hooks.

Mounting can be either beside the back wheel or on the front fork. Most riders prefer to start at the rear before loading up the front of the bike, although more experienced cyclists often prefer the handling afforded by placing more weight over the front wheel. Traditional touring bikes are designed with pannier loads in mind.

Panniers tend to be designated as front or rear-specific. The main difference is that smaller front panniers won’t risk dragging on the ground when fitted beside the front wheel. This means you can also use most front panniers on the back of the bike, but not vice versa.

How much should I spend on panniers?

Panniers range in cost from around £50 a pair to several hundred pounds. As you spend more you’ll get tougher materials, waterproofing, and replaceable fixings.

Racks themselves vary in cost from around £20 to £100, with specific models for disc brake bikes, or to fit with very wide tires.

The Top Retro and Repairable Pannier: Carradice Super C


Capacity per pair: 54L

These British-made saddlebags have the name of their maker stitched on the label. Classic yet inoffensive, they have been a staple choice for travelers for decades.

Their large main compartment is supplemented with an additional compartment with a separate lid, making organizing things easier. Although their appearance may seem outdated, the immobilizer system is still one of the best on the market.
Suspended from a sturdy aluminum rail, the Quick-Clip mount provides secure and quick attachment to the bike. Once removed, the two panniers can be clipped together for easy transport, while the adjustable straps also make carrying easier. Their waxed cotton construction may not be as water-resistant as more modern materials, but it is sturdy and easy to repair. In fact, because they get even better with age.


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Top Mid-Priced Pannier: Overboard Classic waterproof