Advice on commuting bag

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby wizdofaus » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:55 am

Sydguy wrote:I am stumped when passing riders on my work commute who seems to have many kgs hanging off their back or in panniers. Crazy stuff.

Sweating away up any slight incline - people life is short please ride fast.

Once a week sock/underwear run with musette, and once or twice a week loaf of bread still warm frombakery enroute.

Otherwise you are mising out on doing extra kms, group rides and the like on the way in to work!

Keep work stuff at work, if you must work from home, which you should not ever do - then remote in using home computer.

JM


I ride with a 6kg computer several times a week, in a backpack. The advantages of being able to use it where-ever I like (on the train, at the doctor's office - had to help the doc outside the other as their internet was down) and the extra muscle work-out it gives makes it completely worth it. On the hand the risk of being knocked off and having it smashed to pieces is not one to be taken lightly.
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by BNA » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:45 am

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby herzog » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:45 am

I commute daily and carry a laptop most days.

What works for me is an STM laptop backpack.

It has an internal padded compartment for the laptop with a retention strap to keep it still.

It's also got the airflow channels on the back so it doesn't make you too sweaty.

I'm not a fan of panniers. I don't like all that unsprung mass.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby clackers » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:32 am

wizdofaus wrote:
I ride with a 6kg computer


:shock:

You must really love that Commodore 64, Wizard!
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby wizdofaus » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:29 pm

clackers wrote:
wizdofaus wrote:
I ride with a 6kg computer


:shock:

You must really love that Commodore 64, Wizard!


It's a 17" Dell XPS - at least the AC/DC adapter for this one comes in around 500g (which I'm including the total, probably closer to 5.5kg all up), unlike the previous one which weighed the best part of 1kg.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby apollocreed » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:54 pm

Not sure where OP is from

But take a few minutes to check out Brisbane Outdoor Gear

Handmade, sweet quality, good commuting bags there

http://www.bogear.com.au
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby clackers » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:13 pm

wizdofaus wrote:
It's a 17" Dell XPS -


My previous laptop was a 12" Dell XPS. Fitted very easily in the Topeak trunk bag's drop down side compartment.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Crawf » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:44 am

I've got a Gourdon 25 on order, will report back how it goes...
Also highly recommend 'Denali' backpacks, 5+ years of service and still going strong, no rips, zipper failures, nothing.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby fatdudeonabike » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:15 am

It's very short sighted to suggest that everyone should forget about panniers because of the weight, and get backpacks instead. I took up riding as part of my physical therapy to heal an ongoing back injury - I'm not about to strap and extra 5-10kgs to my back. (And if I was going to strap extra weight to my back, I'd be much more likely to do it in the form of a Camelbak water pack)

But, bearing in mind that "lifes too short" and I "should go fast", that's why I was looking at the Topeak quick release rack anyway. I just want the rack for work, and when I'm riding after work or on weekends, I'll take the rack off.

My mate's permanent fitting pannier rack was heavy, I didnt like the colour, and as I've indicated above with the QR rack, it wasn't what I wanted anyway. After I was informed yesterday at work that I shouldnt need to be taking my personal laptop to work for much longer than the next week or so, I pulled the trigger on the Topeak set - the QR Rack, the DX bag (the biggest available without panniers, and the need for a perma-rack), and a cover. And also a rear light (that was mad cheap on Cell) that will fit on the bag - I needed a new rear light anyway. The cheap Tioga light that I have just isn't getting it done.

I checked everything out at the LBS - I'm about 90% sure that it'll fit everything, but I couldn't very well take my lock, pants, shirt, underwear, swimmers, goggles and lunch into the shop with me to make sure.

For that 10% uncertainty, I would've loved to have bought it from the LBS. But I couldn't believe that, with a 10% discount card, and having only bought my bike there 6 weeks ago, the "best they could do" was $190. Much as I want to be able to support the LBS until such time as I'm buying high-end stuff and the price difference is huge - well, this price difference was huge too. I wasn't about to pay $190 when I got it online for $140. It won't cost me $50 to return it if everything doesn't fit.

(I don't want to start yet another shopfront vs online debate - but I just can't fathom that, before the discount, the LBS was a full 50% more expensive. If your operating costs are that expensive, you're doing it wrong. Even once I'd bought the bag cover and the compatible light, I still had change compared to the LBS.)

In the short term I'll probably only be riding to work twice a week or so - but eventually I want to do it every day that I don't have a meeting on my way to work. So if the bag creates a situation where I'll have to drive to work to leave stuff there, I'll end up sending it back - that's not what I want to do.

Anyway, I think a few people are pretty aware of these Topeak sets, and I know many, if not most people here are talking about backpacks, but I'll leave some thoughts here when it arrives anyway.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby plam » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:47 am

I got myself one of these http://www.pushys.com.au/tioga-bicycle-rear-pannier-bag-pair-black.html. I tend to carry lots of stuff to work but it might be a bit big for some though. It's cheaper than some of the other options and it works well for me. Panniers are definitely better than backpacks.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby m@ » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:41 am

I've used cheap, bulky panniers on an old 26" mtb commuter, nice Ortileb panniers on the roadie, backpacks and several different messenger bags.

Overall my favourite is still my trusty Crumpler; it comfortably fits everything I need for the average workday (including laptop, shirt, lunch etc) but can expand to also fit D-lock, shopping, six-pack, shoes etc; doesn't affect the ride and is comfortable to wear.

When I was studying part-time after work a year or so ago, I had to take panniers to carry textbooks, change of clothes etc... while ok, it kinda took the fun out of riding for me.

/2c

@wizdofaus - bulky 'desktop replacement' laptops are, like, so last decade ;)
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby find_bruce » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:53 am

herzog wrote:What works for me is an STM laptop backpack.

It has an internal padded compartment for the laptop with a retention strap to keep it still.

It's also got the airflow channels on the back so it doesn't make you too sweaty.

Herzog which STM laptop bag do you have ? I had a look on the STM website but can't see which one has airflow channels.

Thanks
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby wizdofaus » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:07 pm

m@ wrote:@wizdofaus - bulky 'desktop replacement' laptops are, like, so last decade ;)


You've obviously never tried to cut code on a train then :-) The day they can make a machine powerful enough/large-screen enabled/full-size-keyboard-equipped computer for serious software development that folds down to pocket size and weighs in under a couple of kg, I''ll be first in line.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby clackers » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:12 pm

plam wrote:Panniers are definitely better than backpacks.


Another advantage to them is stability. The centre of mass is lowered to the wheels, not raised above the handlebars.

Even more weight can be carried with additional panniers on the front. You lose agility, but again, it's more stable and the weight there helps the traction on the most powerful part of your braking, the front wheel.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby fatdudeonabike » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:09 pm

I said I'd post some feedback when the Topeak MTX quick release rack and the DX bag arrived. I wont get to use it tomorrow, because a) I'm still having to take my laptop to work for the next few days, and b) because I dropped a week's worth of clothes at work when I drove on Monday, and have to bring it all home again tomorrow.

But I still wanted to post now, because I'm blown away by how much this bag actually fits. I was quite worried... as I started packing it to see how much it fit, it was only then that I realised how much crap I take. Pants, shirt, singlet, underwear for a start. And they're big - I'm still a big guy now, but these clothes are particularly big, because I've spent all my money on my bike, rather than on replacing the clothes that I was wearing 45 kgs ago. (Yes, I look ridiculous... but it only took me 5 months to lose that 45kgs, and I'm too stingy to buy clothes when I'm going to keep shrinking.)

On top of that - swimmers, goggles, hand paddles for when I get to the gym on the way to work.
Plus a spare pair of underwear for when the first pair get sweaty at the gym. And a second top to wear on the way home so I don't have to put on a gross sweaty shirt.
Plus 2 locks - a u-lock and a cable lock.
Plus an apple and a protein bar.
Plus tyre levers, multi tool and patch kit.
Plus wallet, 2 phones, keys, smokes (in a little tin)
Plus the cover in case it rains.

Much to my great surprise - this all fit... well, nearly - I had to tie the cable lock around the fork stem. But that's ok, I have ample stem on my hybrid.

So far this set up is ticking all the boxes. It's light. The quick release isn't quite a matter of clamp, unclamp because my seat post is so wide, but that's still no more than a minute to put on, and about 15 seconds to take off.

Without having ridden with it yet, it's a thumbs up in terms of how big the bag is and how easy the clamp is.

I'm just bummed that I can't take it to work tomorrow. But I'll give it a go Saturday - an hour riding to the gym, an hour at the gym, and hour in the pool and an hour riding home is a bit of a pain, but I'm really keen to give it a go now that I have it.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby queequeg » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:04 pm

fatdudeonabike wrote:
But, bearing in mind that "lifes too short" and I "should go fast", that's why I was looking at the Topeak quick release rack anyway. I just want the rack for work, and when I'm riding after work or on weekends, I'll take the rack off.

My mate's permanent fitting pannier rack was heavy, I didnt like the colour, and as I've indicated above with the QR rack, it wasn't what I wanted anyway.


I used to have a Topeak Super Tourist DX rack on my Hybrid. I use Ortlieb back roller plus panniers as they are 100% waterproof (and have remained that way since I bought them over 4 years ago).
When I moved house I had to get rid of the hybrid as the new commute route was too punishing on a flat bar bike. I switched to a CX bike, and when it came to choosing a rack the Topeak rack was just plain wrong. As the CX bike has a Ti frame, I went for a Tubus Airy Ti rack. It weighs 197g and supports 30kg, and is tiny. It has no flat top section for a trunk bag (which I have no need for)
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Yonas » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:04 pm

Hello everyone,
I've purchased the gears for commuting. Still waiting to arrive from Chain Reaction to Perth.
I've used Henty, but I find it's heavy on my back.
I end up getting alloy seatpost, Topeak MTX and the rack.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby kom123 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:06 pm

Updates? :)
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby elStado » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Good quality rack + good quality pannier = winning.

I put off going this combination for years, always used a backpack. However after finally taking the plunge and getting a rack and pannier bags I will never go back. So much more comfortable it's almost criminal!

Rear rack, there's only one choice... Tubus.

Panniers, again.. Ortlieb are the de facto choice for good reason (they're awesome).

Expensive but worth every cent IMHO. Just make sure your bike has mounting points for the rack. :wink:

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby familyguy » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:00 pm

Coming in late here too...another vote for Deuter backpacks. I've got an older Hydro EXP 12, great backpack. Takes what I need, and I can load it up quite a lot if I want. I don't generally load it with shoes though, just socks'n'jocks, food and wallet.

I was given a chance to test a pretty versatile Timbuk2 bag by Christopher, which you can see here: http://www.bicycles.net.au/2012/07/rack ... ag-review/

My new commuter is going to get a rack, and I'll use the Timbuk2 for a while and see how it goes. I've used it as a messenger bag a few times, but prefer the backpack to be honest, despite arriving a little less sweaty.

Jim
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Timeonabike » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:46 pm

I use a Topeak MTX Super Tourist dry bag (the silver ones w/out the panniers).

http://www.topeak.com/products/bags/mtx ... ybag_black

Has been good for the last 4 months BUT has now developed a split in the 'welded' join in one of the seams, presumably from me trying to use it everyday or something silly like that. I understand the welded joins are probably to keep water out, but a few stitches woulda gone a long way.

The solution is Gaffa tape for now, while I look for a different brand that might fit my super tourist rack. Bah.

Chers

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby fatdudeonabike » Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:24 pm

So did anyone else with Topeak bags fall for the advertisements about the bags being compatible for the lights?

I bought the UFO light to go with my DX bag - and the light sucks. The one time I tried to use it, I had to stop 5 times over the course of 18kms to pick it up again after it shook itself out.

I was spewing. I've now had to engage another one of the "necessity is the mother of invention" strategies that I'm becoming very adept at since getting my bike.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Timeonabike » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:08 pm

fatdudeonabike wrote:So did anyone else with Topeak bags fall for the advertisements about the bags being compatible for the lights?

I bought the UFO light to go with my DX bag - and the light sucks. The one time I tried to use it, I had to stop 5 times over the course of 18kms to pick it up again after it shook itself out.

I was spewing. I've now had to engage another one of the "necessity is the mother of invention" strategies that I'm becoming very adept at since getting my bike.


Nope sorry. Trying to get a Redzone 8 just now, should sort out the aft illumination.
PLus a bit of Macguyver to mount it as usual,

Cheers

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Walst » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:57 pm

I 2nd, 3rd and 4th Ortlieb bags. I have the Vario which converts into a backpack and absolutely love it. Costs a bit more than your Made in Taiwan/PRC stuff but well worth the extra pennies. It's one of those products where you can feel the love that went into the design and construction.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby SmellyTofu » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:17 am

Topeak Super Tourist DX rack + Ortlieb bags is my winner. Also have a Topeak rack bag that slides on top that stores my tubes & tools. Certainly way better than the backpack option coz at least you're a little free-er to stand up on the pedals when needed without having this heavy backpack on the back impeding your body movements.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby MattyK » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:17 pm

Follow up to my Topeak MTX DXP review. In the last week I've had the zip on the main compartment blow out on me twice. Luckily not while riding, just when picking it up (the handle is on the lid, so it loads the zip). I've managed to get it running again, for now...

So I'm tempted to get something new. Trying to decide if I get the same again (overall it's been good for the last few years) or try a couple of nicely waterproof, low mounted panniers with buckle closures... decisions decisions. $20 off at CRC for EOFY....
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