Advice re bikes, lights and panniers

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Advice re bikes, lights and panniers

Postby Netti » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:11 pm

Hi all,

I've learnt a lot from this forum already so thank you.

I'm a seasoned rider, used to commute 18 years ago BC, then with the kids to school and once they hit adolescence, it all stopped due to their work/sport commitments. But they're both driving now and I've been able to commute again this year.

I've been riding my hardtail mtb with a backpack for the past 6 months, I'm ready now for a commuter specific bike with panniers.

I live in Townsville, so heat rather than cold is an issue, I commute around 200kms/ week.

So I'm looking at a Bianchi Camaleonte C2 hybrid. I have a Bianchi Infinito roadie, just love them. I'm interested in panniers and racks, any tips would be greatly appreciated. Also info on rear lights, I'm continuing to use my Ayups on the front.

Thank you in advance. I love the commuter riding world!

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Re: Advice re bikes, lights and panniers

Postby rooftop » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:47 am

I use PDW Radbot 1000 rear lights - I like that they have built in reflectors and come with rear rack mounts. I run them off rechargeable AAA's.

My panniers are from They can be a bit fiddly to get setup, but once done they are rock solid and easy to mount/dismount.

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Re: Advice re bikes, lights and panniers

Postby P!N20 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:47 pm

If price is no obstacle, Ortlieb make the best panniers. They also come up second hand occasionally for a lot less than new.

Tubus make the best racks, but there are plenty of other options - Topeak and Soma come to mind.

You'll need to work out if you want front, rear or both. Front is good because it balances out your body weight on the back, but often don't have as much capacity (if that's a problem.) Rear is the opposite - large capacity but can play havoc with your handling - heavy rear, light front.

FWIW I commute with one rear pannier when it's wet and barely notice it's there...until I try to sneak through a gap and hear it rubbing along the side of the obstacle. Oops!

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Re: Advice re bikes, lights and panniers

Postby Thoglette » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:06 pm

Netti wrote:I'm interested in panniers and racks, any tips would be greatly appreciated.

First tick - the bike has eyelets. You'll need a rack with clearance for the disc. I'm a fanboy of the Topeak Super Tourist DX for a number of reasons: the rail system is great (I have a ghetto laptop bag set up for that) and the second set of rails make using panniers and the rail much easier.

Pannier - the question is: water resistant or water proof? I've been happily using Deuter UNI bags for many years (cheaply available second hand) as I'm only commuting and the occasional bit of water (it collects in the bottom of the rain cover) is no biggie. If I was touring, the water proof nature of "proper" brands would appeal much more.

Netti wrote:Also info on rear lights, I'm continuing to use my Ayups on the front.

Something that throws a broad loom, both sideways and onto the road.

I've got a middling rechargable "bar" from Anaconda and (before I broke it) a PDW AA powered unit. Both worked fine.

The big thing with lights is to follow the Audax rules: have two independent sets. Batteries do go flat and lights stop working once you drop them often enough. I tend to have one bolt-on set on rechargable batteries and the other (quick release) set is USB powered.

Finally, I like proper mudguards. They keep me, my luggage and the bike much cleaner. Especially after the rain when there's puddles of crap everywhere.
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Re: Advice re bikes, lights and panniers

Postby Netti » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:41 pm

Thank you all, that's great advice. I very much agree with the 2 independent rear lights, I live on acreage and about 6kms of my ride is narrow road and no street lighting so I really rely on lights for visibility. I'm thinking rear panniers as I'm needing to carry a bit more weight however I was concerned about how that will make the bike handle. The chain stay length on the Bianchi is 440mm and I've read that's adequate to ensure I'm not hitting my heels on the panniers. Truly loving commuting again, I get cranky if I have to drive! Thank you all, happy commuting!

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Re: Advice re bikes, lights and panniers

Postby DavidS » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:21 pm

Another vote for Ortleib panniers here, they are great. I've had mine for a few years, just busted a buckle, but apart from that the panniers are like new.

Also another vote for full mudguards. They are essential. I also have a mudflap on the front and it also helps.

Make sure you get a rack that easily fits the pannier. I have 2 bikes with different racks and one fits the pannier mount much better than the other, try a pannier of your choice on the proposed rack.


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Re: Advice re bikes, lights and panniers

Postby zebee » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:41 am

Consider dynamo lights. I have hub dynamos on 2 bikes and a spoke dynamo (Sunup Eco MaxiDyn) on the trike until it went electric.

You can get decent front lights for them, mostly GErman which means unlike the usual high power bike lights they play nicely in traffic instead of blinding all and sundry. What i like about dynamos is they are set and forget. No need to worry about remembering to recharge, and no need to remove them from the bike if parked.

I have a set of rear flashers on both dynamo bikes as well, and a front flasher on the Brompton as the B light is very low and a bit hidden by the front bag.

Defnitely get mudguards. Also don't skimp on tools and side-of-road fixit gear. Weight weenies may think a couple of CO2 in a pocket and a tiny multi tool are enough, but your regular commuter is going to be happy they had a tube and patches and a decent pump and nice to manage tools to get the 3rd puncture fixed and being able to tighten the rack and adjust the disk brakes because you forgot to last night...

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