Ortlieb Backroller Bike Panniers

A good bike bag is hard to find. Like yourself, I was in the market for a high quality bike pannier and the Ortlieb Backroller Classic was on the top of my list. The price of these panniers were not cheap but I decided to bite the bullet and try them out.


Bicycle panniers are saddlebags that hang off the sides of a bike rack. They offer some advantages over a standard rack bag. The main thing they offer is trunk space. Panniers come in pairs and these Ortlieb Backrollers offer a great amount storage. Each bag has about the same storage as a small duffel bag. Good storage isn't the only thing that is great about these panniers. These panniers are durable and waterproof.

When I first got these bags, the waterproof construction ultimately sold me on these bicycle panniers. I always carry a day pack going to work and they are not waterproof. Having a waterproof bag is convenient to have if cycling is your main form of transportation. This is especially important since I live in New England. Those living in the northwest (Seattle) will need these also.


Besides the waterproof construction. These Ortlieb Backrollers are "one bag" designed. This means more emphasis on the main compartment and less on pockets. For simplicity, I like the design. This allows you to carry some large item. Maybe a cantaloupe or a pineapple if you are out grocery shopping. There is a small mesh pocket on the inside for items you don't want bumping around in the main compartment.


Ortlieb Pannier (Cat not included)
Ortlieb Pannier (Cat not included)

The main compartment does not have a zipper. In order to close these panniers, you need to roll the top and hook the shoulder strap to a notch on the outside of the bag. I didn't know what to think of this. At first, I thought it was a design flaw. For $150 bike panniers, you would think adding zippers wouldn't be too hard. After riding in the rain during a few torrents, I realized that zippers are not waterproof and by rolling the top, the contents in my panniers remained dry! I was also reminded of how often zippers have derailed and failed on me. I can see these Backrollers lasting me years.


These panniers have an ingenious design that allows it to mount and dismount on your rear rack easily. When you lift up the top, the hooks unlatches and frees the bag from the bike rack. What I found disappointing is the adapters for the rack. To my knowledge, there is no standard size for rear racks. In order for these panniers to fit my rack beams snugly, I had to purchase adapters online. It would've been nice if these adapters were included.


These Ortlieb panniers have reflective tape on the sides that faces the front and back while mounted on the rack. Good for traffic visibility. Overall, I would recommend these panniers to any riders. They are durable and waterproof. I've read people complain about their weight but if you are using them to carry groceries or other heavy loads is a few extra ounces going to matter? The inclusion of rack adaptors would've been nice. The materials are high quality and they are made in Germany. I used my Backrollers to carry a very expensive battery for my e-bike. Sensitive electrical equipment need to stay dry and I wouldn't keep them in nothing but the best. Your needs may very. Thanks for reading.


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