I commute daily to work as well as doing some summertime bikepacking. Whether it’s to avoid a sweaty back from wearing a backpack, or to fit sufficient gear for a bikepacking adventure, panniers are an essential gear component for my commuter bike.
Although you can find an affordable set of Seymour panniers on ebay, this was the first set I used and I was rather disappointed with the inflexibility of the bags and the overall lack of storage even in their larger sizes. This led me on a hunt for a larger size and higher quality. Because my winter commute involves packing a full change of clothes, along with double Kryptonite chain locks, and sometimes a laptop, I need to be able to stuff a lot into two panniers.
One of my favourite Canadian bike gear manufacturers is Garneau, whose products I find are just that little bit higher quality. Whether it’s a better lining on winter gloves, helmets with truly effective venting, or jerseys with zippers that don’t snag, I haven’t been disappointed with them yet.
In this case, it was panniers designed by someone who clearly does a lot of bike commuting. I found the Stream B-52’s on sale at half price, and have not been disappointed. They contain a number of little zip pockets to stash away things like wallets, keys, and phone. They come with a water resistant cover, which you would often have to buy as an extra. And, they are both large enough for when the load is heavy, and easily cinch smaller when the load is light. We’re talking a lot more features, and on sale they were a better price than anything comparable.
Looks like their Odyssey F30 is the largest bag they have online at the moment, so try your local bike store for this one. My go-to for Garneau gear in London, Ontario is Village Cycle.