Preview: Bontrager Interchange Urban Commuter Pannier

Just in time for the holidays and hauling around all those gifts, Santa delivered a package to my doorstep – a set of very reflective Bontrager Interchange Urban Commuter Panniers.


Now that I’m on the mend – again – from being ill, I’ll be putting these panniers to the test. Last year at this time I was using a backpack and a single pannier to haul around all my stuff – clothing layers, lunch, books, tools. This year I’ve ditched the backpack (to save my back and shoulders) and look forward to the organization that this set of panniers offers.

The interchange hardware means that I should have no problem using these panniers on any of my bikes.

Look out roads – here I come!

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14 Comments

  1. Pelle January 5, 2010 1:11 am 

    Good luck! Last year I got panniers instead of a backpack. Less sweaty. Bought them at a discount store for 10 dolalrs each and they have been working great.

  2. Andrew Gronow January 5, 2010 4:37 am 

    They’er some tough looking panniers. What is the size in litres?

  3. Cyclin' Missy January 5, 2010 6:03 am 

    Hey, Elisabeth! Those paniers look really nice and stylish. I think you’re going to love them! I really appreciate the reflective materials.

  4. BluesCat January 5, 2010 8:15 am 

    Whoa! Those puppies are HUGE! I think I’d be tempted to overload the rear racks on my commuter bikes!

  5. db January 5, 2010 8:48 am 

    1,975 cubic inches = 32.3 litres (approx.)

  6. Elizabeth January 5, 2010 9:01 am 

    According to the company, the set is 1944 cu in. (31860 cc). The size is large enough to fit up to15.4″ laptops (Bontrager padded laptop sleeves available separately).

    Hope that helps!

    My current pannier is only 1000 cu in and more like a big bucket (no interior pockets).

  7. BluesCat January 5, 2010 10:28 am 

    Really? Wow, my Jandd Economy Panniers are said to be 1,975 ci, but they don’t nearly that big. LOL, now, those wouldn’t happen to be 20″ wheels on that bike, would they, Elizabeth?

  8. Ghost Rider January 5, 2010 10:39 am 

    I suspect that the photo is a bit misleading — the panniers DO look huge, but we’re not getting a good angle of them on the bike (side view would reveal more about their dimensions).

    Looking forward to the review — those are some pretty smart-looking bags.

  9. Elizabeth January 5, 2010 11:39 am 

    Those are 26″ wheels you see on that bike with the panniers. Ghost is right – bad angle on that particular photo. Though I will say they do seem to be a bit taller than my older pannier.

  10. Robert January 5, 2010 7:27 pm 

    I own a pair of some smaller Trek interchange panniers back in 2007. For the price, they are ok, but only if you are using a Trek rack. If you aren’t, then you are out of luck. Hopefully they have improved upon that design for some of their later models. The panniers shown look nice though.

    I have recently picked up a trunk bag with integrated panniers. It comes with a shoulder strap so that I can just pick up and go after I am done with my ride to work. I have really been focusing on my setup and take down times, since I have to leave my bike parked outside.

  11. Elizabeth January 6, 2010 8:22 am 

    @Robert – luckily these panniers each have a shoulder strap, but I’m working on the set up/take down, too. I’m used to only having one pannier – now there are two to hook on and take off whenever I park somewhere.

  12. Powerful Pete January 6, 2010 8:53 am 

    They do look big. I am very happy with my far smaller Arkels, which do a fine job on my admittedly short commute (about 9~10km one way).

  13. Robert January 6, 2010 6:16 pm 

    @Elizabeth – The shoulder strap will definitely help. I do think the interchange system is a great idea though. Two years ago, I started with a pannier & a big red lunch box on my bike rack. Last year, I left a few days worth of clothes in a locker and only had a trunk bag that carried my lunch. I recently bought a trunk bag with integrated panniers to hold additional clothing items for the early spring & late fall months where there are wide temperature swings. I think the hardest part of my whole cycling experience, aside from finding the perfect bike (which hasn’t happened yet), is finding the perfect bag or pannier.

  14. Barb Chamberlain January 10, 2010 9:40 pm 

    At last–men have joined the lifelong search many women go through seeking the perfect purse :D.

    I have a pair of Axiom bags with a slimmer profile that clip together with the shoulder strap. It does take an extra few seconds to undo both, but it lets me keep any potential spill items (like my lunch) separate from electronics.

    I just wish they had a slightly wider bottom, since my usual lunch container is a frozen block of leftovers in one of those sandwich-shaped plastic jobbies, and it’s slightly wider than the pannier so I have to tilt it. These look like they’d work great, although that flat top might collect moisture on rainy days.

    @BarbChamberlain
    Chair, Bike to Work Spokane
    @Bike2WrkSpokane
    http://www.biketoworkspokane.org

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