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Old 09.09.2009, 16:58
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Panniers for a Tandem

I've recently aquired a Tandem and wish to buy some rear panniers for it. I was wondering if anyone can give any recommendations as to the type, brand and where I can buy them from?

Given that there will be two of us riding, and most likely touring, these panniers need to be pretty big. From what I've looked at so far the triple designs seem to hold the most, has anyone had any experience with these? Finally they should be durable and waterproof.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 10.09.2009, 01:02
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Re: Panniers for a Tandem

I don't have any experience with tandems, but on my current tour I'm using Arkel panniers. The tandem specific rear panniers are huge, 84 litres:

They're not waterproof by themselves, but you can buy rain covers as an extra accessory.

My future preference would be for waterproof Ortlieb panniers, but they're much smaller, a problem for two people on a tandem.

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Old 10.09.2009, 08:47
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Re: Panniers for a Tandem

You should search through the posts in the Tandem Cycling subforum of BikeForums for info on tandem panniers, and post this question there if you still don't find what you're looking for.

Ortlieb are certainly the most waterproof, but are definitely only medium-sized, and are not cheap. As already mentioned, rain covers are made for most panniers, and in my experience that combination has kept my stuff dry in some pretty bad conditions. As long as you spend a decent amount of money then you should get something pretty durable - The cheaper models are normally lacking in terms of the attachment system and durability.

Hopefully your tandem has a sturdy rear wheel - at least a 145mm wide hub and 40 spokes would be recommended for tandem touring. If you have less confidence in the robustness of that wheel, you may want to consider distributing the load a bit more evenly across the bike. Using a handlebar bag can give you lots of extra space (just make sure you don't have shifter cables in the way, but there are ways around that problem). On a tandem, you can also use a couple of frame bags. We have a quite large one that goes under the top tube behind the captain's seat-tube that we find very useful, we got ours from a dealer in N. America, but hopefully you can find one in Europe somewhere. SJS Cycles in the UK carry a lot of tandem-specific parts and accessories, but I don't see that bag on their website. Plus, we sometimes put another smaller frame bag under the lateral tube behind the captain's seat-tube.

Adding front panniers can get expensive because of needing another rack and paying for another set of bags, plus the racks are difficult to put on some forks (although never impossible, unless the fork is carbon). However, it is certainly an option that I would consider if my rear bags still weren't big enough or my rear wheel wasn't sturdy enough.

There are also bags made to fit between two panniers on top of the rack - get a long skinny one so that it fits well, many of this type are too fat to fit between panniers because they are designed to be used on their own. Of course, if you're camping then that is the ideal place for a tent, so you can't use one of these. Here's a small image of the one we use with panniers, which comes from a Canadian store called MEC:
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