Monday, 14 May 2007

Touring by bike requires a bit of gear, and while I do regularly see people using backpacks on mountainbikes, the best way to carry gear on two wheels is racks and panniers. Panniers from brands like Topeak, Karrimoor and Arkel can be expensive, but cheaper brands can be prone to falling off the bike. (Potentially not pretty!)

I must confess, my own panniers are a bit towards the type that fall off. Thankfully, Arkel, one of the more expensive (but certainly top quality) brands mentioned, aren't too proud to help out by selling a retrofit kit for their mount system that you can install on your own panniers.

So, if your bags are cheapies, but strong, replace the hooks with an Arkel locking system. I know I will be. :D

Of course, if you're starting from scratch, and only the best will do, take a look at Arkel's range. For a long tour, I'd recommend their GT54 model (US$339 a pair) with detachable tent bag on the right pannier, and their T28 front panniers (US$129 a pair) for a total of 82 litres of gear stowage. Oh, and it's worth noting, according to everything I've read on the subject, loading should result in a weight distribution of 40% front and 60% rear for best stability.

Alternatively, you could get a pair of square buckets, an Arkel mount kit and a spanner, and do this. ;) I wouldn't recommend it, really, too heavy.

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