Monday, August 24, 2009

Banjo Brothers Saddlebag Panniers - Review

Overview: I have been using a set of Banjo Brothers Saddlebag Panniers for 3 months now. I use the panniers on my bike to carry hefty loads. I have stuffed it with a weeks worth of groceries, cans, bottles and containers.

I have taken trips with it to the beach loaded with beach towels, blanket, sunscreen, beverages, magazines, lunch and snacks.  I have dragged it to Ikea to stock up on household items including long items that stuck out of the top of the panniers. I have gone on picnics hauling a full set of china, water, bottle of wine, 2 liter bottle of soda, cheese, fruit, napkins, flatware, and dessert. I use these panniers to haul my personal effects, clothes, sweater or jacket to the office along with my 15.5" laptop.

I have used and abused them. In near pouring rain. In steady, moderate rain. I have used them in little rain. They have performed wonderfully!

Attachment: The panniers are connected in the middle, saddlebag-style. There is a metal ring on the backside of both panniers that are attached to a strap in the top section of the pannier. The metal ring hooks onto the little "leg" of the bike rack to keep it from flapping, secure and out of the spokes. There is also a front strap that goes around the upturned "lip" at the front of the rack, if you have it, to further secure the panniers.

I have never had an issue with the panniers falling off, getting caught in the spokes or otherwise. When you pull the middle strap on the top tight, the panniers aren't going anywhere until you unstrap them.

  •  1500 cubic feet of capacity
  •  360 degrees of reflective tape
  •  Ripstop fabric with ballistic on the high-wear inside faces
  •  Sturdy strap locking system
  •  Single strap to attach or remove panniers
  •  Two top straps for tether extra gear (like a jacket) 
  •  Stiff, hard plastic inserts to keep panniers' shape
  •  Dual zippers with easy-grasp pulls
  •  Weather-resistant fabric (semi-waterproof)
  •  Tapered lower edges to avoid heel-strike
Each pannier measures approximately 14" wide x 14" long x 5" deep. The middle section is approximately 5" wide. They are tapered to avoid heel-strike.

There are two black, sturdy plastic inserts that slide into a dedicated sleeve along the rear of the inside of each pannier holding it stiff. They are the same exact shape as the panniers themselves.

Below you can see the plastic insert in it's sleeve. The small red arrows at the left denote the sleeve. The small yellow arrow denote the plastic insert itself.

Below you can see the inside of the pannier with the insert in it's sleeve along the bottom of the photo.

Below are photos of the double zippers and pull tabs. Note the small gap between the zippers. In wind-driven and/or heavy rain, water might seep into that tiny space but the whole zipper is sheltered by a little "lip" that covers and protects it from the elements.


These panniers are weather-resistant, not waterproof. They can't be used as a flotation device or expected to withstand heavy rain and/or prolonged wet conditions

Though on the outside it might appear that the panniers can't hold much but you'd be shocked at how much it can fit. The sides expand quite a bit to accommodate the load.

I went to the store and bought a 38 quart container of Lipton Iced it. It's a large, heavy item that easily fit into the panniers with a ton of room to spare.

You can attach extra gear and goodies on the top of the panniers with the two included adjustable straps.

I've used the straps to secure all manner of items from bags, to purses, to a bottles, to sweaters, to jackets, etc. Below I even secured the 38 quart container of Iced Tea to the top. Half the strap wasn't even used so I could tie down something almost twice the size.


Wishes: The panniers are almost perfect but I would have loved to have an inside pocket to put my money, cellphone, keys or other small objects into that otherwise might find their way to the bottom of the bag when I need them most.

Conclusion: The Banjo Brothers Saddlebag Panniers are large, sturdy and weather-resistant. They can stand up to daily use and abuse while hauling a healthy-sized load. They are excellent for commuting, grocery shopping, light touring and everything in between. Anything you put in it will stay safe and secure. They will not get caught in your spokes no matter how full you stuff it. And due to their tapered design, heel-strike is a not an issue.

The 360 degrees of reflective piping/edging make sure that you are visible on the road in low-light and dark conditions.

At $54.99 MSRP, the panniers are a very good deal. They are well-made and well worth it. I highly recommend them.

1 comment:

  1. I'm leaning towards these -- thanks for such a thorough review!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.