Jul 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm #1276827
Long before I was a backpacker, I toured various countries with a buddy, unsupported (just the two of us with our tents/sleeping bags/gear/maps/etc.). Usually three weeks at a time. I toured Scotland, Ireland, NE France, East Germany, New Zealand and Arizona like that, and Holland for a week.
When I turned 50 a few years ago, I decided to celebrate with a 9-day bike tour with my buds (two of them) in Vermont. One of my buds, Thomi, lives in Heidelberg, but he was more than happy to fly over here and celebrate with me. I promised when he turned 50 I'd fly over to Germany and celebrate with him with a short bike tour. That's this year. I'll be there Aug. 18-28.
Bike panniers are, in my opinion, notoriously overbuilt. And not the lightest things in the world. So I talked to, who else, Chris Zimmer about making some out of, what else, cuben. He did a fantastic job! Even made the top attachments exceptionally adjustable. Also had him make a small under-seat tool/tire bag. His wonderful craftsmanship is below.
The seat bag weighs an ounce. I sent Chris an Ortlieb pannier to use as a model. I sent a front pannier, and asked him to size up to make rear panniers. My new rear cuben/dyneema panniers weighs 6.5 oz. each, which is about 1 lb. 2 oz. less than the front pannier I sent him. Way cool!
The obligatory pics, seat bag first:
And now the pannier:
.Jul 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm #1760248
Doug I think you have a cuben problem….Jul 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm #1760250
"Doug I think you have a cuben problem…."
Huh? I see cuben. I buy cuben. No problem! ;-)Jul 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm #1760251
out of pocket, out of mind…Jul 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm #1760252
on a serious bike note, check out revelate designs for frame bags, and other bike gear. sorry no cuben thoughJul 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm #1760267
I'm guessing you're talking about touring on a road bike? Cuben wouldn't stand up to a serious mountain bike spill. :-)
The products look great.Jul 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm #1760284
Yup, road bike. I've never toured on a mountain bike – it's all been road touring. Forget the cuben panniers, my Koga-Miyata wouldn't do to well on trails either…. ;-)
I have been thinking about getting a 29'er though: a Trek Superfly Elite. My riding buddy got one about a month ago, and it's seems to be a pretty awesome bike, so I think I'm gonna get me one! Can't take my Madone on the trails either!Jul 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm #1760285
Take a look at Jamis 29'ers or the Surly one.Jul 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm #1760287
I have a Surly Karate Monkey single-speed. It's the most pimped out Monkey you'll find. King hubs with Stan's rims, King headset, Avid Elixir CR brakes, Thomson seat post and stem, Easton carbon bars, and a RockShox Reba Race fork. Best part is I paid about 1/3 the cost of that Trek. :-)Jul 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm #1760290
Ah yes, but my hankering for cuben is nearly matched by my hankering for carbon fiber…… ;-) And at least the Trek is cheaper than the bamboo bike I was lusting after a couple of months ago!
Though that Surly of yours sounds exceptionally sweet!Jul 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm #1760292
check out the Alaska Vid with the surly pugsley's. you'll forget about carbonJul 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm #1760294
"check out the Alaska Vid with the surly pugsley's. you'll forget about carbon"
Link! Link!Jul 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm #1760298Jul 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm #1760302
Incredible. Who took the video?
Simply incredible.Jul 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm #1760304
You know, some people (not me, of course) would say that instead of lightening up with cuben, you should just HTFU. But that's just some obviously rude people…….Jul 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm #1760306
check out roman's blog, he's in it.Jul 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm #1760307
"you should just HTFU"
Well, I do ask Chris to use the heavier cuben……Jul 19, 2011 at 5:33 am #1760787
Douglas, great looking packs! Mike Curiak took the video. He's a stud… you should google up some of his adventures.
You'll LOVE the 29er on trail. Chris's recommendation to check out the Surly is a good one. You might also check out monstercross bikes since you have some experience with drop bar bikes. I have a Singular Peregrine that I love. Salsa makes a Fargo that is a similar bike that's very popular for bikepacking / touring as well.
Don MeredithJul 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm #1760914
Thanks Don! I'll check out the Peregrine and Salsa.Jul 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm #1761103
Pilate de GuerreMember
@deguerreLocale: SE, USA
Holy cow! That is some beautiful gear. Great job Chris. I may try to be in touch with you as I am considering building a frame bag with the XPAC John a.k.a Newton has just shipped out to me via the PIF express :).
Can you take a picture of your touring rig loaded up with the panniers and seat bag attached?Feb 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm #1839997
Those panniers look incredible.
My one concern would be the straps that attach them to the rack. I know the Ortlieb's use some pretty serious hardware for those critical attachment points.
Have you had a chance to test these out in the real world yet? How secure were they under what conditions?Jul 5, 2012 at 8:49 am #1892372
Assuming you have taken this setup for a test ride, what are your impressions of the pannier/rack attachment system? Looks like an elegant solution for what most pannier manufacturers make overly complicated. The daisy chain on the backside of the pannier seems to offer good adjustability. Is there anything you would change?
ChrisJul 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm #1892492
There is one big change I would make – I would put carrying handles on the top. I didn't have them, and without them it made carrying them up stairs and such a bit of a pain in the butt, and it also made it more difficult to attach them to the racks.
The attachment system did not work out well at all (let me be clear that it was the system I asked for, not one Chris came up with). The whatever-they're-called wouldn't stay closed. I used shoelaces tied to the top rack for a couple of days until we could get a better replacement. I used a different strap system that worked out fine for the rest of the trip, but came away from the trip thinking that clips really are an easy way to go for putting panniers on racks. My buddy bought two sets of Ortlieb clips and mailed them to me – I'm going to rig them to the panniers next time I use them.
Other than that, the panniers did great. Plenty of room, plenty durable (for road touring), I'll definitely use them next time I do a tour. Again, the only changes I'd make is to put handles on the top for carrying (I'll rig a sling for the one's I have) and I'm going to try the Ortlieb clips for attaching to racks.
Hope this is helpful.Aug 16, 2012 at 8:12 am #1903194
@tjaardLocale: Minnesota, USA
Great to see this, including the seatbag.
I am always amazed at how a bike company will tout their new frame that weights 50 grams less than the old one, or use carbon brake levers to save 10g, or how their shoes are the lightest (by like 5g), yet sell a tiny seatbag, that will need to hold almost nothing, and make it out of the most ridiculously heavy fabrics and buckles!
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