B'Twin Bicycle Panniers 500
Did you know you can get two 20 litre pannier bags for less than half the price of a single similar Ortlieb bag? Go to the nearest Decathlon and check out this bag: the B’Twin Pannier 500.
Now I started this with a jab at Ortlieb. Perhaps this was unfounded. I have no experience with Ortlieb so they might actually be so much better that they are worth taking a second job, but really, these Decathlon bags get you and your luggage all around the continent. We tested it:
After having a traditional Decathlon-start with one of the bags' mounting points breaking (this probably won’t happen with Ortliebs >.>) and having it replaced at the nearest store, we set sail in the direction of the warm South. Our bags were loaded to the rim; not only with the usual like food and clothes, but with an extra 10kg of climbing gear! We managed all the way from the Netherlands to Crete, Greece without any failures apart from the bag we had to swap at day two (let this be a lesson: Test your equipment before you leave!). On Crete we used them for many months for groceries and short trips to nearby climbing areas.
Now, almost two years later, I am still using these bags. There are some holes in the bottoms,but that’s on me for dragging them over rough surfaces when I’m tired and don’t want to pick them up.
The Decathlon B’Twin 500 pannier bags are made from a thick and sturdy polyester fabric, which they coated on the inside to make them water-proof. Of course, any coating will wear at some time, which is why we always use a trashcan-liner inside the bag. We could’ve done without, but it’s good practice anyways.
It’s volume of 20 litres is more than big enough for self-supported tours. As a 20 liter backpack was the total I had on my first tour, two of these bags on my second felt like a luxury (and heavy) with it’s total of 40 litres. (Another lesson is to be learned here: you always bring as much stuff as you have room for.)
Fixing the bags to the bicycle’s rear rack is done with two simple plastic hooks on the top of the bag and a piece of velcro on the bottom.
- Decathlon’s ‘practical stuff for a low price’.
- Sturdy waterproof fabric.
- Narrow construction making the bags useable with bikes that have short chainstays.
- Fits nearly every rear rack.
- Not too big, not too small.
- The fixing kit is plastic and velcro, so it can fail. The velcro strap ripped off from one bag when I forgot to undo it and jerked it in the ‘I’m tired why don’t you come off?!'-way. Easy to repair, but not sure if needed.
- Decathlon’s black colored fabrics bleach in intense sunlight.
A simple bag. Simple in its construction, simple in the way it attaches to the rear rack. The price is low but the product is durable. It is however a Decathlon product. Perhaps I’m haunted with the infinite-gear-failure-curse, but so far most of the Decathlon products I owned have been returned for warranty at some point. Usually if it lasts through it’s first use it will last forever. So if you get this bag, do some test-rides with a load heavier than what you’ll have on the actual tour. Ride some curbs or bumpy forest-paths as well to stress-test them. (And if you buy Ortliebs instead: do the same, stress-test the heck out of them before you leave!)