7 of 8 customers found this review helpful.
Versatile, bombproof, with a perfect attachment system.
I used these on a cross-country bike tour - not this exact model, but the Front Roller Plus model with cordura fabric instead of PVC. I can still speak to the utility of these panniers, including closure system, straps, and so on. I paired them with the Bike Packer Plus rear panniers, which have a lid instead of a roll closure.
The roll closure is waterproof and feels very secure. It also has the advantage of being somewhat flexible in terms of carrying capacity - you can roll it down further if you're carrying less, or stuff it totally full (or even leave it open at the top, or just put the securing strap across the top) if you've got a lot of stuff. Another reviewer mentioned that the closure system is annoying, and I agree, to an extent. You have to roll the top, clip both sides to the shoulder strap, and make sure the shoulder strap stays secure in its little clip at the bottom front of the bag. Then you clip the third strap closed over the top. I actually stopped doing this pretty quickly. I did it on one side - I kept the shoulder strap attached to the pannier in which I kept my valuables, so I could grab it and wear it across my body like a purse when I got off my bike at a restaurant or museum or whatever - I really liked that. The other pannier, I took the shoulder strap off and shoved it in the bottom somewhere, and just clipped the two sides of the rolling portion to each other, forming a loop at the top. Worked just fine, and the top was still rolled and waterproof.
I love Ortlieb's attachment system. Once you've got it set up for your rack, it stays put exactly where you put it, and when you need to take the panniers off, all you have to do is pull up on the handle. They've got a nifty system whereby lifting up on the handle pulls back the little plastic tab that wraps around your rack tube, and the pannier lifts right off. Putting it back on is the same thing in reverse. Practically effortless. Easier and more secure than other panniers I've seen that involve hooks and bungees.
THAT SAID... keep on eye on the attachments, and check the screws every once in a while. I lost one of the little lower thingies that holds the pannier against the rack when the screw loosened without me noticing. I checked all my other panniers every couple of days after that, with no further problems. I could replace the part easily enough, but it didn't really cause too many problems -- the top attachment is secure enough that I didn't worry about my pannier falling off at all, and I rarely leaned my bike sharply enough for the pannier to sway away from the rack.
Inside, the pannier is just a bucket you can organize and fill up however you'd like. I think this is more practical than dividers, since what you're carrying and how you want to carry it will vary over the course of a tour. If you like having everything separate, I recommend carrying plastic bags or stuff sacks (maybe color-coded!) and dividing stuff up that way.
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