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Greenbelt
06-01-2011, 03:26 PM
I've always used a backpack. I've got a big "triathlete" pack -- in the evening, I use the wetsuit compartment at the bottom as a place to stash my sweaty clothes from the morning, so they don't contaminate everything else. My laptop fits in the main section crossways, so it's balanced. (I used a shoulder sling pack for a while, but found it too small for winter and also didn't like that it was hard to balance the weight of my laptop.)

But mostly, I never wanted to put on a rack for panniers on the back because I only had one bike, and that would look uncool for weekend rides. Besides, I figured since I have to carry a large, heavy laptop, with the panniers it would still be hard to keep the weight in rough balance (computer on one side, clothes on the other...)

But with the return of hot weather, plus the fact that I now have 2 bikes, I'm reconsidering. The backpack does hold in a lot of heat.

So I have all the usual questions I suppose: Does the rack alone add noticeable weight, even if I still use my backpack for winter? I see a lot of riders with a pan on one side only -- does the bike still handle OK with most of the weight on one side? Does the handling really go down even when the load is balanced? Is it harder to change a rear tire flat with that stuff back there? Is there a setup where clothes can go in the sides, but have a top padded compartment for laptop in the middle on top of the rack for balance?

eminva
06-01-2011, 03:52 PM
This is almost the exact opposite of the question I was thinking of asking! Anyway, I've always used a rack so I will attempt to answer your questions:

I have a rack and a trunk bag with optional panniers that can be opened. Most of the time I can get everything I need in the main compartment and keep the panniers zipped up. When I need to bring my laptop or something else large home I open the panniers and they are very spacious. Everything handles very well regardless of weight distribution. It might be a problem if you are carrying serious weight, but I never tried. I did ride for a while without the rack when I got my new frame and the bike did seem more zippy, but you get used to it. If you have tabs on your frame for the rack it shouldn't affect your tire changing efforts. If you don't have tabs, you need a special rack. Let me know and I can steer you in the right direction on that.

I don't think I could get a laptop in the trunk bag, though. It's more of a cube shaped space. You might be able to find something specialized that would do the job.

The question I had for the troops is this: how tolerable is a backpack or messenger bag in the heat? I had major surgery a couple of years ago which ruled out carrying anything on my back, but I think I could do it now and was thinking of making a switch at some point in the future. However, it's bad enough out there in 90+ degree heat, so I can't imagine adding a backpack. But I see plenty of people doing it so I guess it's okay.

Liz (who looks uncool no matter what so the rack is the least of my worries)

Joe Chapline
06-01-2011, 04:09 PM
I use one pannier as a briefcase that hooks to one side of the rack. I like this one because the front edge is angled so you don't hit it with your heel. You can get it for the right or left side: http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FCP

It actually looks much better than the picture. I've never had any problem carrying a load on one side only. I don't understand the physics of it. You'd think it would be a problem, but it's not. The rack does not interfere with changing a tire. You'd unclip the pannier first, of course.

Mark Blacknell
06-01-2011, 04:11 PM
@Greenbelt - yes, you will notice the weight of the rack & pannier, but it's not huge. One pannier isn't really a handling problem - I bike back from the grocery store all the time with 20 lbs on one side w/ no issues. You won't get anywhere near that w/ clothes and a laptop. That laptop is my only reason for hesitating at endorsing the transition from backpacks to panniers wholeheartedly. I've never been particularly comfortable about subjecting my laptop to the shock (however padded) of being connected directly to the bike. By putting it on my back, it's *far* more insulated from shock than in a pannier. That said, there have to be a load of people who commute with laptops in panniers all the time. Anyone here ever heard of a problem? My objection is based entirely on theory, not experience.

@Em - in my view & experience, a backpack is preferable to a messenger bag. It's a bit easier to control the load positioning, and you can get backpacks with padding that preserves some spacing between your back and the pack as a whole.

DismalScientist
06-01-2011, 04:12 PM
I ride an old-school touring bike and just bungie cord my briefcase to the rack. I am going to experiment with an old school racing bike using wider tire. There are racks that clamp only on the seatpost and can be easily removed when not needed. It think it will be possible to mount relatively light-weight luggage on top of such a rack. I don't think such a rack would be good for mounting paniers. However, such a rack and mounting system might be a solution for you.

Riley Casey
06-01-2011, 04:14 PM
I commute with a back pack and TWO panniers. My formerly fast Jamis Coda has gotten noticeably slower over the years too with the addition of fenders and 40mm city tires as well but it fits better the way I ride. Anyway, the rack itself weighs almost nothing. The panniers hook on to the rack and can be removed with just a few moments effort. On one side I have a 'grocery' bag net style collapsable bag. The carries my yellow jacket and not much else unless I have actually done some shopping. It comes off entirely for pleasure rides. The other side has a smaller zipper close bag with my flat kit, folding bike repair tool and some rags for clean up in case of road repairs. That is always on the bike, even for long rides ( 60 miles is long for me ). The rack is less a hinderance in getting the rear wheel off than the chain and assorted drive ware is by itself. With serious weight in the shopping bag handling is impaired to some degree, with the bags empty I suppose I have simply gotten used to it as I don't notice any effect now. I've been a 'bike as transportation' rider for some time now rather than 'bike as recreation' rider so my perspective may be skewed a bit

Megabeth
06-01-2011, 04:47 PM
I truly like my backpack in the winter...it keeps me warm and cozy. But, during the summer, it does become more noticeable but not unbearable. (I have been known to carry sneakers, a change of clothes and 3 bottles of wine or a full load from a stop at the grocery store on some commutes home but do appreciate the "lighter" days - especially when it's 90+ degrees outside.)

I prefer the backpack over a messenger bag. My backpack has an additional strap that closes on the front of my chest so there is less shifting around but even without that strap I like it just fine. Messenger bags just don't stay put for me.

I have recently considered switching to holding my stuff on the bike, just haven't taken that plunge, yet. I'm appreciating the input here on this forum.

Joe Chapline
06-01-2011, 07:07 PM
I have fenders on my commuter bike now, but for many years bike racks did double-duty as a back fenders for me. The back fender is more important than the front fender. I had a rack with a solid middle section that helped keep a lot of the water from the back wheel off my back. Before that, I had a rack with a spring-loaded center section. When it rained, I could clamp a newspaper or piece of cardboard in there for a fender. It was also perfect for carrying a basketball -- it would pin the ball to the back of the seat. I'd post a link, but I don't know if they sell those any more.

JustinW
06-01-2011, 08:03 PM
I commute with my laptop and various other bits (clothes, lunch, etc.) and find no balance issues at all even if just one pannier is used. Low CG plus location close to the centerline must somewhat negate any ill effects, balance-wise.

If I commute on my road bike(sans rack) then a backpack is my only option. Don't like the heat factor at all, and I am leery of putting the laptop in the backpack due to aeries ... Perhaps needless ... Over having my center of gravity much higher.

Short answer: try both ways and see what works best for you.

CCrew
06-02-2011, 04:31 AM
@Em - in my view & experience, a backpack is preferable to a messenger bag. It's a bit easier to control the load positioning, and you can get backpacks with padding that preserves some spacing between your back and the pack as a whole.

I'll respectfully disagree. Aren't opinions great? (grin)
I find a backpack bulky, cumbersome, and hot. If you need to get to something quickly it has to come off.

A *good* messenger bag isn't in your way, holds a ton of stuff and doesn't slide around. Now when I say a "good" bag, I'm not talking the Timbuk2 wannabes or stuff that half the places sell as a messenger bag. They should be called messenger *style* bags. Personally I use a Chrome Citizen, but companies such as Crumpler, Mission Workshop, all make nice ones. Chrome is what a lot of the bike messengers wear. Messenger bags frequently get a bum rap with cyclists as everyone and their brother sell bags claiming to be messenger bags and in reality they're just a fashion accessory and not functional. Like buying high heels with cleats :)

Paramount is the bag having a sub strap that goes across your chest, and a bag that's designed to go across a specific shoulder which means there will be right and left versions. On my Chrome, I can unsnap the chest strap, spin the bag to the front, open it, spin back around and keep on getting on without even stopping. And I carry a Macbook in a Booq case and an iPad most of the time, in addition to a change of clothes, tools, tubes, pump, and assorted junk.

I have a bike with rear rack, and the Topeak trunk bag and/or separate panniers. I find the aerodynamics annoying, weight on the rear wheel unacceptable, and the bike top heavy when loaded.

Just personal opinion

Dirt
06-02-2011, 10:45 AM
In-line with my "I want to be Frank Sinatra when I grow up" mantra, I do things my way. Insert snarky comment here.

Due to some shortcomings of my old fixie commuting bike, I ran for quite a while with a rack on the front and using only one front pannier. On a nErMyL day (that is "normal" for you humans) I would have between 7 and 10 pounds of stuff in the pannier. When I'm working from home and at the office, that weight jumps to almost 30 pounds. It started as a necessity since the old commuter was a super whippy steel frame that could barely handle my weight and pedaling, much less 30 pounds of crap strapped to it. What I found was an amazing ride dynamic.

My biggest complaint about having weight out back is that I easily get into "tail wagging the dog" mode when I get honking up a hill. Basically when I get out of the saddle to sprint up a hill, the rack and panniers have a profound impact on the direction the bicycle goes. The net result being I become a missile with great propulsion, but zero guidance. (That's not a good thing.)

Having the weight on the front wheel made me aware that it was there when riding.... I needed a bit more care when going into a tight turn... but I should probably have a bit more care there anyways. I found that the bike handled MUCH better when climbing or getting out of the saddle.

Bottom line: It looks silly. I loved the ride. It looks silly.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5123/5265058358_e9f3a9e9ac_b.jpg
The stooge-mobile with the bucket panniers packed full of toys going to Toys For Tots before Christmas.

Did I mention that it looks silly?

Dirt
06-02-2011, 10:56 AM
I like messenger bags better than backpacks. They're a little more difficult to get positioned perfectly, but they tend to be much easier on my shoulders, which have both been pretty seriously injured in the last decade or two, and I breathe better with them. Belts on backpacks tend to inhibit my breathing when they're tightened enough to do their job. Everything I just wrote is completely false. I really just like the messenger bag because it makes me feel hip and cool and I desperately need that for my self esteem. Can someone direct me to the location of the next fixie hipster skidding contest???

StopMeansStop
06-02-2011, 11:02 AM
I commute with a back pack and TWO panniers. My formerly fast Jamis Coda has gotten noticeably slower over the years too with the addition of fenders and 40mm city tires as well but it fits better the way I ride. Anyway, the rack itself weighs almost nothing. The panniers hook on to the rack and can be removed with just a few moments effort. On one side I have a 'grocery' bag net style collapsable bag. The carries my yellow jacket and not much else unless I have actually done some shopping. It comes off entirely for pleasure rides. The other side has a smaller zipper close bag with my flat kit, folding bike repair tool and some rags for clean up in case of road repairs. That is always on the bike, even for long rides ( 60 miles is long for me ). The rack is less a hinderance in getting the rear wheel off than the chain and assorted drive ware is by itself. With serious weight in the shopping bag handling is impaired to some degree, with the bags empty I suppose I have simply gotten used to it as I don't notice any effect now. I've been a 'bike as transportation' rider for some time now rather than 'bike as recreation' rider so my perspective may be skewed a bit


Can you show us some pics? Sounds like a nice setup.

Joe Chapline
06-02-2011, 11:06 AM
I Googled the Chrome Citizen messenger bag that CCrew mentioned, and it DOES look very cool. I found a video about it, and the guy said you can put ice and beer in it, no problem. My interest is piqued. @CCrew: thanks for the details about what makes a good messenger bag. @Dirt: another great post. Now I want a front rack.

eminva
06-02-2011, 11:40 AM
Thanks everyone, for your input -- appreciated.

This whole thread, especially Dirt's photo, is making me flash back to middle school when my brother had a paper route and I had to do it for him on the weekends when he went off camping. There were racks and panniers on the front and rear. If I remember correctly they were made out of two by fours and canvas. There was also a messenger bag, but not a cushy Chrome bag, but a huge, flimsy muslin affair. I remember one day when the rig was so heavy I could not get it going, so I had to keep coming back to the house for a refill of newspapers. Oh well, kept me in school so I could someday have an office job . . . which I ride my bike to.

Dirt, the hipster skidding contest, as well as the sidewalk riding contest, salmon contest and CaBi fashion contest are all right outside my window on L Street, all day, everyday.

Liz

creadinger
06-02-2011, 11:55 AM
I've been riding with a rack and panniers for 5+ years now and I love having my bike carry the weight instead of my back. I think what did it for me was when I did the C&O canal over 3 days with a hiking pack on my back. After 60 miles my legs were fine, but my back was so tired and sweaty!

For commuting I usually use both rear panniers. One for utility stuff like spare tube, pump, keys, wallet, phone, and the other for my change of clothes. I know that there is a slight difference in weight having the rack and at least one pannier always there, but I'm a few pounds+ overweight myself so it's not a big deal. I don't carry a laptop, but I know that many cross-country touring cyclists carry them in their bags ok.

I should say that my two main bikes are a steel touring bike, and a cyclocross bike that I frankensteined into a commuter, so I don't have a super-fast carbon bike that might look silly with a rack.

The only thing I do not like about the rack and panniers is the cost. A good rack costs $50 and then a good set of panniers with rain covers or water proofing can be $100.

baiskeli
06-02-2011, 12:50 PM
I am definitely a pan guy. Can't stand the sweat and weight of a backpack. A pan feels lighter. I notice absolutely no balance problems with having just one.

As for looking cool, I'm too old to give a damn any more. Walking around with a baby carrier put that to rest once and for all.

StopMeansStop
06-02-2011, 01:34 PM
So what do yall suggest for carrying groceries? Right now I have an old school rear rack, the kind with the spring loaded flap fornholding books.

I usually request a paper bag and strap the thing on with a bungee cargo net.

Id like to find a way to carry two bags.

Dirt
06-02-2011, 01:46 PM
@Dirt: another great post. Now I want a front rack.
Glad that helped. If you don't get out of the saddle much, then rear panniers are fine. Any standing on the pedals makes it much better for me to have the weight on the front wheel.


Dirt, the hipster skidding contest, as well as the sidewalk riding contest, salmon contest and CaBi fashion contest are all right outside my window on L Street, all day, everyday.
Oh SNAP! I didn't get that memo. ;) They gave Freedom Plaza back to the bootcamp and skateboarders. :D


Happy Day!

Mark Blacknell
06-02-2011, 02:21 PM
So what do yall suggest for carrying groceries? Right now I have an old school rear rack, the kind with the spring loaded flap fornholding books.

I usually request a paper bag and strap the thing on with a bungee cargo net.

Id like to find a way to carry two bags.

I use this (http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=29871). The best part of it is that I can just drop my bags (reusable, plastic, paper - whatever) in without the repacking action that my other panniers require. It's not perfect, though. I need to source an extension for the strap that keeps it closed/in the upright position so that I can use it as an additional load support when it's really full/heavy (okay, for when I'm carrying a case of beer and a couple of bottles of wine). And I just *barely* have a foot clearance issue (probably not an issue for most, as my feet are, uh, big.). Even with those issues, this is probably the single most useful utilitarian accessory I've ever gotten for my bike. Been using it since 2005, I think.

Dirt
06-02-2011, 02:32 PM
So what do yall suggest for carrying groceries?
http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/images/large/BikeShopper.jpg
Ortlieb Bike Shoppers. Stupidly expensive but they're cool! The clip to the side of your grocery cart and work like shopping bags. Between the two, they can carry 4 6-packs, a bottle of rum and some munchies for when you wake up after passing out.

Joe Chapline
06-02-2011, 03:15 PM
I use this (http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=29871). The best part of it is that I can just drop my bags (reusable, plastic, paper - whatever) in without the repacking action that my other panniers require. It's not perfect, though. I need to source an extension for the strap that keeps it closed/in the upright position so that I can use it as an additional load support when it's really full/heavy (okay, for when I'm carrying a case of beer and a couple of bottles of wine). And I just *barely* have a foot clearance issue (probably not an issue for most, as my feet are, uh, big.). Even with those issues, this is probably the single most useful utilitarian accessory I've ever gotten for my bike. Been using it since 2005, I think.

I have Loan Peak Grocery Panniers, which are kind of similar. They have a long enough strap, but I also have to be careful to avoid kicking them with my heel. I have something I like better, although most people won't want to do it: I keep a collapsible wire mesh basket on one side all the time. I only use one because I need to keep the other side open for my commuter pannier. Upside: the wire mesh baskets are cheap, they ride higher than the bags, so there's plenty of clearance, and they completely support any grocery bag from the bottom. With it on the bike all the time, I don't have to know ahead of time if I'm going to stop to buy something. Downside: the baskets are not very easy to take on and off; they rattle some; and I don't think anyone would consider them cool.

Riley Casey
06-02-2011, 03:40 PM
Not sure this really rises to a picture-able offense but I enjoy a bit of low budget bike porn when the opportunity arises. The bungee & the carabiner are just to add some flexibility in load control and to restrain the grocery bag since I long ago broke the snaps that held it closed when not in use. The hooks are visible in the pic but the tension cords at the bottom are not. One nice thing about the whole arrangement with the hooks and carabiner is that when parking in a less than safe area I can, in less than a minute, remove both panniers and carry them over my shoulder in true John Wayne western style like saddle bags.

Joe Chapline
06-02-2011, 04:28 PM
Not sure this really rises to a picture-able offense but I enjoy a bit of low budget bike porn when the opportunity arises. The bungee & the carabiner are just to add some flexibility in load control and to restrain the grocery bag since I long ago broke the snaps that held it closed when not in use. The hooks are visible in the pic but the tension cords at the bottom are not. One nice thing about the whole arrangement with the hooks and carabiner is that when parking in a less than safe area I can, in less than a minute, remove both panniers and carry them over my shoulder in true John Wayne western style like saddle bags.

"Like." I want a "like" button on this forum, like Facebook.

Joe Chapline
06-02-2011, 04:40 PM
So what do yall suggest for carrying groceries? Right now I have an old school rear rack, the kind with the spring loaded flap fornholding books.

I haven't tried these Novara panniers (http://www.rei.com/product/780449/novara-round-town-single-bike-pannier), but they're getting good reviews on the REI site. The reviews touch on some of the issues that have been mentioned here.

Joe Chapline
06-02-2011, 04:54 PM
This whole thread, especially Dirt's photo, is making me flash back to middle school when my brother had a paper route and I had to do it for him on the weekends when he went off camping. There were racks and panniers on the front and rear. If I remember correctly they were made out of two by fours and canvas. There was also a messenger bag, but not a cushy Chrome bag, but a huge, flimsy muslin affair. I remember one day when the rig was so heavy I could not get it going, so I had to keep coming back to the house for a refill of newspapers.

@Eminva: Thanks, that takes me back to similar experiences on my paper route. We didn't have Spandex in those days; that must be why the bike wouldn't move.

Dirt
06-03-2011, 08:17 AM
I haven't tried these Novara panniers (http://www.rei.com/product/780449/novara-round-town-single-bike-pannier), but they're getting good reviews on the REI site. The reviews touch on some of the issues that have been mentioned here.
I went to REI to buy those and came out with the Ortlieb's that I mentioned below. The REI ones look like they'd be really nice and easy to use for shopping stuff.

Brock
06-03-2011, 08:19 AM
…I can, in less than a minute, remove both panniers and carry them over my shoulder in true John Wayne western style like saddle bags.

See, now we need pics of THAT. Giddyup!

Brock
06-03-2011, 08:26 AM
I suspect you've got all the info you need by now, but I'll toss in one more for panniers. I hated having that weight on my back all the time.

While you're at it, get yourself a decent cargo bungee net. I can't find it on their site, but I got a Topeak at my LBS. I keep that attached to my rack at all times. It's held up well to abuse, it hasn't been stolen - and it's cheap enough that I'm willing to risk it, because the utility is worth it. I use the thing all the time when I don't expect to be picking anything up.

Great example: earlier this week we lost power, and it hadn't come back on my the time I was headed home. I stopped at the grocery store and rode home with two 8-pound bags of ice strapped to the back, to save the stuff in my freezer.

brendan
06-03-2011, 08:56 AM
Or there's the going too far option some of us have chosen: a Surly Big Dummy (or some other xtracycle setup). I keep some dry bags in the side pockets in case I have to bring something home in the rain that shouldn't get wet. :)

Brendan

Riley Casey
06-03-2011, 01:17 PM
I knew that post was a mistake :p


See, now we need pics of THAT. Giddyup!

eminva
06-04-2011, 07:24 AM
I have the Novara panniers from REI and they work great for grocery shopping. They hold a ton of stuff.

Liz

FFX_Hinterlands
06-04-2011, 07:49 AM
I use baskets on my commuting bike. I put a backpack in the basket. If it rains I put the backpack in a trash bag first (that looks very classy, I assure you).
This bike has a Wald basket zip tied to the front rack (from Rivendell) and two Wald folding baskets on the back.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/GrtZ7YfVa4PTyL19jZdnXmDHSCOYJLwAQdvUJLtuQlo?feat=d irectlink

Greenbelt
06-07-2011, 08:28 AM
Thanks for all the thoughts. Last night, I was riding just ahead of a guy on Arundel Road just past Eastern Ave in Maryland. I heard this horrible sound behind me and doubled back to see if he was OK. He had lost a pannier on one of those (unmarked) speed bumps that I'm sort of accustomed to blasting over with my CX-style setup.

So given the cost, and the difficulty of teaching an old dog (me) new tricks, the issue of the laptop, and the fact that last week didn't seem too bad, I'm going to stick with my tried and true backpack for now. We'll see how it goes later this week -- supposed to be very hot tomorrow and Thursday.

Greenbelt
09-10-2011, 08:19 PM
Throwing a new video on an old thread.

http://vimeo.com/28874075

paytonc
09-19-2011, 12:30 AM
Count me among those who have switched from wearing the weight to panniers. I have messenger bags and backpacks from by Chrome, Crumpler, Patagonia, et al, but they always left my back and shoulders sore and sweaty and my shirts wrinkled. My cousin the chiropractor would always scowl at me if she saw me wearing a messenger bag. Plus, in a suit-and-tie city, they look unprofessional.

I recently got an "Office-Bag" briefcase pannier from Ortlieb which is bigger than I need, but has solid/simple clips and is impermeable. (Apparently others are available in Germany, but this was the best one I could find from bike shops in several U.S. cities.) I usually only carry computers/tablets with solid-state drives inside, so bouncing around isn't going to hurt anything. The rack itself has marginal weight, and I can easily track-stand with the bag on -- somehow the weight distribution doesn't matter.

creadinger
09-20-2011, 11:19 AM
If you needed any other reasons to go with panniers over a backpack (I don't know much about messenger bags) - My wife and I have been riding to the grocery store in Potomac Yard for weekly trips since we moved to the area in April. A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted a little more than just food, so I brought one of my panniers in the store and made sure one of the larger (with the tap on top) Newcastle mini-kegs would fit inside. It did! With room to spare even. So I got grabbed that, picked up the veggies, cheese, PB, milk and OJ I was supposed to get and rode home. My wife already thinks I'm insane so it wasn't too much of a surprise when I got there.

Anyway, from my experience you'd need a pretty large backpack, and a stronger than normal back to comfortably carry a mini-keg plus 1.5 gallons of other liquid on your back. Being so used to hauling loaded panniers around, the extra weight wasn't a problem.

OneEighth
09-20-2011, 12:01 PM
Yes, but does it build character?
I lugged a cast iron dutch oven to the office for CFC one year...

rcannon100
09-20-2011, 01:30 PM
As an old courier and commuter, I always use to lug my stuff in a backpack. Did I mention the "old" part. I began to feel it -bikers back - I had acquired some Transit Panniers (http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1023673_-1_1552500_20000_400031) for a trip and now use them for commuting. They are quite great - sort of like stuff bags - can get a tremendous amount in them.

Someone mentioned observing a commuter lose his panniers on a speed bump. That's a problem; my old panniers fell off all the time. The new Transits strap on MUCH better and never budge. So yes, cheap panniers suffer fallage. A key feature is ease of strapping it on and off.

For a little while I continued to use a backpack to carry a laptop. I would strip all the weight out of the laptop -- meaning the battery - put the weight in the pannier, and put the laptop in the backpack. I dont carry a laptop any more but I would not hesitate to put in my new panniers --- and I am thinking about getting a netbook anyway.

mstone
09-21-2011, 08:51 AM
I use a set of the Novarra transfer panniers, pretty cheap if you get them on sale, and fairly simple. They sort of snap on to the rack, and I've never had trouble with them falling off even on bumpy off-road trails. There are a few complaints about the clips breaking, but my best guess on that is that some people don't read the directions and don't remove the insert that sizes the clips for thin rack rails when they're using thick rack rails. As others have said, they're also great for getting a few gallons of milk, etc., from the store. I probably wouldn't use them for long-distance touring, but for commuting and shopping they're great.