Step 1: Match the panniers with your needs
Short trips, city commuting, off road
When travelling with small loads, medium size panniers mounted on the rear rack will be a good choice. Their total capacity of about 35 liters is more than enough to carry extra clothes, a guidebook and a delicious lunch. In this segment you can choose between 4 panniers: Expert 40, Classic 30, Dry 30 and Twist 35. Browse the Products section for details.
If you anticipate longer trips from time to time, consider the purchase of full size rear panniers. The capacity can be easily adjusted thanks to the smart closure system.
A set of panniers with about 50 liters capacity should answer your needs. It is the average size of our large panniers in all groups. You can choose among four models of our panniers. If you plan to carry a tent, a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag, we suggest you to complete your panniers set with a capacious transport bag, mounted on the top of rear rack, between and over the panniers. Thanks to its impressive capacity, your belongings will not get lost, dirty or wet when raining. Mounting a single loaded bag is more reliable and faster than separately attaching a tent, a pad and a sleeping bag to a rack. This solution is considered to be better than a trunk bag permanently attached to the panniers.
An expedition is a magical term ascribed to a self supported journey at least a few weeks long with a full complement of equipment including a tent sleeping pad, sleeping bag, stove, dishes, etc. Trying to accommodate all this in the rear panniers and a transport bag is not the best solution. The rear wheel may get overloaded and the whole bike poorly balanced and you would not find any room for extra provisions or some important gear. Therefore, if you plan a serious journey, do what all experienced globetrotters do – buy a set of front panniers and mount them on a low rider rack. Every series of our bicycle touring bags consists of the following major components: 2 front panniers + 2 rear panniers + a transport bag for the top of rear rack. Together, they give you an amazing capacity of up to 150 liters! That should satisfy even the most demanding customers.
Front panniers – why?
With front panniers, you get 30-35 liters of additional capacity. Long distances between food sources will not be a problem any more!
The bicycle also gets well balanced. Distributing the weight over both the wheels is better for their durability and will result in fewer broken spokes, fewer punctures and lower wear on tires. A properly balanced bicycle is also safer and more comfortable to ride! See the article about packing to get more information.
How many pockets?
Store can be a sore…. even it is against the rule. Large number of pockets may help to keep your stuff in order but you can pack more gear into one 20 liters chamber than into four 5 liter ones. That is why every CROSSO pannier has large main chamber. Some of our panniers are modular, that’s mean you can attache outer pocket and lid on the top.
Step 2: Choose the best fabric
The fabric used for pannier construction is crucial for its durability. Undoubtedly the best fabric available is original CORDURA® . It is amazingly tear resistant and thanks to the special weave any cuts or tears fail to expand. Cordura is used by reputable outdoor and military equipment manufacturers. Cordura is waterproofed by a thick permanent inner PVC coating. This is a new innovation introduced by Crosso in 2007. All seams are sealed at high temperature with special tape – and thanks to that the Twist and Expert panniers are highly water resistant .
For pannier manufacture, we also use tarpaulin fabrics named Polymar and Plastel. Tarpaulin is not as robust as Cordura® but thanks to the perfectly smooth coating of PVC, it is more water resistent and easy to keep clean. Tarpaulin is used in the Dry series panniers, where the fabric is precisely welded to provide totally watertight joints. This fabric is also used for the back panels of Cordura based panniers .
Beware of traps!
Waterproofness. Using waterproof fabrics doesn’t mean that the pannier itself will be waterproof! Water can get inside through seams, zippers and holes in the mounting system. Many manufacturers do not mention it, talking only about their waterproof fabrics. The only way to assure total protection from water is using advanced welding techniques, sealed seams and special closure systems. We practise all that at Crosso and therefore we can recommend our products for the most demanding expeditions.
It took many years for scientists to create Cordura® fabric for the armed forces, special units and uncompromising outdoor companies. Cordura is not cheap, so some manufacturers try to replace it with inferior substitutes with exotic sounding’ names. Do not be tempted to buy any panniers made from imitation Cordura fabric which is not sufficiently durable and waterproof. Is it worth finishing your dream tour or end up in the middle of nowhere with ripped bags?
Step 3: Check the mounting system
The way you mount the pannier on the rack is crucial for your safety and comfort. Properly mounted panniers must be stable and protected from falling off. A mounting system should be fast and easy as you will probably mount and unmount your panniers every day.
Our mounting system is based on a sling on steel hooks and clamps to the rack with a tension strap. This system was tested in demanding conditions during long expeditions with Crosso panniers. Lack of any plastic elements increases the durability of our system. In case of any accidental damage the pannier may be repaired, e.g., it is possible to straighten a bent steel hook whereas plastic cracks. The endurance inherent in CROSSO products cannot be compared with any solutions based on plastic hooks or snaps. The CROSSO system is designed to take static and dynamic loads which are several times larger than normal. The extra endurance insures than even when a bicycle falls into a ditch or a pannier meets an obstacle, our panniers will not be rendered useless.
Step 4: Important details
Seams- should be uniform and neatly finished. All Crosso seams are sealed with a special device. We use durable, polyamide threads which get worn out slower than polyester threads. Our DRY series panniers are manufactured with the aid of advanced welding process for water resistance.
Zippers- The most unreliable pannier element! Easily damaged and not waterproof! That’s why we don’t use them as the main compartment closure. Roll top or lid closure systems are used instead. The Expert panniers have very practical pocket under the lid for small items.
The process of welding tarpaulin fabric, sealing seams, coated Cordura and roll top closure makes our Twist, Expert and Dry panniers resistant to water splashing from all directions.
Buckles and fasteners – Try to bend a buckle and if you see white discolouring, it is be a sign of low quality. Such components can easily crack and make some serious damage. We employ unbreakable, nylon buckles .
Stiffeners- professional panniers must be equipped with the stiffeners on the back panel. Stiffeners insure protection from the pannier getting caught in the fast revolving wheels (with predictable consequences…) and also provide stable mounting. Our panniers are equipped with 2 or 3 mm polypropylene stiffeners, absolutely unbreakable and with shape memory. It means that damaging it with conventional methods (examples of unconventional methods : grinding machine or a combine harvester) is virtually impossible. Moreover, stiffness provides resistance to water and moisture as indicated in many present patents.
Reflective elements – makes panniers visible in the dark. Crosso panniers are seen even from a distance of 600 meters.
Step 5: Look into your wallet...
Our ambition was to create panniers of the highest international standard but for a reasonable price. We were uncompromising when it came to quality and functionality. You can buy cheap ‘one trip’ bags or ruin yourself on overpriced products but you will never find a better combination of quality and price, than CROSSO. And do not forget about our 24 months warranty! Ponder upon this and… begin your adventure!