Monday, 1 May 2017

BikeBins hard-sided locking panniers - approaching the seven year mark!

Almost seven years on, and we are still using our Bike Bins panniers.
Here I am about to lock my helmet inside on a trip to the local hospital.
Almost seven years!
I always intended to make this a long-term review, and you won't find reviews as long as THIS elsewhere!

It was in June of 2010 that we bought our pair of hard-sided locking panniers from Bike Bins.
They are currently 45 quid each (or 80 quid for a pair) including VAT and shipping.
We paid about 65 for ours, but that was seven years ago!

Anyway, we still use them.
In the seven years, the colour has faded rather, and we have broken one mounting rail (which, because it uses standard Rixen and Kaul parts, I was able to repair for a reasonable cost).
Here are links to where I have written about them in the past, so you can easily read what I wrote then:

The original review
2 years on
3 1/2 years on
Approaching 4 years
Problems at 4 1/2 years
The repair
5 years, and a comparison with other panniers we own 

The only real downside to the panniers is that they won't fit a thick-tubing rack (like the Steco) without a work-around adaptor. I discuss that here.  But the panniers fit all the other racks we own, including the racks supplied with all our bikes. Just be a bit careful if you buy a genuine Dutch "Dutch-style" town bike, as it may well have a heavy-duty Steco rack on it! The copies of Dutch bikes seem to all have thinner racks and should be OK.

And they are still in use!
Anna popped to the shops today (Bank Holiday Monday), and took her "regular" shopping set-up -
a Bike Bins Pannier and the Pacific Outdoor shopping pannier, She also has her large front basket (a Basil Boston XL)
Anna has just unloaded the shopping. Note the bike bins pannier!

This is what she bought today!

In the past I have done a few cost analyses on the panniers.
So lets revist that, using the same numbers as before:

The economics of buying the panniers is getting ever better.
The math works out along these lines:
short journey cost = circa 1 pound a time.
pannier usage = twice a week
usage period = (almost seven years, excluding holidays away, but rounded for simplicity of maths!) circa 350 weeks
350 weeks x 2 times a week x 1 pound saving per time = 700 pounds saved.
cost of panniers = 65 pounds for the Bike Bins, plus 20 pounds for the Pacific Outdoor Shopping Pannier
therefore the saving we have made is 700 pounds minus the 85 pounds (for the panniers),
which is 615 pounds (c. 790 dollars, 730 Euros).

Saving 790 dollars (or 615 pounds, or 730 euros) in a seven years has paid for both the panniers and the bike twice over!

And a few "pannier" pics to finish this review, taken over the last seven years.

The panniers when they were new (about 7 years ago)

Handy for shopping

A pair of standard 4 pint (UK)
milk jugs easily fit with the lid closed

Helmet, gloves, and trouser bands.
All fit nicely inside the pannier

On a folding bike, panniers can cause problems with heel clip.
As long as the BikeBins are on a fairly high carrier they are fine.
Of course, my size 11 (US 12 - Euro 46) feet mighht have something to do with it :-)

The pannier is a simple mouded boxes with mounts screwed to the back, and the lid held on with a couple of metal pins.
The pins can wriggle out a bit (see pics further down).
On the current model of the panniers, the pin is nylon with glass re-inforcing, rather than metal, so this may have solved the issue.

The pannier (or even better, two of them!) also make a good base for attaching light,
but bulky items.

The colur faded after a while. You can see this by the darker sections where the writing transfer has peeled off.

A locking pannier and a large open pannier. This is me doing a bit of shopping!

After about 4 years we noticed the mounting strip on one pannier was cracked ...

... but I was able to source a replacement strip.
That's the advantage of using something standard like Rixen and Kaul mountings.
It can be easily seen that this is a replacement,
because the original mounts were all black (see phot a lot further up)
while the replacement has grey parts on the twist locks.

Comparison with my reguakr pannier I take to work.
the yellow one is smaller, but a bit lighter and is easier to carry.
Bikebins are for leaving on the bike, little panniers are for taking with you!

My mini-pump fits easily inside the bike bins pannier.

Using the pannier as a base to attach a wheel (700c).
Much more stable than just attaching it to the rack.

The Bike Bins panniers would work as front panniers.
One might be concerned about the durability of the mounts after a crash, however,
Here shown mounted on a low-rider front rack.

A large item, like the box for a pair of Caterpillar work boots,
is a bit big, but it could be carefully ridden home like this, with
the weight of the boots helping to keep it all in the pannier.

On a 145 mile ride.
I brought the Bikebins pannier along so that I could lock stuff away when I went into shops (or whatever).

A fairly large shopping trip involving two of our bikes, and, you guessed it, a BikeBins pannier.
You can see we have quite a selection of panniers to choose from, but the BikeBins ones are still in regular use!

Atraining ride to Oxford (about 25 miles away), and I find someone else also has a BikeBins pannier!

An epic ride on a winter's day, earlier this year.
I had a partly healed broken shoulder.
I locked my helmet and gloves in the pannier at the hospital.
The trip took me about two hours each way,
and I wanted to just carry one bag (because of my bad shoulder)
so I fitted the Bike Bins pannier to the other side.
(the blue bag I carried with my good arm isn't shown)

The family bikes (taken earlier this year)
Anna keeps a BikeBins pannier permanently mounted to hers!

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