Detours Toocan Panniers
For a few years I’ve had this Trek Grocery pannier. I never cared for it. When filled and heavy the bottom would sag and clip my back wheel. When empty the lack of deep hooks threw it off my rack too often.
I set out to find a new one, and being a beautiful Saturday I skipped the online search and did it the old fashion way: I went to three brick and mortar stores comparing products and prices. Yup, just like when my parents needed a new appliance and we’d spend all day Saturday touring West Michigan superstores with newspaper ads in one hand and consumer reports in the other.
Performance Bikes on Colorado only had fancy schmancy touring panniers. Too complicated for grocery runs and transporting bulky items. Turin Bikes stock tons of hip messenger bags, some permanent wire racks and baskets, but not the “clip on clip off” pannier I wanted for shopping and transporting bulky wares by bike.
I found the Detours Toocan Pannier at REI, for $45. Now high quality reputable panniers generally start at $100, so I wondered if this would be the same crummy quality as my old one. I bought it and planned to return it should it fail to transport the goods to my liking.
Surprisingly I loved it from day one. On the way home I stocked up to make a tray of lasagna, adding a half gallon of milk and two liter of soda. It weighed about 25 pounds and handled excellent. The bottom is solid rubber, which adds a bit to the weight but makes it sturdier. The hooks are deep so if you hit a bump or bounce it won’t fall off. There’s no bottom hook, but the design is wide rather than deep, so the sides don’t chafe against the wheel.
It also makes an excellent commuter’s bag, protecting folded shirts and pants with a zip up top. There are two side pockets and it even comes with a yellow rain cover. I can fit more in here than I ever have before, and no longer find myself dangling bags of bananas and onions over the handlebars when I can’t stuff them in.
The negative? I don’t really care for the diamond style design and stitching. When off the bike I think it looks like a big bag for women, especially with the pleated upper corners and more so if using the padded shoulder strap. But while I don’t care for the form I’m keeping it for the function. The design is perfect, and at this price it’s one of the best and most solid urban panniers I’ve seen.
I highly recommended this product for the urban cyclist, and I don’t believe it’s that feminine looking to be carried around the supermarket or office.