Ebike fully cube. A duffle for your bike: Arkel Signature H Urban Pannier

Pannier to Backpack in less then 30 seconds | TWG Pannier Backpack #ebike #ebikelife #backpack


It was back in 2020 when we last reviewed the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160. Its powerful Bosch motor, easy handling and cushy ride made it an appealing package, with the kind of value for money that we typically associate with bikes that are sold direct-to-consumer.

It wasn’t perfect though. We were underwhelmed by the narrow bars and tyre spec, which was compounded by the twitchy steering and wallowy suspension. It seems that Cube has been listening however, because this new bike answers every previous criticism we had, while bringing about some key improvements. Is it enough to take on the best electric mountain bikes on the market? We’ve been testing the latest Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 to find out!

Watch our video review of the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160:

That’s a damn impressive price, and it makes this bike pretty much unrivalled in terms of spec.

An overview of the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160

Designed for big mountain riding, the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 is the German brand’s e-Enduro race bike. It’s equipped with 160mm of rear wheel travel, a 170mm fork and dual 27.5in wheels.

The wheelsize makes it stand out amongst its competitors, which have mostly moved to a full 29in setup (Trek Rail, Norco Sight VLT) or a mullet setup (Specialized Levo, Merida eOne-Sixty, Canyon Spectral:ON). Of course there are still folks out there who prefer the ride quality of 27.5in wheels. Typically, they also offer greater strength and overall stiffness compared to 29in wheels, which is an important consideration for a big travel e-MTB.

Cube is clearly committed to the platform, with the Stereo Hybrid 160 receiving an all-new chassis for this year. The carbon front end features updated geometry, and it’s been redesigned to accommodate the larger 750Wh Bosch PowerTube battery. There’s a matching Bosch Performance CX motor, along with the latest Kiox 300 display and LED controller up at the cockpit.

Keeping the costs down, the frame’s rear end is made from hydroformed and heat-treated alloy. The dropouts now feature a SRAM UDH, which allows the derailleur to rotate backwards in the event of an impact.

Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 price specs

There are numerous models available in the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 lineup for 2022. kick off at 7,699 AUD for the entry-level bike, and go up to 14,999 AUD for the top-end model. For a closer look at all of the specs and pricing, check out our Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 range overview.

The bike we’ve been testing sits one step down from the top. It’s the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC Actionteam, and it retails for 11,499 AUD. You won’t necessarily pay that amount, as Cube’s Australian importer and retailer, 99 Bikes, offers a 5 club membership that instantly drops the price down to 10,350 AUD.

That’s damn impressive, and it makes this bike pretty much unrivalled in terms of spec. To put it in perspective, the Scott Patron we recently reviewed features a similar level of spec, but sells for five grand more. We know that bikes are far greater than their spec sheet however. So more importantly, how does it ride?

2022 Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC Actionteam

  • Frame | C:62 Carbon Mainframe w/6061 T6 Alloy Rear, FSP 4-Link Suspension Design, 160mm Travel
  • Fork | Fox 38, Factory Series, FIT4 Damper, 170mm Travel
  • Shock | Fox Float X, Factory Series, 205X65mm
  • Drive Unit | Bosch Performance CX Gen 4, 85Nm
  • Battery | Bosch PowerTube 750Wh
  • Wheelset | Newmen Evolution SL E.G Alloy, 30mm Internal Rim Width
  • Tyres | Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Trail Addix Soft 2.4in Front Big Betty Super Trail Addix Soft 2.4in Rear
  • Drivetrain | Shimano XT 1×12 w/e13 Plus 36T Crankset 10-51T Cassette
  • Brakes | Shimano XT w/203mm Rotors
  • Handlebar | Newmen Advanced, Carbon, 31.8mm Diameter, 25mm Rise, 780mm Width
  • Stem | Cube Performance Stem, Alloy
  • Seatpost | Fox Transfer, Factory Series, 31.6mm Diameter, Travel: 150mm (M-L), 175mm (XL)
  • Available Sizes | Medium, Large Extra-Large
  • Confirmed Weight | 24.78kg
  • RRP | 11,499 AUD

You’re treated to oodles of grip and rock-devouring sensitivity, allowing the whole bike to remain calm and comfortable across rocky trails.

Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 size fit

No doubt a contributing factor to the impressive price, the new Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 is only available in three sizes from Medium to Extra-Large. I suspect this wasn’t necessarily a cost-saving decision though, but rather due to the difficulties of fitting a 750Wh battery into a Small frame. Either way, it’s worth noting that Cube does offer the base-level Stereo Hybrid 160 model in a Small, albeit with the older frame and 625Wh battery.

To suit our 172-176cm tall testers, we’ve been riding a Medium. Compared to the old version, reach has increased from 440mm to 453mm. The seat angle has steepened to 76°, while the head angle remains unchanged at 65°.

The 150mm dropper post is an improvement over the old bike, though personally I’d prefer a little more than that on a big travel e-MTB like this. Taller riders aboard the Large frame (which gets the same 150mm dropper), will feel more strongly about the saddle getting in the way on the descents.

We’ve otherwise gotten along fine with the cockpit, which now comes with 780mm wide bars as standard. The highly textured grips also deserve mention for their squishy comfort and tactile tread pattern.

Suspension setup

When it comes to first setting up the suspension on the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160, there’s a notable lack of information on the website. Other brands are doing a great job in this regard, so we’d love to see better support from Cube to help its customers get the most out of their new bike.

There is at least a setup chart on the back of the fork lowers, which will get you started with pressures and rebound settings up front.

As for the shock, I aimed for 30% sag to begin with. I found the bike to ride a little low during the first few rides, which led to a number of pedal strikes on rocky tech climbs. I experimented with increasing pressure, eventually settling on 27% sag. This offered a slightly taller ride height and better support too.

Cube E-Bike: The big e-bike manufacturer from Bavaria

The manufacturer Cube has long been considered an absolute expert in sporty e-bikes. The high-quality eMTB series in particular has a large fan base. Today we will introduce you to some of the most popular Cube e-bikes and show you what makes Cube special.

Cube E-Bike – Who is behind it??

the Bicycle brand Cube belongs to Pending System GmbH Co. KG based in Waldershof (Bayern) and is one of the biggest bike- and e-bike manufacturers in Germany. According to its own information, Cube has in the year 2015 around 500.000 Two-wheelers sold. The Cube brand was launched in 1993 founded in Waldershof by Marcus Pürner. Today will be die Cube E-Bikes at specialist dealers in about 60 different Countries available for purchase. the Cube E-Bikes 2020 are priced in the middle to upper price segment and are characterized by a high quality of workmanship the end.

Whether a Cube E-Bike suitable for you depends on the individual driving profile. Most E-Bikes by Cube aim at sporty customers away. Mainly e-mountain bikes and e-racing bikes are offered. There are also some trekking e-bikes in the Cube portfolio. For one commuter come the Cube Town Modelle most likely in question. These have mudguards, a complete lighting system and a practical luggage rack. With the Elly Series will also City E-Bikes im Vintage Style offered by Cube.

In case you are looking for an all-terrain Cube e-bike for 2020 are, that is certainly the case Cube Stereo and Reaction Serie interesting for you. Here Cube offers high-quality hardtail- or Fully E-Bike Models. With these models is the The FOCUS is clearly on off-road use and so there are always wide tires with a coarse profile and a Suspension fork or. mute on board. The brakes are also on as high a braking power as possible designed.

at den Cube Agree Models it is about E-racing bikes with thin tires and one the lowest possible weight. These Cube e-bikes are on designed for on-road use and offer all the advantages, that you would expect from a racing bike.

Customer service for Cube e-bikes

the Manufacturer Cube offers one for its e-bikes comprehensive on-site customer service an, so that the owner always has a contact person on site in the event of a defect. That is what we are working for all over Germany countless specialist dealers in cooperation with Cube together and thus represent a comprehensive dealer network. With guarantee- and warranty claims of E-Bikes Cube has always been considered to be accommodating and customer-oriented. The cases are usually processed within a very short time, so the downtime for the customer are reduced to a minimum.

The model selection of Cube is essentially limited to sporty e-bikes. There are mainly e-mountain bikes, Downhill E-Bikes, Trekking e-bikes and some e-racing bikes in the Cube range. One of the most popular among customers is the Stereo Cube E-Bikes 2020. These are full-suspension e-mountain bikes for rough terrain. At Cube, all e-bike models are always available in different equipment variants, such as One, Pro or also SL.

manufacturer: Cube

ebike, fully, cube, duffle, your

model: Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC SLT

frame: Carbon

ebike, fully, cube, duffle, your

Wheel diameter: 27,5 inch

Motor: Bosch Drive Unit Performance CX

Brakes: Magura MT7

tire: Schwalbe Magic Mary / Hans Dampf

electronics on a mountain bike is almost impossible, unless you find something else on the CUBE STEREO HYBRID 160 HPC SLT 625 27,5 Enduro Pedelec that doesn’t support your driving pleasure.

The new STEREO HPC C:62 Carbon main frame perfectly integrates the new one 75 Nm powerful Bosch Performance CX motor of the 4 Generation with 250 Watt before. Only a brake line and the Bosch Kiox motor control cable run in the down tube.

The Bosch Power Tube battery with 625 Wh for optimized range performance rests under the new, shock absorbing motor cover. The C:62 Monocoque frame triangle, produced in Advanced Twin Mold Technology, now has ventilation ducts for the Bosch engine. Another nice detail is the partially integrated, aerodynamic saddle clamp.

SLT stands for high-quality, state-of-the-art selection of add-on parts at Cube. The CUBE STEREO HYBRID therefore controls the front 160 HPC 625 27,5 the RockShox LYRIK Ultimate RC2 with 170 mm travel and boost standard.

This color-defining fork in Signature Red is reminiscent of RockShox ‘pioneering years in the nineties. In addition, there is the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate damper on the rear end. Thanks to the Trunnion Mount ball bearing, it also optimizes the movement of the FSP-4 damper rocker.

In-house Cube NEWMEN Advanced SL E3.0 wheels save weight and offer the XD filing body and wide rims plus tubeless technology preparation. SRAM’s popular 12 Gear Eagle technology from the X01 AXS segment shifts wirelessly with magical ease thanks to servo assistance.

The surface treatment of the X01 Eagle Rainbow chain together with the XG-12-speed Rainbow cassette creates unique color accents. Magura’s powerful MT 7 Disc brake combination with 4 Piston caliper from downhill sport provides the best modulation of the braking effect thanks to 203mm brake disc diameter on the front, as well as rear wheel.

The tidy cockpit of the STEREO HYBRID offers no unnecessary lines or cables 160 HPC SLT 625 27,5. High-quality Race Face components from Canada are used. The CNC milled Turbine R stem with 35 mm clamping holds the NEXT R carbon handlebar 800 mm width. R stands for rally and signals the orientation towards full throttle off-road sport.

The Bosch Kiox display provides an overview. Only the SRAM AXS controllers can be found next to the brake levers. To operate the noble Rock Shox Reverb AXS Dropper Post, also radio-controlled, all that is needed is a gentle thumb impulse.

The battery capacity of the AXS components can be read via diodes and offers planning security before each tour. The control of the controllers can still be customized via the AXS app. The pedal cranks are supplied by the pedal crank specialist E-Thirteen, thanks to the Plus e spec aluminum crank with the optimal length for e-bikes.

Last but not least should be the broad swallow 2,60 Inch tires with tubeless-ready equipment are called which master every terrain situation. Das CUBE STEREO Hybrid 160 HPC SLT 625 27,5 fulfills every wish of the demanding enduro mountain biker! Or have you already discovered something for upgrading?

Short Facts – das sind die News im Überblick

Besonders cool ist die Dropperpost-Option. Sie beinhaltet ein Update beim Kauf, welches dem Käufer die Option gibt, sein E-Bike mit einer verstellbaren Sattelstütze von Cube ausstatten zu lassen. Die Züge sind bereits ab Werk verlegt und der Händler kann ohne großen Aufwand die normale Sattelstütze gegen eine Dropperpost von Cube austauschen. Dem Kunden kostet dieses Upgrade nur 199,95 Euro.

New ebike, and old panniers don’t fit? There’s a solution (if they’re Arkel bags)! | @arkelbikebags

Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 Action Team

Bereits seit einiger Zeit wissen wir, dass das Action-Team von Cube in diversen Enduro-Rennen und im Training auf eMTBs setzt. Für 2018 zeigt Cube ein E-Mountainbike, das keinerlei Kompromisse eingeht und wie geschaffen ist, um damit richtig sportiv über den Trail zu fliegen. Langer Radstand, ordentlich Reach, erhöhte Progression am Hinterbau, ein Fox-Fahrwerk der Oberklasse, stabile Newman-Laufräder, Schwalbe-Reifen in der SG-Mischung und eine Farbgebung die jedem signalisiert: Schaut her! Hier bin ich und ich bin schnell! An der Front stellt die Fox 36 170 mm Federweg zur Verfügung während das Heck bis zu 160 mm einfedert. Mehr als genug, um schnell und aktiv auf dem eMTB zu fahren.

Dieses E-Bike hat es uns vom ersten Augenblick an angetan. Optisch ein Augenweide, fahrtechnisch nach einem ersten Test auf matschigen Moddertrails im Fichtelgebirge eine Offenbarung und rein auf die Ausstattung bezogen ein absolutes Highlight. Mit diesem Modell dürfte Cube die Trails stürmen und die ohnehin schon große Fangemeinde um einige Fahrerinnen und Fahrer erweitern.

Der Preis liegt bei 5.799 € (UVP).

Cube Stereo Hybrid 160

Die 160er Hybrid-Modelle bekommen eine neue Geometrie, mehr Progression am Hinterbau, einen längeren Reach und teilweise den neuen PowerTube-Akku von Bosch. Cube setzt neben dem PowerTube auch den bewährten PowerPack-Akku von Bosch ein, weil einige Gründe für diesen Akku sprechen. Die Langlebigkeit ist bestätigt, die Integration – die den Akku nicht vollkommen versteckt – hat seine Fans und nicht zuletzt gibt es sicher viele Kunden, die bereits einen Ersatzakku dieser Bauweise in der Garage haben.

Cube hat hier zwei Modelle parat, deren Preise bei 3.999 € (mit OnTube-Akku) und 4.499 € (PowerTube-Akku) liegen.

Reichhöhe: Sieger schafft fast 2200 Meter

Wichtiges Testkriterium war außerdem die Reichweite bzw. Reichhöhe. Je nach Akkugröße schaffen die Fullys zwischen 110 Kilometer (Bulls, Cube, KTM) und 80 bzw. 90 Kilometer (Giant, Radon, Canyon) in der Ebene. Entsprechend variieren die Reichhöhen: Die drei Reichweiten-Sieger schaffen mit einer Akkuladung über 2000 Höhenmeter, Gipfelkönig ist das Cube mit 2179 Höhenmetern. Die Ladezeiten der Akkus liegen zwischen 5,5 Stunden und 7 Stunden und sind damit gut bis befriedigend.

Einen gewaltigen Einfluss auf den Fahrkomfort bergab haben zudem die Federgabel und der hintere Dämpfer. Dabei konnten die Fahrwerkskomponenten bei den harten und verblockten Abfahrten mehr oder weniger gut überzeugen. Ihnen gelingt es sehr gut bis befriedigend, den Reifen gripfördernd auf den Trail- und Wegeuntergrund zu pressen, dabei für Komfort und spürbar weniger Ermüdung zu sorgen, da der Kraftauffand, um das Bike auf Kurs zu halten, deutlich geringer ausfällt.

Dämpfer richtig einstellen

Dabei ist die Einstellung der hinteren Dämpferelemente teils unbefriedigend in den Anleitungen beschrieben, so dass der optimale Druck nur durch Ausprobieren erarbeitet werden konnte. Am besten zu lösen ist das Problem beim E-Mountainbike von Giant, das eine Skala an der Kolbenstange des hinteren Dämpfers für die richtige Einstellung eingeprägt hat.

Auch der Fahrkomfort ist bedeutend. Gabel und hinterer Dämpfer haben darauf entscheidenden Einfluss, besonders beim Bergabfahren. Denn je besser beide das Rad auf den Trail bzw. Wegeuntergrund pressen, desto weniger Kraftaufwand ist nötig und entsprechend angenehmer und weniger ermüdend fährt sich das Bike.

Darauf sollte man achten

ADAC Tipps für Verbraucher

  • Das richtige Bike zu finden, bedarf einer klaren Vorstellung darüber, was man damit machen möchte.
  • Nur die ideale Größe des Bikes inkl. der optimalen Einstellung der Dämpferelemente bietet ultimativen Fahrspaß. Dies muss beim Fachhändler erfolgen. Oftmals bietet dieser ein Bikefitting an, das dann mit dem Kauf verrechnet wird.
  • Neben der Größe ist auch das Lenkerfitting entscheidend. Hier gilt: Zuerst Bremse, dann Sattelstütze, dann die Schaltung. Diese sollten gut vom Griff aus erreichbar sein. Beim Bremshebel ist die Einfingerbremse eine unverzichtbare Ausstattung für die sichere Downhill-Fahrt.
  • Die Bikes lassen sich alle etwas unterschiedlich fahren – so kommt man an einer ausgiebigen Probefahrt nicht vorbei. Besonderes Augenmerk sollte dabei auf Ergonomie und Handling gelegt werden, gefolgt von der Handhabung der Bedieneinheit und deren Informationsumfang.
  • Neben einem Helm sorgen weitere Sicherheitsausrüstungen wie Knie- und Ellenbogenschützer für guten Unfallschutz auf Trails. Je nach Beschaffenheit des Trails können auch Rumpfprotektoren oder ein Vollvisierhelm sinnvoll sein.
  • Zur besseren Erkennung für andere sollte bunte oder auffällige Kleidung gewählt werden und zur akustischen Warnung eine Klingel am Fahrrad angebracht sein. Für eine klare Sicht ist eine Schutzbrille zu empfehlen, um die Augen vor Insekten, Schmutz und Staub zu schützen.
  • Nie die eigenen Fähigkeiten überschätzen. Gerade das Bremsen birgt ein hohes Unfallpotential – Sowohl im Downhill als auch im Trail oder bei Action ist zu starkes Bremsen ein Hauptgrund für Unfälle. Nehmen Sie Trainingsprogramme wahr, die dabei helfen, die eigenen und die physikalischen Grenzen zu verstehen und die eigenen Fähigkeiten zu verbessern.
  • Touren sollten gut vorbereitet sein. Zur Grundausstattung gehört ein kleines Erste-Hilfe-Set, ein Flickzeug sowie ein Ersatzschlauch inklusive Montagematerial, um für eine Panne gerüstet zu sein. Für Notfälle sollte ein vollgeladenes Handy oder eine Powerbank mitgeführt werden.

Ein E-Mountainbike ist ein Sportgerät, das der Übung bedarf. Der ADAC empfiehlt, vor dem Kauf nicht nur eine ausgiebige Probefahrt, sondern auch ein Bikefitting beim Fachhändler zu machen: Dort wird die Größe richtig angepasst und die Dämpfung optimal eingestellt.

Da die Fullys relativ teuer und die Preise seit Testbeginn sogar um rund zehn Prozent gestiegen sind, noch zwei Spartipps: Eventuell auf einen Carbon-Rahmen beim Bike verzichten, denn der ist teuer, bringt aber nur wenig Gewichtsvorteil. Und in der Gangschaltung sind Stahlritzel günstiger als Aluritzel – und dazu noch verschleißärmer.

Abseits vom Trail lassen sich die vollgefederten E-Mountainbikes durchaus alltagstauglich bewegen, sofern die Sattelstütze so eingestellt ist, dass man entspannt sitzen kann. Andernfalls ist der dauernde Druck auf die Handgelenke zu groß. Ganz wichtig: Für den Einsatz im Straßenverkehr benötigen diese Bikes auf jeden Fall auch Licht, Reflektoren und eine Klingel.

ADAC Empfehlungen an die Hersteller

Fachliche Beratung: Stefan Grabmaier, ADAC Technik Zentrum

The equivalent of a big, roomy duffle

If you’re a commuter who likes to carry all the things, load up this messenger-style bag in the morning and then park it next to your desk for easy access to your stuff throughout the workday.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 190.

Get this if: You like to carry everything you could possibly need in the day and just dump it all next to your desk. Your laptop, gym clothes, makeup, extra shoes, lunch, thermos, hats, gloves—the Arkel Signature H will hold it all. We like the horizontal shape because it makes this bag easier to dig through than similar but more vertical designs.

Why it’s great: This bag is a marriage of two sensibilities—the stylish “tote” of the North St. Bags Route Seven Pannier (a former pick) and the hauling capabilities of an Ortlieb Back-Roller—but with two design tweaks that make it better for carrying a lot of things over your shoulder than either of those bags.

There’s no bottom hook on this bag, due to the briefcase-style of the pannier, so it’s easier to get it on and off the bike. Photo: Rozette Rago

The top handles make it easy to hold the rolltop open while you dig around inside. Photo: Rozette Rago

The Arkel Signature H is a big duffle bag that you can throw all your stuff into. Photo: Rozette Rago

There’s no bottom hook on this bag, due to the briefcase-style of the pannier, so it’s easier to get it on and off the bike. Photo: Rozette Rago

It’s simple—this pannier has a much wider padded shoulder strap than the Back-Roller and a much sturdier mounting system than the Route Seven, which make it more suited for carrying lots of stuff both on and off the bike. Arkel sells a similar (but vertically oriented) pannier called the Signature V, but we think the horizontal orientation of this bag makes it easier to find your stuff in because the mouth is wider at the top.

We fit everything we had in this bag with room to spare. It’s all just stuffed in, though, as it would be in a duffle bag, so don’t get this if you want to be able to find your wallet or phone quickly. There is one external flap ; we put our bike lights in it.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: We wish the lining of this bag was lighter in color to make it easy to peer into and find things. However, the two handles on this bag—they’re on either side of the rolltop, on the inside—are a nice way to hold the bag open. (No other bag we looked at has such handles.)

Back to the caveat with all larger bags, which we define as being over 20 L each—if you’re carrying that big a load, you have to know how to handle your bike. It’s not rocket science, but you’ll notice that maneuvering changes when heavy bags hang over the back wheel. This bag also sits higher up than a vertically oriented pannier. There isn’t even a bottom hook on this bag, just the top attachment system. So the bike’s center of gravity will be raised slightly, making it feel more top-heavy.

Also, here’s the standard disclaimer about the Arkel mounting system: It uses some fabric attachments to swivel it closed, and sometimes the fabric bits get hung up on things. It’s not as elegant as Ortlieb’s system, but it’s still easy enough to work with. Arkel backs its products with a lifetime guarantee.

Dimensions: 15 by 12 by 8 inchesCapacity: 28 litersOther sizes: noneColor: copper

For just the essentials: Ortlieb Twin-City Urban

Take this instead of a hand bag

This around-town pannier, which you can also carry on your shoulder, provides easy access to your phone and wallet, but it can’t hold much more than a decent-sized purse or sling pack.

Buying Options

Get this if: You’re meeting friends for lunch or exploring town by bike. This bag won’t hold a full-size laptop, but it would be a good replacement for a purse, fanny pack, or sling.

ebike, fully, cube, duffle, your

Why it’s great: As panniers get smaller in size, the experience of using them becomes more streamlined, and that’s why we love the Ortlieb Twin-City Urban pannier. It handles more easily and attaches more easily than any of its bigger cousins.

The mounting system on this bag sits at an angle, so that when the bag is on your bike, its bottom corner is up and out of the way of your heel as you pedal. Photo: Rozette Rago

You can stow the shoulder strap in a to keep it out of the way while you ride. Photo: Rozette Rago

The bag has some interior organization, but it’s minimal. Here, part of the insert has slots for pens and a small Photo: Rozette Rago

The mounting system on this bag sits at an angle, so that when the bag is on your bike, its bottom corner is up and out of the way of your heel as you pedal. Photo: Rozette Rago

That’s mostly because it uses Ortlieb’s QL2.1 attachment system, widely regarded (and confirmed in our testing) as the best pannier mounting system there is. It latches onto a bike rack with less hassle than anything else, and it doesn’t let go—and in the case of the Twin-City, you don’t even have to mount the bottom half of the bag.

Because it’s a 9 L bag, it won’t comfortably carry a laptop (you might be able to jockey a small one in), but it will fit a big pile of commuter stuff—a tablet, a notebook, a water bottle. We like the Twin-City because it has an exterior key that actually zips shut, and interior s for your wallet and phone make it simple to get to your phone or wallet if you need it.

Shoulder-bag panniers provide easy access to everyday-carry items better than any other design. A lot of backpack panniers have exterior s for small items, but for some reason they often don’t zip shut—instead, they’re secured by magnets or covered by a flap. Those of us wound a little tighter know the acute anxiety of having a wallet out of reach, behind you, in an unsealed on a crowded subway.

The Twin-City provides a place to stow its shoulder strap without your having to open the bag, as most well-designed bags of this type do. It’s also weatherproof—it will withstand splashing water and dust as long as the top is rolled down and secured. Ortlieb offers a five-year warranty that covers defects in craftsmanship.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Learning the sequence of moves that converts this bag from pannier to shoulder bag takes some attention, but after a few tries it becomes automatic.

To carry big loads in bad weather

A fully waterproof, seam-welded touring classic made for rain and snow and lots of gear, this pannier (sold in pairs) is nearly indestructible.

Buying Options

Get this if: You’re often hauling heavy or oddly shaped gear and you ride in near-constant wet weather. These panniers are waterproof, seam-sealed, and so tough that cyclists have found all sorts of uses for them. One long-distance touring rider we met empties his out, fills one with clean water and the other with soapy water, and uses them to do his dishes.

This is the Ortlieb QL2.1 mounting system: hooks at top, hook at bottom. It’s as unfussy as anyone has figured out how to make one of these things. Photo: Rozette Rago

The shoulder strap is functional, if a little uncomfortable, but it works much better as a compression strap on the outside of the bag. Photo: Rozette Rago

This is the Ortlieb QL2.1 mounting system: hooks at top, hook at bottom. It’s as unfussy as anyone has figured out how to make one of these things. Photo: Rozette Rago

Why they’re great: The Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic panniers, which come in pairs, are considered the gold standard for touring panniers. They feature Ortlieb’s QL2.1 mounting system; this design is beloved for its simplicity. During testing, we had no issues with wobbling, shifting, or loose panniers. We also think that this has something to do with the size of the bags. We noticed 20 liters is about as large as you can make a pannier before the handling of the bike changes significantly. In spite of the fact that the components of the mounting system are plastic (we’d prefer metal), we’ve had these bags in long-term testing for three years and they haven’t broken or worn out.

This pannier works best as a big bucket you can dump anything into; the bottom sits squarely on the ground, so it’s easy to rummage through it. However, it has no exterior s, and the rolltop requires attention to open and close, so it’s not an easy bag to access on the go—you’ll need to keep your keys and phone on your person. On the inside, there is a narrow sleeve suitable for documents or a laptop (though there’s no padding) and a flat mesh zippered. but both are minimal. Ortlieb offers a five-year warranty that covers defects in craftsmanship.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This aren’t bags for your average commute, as Back-Rollers don’t make great shoulder bags. It can be done… but the included shoulder straps are thin and uncomfortable. If you take a lot of public transportation or do much of your commute on foot, a backpack pannier or a smaller shoulder-bag pannier might be a better choice.

The specific waterproof rating for the bags is IP64, which means the bags can withstand splashing water in all directions but they’re not as impermeable as dry bags (the sort of thing you’d take on a boat).

Dimensions: 16 by 12 by 6 inches (upper section); 16 by 9 by 6 inches (lower section)Capacity: 20 liters each (40 L total capacity)Other sizes: Back-Roller City, Back-Roller Plus, Back-Roller UrbanOther styles: Back-Roller Free (PVC-free), Back-Roller Hi-VisColors: black, asphalt/black, red/black, petrol/black, yellow/black

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