Mounting Panniers on Folding Bikes

Via Campfirecycling Email:

I ride a bike with a tiny rack (Salsa Wanderlust Rear Rack)
Do you have any suggestions on what would fit?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Folding bikes are amazing for travel, but they aren’t always as capable as a dedicated touring bike when it comes to carrying loads. Touring panniers can be used to carry a lot of gear. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to use regular panniers with folding bikes, and no matter what you do, you’ll have heel-strike issues.

You can consider an affordable, Foldit rear bike rack that’s convenient for doing errands around town or going on short bike tours. But you may not be willing to go through with it as it’s not the ultimate solution!

Think about a Rack-Top Bag! 

Yes, it might be a way to avoid heel-strike issues to use Rack-Top Bag. However, it may not have the capacity you need. But still, I’m considering it as my compromise solution. I would use Vaude Silk Road Plus Rack-Top Bag for its other benefits. It’s hard to get a Rack-Top with a huge space from Vaude at the moment. We might be able to get them in the future.

The Vaude Silk Road Plus Rack-Top Bag has a number of advantages. Includes:

  • Expandable main compartment
  • Stowable Rain Cover
  • 2 side compartments
  • Removable shoulder strap
  • Safety light attachment
  • Removable zip compartment for valuables

I’ve written a complete review about Silk Road Plus. You can learn more by reading it.

I haven’t tested the Banjo Brothers Rack Top Pannier Bag, which has the same design but more capacity.

An alternative that would allow you to put a standard pannier on your bike would be a Xootr Crossrack, which mounts to your seat post and provides a rail and support for a single pannier. Here one is attached to a Dahon Eco3:

Xootr Crossrack

The downside is that the bracket prevents you from fully inserting your seat post into the frame when you fold the bike but it does not prevent you from folding the bike.


Via Campfirecycling Email:
I have a Dahon Mu and want to make sure the Ortlieb Commuter Bag will fit on it with suitable heel and ground clearance. Have you had any experience with this combo?

As discussed by Ted above, it comes down to getting a rack that positions the bag far enough rearward for heel clearances. There should not be any ground clearance issues with this bag.

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