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Review – Paris Packs by Eliot Landrum

Submitted by on July 14, 2012 – 12:03 pm2 Comments

For utilitarian cycling, a good pair of panniers are essential gear for a great ride. Unfortunately, there are a lot of lousy panniers out there. My first set broke down within a few days. A lot of sets I was looking at were really expensive. There’s also a huge variety of styles to pick from. Some are huge, some are like backpacks, some are beautiful, some are wide, some are skinny, and some are made of leather. All that to say… it’s really nice when you find a set that works how you need it!

Ready for a day out on the town

I was looking for a set to keep my u-lock, chain, first aid kit, and other random supplies. During CyclingSavvy classes, I often need space for chalk, extra water bottles, snacks, and maps. I wasn’t looking for a laptop carrier or a backpack. I just want something that allows me easy access to throw things in and grab them quickly. And since I usually park outside at public places, it’d nice if I can quickly remove them, take them inside, and throw them back on when I am ready to ride again.

After having checked out most of the bike shops in town and not being satisfied with the items they had on hand, I decided to browse Etsy.

Low-and-behold, I found a pair of quite reasonably priced panniers: Paris Packs. Named after the designer, Shawn Paris, Paris Packs appeared to meet all my requirements. Plus, the price was quite reasonable compared to commercially made bags.

A little pannier pack glamour shot

Shawn has quite obviously put a lot of thought to detail in these bags. The rack hooks are metal, there’s a nice solid backing, perfect little carrying handles, a solid drawstring top, and best of all… tapered at the front to avoid heel strikes!

Look, ma! Heel clearance!

Volume wise, each bag is similar to a reusable grocery bag and can fit my supplies comfortably. My work laptop, however, is a huge beast, so it wouldn’t fit. But I prefer to carry my laptop in my backpack for vibration reasons anyway.

I received these a few weeks ago and I’ve been giving them a good go with weight and lots of on and off my bike. They stay on the bike well even over railroad tracks and other East Dallas road hazards (potholes, sunken in manhole covers, pavement buckling). I am very pleased with the design and construction of the bags and they exceed the requirements I needed. The price was great and I received them very quickly. My only complaint is that the metal hooks are starting to take the paint off my bike rack, but given the positives, I can live with that.

If you’re not into the black canvas look, Shawn has several sets of bags made using scrap fabrics. I wonder if my ride would be faster if I had this red set….

Paris Packs fabric design option. Photo courtesy of Shawn Paris.

If you are looking for a nice way to add some utilitarian luggage space to your bike, I highly recommend the Paris Packs. Check out Shawn’s shop and let me know what you think.

Have you fallen in love with a set of panniers? Tell us about them in the comments!

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Eliot Landrum has been riding bicycles of all shapes and sizes since he was a kid, and has found a new love of cycling in Dallas as an adult. Eliot shares the joy of safe cycling with others through the CyclingSavvy DFW bicycle traffic safety workshops and leading small social rides in East Dallas. You can find his photos and various geeky writings on his personal blog.

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