Thule Pack n' Pedal Tour Rack and Shield Panniers
So, I decided to shell out some serious coin on a great tour rack and panniers. After a recommendation from one of the guys down at Sun Cyclery here in Phoenix, I bit the bullet and picked up the Thule Tour Rack and a pair of the large Shield Panniers – in blue, of course. All up, it was about $250 for everything, but I feel that you get what you pay for in most cases so, I took the chance.
With the somewhat odd angle of the rear swing arm on my ReActive Adaptations Hammerhead I couldn’t use the conventional style rack. The strap-style mount and pretty much infinitely adjustable angle of the Thule rack made it ideal. It even comes with all the hardware and different length bars to fit damn near any setup. Once I got everything adjusted and cinched down, I felt quite confident that this was going to be a very sturdy rack. I was a bit skeptical of the nylon straps being a strong mount to the frame of the bike, but so far they have impressed me.
Thule claims the rack will hold 25 lbs. in the rear configuration, and if mounted to a front fork on a regular bike it would hold 22 lbs. Not sure if I will ever test that weight but seems it will hold all I could ever want. The rack itself comes in at just under 2.5 lbs, so not too much extra weight on the bike. The aluminum framework is lightweight and strong, and looks cool to boot.
I dig that it has the option to mount a taillight on it and has a nice top plate to strap stuff down on or mount a trunk to. It even comes with a tool for easy removal of the rack. Just a quick turn of their special key and the 4 mounting straps come loose. Easy peazy..
The Shield Panniers are just down right killer! They are a dry bag, so basically completely waterproof and the material is incredibly durable. It has already held up to a couple crashes with not even a scratch in the fabric. And the cool magnets that are part of the rack hold the bags from flopping around while your riding and even if you happen to lay the bike down on its side.
The pivoting cam lock hangers for the bags grab onto the rack very securely and pull cord has held up surprisingly well over multiple removals. I was a bit hesitant of the thin cord, but it is proving to be quite strong. One cord releases both clips and viola! They even give you a clip-on shoulder strap if you need to carry your bags into say a coffee shop or somewhere.
I opted to go for the large size panniers as I eventually plan to do some adventure riding with the Hammerhead and need ample space for gear like sleeping bags and tents and such. The large version has a capacity of 24 liters (13” x 6” x 17” each) and the smalls are set at 14 liters (10” x 5.5” x 12.3” each). So far, I haven’t even come close to filling them, but I will sure try. Thule also gives you the option of green, black or, in my case, blue and there are these cool bits in the graphics that are the reflective material for extra visibility.
These panniers also have nice mesh pockets inside to help organize your things and keep it from shuffling around. And each of the bags has spots to clip on lights, as well. I really give it to the folks at Thule. They thought of so much and put it into practice on this whole setup. I look forward to many miles with this gear.
For more information and to find a local retailer, check out www.Thule.com.