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Monday, November 02, 2020

Review: Bushwhacker Basket Panniers

 I'd been riding the kids to and forth from school and various other activities with my now 25-year old Robert Beckman Panniers. Those panniers are definitely showing signs of wear, and the zippers and compartments while nice when touring, just get in the way of a quick delivery and/or for utility cycling. The Bushwhacker Omaha Basket panniers come in at $65/pair, which makes them a much better deal than say, the Wirecutter recommended Banjo Brothers, which come in at $47 each.

The panniers are wide enough and deep enough to store 2 helmets without any risk of them bouncing out, and definitely can carry extra tall items from the grocery store. The supporting struts aren't super strong, but I tested it with a gallon of milk and it could definitely take another 2 gallons but maybe not 5.

The mounting mechanism sucks, to put it mildly. The integrated hooks wouldn't fit around my tubular steel rack, but fortunately, you could unclip the hook from the D-ring, wrap that around the rack, and clip it back in. It's not something you'd want to do daily, but you wouldn't tour with these panniers anyway. To keep the hook from having a chance of reaching the spokes, you can fold it up and hook it to the bungee, and the panniers are stable enough with sufficiently deep hooks that there's no chance of it falling off unladen during normal activities (don't jump curbs with them on your mountain bike without the hook installed!), and when laden, they wouldn't shift anyway. In my riding with them I didn't detect any sway or shifting attributable to them, but of course, the triplet's sway is largely determined by the boys on the bike anyway!

I was pleasantly surprised by these and by the lifetime warranty offered by the manufacturer. They offer no rain protection but a garbage bag would work if it rains. They're definitely much more convenient for in-and-out quick dropoffs than any other panniers, though obviously for touring, you'd go for the Ortleibs or the Robert Beckman panniers.

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