When Thule sent me a Pack 'n Pedal Tour Rack and Pannier set I can't say it was the most exciting day of my life... but they have been life changing on the office commute, I can almost carry the entire contents of my house in these things...
Last time I checked panniers are not the coolest thing going around. Lucky for me none of my bikes are pannier capable... or at least I thought so until Thule sent me their Pack and Pedal Tour Rack.
Thule Pack 'n Pedal Tour Rack
This rack straps onto your seat stays using a fabric wound ratchet system. The system claims to work with any type of frame material and fit just about any frame. So step up my BMC Granfondo GF02 with is bending super skinny seat stays.
The first mounting involved a bit of faffing about, choosing the right size parts from the three options to get the top of the rack level when in position. Once that was done the straps ratchet up in seconds and you're ready to mount.
Taking the rack off was slightly less straight forward.. and I was forced to resort to reading the instructions after 10 minutes of probing. You need a special 'key' to unlock the ratchet. I advise keeping this somewhere super safe as finding mine involved a systematic two day search of the La Velocita office.
Once I had the key there was a little bit of grunting involved in removing the rack but in the end it was off the bike in a few minutes.
Overall this rack is an ingenious solution for adding racks to a bike that has no mounts on the frame. While Thule claim you can mount to any bike, I'd personally be very cautious about going anywhere near your carbon fibre with this as it's got 'crush' written all over it. I also don't think that many bike manufacturers had 25kgs of force being exerted on the stays in this manor when they were designing the carbon layup.
Stats - 990 grams / total load capacity 25kg / Price A$169
Thule Pack 'n Pedal Shield Large Dark Shadow Panniers
So, to go with your sexy new bike rack you'll need some panniers, and of course Thule have the perfect design to work in with their Tour Rack.
These are great panniers, the build quality can't be faulted they have got great reflective detail for your commute, the level of water proofing is excellent, there's small pockets inside and they clip on and off in a fraction of a second.
Thule have added a magnet system to hold the bottom wheel facing side to the racks. On the road it removes just about all of the rattling you get from a traditional hook that would hold a rack. Only downside is that you'll have to buy the Thule rack to use them in this way. When carrying the Panniers with the shoulder strap, I also really liked that they don't have the hook that tend to dig into your side constantly.
Overall these are a really high quality set of panniers that will keep any commuters computer dry. They'll also be equally effective on a bike packing adventure. They can easily hold a couple of items and be rolled tightly or expanding to hold a massive quantity.
Stats - 1,100 grams / Volume 24 L / Price A$199 (pair)
More information on the Thule Pack 'n Pedal system can be found at Thule.com.au