Review of the Racktime Workit Commuter Pannier

The Racktime Workit is Racktime‘s answer to the office briefcase with a focus on function. The casual good look of the bag are ideal for a transition from the bike to the office. Easy to mount, easy to look at and easy to use. I was a fan immediately as I began my eight-week test of this bag.

Racktime Workit

Racktime is a new brand owned by the German rack experts Tubus.

Racktime Workit

Tubus set out to develop a line of bike bags and racks aimed at the bike commuter market. Partnering with Ortlieb on bag design, Racktime has a great pedigree, and right out of the gates has been offering up well-thought-out products at affordable prices.

My use of the Racktime Workit was to carry my laptop, various work books, lunch and extra clothes back and forth to work. Often times this was my only bag, however, I would sometimes couple it with a second pannier or a racktop bag when my load became a little larger.

Racktime Workit

The Workit really offered an ideal layout for my intended use. The narrower section near the pannier’s mounting side was just the right size for my 15-inch Mac, though larger laptops will fit as well.

I used Chrome’s laptop sleeve in combination with it. This slim laptop case didn’t take up too much additional space but offered some peace of mind in extra protection for the computer.

The larger outer pocket was excellent for my lunch, books, lock and the miscellany of life. Additional organizer pockets designed for things like pens, business cards and envelopes also came in handy. Though I find that I often make very limited use of the abundant organizer tools in bags.

Racktime Workit

Ironically, I lament bags that don’t have such features, but rarely use them when they are available.

The side outrigger pocket became my default extra bike stuff pocket. I kept the bike lights that I mount to my helmet, my often unused balaclava and a Racktime Rack Strap on hand for strapping my jacket or other cargo to the top of my rack.

While it’s not waterproof, I generally feel that a bag like this can safely protect my laptop in light drizzles without stopping to pull out the easily-accessible rain cover. I felt the need to use the rain cover on just one rainy day.

Racktime Workit

Nicely stowed in a small rear pocket, the rain cover is very easy to yank out and pop over the whole pannier in a few seconds. Everything stayed perfectly dry, though I would like the opportunity to test it further in heavy rains for a long ride. I’m guessing that Racktime has thoroughly tested this aspect of the design, but it is always better to see for yourself.

In the debate between waterproof panniers vs. non-waterproof panniers with rain covers, I think that the benefits are balanced when it comes to bike touring. When it comes to bike commuting however, I am strongly in the camp on non-waterproof panniers for most situations.

Racktime Workit

The benefits of a sewn, non-waterproof bag are that it can offer up a variety of compartments and zippered pockets at an economically minded price. Adding these organizational features to a waterproof bag requires fabric welding and an expensive closure mechanism that add to the cost of panniers that are already expensive.

Additionally, I like the look and feel of the non-waterproof pannier for the transition into the office. It looks less like a technical bag and more like just a normal briefcase.

Racktime Workit

The Racktime Workit, adds to this nice transition into the office with nice covers that can be used to cover the pannier hooks, camouflaging this bag as a standard work bag with the included shoulder strap. But more importantly, it makes the bag more comfortable to carry over the shoulder without the hooks poking your side.

Utilizing a combination of Ortlieb’s QL-2 upper rail and QL-1 lower rail the bag can be set up to quickly mount and easily removes on almost any bike rack with ease–in my case, the Tubus Logo.

Overall, I’m clearly a big fan of this bag for bike commuting. As I mentioned above, I think a bag like this is an ideal solution for most bike commuters, though I would add that if you live in a very rainy area of simply can’t afford any risk of your stuff getting wet, the value of waterproof panniers does shine. But for the rest of us, this is one of my favorite commuter panniers for an easy transition from the bike into work.

Racktime Workit

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6 thoughts on “Review of the Racktime Workit Commuter Pannier”

  1. BluesCat says:

    I think waterproof bags are way overrated. Years of backpacking — in both desert canyons and rainforests — have taught me that anytime you open your backpack (or panniers) when it has rained on them, the contents WILL magically get wet; even if it isn’t raining at that moment.

    So I have always employed the bag-within-a-bag technique for packing: each individual item goes into its own sandwich bag or kitchen garbage bag. If it was raining when I came in from my ride (or hike), I take out each (wet) bag that I need to open, and roll it around in a dry towel before I open it.

  2. jersey rider says:

    good articile

  3. James says:

    In the review you mentioned that you would often use the bag to bring an extra set of clothes to the work. Did you find that worked ok? I don’t see any specific review of that feature.

  4. NancyB says:

    Your review is most timely. My employer just gave me a laptop. So in addition to the other logistical demands of commuting by bike, I have to deal with expensive equipment that doesn’t belong to me. Hopefully they won’t freak out when they see me riding in with it! Thanks for the comprehensive review.

  5. Josh Lipton says:

    @James – I only used the bag for a few extra clothes such as warmer gloves, hats and a sweatshirt. I think that a full set of clothing could fit into the Workit but might not leave that much additional space in the main compartment.

  6. James says:

    Thanks. I normally commute with my laptop, work clothes (slacks, dress shirt, etc), and a lunch. I’ve been looking for a nice pannier I can use to replace my backpack that allows me to carry those items, not wrinkle up the clothes, and not look like a pannier when I walk through the office. I might give this one a shot.

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