Ortlieb Downtown Commuter Pannier – 2016
Downtown Perspective. Ride in style, and with maximum commuting convenience with the Downtown Commuter bag. The Downtown is the ultimate bag for cruising around town and for biking to work or school.
This product has been discontinued.
Easy attachment and release, stays on
Bulkier than I’d like, but design makes it easy to adjust to avoid heel strike. I tuck the carrying strap through the small handle on top, and it stays put. Have only used 2 weeks; the real test will be how it holds up over time.
Happy with first pannier
This was my first pannier ever. It met all the requirements I was looking for (shoulder strap, small, not a pair, etc.).
I have been using this
I have been using this bag for a couple of weeks now, and love it. It seems very sturdy and securely attached to the bike, but it’s also easy to carry as a shoulder bag, and well-balanced even when I carry it by the handle like a briefcase. The bag has enough structure that it stands up reliably when you set it down, and is well designed for accessing your things. It has great pockets on the inside for pens and small items, plus a padded laptop slot. It’s roomy enough for my laptop and some papers/books, but not a whole lot else (I do carry a lock in the bag as well). I can fit in a light shirt/sweater and a little food if it’s in a slim container. The only thing I dislike about the bag is the way the flap fastens—there are two metal “buckles” that have to slide onto a canvas slot, and I have difficulty sliding the metal in and out, especially if the bag is fairly full or unevenly loaded.
Ortlieb Downtown Commuter Pannier QL3
I have the white version of this bag and the QL3 system. It looks sharp, not like a bike bag. I carry my MacBook inside a Thule case and it fits fine. Because the case is fat, there isn't a ton of room left over, but it's enough for pens and a few papers, wallet and a frozen lunch. The bag, even though white,cleans easily and still looks good after two year of daily use.Some have comments they don't like the closure system. I do. I find it easy to use. PRO TIP: Take the strap off when you ride. It doesn't tuck in anywhere if you leave it on, even if you try. If you leave it on the bag it could get wrapped around your hub, causing you to stop suddenly. In the dark. When it's raining. Don't ask me how I know this, just don't do it.
Ortlieb Downtown Commuter Pannier QL3
I selected this pannier for it's briefcase-style features. Interior pockets are sensibly organised and genuinely useful. It could benefit from an external pocket for phone or keys, but at that point you're really designing a different bag. I like the buckle system; easy to manipulate, looks smart. I was in two minds about the Teutonic vinyl look initially, but am very happy with that now (I chose the gorgeous aubergine colour). Loving the interior volume, which is sufficient to carry everything for an overnight business trip.
It has a scrape mark on the vinyl, from the bag falling off at high speed after I had failed to secure it properly. I always give it a pull now to make sure it has snapped firmly into the carrier system. But the bag did not spill open when it fell, there was no damage to the contents and the structure of the bag is a very robust design that will take a lot more beating than I intend to give it. I love that this is a fully waterproof design.
The QL3 system is very nice for a couple of reasons. It is a dream to remove, by simply lifting the bag by its handle. I was also very impressed with the range of adjustment in attaching the QL3 system to the existing bike rack. I played around with height and angle to get it how I wanted, with the bag out of the way of my heels.
I have it mounted on a Thule Sports Rack with side rack accessory. The Thule side rack design has a lot of flexibility with rail location and height, but limits the placement flexibility of the QL3 system a little by having wide plastic side-frame components that restrict locations for the mounting connectors. Overall, the QL3 system is nice, but I wish Thule made a bag as good as Ortlieb. That way I could do away with the side rack accessory and QL3 attachment, and just have a lovely sleek and simple Thule solution. I have a Thule Urban Tote on the other side of my carrier. It flexes and shakes a lot less than the complex side rack-QL3-Ortlie-b pannier combination does.