Once we moved part-time to a big East coast city, we decided to skip having a car. Didn’t want the expense and hassles of street parking, gas and insurance, parking tickets or the dread DUI after too many cocktails. Save the planet was also in the back of our minds.
So the plan was no car, period. Which meant we absolutely needed one critical thing: panniers for our two bikes. At the local shop, there were two options and we took the less expensive route: the aptly named Banjo Brothers Grocery panniers ($59.99). We couldn’t be happier — and if your activities match ours, you will be, too.
These panniers were ideal choice for grocery runs, Trader Joe stock-ups, hardware store expeditions and wine and beer trips. The Banjo Grocery panniers nail all these tasks. They’re everything you need and anything more is needless excess.
The basics: each pannier is designed to handle your classic paper bag of groceries or perhaps two smaller plastic bags. Two panniers, two bags of groceries. When we shop together, we’re rolling home with four good-size bags of provisions. No car required.
My first impression in the bike store proved to be true and accurate: well-made, high quality, solid construction and clean design. There’s ripstop nylon on the front and sides with ballistic fabric in high-wear areas. Inside, there’s a plated-steel frame and rigid polymer liner. Again, rock solid, nothing flimsy, ready to break. You’re got 1100 cubic inches (13″ L x 8″ W x 11.5″ H) of haul space.
The Banjo Grocery panniers use two simple hooks up top that grab onto your metal rack railing and a J hook on an adjustable elastic cord that attaches to the bottom of the rack. It’s so simple I can load and unload with one hand — J hook on, pull up, drop rail top hooks onto rack. The open-top design makes loading super easy.
What’s also great is you can fold the panniers almost flat with two side snaps. That’s handy when you want a sleeker look on the way to the store and handy when you carry them in or stick them under the grocery store cart. I keep the panniers folded near the front door ready for errands. Thanks to a shoulder strap, you can just use the panniers as your in-store bags.
I’ve carried tons of groceries, two to four six packs of beer and all manner of stuff from the hardware store and packages from the UPS store. I have zipped home with ten bottles of wine. It’s also pretty handy for a park or beach picnic.
Overall, I’d have to say the simplicity of putting the Grocery panniers on and taking them off is a big plus. If I need to make a quick dash to get something last minute, it’s just so easy to get rolling.
So if you’re in the market for well-designed panniers that master shopping and errands, you have to check out the Banjo Brothers Grocery panniers. And for the price, it would be tough to beat them.