What’s The Best Bag For Commuting By Bike? Saddle Bag Vs. Panniers Vs. Backpack

– The age old question facing
anyone who cycles to work or to university, or to school, is how best do you carry your essentials. Now, whether that’s like a laptop or a full change of
clothes, or possibly both, it’s a question that can
very much weigh you down. – And there are three main options. There’s the rucksack
shouldering the weight, or slinging the weight
across the back of your bike, Panniers, a bit old school, or the new and trendy option
of the Giant saddlebag. Now, both of these two
obviously leave you unencumbered but they do transform your trusty steed. – They do. So each system is going to
have its relative merits, but what we really want to know, and we suspect secretly you will do too, is which of them is the fastest. What is the most aerodynamic
way of carrying your stuff? – It’s the GCN Commuteaero challenge. – Oh that could be a hashtag right there, Commuteaero. (upbeat music) To find the answer to this slightly hairbrained question, we have enlisted the
support of several engineers who are based here at the
world-famous wind tunnel at the Politecnico Milano. – Would this actually change how you carry your stuff to work, Si? – Yeah, you know what I
think it would actually. I normally use a rucksack
because it’s easy, because it leaves my bike
feeling light and unencumbered, but if I could shave off some
time, I definitely would. (upbeat music) The Politecnico Milano tunnel is called a closed-circuit tunnel, and it actually has two
test rooms along its length. Wind is generated by 14 fans, each is 1.8 meters in diameter, and requiring a total of
1.4 megawatts of power. One room is used primarily
for civil engineering testing, so bridges, wind turbines, an the like, and it can create
turbulent wind conditions. The other room is much smaller and it gives very stable wind conditions, which is perfect for testing
bikes, riders, and luggage, which, funny enough, they
haven’t ever had to test before. – Our Super Commuter bike here is rigged up in the wind tunnel. Si will ride it for six minutes at a time, while the total drag of him plus bike is measured and recorded in the data acquisition
center outside the tunnel. Now, the first two minutes of each test will be into a straight on headwind. And then to measure different cross-winds, what we’ll do is rotate the
entire platform on a turntable, which will put him at
different angles to the wind, called yaw angles. (upbeat music – This is my actual backpack. I wanted something that was small and also super lightweight, it ticks both of those boxes,
it’s been great mostly. What’s in it will vary on a given day, but as a minimum I will have, of course, a pump, and also a multi-tool
and a tube, my laptop, and then I take a spare pair of socks, a pair of boxer shorts,
and also a T-shirt. Now, everything else I will leave at work, but to be a little bit
more representative, I’m also going to stick in a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans as well. Oh yeah, hair product too, couldn’t go anywhere without that. Now you know I’m lying, I
don’t use hair products, you knew that. (upbeat music) Now last time I was in a wind tunnel, I did not have glasses. No one told me how important they were, cuz your eyes just stream, so I brought out the
trusty old Bono glasses. Oh yeah. – Okay so you’re all good? – Good. – You’re going to be okay? – Hopefully. – Right, good luck. Don’t shout if there’s a problem
because we can’t hear you. – Thanks. – Oh it’s a heavy door, wow. Oh yeah. (laughs) (door slams) Okay. (upbeat music) This test will be repeated three times, one for each of our commuting setups. The first one being the rucksack, as you can see there. You can see here that the
scientists of the wind tunnel, they’re marking out Si’s
position on the bike, so they can be sure that he recreates the same body position
for each of our tests, so that it’s a fair comparison
of the commuting setups. (upbeat music) You okay? – Yes, I’m alright actually. I’ve forgotten how weird it
is riding in a wind tunnel, the fact that the wind
is completely constant so it’s just this white noise really loud, but yeah that was good, it just felt like riding home basically, into a dark tunnel. – Bloody freezing too I remember. – It was, yeah, a little
bit cold, but it’s alright. It’s kind of the amount of
fan-age I need, actually when I’m training inside
so it should be alright. – Fan-age. – Fan-age, yeah. – Good word. (laughs) (upbeat music) – Run number two then, we’ve
got a full bike packing kit. So we’ve got Topeak’s giant saddlebag, a frame bag, and also a top-load there. Roughly the same volume
size as the rucksack. The only slight thing I’m thinking of is I’m not going to be able
to get my laptop in here. – Yeah you can, it’ll fit
in there, that’s huge. – Hmm. – Yeah yeah that’ll be fine. – Are you completely
sure about this, Emma? – Yes, definitely and then
just pack the jeans around. You would take longer than the commute just to pack the bags but, you know. – It looks slightly weird having your underpants in a frame bag. I can’t do it Emma, I
can’t have a top-tube bag. I reckon I can squish
this stuff in elsewhere. – Yeah. – We’ve got plenty of room. – You’ve got loads of space. It’s all about efficient packing, Si. – You’ve inspired me with
my laptop mud guard. – That does look a little bit like a triathlete’s lunch
box really, doesn’t it? (upbeat music) So the important thing here is we have Si in the same body position, that’s why we drew lines around the- well the scientists drew lines around the outside of his body. But, the only thing that’s
changed is the luggage position because you can only change
one variable at a time, or we get confusing results. So, as Stefano was saying,
on this screen we can see the top number is Si’s cadence, Then you have his speed,
you have a power meter? – No we don’t have a power
meter, we have a force balance. He is below the line
there so that we measure the wind force to a force balance. – Yeah, so this is the
wind speed, the velocchita, and then the bottom number there, that’s the drag force, so that’s literally the
drag he is experiencing, as measured by the force balance. – Yeah. (upbeat music) – Okay, still alive? – Just about, yeah. – Good work, it doesn’t look easy. – Well the riding itself is fine, but yeah there’s not much to tell really, the bags were just kind of out of my way. – You had to hold that position, it looked like it was getting
a bit tiring after awhile. – Well yeah maybe a little bit. But yeah it’s all good, I’m good, I’m fascinated to see
the results on that one. Something very new and different. (upbeat music) From modern bike packing
now, to old-school. We’ve got a beautiful pair
of hand-made Panniers. I think we’ve pretty much
doubled the volume of it, don’t you think? – Yep. – So maybe I’d better take
a week’s worth of stuff actually to work this time. – Or a big lunch. – A three-course lunch,
yeah now we’re talking. Right, let’s do some packing. Yeah you stick them in your side. – Okay. – I’ll deal with the pants. – Yeah. All set up there? – Ready. – See you on the other side. I won’t be sorry to see
the back of this door. (door slams) (upbeat music) – Si is pedaling away in the
wind tunnel on his third run. This time we’ve got the
old-school Panniers, and he’s being very tough
and hanging in there with his same body position as before. And here we can see, this is the screen that
he can also see almost, you can see that this
number here, the drag force, is in red because it’s
higher than last time, in fact it’s higher than the first time, so I think the scientists
here are going to talk us through the results later. But the interesting thing
you can see straightaway is that, with the Panniers, his drag is significantly higher than with either the rucksack
or the Giant saddlebag. (upbeat music) So, at the moment you can see that we’re changing the yaw angle, So we’re changing Si’s
rotation to the wind, which means that it’s effectively like having a cross-wind as
you’re riding your bike. And the funny thing is,
with the saddlebags, the number is occasionally green which means it’s occasionally lower than it was with the rucksack, which means that,
potentially, I’m hypothesizing these saddlebags acting
a bit like a disk wheel, a bit like a sail effect
for the crosswind. I’m just making that up,
so it’s probably not true. The scientists here will tell us later. Momentary values don’t really matter, it’s the average over two
minutes that’s important. Well done, Si. – Thank you, thank you. – I know it was quite hard work hanging on there in the wind tunnel. I’ve got some slightly bad news for you, in that scientists down there say we have to do a baseline test without any luggage at all. So we’re going to take
the Panniers off again, and you’re going to have
to go through it again. – One more time. – I’m really sorry. – Well I mean it makes sense. – It’s good for you I mean
it’s a little bit of training. – Bit of training, yeah. Alright let’s do it. – He’s tough, he’s tough, it’s good. – [Simon] This baseline
test will allow us to see just how much drag I actually create, minus any luggage at all. As well as being a point of interest, it also acts as a control
to make sure that the data from the other tests
can be put into context. So over to Test Engineer Stefano Giappino. – So we’re going to
talk through the results of the commuter comparison with Stefano, the test engineer here at the wind tunnel. And Stefano, can you explain, you’ve changed that drag
force you’ve measured into Watts, is that correct? – Yes, starting from the drag
force we got from the balance, we computed the power to go
at 40 kilometers per hour. So this is the power to overcome 40 kilometers per hour of wind. – And so we’ve got the various different positions of the commuter luggage there, and these equate to the
different setups that Si had. So we have the rucksack,
the Giant saddlebags, and the Panniers. So Stefano, what can we
see from the results? – Okay so, we started with no bag at all, then if we added the bag
on the back like this, we’re going in this
position so this is slower. – So there’s more watts drag. – More watts, more drag. And if we put the bags on the real weight, this position, this is the worst position we found. – So Panniers are the worst? – Yeah. – Right, interesting. – But finally, if we put on the bike, like the saddle, and this position. – Giant saddlebag. – We have almost no difference. So you should put in this position. – Good to know, thank you very much. – We’ve had the top-line results. Emma can you hit us with some wattages. – Hit you with the wattage, indeed. So the best and the worst, there was actually 20 watts difference. – [Simon] 20 watts? – [Emma] This is quite a lot, so the best was the Giant saddlebag, which acts like a sort of bum
fairing I think you could say. – [Simon] Brilliant,
we’ll need one of those. – And that was similar to
the baseline of no luggage, in fact even below your
angle, so direct headwind, that might even be slightly
faster than no luggage, in aerodynamic terms. – Interesting stuff. And the Panniers, so
they were 20 watts slower than our Giant saddlebag. – Yep, and if you don’t
like Panniers anyway, that’s, you know, good reason not to use them I suppose. – Yeah, now the thing for me actually, was the fact that the
rucksack was in the middle, and the guys downstairs were saying that a lot depends on your
actual position on the bike. So I adopted a relatively sedate position, and because of my helmet
getting in the way, and because the rucksack is quite narrow, actually it didn’t perhaps
cause as much disturbance as they otherwise thought
it might have been, but if my position was more aerodynamic, then that would have
been more of a hindrance, is that right? – Yeah, so your rucksack was
essentially behind your helmet so it acted almost like a
fairing behind the helmet. – Head fairing this time. – A head fairing. – Whereas if one was to get super aero, maybe even commuting for some
reason on a Time Trail bike, the Giant saddlebag is
definitely the way forward. – Yeah, that’s yeah, and I should add that these wattage differences, that’s at 40 kilometers an hour, and you do get a reduction in
advantage as you go slower. I’m not sure how many people
commute at 40k an hour. – I think it depends
on the traffic really. As a fellow seasoned commuter then, now we’re armed with the data, are you going to change anything? – Well I have to say that I really do like my Giant saddlebag, although I’ve been told by a lot of people for sartorial reasons
that it’s not pretty. I don’t care, I like the fact
that I have a sweat-free back. But in terms of ease of use
for me, always rucksack. Because it’s just so easy
to sling it on and off, and my saddle is so
low that I run the risk with this Giant saddlebag of
it rubbing on the back wheel, which is definitely not
quicker, I can tell you that. – Right, so for me I think,
I did say at the beginning that I would go with whatever is fastest. I think the convenience of the rucksack still is possibly going to win out for me. On my longer commutes,
where I want the bike to feel nice and normal and
maneuverable and trackable, I’m still going to go with a rucksack. But actually, I would be tempted to dabble with a Giant saddlebag for when I need to get from A to
B as fast as possible. That has opened my eyes,
in fact, to bike luggage. So, watch this space. – So, if you happen to commute, and you’re interested
in saving a few minutes, why not check out GCN’s early video, “Pimp my Commute”. – That’s right, save minutes, get up later, and have more fun. We’ve got to say a big
“thanks” as well before we go to Politecnico Milano for
loaning us their wind tunnel, loaning us their expertise, it’s been absolutely brilliant. And there are more videos coming up soon. I’d give it a big thumbs up.

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100 Responses

  1. Compassion Six says:

    Just used a saddle bag to replace my backpack. It felt extremely fast compared to a backpack, and no sweaty bag.

  2. dumbo7429 says:

    Rack and pannier i have make stream lined front fairing on pannier and fixed mudguard under rack..both made from hollow corrogated plastic afixed with zip ties.

  3. Kyle Richard says:

    I used to take a bike to go grocery shopping. In that scenario it might be advantageous to use all three options at the same time! (Though I really just used the backpack and the pannier).

  4. James Pinkerton says:

    How does the saddle bag compare to a frame bag?

  5. morlamweb says:

    I use a set of foldable panniers and a trunk bag for all of my riding. I can go "aero" by collapsing the panniers down when they're empty, though most of the time, I can't be bothered with it. My primary concern is cargo capacity. Panniers win that category hands down even if you happen to be carrying a giant mountaineering style pack. For instance, two panniers can easily swallow large and heavy items, such as stopping at the grocery store for cat litter on the way home from work. A large pack can perhaps take on one large item, but your back will likely be complaining in short order.

    I commuted for a short time years ago with a backpack, but the horrible sweatspot on my back just completely turned me off of that idea. Plus, I can't get to anything in the pack during the ride, not like I can with the panniers, trunk bag, or a handlebar bag.

  6. gattsu glory says:

    The only other missing bike packing technique missed is handle bar bag. How does the drag look then?

  7. Ouray4570 says:

    I'd like to join others in saying that Emma is a great addition to the GCN presenters. She's smart, funny, great on camera, and obviously an accomplished cyclist. Ya'll are wonderful!

  8. Kasey Carpenter says:

    I ride a 30 mile round trip commute with an oversized laptop, tablet, change of office clothes, dopp kit, swim trunks for the gym at lunch, and lunch itself, I have a pannier bag that is like a small garment bag (it lays over the back rack) with two oversized pockets on either side. perfectly carries all i need with ease, and comes off the rack in one piece with a shoulder strap for easy walking about – though I seriously doubt is it anywhere remotely aero. That being said, I feel super-fast when i ride without it on the weekends…

  9. Ikreisrond says:

    Saddle bag rubbing the tyre can be prevented by a frame for the bag. My frame size is extra small anyway, so I can’t use a normal saddle bag. I use one of those seat post racks (Topeak, going up from the seat post then horizontal over the tyre) and put a drybag (35L) on it for bikepacking. Watching this video it seems like quite a good choice by lack of better options.

  10. Ted Rolfes says:

    I wish you had tried a "messenger bag". I find them even easier and more versatile than a backpack/rucksack, and since they tend to sit a bit lower down your back, they may have performed slightly better in the wind tunnel as well.

  11. Toms Tech says:

    NO, THANK, YOU, will not be hanging my dell inspiron over my back wheel and using it as a mudguard, effectively fill the middle triangle and stick stuff in there, wear a shape hugging rucksack as close to you as possible, have a tiny saddlebag for maybe the pump and tube, then have some very narrow panniers, with any/all of those combined you should be able to carry allot with minimal drag, they need to make bikes where the central triangle has fairings for storage, side winds will suck but whatever. (not a roadie, a typical full suspension cross country type).

  12. Tae Young Ahn says:

    I'm getting a saddlepack now.

  13. Brett Van Alstine says:

    what kind of jacket are you wearing in this, Simon?

  14. Kimon Froussios says:

    Backpack makes the most sense for my short commutes. No faff, no delays.
    Frame bags are great for bike rides but are terrible to carry around once the bike is parked.
    Panniers are too much of a load imbalance that affects steering and ease of pushing the bike on foot.

  15. skippygirl959 says:

    I wish i could ride my bike to school but the only way to get there is up a huge long giant hill that my car can barely make it up

  16. James Rindley says:

    Good to have Emma on board to stop GCN turning into a sort of pedal powered top gear. Nobody in their right mind wants that.

  17. John Ravago says:

    Hope you can add a trunkbag to the test.

  18. Carl Ward says:

    So when are you guys going to take the alternative approach to commuting? Eg. On a mountain bike via trails (of any severity). Great opportunity for a set of timed runs here…

  19. Hercule Holmes says:

    Which is the fastest?? I couldn't care less. If I'm carrying a laptop on my bike I want (a) a comfortable ride and (the laptop still in one piece when I get there).

  20. Kayla Jazzmin says:

    As someone who doesn't ride in an aero position, and doesn't carry heavy stuff, I feel like my lightweight day pack would be the easiest way for me. Not as much wind drag when riding upright

  21. Charlene Edwards says:

    This is a fantastic video. I commute to London daily 20 miles in total. I do have panniers but it's only temp until my back gets better. Plus I look at it as weight training. Would GCN consider doing a vid about commuters mask? Whether it's worth it or not. Old Kent Road and Brixton Road is terrible for pollution. Emma keep up the great work 😊

  22. Eurobubble70 says:

    i simply adjust my rucksack so its way down my back and almost touches the saddle, this way there has to be very little extra drag as its completely behind my back and not very wide.

  23. Sport Me says:

    TT Commute thats cool xD

  24. Mark Jacobs says:

    Everything is soooo much more credible with a British accent…

  25. Dave Moore says:

    Fannage, brilliant word!! I had better not say any more!

  26. Jamie Milbourne says:

    I use a Topeak rack bag with stowable panniers. Pretty similar to a giant saddle bag with the panniers stowed but with the benefit of them being there if I need them. Perfect for this time of year when you need a big coat in the mornings but not in the afternoon!

  27. Ryan Downey says:

    The slowest part of my commute is the dismounting, locking up, and stripping my bicycle of all valuables including lights and saddle bag. That is one reason why I prefer a backpack; however, I do keep the saddle bag on my bike to reduce the weight from my back. If I didn't have to do all of that, I'd save 5 minutes.

  28. Mark Johnson says:

    Hi Emma – Can you use your saddle pack with a carbon seat post? Cheers

  29. Peter Brown says:

    Interesting video but I really hate the sweaty back from a ruck sack plus it moves my centre of gravity up/reduces stability which I think is a bad thing.  To overcome it I have a Vaude Silkroad plus which sits on a rear carrier so is pretty aero too.  The bag is easily fitted and removed plus doesn't look mad like the saddle bag to be walking around with on completion of my commute.  In this guise it also has two small, hidden mini-panniers to fill if needed.  Total volume 15l (or 8 without using the side panniers) which is more than sufficient for every day use.

  30. chengs group25 says:

    honesty, commuting by bicycle is stupid unless is 10 min from ur house to work…

    been there and done that…
    lets say average commuting by bike is 10 to 15km and 30 to 40min each way…
    –u get there all sweaty, need a shower, place to store ur.bicycle or might get stolen, get wet in the rain, need change clothes and cicling shoes sometimes, u face danger from cars and trucks who probably faster and zipping near u at lets say 40kmh ….u inhale old car exhaust fumes…. day in day out..some days u tired or muscle sore but need get home…

    – why dont just get a 50cc scooter….. u get to work fresh, store ur rain coat etc under the seat, takes 15 min covering same distance, less danger cause u going same speed as cara at 40kmh , get grocery before get home, and the time saved u can use in the gym or home workout, can even pick ur gf for a coffee, easy to park , less desirable for thief to rob, some scooter cost less or same price as a good bike…..
    -some countries 50cc dont require license..

    – if u go to asia and Europe u see scotter everywhere cause they are the best form.of transportation bar none

    – 50cc dont look cool? true.. but noone cares…its practical.and great tool….riding bicycle getting all dirty is.not cool either… its about the commute day in day out

    —of all these being said? whats the advantage of cicling comparing to low cc scooteer day in day out?
    – unless the person cant ride scooteer, but in that case he and she probably cant ride bicycle either….and about exercise, the time u save u can go gym or exercise later

    so please…someone enlight me …..70% of world population in asia and europe cant.be wrong right?


  31. Loon Atic says:

    I usually carry my (big!) lunch, a laptop, a semi big folder, a multitool, a 3kg chain lock, my purse, some clothing and every other day (gym day) gym shoes, towel etc.
    And I used to commute 20km each way.

    So a rucksack never was an option, because of the weight, a saddle/frame bag is far too small. Not having the weight on your back and instead low on your bike for a low centre of gravity and (very importantly:) completely realiably dry in Ortlieb panniers has made the commute enjoyable. If I wanted I could even grab some groceries on the way home without any problem.

    Now my commute is less than 10 minutes, so I can just ride home for lunch or between uni and gym – therefore everything fits in a rucksack and its weight doesn't bother me on this short ride. All the fancy aerodynamics talk in this video is only helpful for people with little luggage on semi-long to long commutes.

  32. fuego59 says:

    Added benefit of saddle bag: no wet ass! 🙂

  33. Bob Torres says:

    This is old news for us old commuters…..I've been commuting on my bike since 1991, I started with my road bike and as the years gone by the tires got fatter (less flats), the back pack disappeared and remains to this day with rear rack, I use either a trunk or small panniers. Don't forget permanent lights and mud guards (fenders)! My weight weenie road bike has morphed into a commuting/touring bike with a lot less headaches. The aero and need for speed thing will be gone after a few thousand miles of too many flats, a broken frame or two, lousy unmaintained roads, traffic lights and miserable motor vehicle traffic.

  34. hertz says:

    I have commuted ~10km every day into central London for the last two years. As a uni student, I've found that the best set-up involves:
    – Wearing cycle clothing to and fro – changing in a large, accessible toilet upon arrival and before returning home.
    – Keeping large textbooks/items in locker at uni.
    – Carrying (in an ordinary backpack): day clothes, large laptop, books, 2 inner tubes, multi-tool, tyre levers, allen keys, mini-pump, etc. The extra room in my backpack allows me to buy groceries. I prefer backpack to panniers (haven't tried saddle-bag because it's volume is inadequate) because I don't have to worry about leaving my laptop and any other valuables unattended. Having waterproof panniers isn't that impressive because keeping the contents of your backpack in 2 layers of plastic bags is just as good. Also, panniers make general balance and filtering through traffic more awkward.
    – Showering at uni – keeping towel and toiletries there. *Find somewhere at work/uni/school where you can let your wet/sweaty/dirty cycle clothing and towel air out/dry during the day, unless you want to ride home in sweaty gear or casual clothes.
    – I have two U-Locks (ABUS GRANIT XPlus™ 540) attached to my seat tube which take the weight off my back. I really recommend this set-up because it allows you to safely cycle anywhere without your backpack.
    – My Cannondale QUICK CX 2, which has wide 700x38c tyres, suspension and hydraulic disc brakes, makes me have a lot more control and confidence on some of London's busiest and most poorly surfaced roads. I very rarely get punctures too. To go faster, I've attached Specialized Dirt RodzTM Bar Ends to help get a lower and more secure body position. Also, cycling into uni in my day shoes with flat pedals seems much more practical than carrying an extra pair of shoes everywhere and struggling to clip in and out at the ~15 traffic lights along the way.

    I'd say that my "set-up" is suitable for commutes shorter than 20km. Any longer, I'd swap to a road bike but I'd still keep the backpack. I'd only use panniers if I was working somewhere more remote/safe. As for the saddle bag, it would be hassle having to take it off all the time and carefully pack it. Any Q's let me know!

  35. John says:

    weight on your back = better bike handling.

  36. Johnny Ray Bramton says:

    Wind tunnel testing? Not all of us are going fast all the time and aerodynamics aren't a big factor. Your channel would do better by acknowledging this. That said, practicality rules for me. Panniers don't have to be big and are easier to use – which translates to a more enjoyable ride. Panniers also keep the center of gravity low, which maintains stability. You are missing a large number of cyclists.

  37. Kraaf K says:

    Fantastic work, thanks for this!

  38. Nigel Robinson says:

    Interesting results. Time to buy a large saddle bag. Cheers folks.

  39. TheFedericohiguain2 says:

    I just use a backpack . I like to leave my bike as simple as possible, it makes it look better.

  40. Korup7ion says:

    a small saddle bag is all i need for the bare essentials if i need more than that i use a backpack because i don't like stuff on my bike

  41. david m gazda says:

    Interesting video, but when using the giant saddle bag they also used used a bag under the cross bar, but didn’t mention that may also have an aero effect.

  42. Mash Ed says:

    Excellent video!

  43. Bob Torres says:

    This is a pretty useless video for serious bike commuters….. real commuters will use the proper bag or bags to carry all of their items plus also have room in case if they have to make stops to pick up other things….If your commute goes through a city with lots of traffic lights, being aero is not going to do anything while waiting for the lights to change….just go out there, ride you bikes and don't be afraid to install the right size bags needed for your commute….

  44. michael falk says:

    I use af lightweight MC aero backpack/rucksack

  45. Brian A says:

    where’s the handlebar bag?

  46. NS23 says:

    "laptop mudguard" ahahahaha

  47. David M says:

    After about 40 years and 250,000 km of commuting this is my preferred solution: https://youtu.be/DuAEZlxyBAQ

  48. WillN2Go1 says:

    I've already shifted my thinking from panniers to saddle bag. This surprised me. GCN has already convinced me load behind me saddle bag or on the rack instead of panniers.
    I think about my ruksack as well. My idea, is to make a couple of lightweight panels (low tech carbon fiber, I've got some laying around and some epoxy that's a bit old…). Mount two panels on my rack, so they open left and right. then a waterproof nylon bag in the middle. This will keep them from extending beyond 45 degrees. Then a simple drybag roll closure. Maybe a pocket to slide in my bike U-lock and cable so I don't have to fuss with a bracket or tying it down. Then pop open the two wings, drop in my day-bag, roll up the opening, clip on either end.. The two panels will close around the day-bag no tying, no bungee cords. The panels may not even be necessary. (The idea with them is that as they close they center the load. Normal empty position should be able to contain the bike lock but leave the panels lying as flat as possible. Just thinking out loud.

  49. sam robinson says:

    2:37 My Angles??

  50. MWB Gaming says:

    Il stick with a crate over the back wheel

    It offers loads of storage space, excellent protection for your cargo in the event of a crash (assuming you have a lid), and it's really really cheap

  51. Ib Erik Söderblom says:

    Then there is a market for an specially shaped aero-rucksack !

  52. Truthseeker says:

    I didn't know you can use your laptop as a mud guard. I've learned something..

  53. Ryan Priestnall says:

    Look at the size difference at 1:06 hahaha that made me laugh.

  54. AdeptPaladin says:

    It’s not just aerodynamics… it’s capacity and the propensity of items to shift when moving. Panniers and the narrower bags will more likely keep the bike’s center of gravity in line. A rucksack could easily shift side-to-side, pulling your centre of gravity off the line of the bike. Having the mass higher up makes it a bigger lever.

  55. Chris Pitchforth says:

    I'm new to cycling to work.
    I'm not sure if it's my imagination but I think it makes a big difference only have one pannier compared to two.
    I was hoping you would test that.

  56. paolo gentili says:

    First big up for Politecnico. Great strike.
    Second: this type of test is surely good in terms of structure but id doesn't consider traffic environment. A second fundamental parameter to take in account is the location of Center Of Mass. If in the route you have to do daily there is a lot of traffic you had to be able to handle the heightened COM caused by the extra loading carried at the top of the configuration cyclist+bike. Panniers lower the COM increasing handling in the turning corner. Therefore bigger pannier could be a pain in the * in tight space of big city's route.

  57. Riflemanm16a2 says:

    1:55 Rubberdome keyboard but $190 trackball.

  58. Slashley gibbins says:

    Notice the GCN guys never go out on a windy day.

  59. Energetik says:

    I use one-side pannier for commute. It's the most convenient for me: no sweat on back and I just throw my ordinary backpack inside pannier, no need to change luggage.
    On my way to home, I can easily fit my jacket and gloves inside, because it's typically much warmer then.

    I dont care about aero, because my average commute speed is 21-22, not 40km/h.

  60. James Rounding says:

    Duration may play a role as well. If you are riding for a longer period shoulder strain may become a problem with your rucksack?

  61. Matt Wurst says:

    after this video i might consider a framebag .. nah.. with a Rucksack I can take stuff from my bike to places. ..if I had any

  62. potstab says:

    What about a messenger bag slung at 45 deg with a stabilization strap? It works well for the bike messenger service in the cities….do they still exists?

  63. The1trueDave says:

    I'm surprised how high the power requirement was even with no bag. 27N x 11m/s (40kph) is the best part of 300W, and that's just the wind force. Mechanical and rolling resistance could easily add another 15-20%… 350 watts to sustain 25mph seems quite high. Parts of my (admittedly quite short) commute are at around 25mph (with rucksack) and I'm damn sure I'm not putting out that kind of power!

  64. Redneck Repair guy says:

    I thought the were saying that panties produced drag. How could a woman in panties have any drag at all?

  65. Jeramy Boileau says:

    LOL I used a Yak trailer w/dry bag for two years!

  66. AWriterWandering says:

    How about a bag that sits on top of the cargo rack?

  67. Adam Morris says:

    I ordered a saddlebag in the middle of watching this video when it was first uploaded.
    Best thing I've done for my cycle commuting, I've squeezed trainers, beer.. You name it, it's been stuffed in.
    An sometimes be a bit weighty behind but generally feels sound as.

  68. gingercat6128 says:

    You proceed from a false assumption. It's not speed that matters but which can carry the most with the least effort.

  69. se7ensnakes says:

    Thats my problem right there. I need to pack a change of clothes: pants, shirts, belt, shoes, socks, tie. When I get to work I shower that means: tower, soap. Then what is called spares: innertube, pump, allen keys and patches. My bag is weighted significantly

  70. Aninto Jati Nugroho says:

    what about box-frame bag?

  71. Mr Blue.tit. says:

    I use an aero bag

  72. Brann mac Finnchad Matsukaze Workshops says:

    One other point in favour of racks and panniers. They help protect the bike if you go down.
    I got hit last week…the rack absorbed the impact on non-drive side, and the full pannier kept my derailleur from hitting the pavement on the other.

    I rode it home (after it had been checked at the LBS).

  73. Him Bike says:

    I’ve ridden across USA 4x with a backpack. I travel lite, maybe 15lbs.
    My philosophy is simple, “take lots of breaks and keep on going.”

  74. mvideoky says:

    I would like to make a case for panniers. Aero notwithstanding, panniers allow you to avoid having a sweaty back, improve your ability to see behind you if you use a helmet mirror and give you extra room for things beyond the essentials. I live in the hot humid southeast United States and riding with a backpack is just unpleasant many months of the year. Panniers also give me the flexibility to stop on the way home and pick up small items from the store. I vote for a more comfortable and safer commute than just speed or aero alone. Thanks for the interesting video.

  75. WilliamFeatherstone says:

    Pedaling 11 miles roundtrip with hills to get my 30 kg of groceries every week in all possible weather including hot and humid conditions as well as ice and snow means that I have to use saddlebags front and rear on my fat bike. A road bike with a rucksack wouldn't work for winter and hold my groceries in one trip.

  76. Nina says:

    Obviously the most aero way to transport my luggage is in my giant basket in front of my Dutch city bike. Duh

  77. nomans land says:

    Fourth option? The messenger bag which slings over one shoulder and shares the weight with the hips. Been using the same bag (Timbuk2 from san fran) since the mid 90's. BEST bag ever made. Waterproof as well.

  78. KrœnT says:

    I bought a bicycle messenger bag, not the most elegant one, but it really fits in a lot.

  79. Vivek Joseph K says:

    Emma is great. Straight to the point, no theatrics, no cackling. And a hefty CV to boot!

  80. Jerry Gundecker says:

    You spend a great deal of effort to shave off time from your ride. What will you do if you find that
    when you are seventy-five, you have shaved off three hundred years from your ride time?

  81. Holly Brooke says:

    To me the only practical bag is the rucksack, because it is the only bag that can be taken inside.

  82. Fabien Garcia says:

    Where can I buy those panniers ? They look great ! And I will train harder with them too

  83. Eddie Ting says:

    How do you carry your lock when riding a road bike?

  84. Mel Palaganas says:

    I'd prefer a pannier rack, then secure my backpack with bungee cords. Sure, I'll be really slow, but I'd prefer comfort and practicality. Plus I'm using an XC 27.5 hardtail because the roads here are bad. So yeah, slow and steady.

  85. Tristan Clarke says:

    Hi ya. I was wondering if anyone has a solution when using a saddle bag and cycling in the dark where to attach the rear light for it to still be visible?

  86. Chris says:

    why do people buy all this shite?

  87. sparkvideos77 says:

    Backpack in winter or if I can shower on arrival. Otherwise, Pannier and slow riding – hate sweaty back.

  88. E-Ma says:

    what about a trunk bag?

  89. Thomas Lefere says:

    eye opener, I'm curious what the drag effect would be from my deuter race x air backback which looks much more aero thay Si's backpack… riding 64k in total per day, so might have significant minutes impact :):):)

  90. Scott Smith says:

    Fourth option: trailer. Get a Burley Travoy. Best commuter trailer ever.

  91. Jerry Gundecker says:

    I miss Emma. What a sweetie.

  92. Shamanbear Two says:

    My bike is my car/transportation. For me, speed is not the issue. On the last bike, I had the nice waterproof panniers mostly because I did lots of camping in Seattle. Now, I just have a standard rack on the back of the mountain bike with a milk crate zip-tied on the top. The milk crate proved its superiority on a recent 6 hour ride when I stopped into a store for something to eat. I could not resist the box of chocolate croissants which fit perfectly in that crate. That was one of my best rides ever riding across Lake Washington at sunset while eating chocolate croissants.

  93. filmtajm35 says:

    And why are you not testing a bike with a back rack and basket?
    That's according to me and many others, the best way to ride and commute with any luggage.

  94. Sofia Orsic says:

    and if you whear the rucksak in front? i mean instead have it on your back have it on your belly? witch difference it will make?

  95. Jirol Delos Santos says:

    What is your backpack?

  96. babbar123 says:

    Based on the data, I am going with a backpack (or as you Brits call it rucksack).

  97. Isabella Shiri says:

    I've always gone with a backpack, as the drag from saddle bags is self evident. I don't opt for any bag that sits under the seat, because I keep both my bike lock, as well as the most attention getting tail light I could find, which I attach to the seat post. Thank you very much for this video, it confirmed what I had already assumed to be true.

  98. pavankmr888 reddy says:

    I am little confused..why the front wheel is also rotating 🙄🙄

  99. Shawn J says:

    Nice video. Too bad I didn't click on this for any concern about aerodynamics, but rather to get a wider discussion and comparison between panniers, backpacks, and other bags.

  100. SeanTee604 says:

    Can't put a laptop in a seat pack. Like comparing apples and oranges.

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