Durable, functional & 100% waterproof bicycle panniers and bags
Are Ortlieb bags worth it? The short answer: yes! If you want waterproof panniers which will last you for years and are easy to use, you want Ortlieb bicycle pannier bags.
Let’s check them out in a bit more detail.
Ortlieb is indeed a German brand. It was launched in 1982 in Nuremberg and named after the company founder, Hartmut Ortlieb.
Ortlieb bags are made in Germany – everything from the design and development to the production and shipping is done at their HQ in Heilsbronn, Bavaria.
As a company, Ortlieb is also dedicated to environmental sustainability. In addition to their commitment to sustainable practices, Ortlieb also have a strong history of encouraging cyclists to repair, rather than replace, their panniers. This is why all of their small parts – from hooks and handles to buckles and straps – are available as spares. (Yes, BMCR stocks Ortlieb spares, too!)
You can even send your panniers back to Ortlieb for repairs. (Handy tip: if you don’t feel like posting your bags off to Germany, your local shoe repairer may be able to fix them for you. For Adelaide peeps, we recommend Ideal Shoe Repairs on Hutt Street in the CBD.)
Yes! Ortlieb use a combination of coated materials, high-tech closures and welded seams to ensure 100% waterproofing.
Ortlieb products also have a permanent waterproof lamination of the material, so you never have to worry about the water repellence wearing off (and then having to renew it, which can be a fiddly pain in the butt).
Your Ortlieb bag is 100% waterproof, 100% of the time.
Ortlieb bike bags are super-simple to attach. For QL2 bags (which is the system used by the Back Roller Classic, Back Roller Plus and Sport Roller Classic panniers), the upper handle has two mounting hooks which open and close as you lift the handle. The lower rail has a single anchoring hook which slots behind the leg of your rack to keep the bag secured.
All you need to do is put the bag on your rack, and click the mounting hooks into place. Your Ortlieb bag will stay happily on your rack until you want to remove it. To take it off, just lift the handle to release the mounting hooks, and voila!
Ortlieb panniers fit almost any bicycle rack. (In fact, in twenty years of selling Ortlieb bags, we’ve only come across one rack that they didn’t work with, and that was only because the rack tubing was square rather than round.)
The QL2 bags are very easy to fit. The mounting hardware can be adjusted without tools, so you don’t need to faff about with screwdrivers or allen keys. Ortlieb panniers also come with multiple inserts that snap inside the mounting hooks to ensure a snug, rattle-free fit on your bike rack.
All Ortlieb products are covered by a five-year warranty for extra peace of mind.
BMCR stocks the Ortlieb Back Roller Classic panniers, Back Roller Plus panniers, Sport Roller Classic front panniers, and Ultimate 6 Classic handlebar bags.
We also sell Ortlieb spare parts, including mounting inserts, handles, screw sets and security devices.
The Ortlieb product range is absolutely massive, so if there’s a bag you want that we don’t stock, send us a message and we’ll see if we can get it for you.
The easiest way to work out which Ortlieb panniers to buy is to look at what you’re wanting to use them for (e.g. touring, day tripping, bikepacking, commuting, grocery shopping) and how much you need to carry.
One very useful thing to do first is get out everything you're wanting to take on your bike so you get a visual representation of how much space you're going to require. This will save you a lot of time when sizing up potential panniers.
If weight is of a concern, the Ortlieb Back Roller Plus panniers will be your best bet. They offer 40 litres of storage space, including a zippered internal pocket, as well as Ortlieb's Cordura fabric.
If weight isn't an issue, go for the Ortlieb Back Roller Classics. They offer the same 40 litres of space and internal pocket as the Back Roller Plus bags but are around 200g heavier. (They also cost a bit less.)
If you're not taking much with you or are going for a minimal setup, Ortlieb's bikepacking and gravel range is worth looking at. It includes smaller panniers (the Gravel Pack bags) frame bags, and seat packs.
What about the Ortlieb Sport Roller Classics vs the Back Roller Classics? If you’re packing light, or looking for a supplementary set of front panniers to match your rear panniers, go for the Sport Roller Classics. Sport Rollers (which used to be called the Front Rollers) can fit on a front or rear bicycle rack, and have 25 litres of carrying space.
Carrying a camera, maps, or just want everything at your fingertips? Then you’ll want a Ortlieb handlebar bag. With 7 litres of storage, the Ultimate 6 Classic is easy to fit and remove, and can also be locked in place for added security.
Basically, for whatever you want to carry, there will be an Ortlieb product to suit.
Waterproof, durable, highly functional and sustainably produced, Ortlieb bags are world-renowned because they’re simply the best there is.
There are cheaper options out there, but Ortliebs will pay for themselves over and over again. (To be honest, most people we’ve come across who’ve bought cheap pannier bags tend to come back to buy Ortlieb to replace them anyway.) We have multiple customers with Ortlieb bags which are over a decade old and still going strong.
Whether you’re a daily commuter, weekend tripper or world traveller, if you’re looking for waterproof bicycle bags, Ortlieb really is the gold standard.