They came about 30 minutes after I crawled out of bed. Yes!
Upon opening the box, I noticed one problem, the panniers were blue, not black as I thought I had ordered. Not a big deal since I like the blue. I will stick with the blue.
I digress. As you can see above, I installed my Tubus Cargo EVO rear rack. Although I am not much of an installation guy and usually cannot make heads or tails of manual instructions. This rack was simple to install, however. The instructions were lame, but the diagram helped.
I needed an allen wrench and a screwdriver head shaped like the Star of David. The allen wrench turned the brazon bolts on the Surly while the "Star of David" screwdriver turned the bolts supplied by Tubus. All in all, a simple process with few hiccups.
The rear rack, as you can see, fits perfect. It looks great. It can carry up to 88 pounds. My Surly LHT is coming along. Now the Vaude Panniers...
Wow! Look at those panniers. I decided to purchase the Vaude rear panniers because the reviews were as good as Ortleib, and the cost was slightly less. Like the Ortleib panniers, these are rollers and 100% waterproof. These are 48 liters vs. 40 liters with the Ortleib rear panniers. I wanted to spend less money and attempt to tour this spring without front panniers so going to the 48 liter size may accommodate that plan.
The Vaude rear roll top panniers, aside from being waterproof, offer two inner pockets that I thought may help organize the smaller items I place in my bags rather than having them lay willy-nilly on top or on bottom of the panniers. I like the roll top design which I think will make overloading these panniers easier since there is not a lid to pull over a FULL bag. There is also a small cord that allows for the pannier to be locked to the bicycle. I t may be easy to cut, but it offers some piece of mind knowing the crook wold need to have a wire cutter to take them. I also like the design of strap locks on the side to anchor the roll enclosure and the over the top strap lock to assure a secure roll top seal. Its very clean.
The panniers also come with a detachable shoulder strap. A nice convenience for carrying the bags when necessary, but they will be stored in the pannier inside pockets.
The bar grabs that are activated by the bag handles clip on easily. The bottom of the bag has a clip which adjusts on a circular track to attach and secure the pannier to the bottom of the bicycle rack. I found this clip needed some force, after loosening the screw, to make the adjustment for a secure fit t the rack lower tube. Now that it is adjusted and attached, its not an issue any longer.
I am looking forward to gong for that first trip along the Erie Canal. My thoughts are to camp at Delta Lake State Park in Rome, NY. Not too far from home. Stay in a one or two person tent and cook on a Trangia stove and return home next day. There are many sights to see along the way following the original canal path. Each piece of gear gets me closer to my ultimate goal of riding to Fayetteville, NC. Well, I will keep you all posted as to my plans and outfitting. Til then, I will see you on the road.