Panniers vs trailers, what’s the difference between the two and when should I use one over the other?
I get this question a lot as the pros and cons vary and both can be expensive. As a quick primer – both panniers and trailers add an additional compartment to carry things with your bicycle. While doing so is convenient, it also adds additional load making it more cumbersome.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences between a Pannier and Trailers for your bicycle, what they are, and which one is right for you.
What is a bike pannier backpack?
Bicycle pannier, known as bike pannier backpack is the bag, box, basket, or any other container attached to both sides of a bicycle and carried in pairs (double pannier). It is also known as the saddle panniers.
They are usually installed mounting over the tires – front, rear, or both. After installing the saddle panniers onto the tires of your bicycle, few things should be confirmed.
First, check the saddle panniers mounting over the tires are firmly installed. Second, check the saddle panniers are not in touch with the tires. Bike pannier backpack is normally used in the long-distance tour lasting for more than a day. You can get the bicycle bags in a bike bag shop.
Advantages of the bike pannier backpack
The bike bag is usually leather pannier. They are easy to carry because they are not very heavy.
You can carry the bike bags one by one from the bicycle to your camp. Since bicycle panniers are used in pairs, you always get the option to use more than one bike pack. Therefore, you get the chance to sort your stuff and put them into different bike panniers bags which makes things easier to find. Moreover, you don’t have to get off your bicycle to reach necessary things while you are on a ride.
Pannier bag is mechanically simpler as well as it requires little or no maintenance.
Disadvantages of the bike pannier backpack
Bike pannier increases the load on the bicycle, particularly on the back wheel.
It may cause a spoke break and finally tire puncture. Sometimes bike becomes unstable because of unbalanced weight between the pannier backpacks of left and right sides.
- Heavier weight on back wheel
- Increases chance of spoke breaking
- Can cause your bicycle to be unstable
So, what is bicycle trailer?
A bicycle trailer is an additional wheeled part of the bicycle. It is usually hooked to the rear portion of the bicycle in such a way that it could be unhooked from it if needed.
As a matter of fact, the trailer is used to transport goods by bicycle. It is usually made from steel or aluminum. Sometimes wood or bamboo is also used to make a trailer. To give the trailer an appropriate shape, the materials are fastened by using screws, bolts, etc.
Advantages of the bicycle trailer
It’s easy to carry heavy stuff like groceries and other purchases on the bicycle trailer. In fact, you can carry water in your journey to a dry area like the desert.
It allows carrying items of any shape, size, or length. Loading/unloading is very much easier and faster in the bicycle trailer. You can carry your bike packs in the trailer. On the other hand, bicycle trailer for kids can protect the kids in hot or bad weather.
The trailer is removable, as a result, you can ride the single bike without the trailer if needed.
Disadvantages of the bicycle trailer
Since the trailer is the most mechanical part including tire, screws, etc, it might be needed to repair it very frequently. In addition, the trailer is the wider part; as a result, sometimes it becomes harder to ride through narrow gaps.
It encourages the rider to carry a lot; as a result, it takes more travel time because of the additional weight carried in it. Sometimes it becomes difficult to handle the bicycle because the canter of mass is frequently changed by the trailer.
Panniers vs trailers – which is right for you?
Pannier vs trailer is a common question. It can be difficult to determine which one is better or worse for bicycle touring. Both of them have some advantages as well as some disadvantages.
It actually depends on the biking area. If you want to bike a mountain, definitely bike panniers backpack is better than the trailer. Because it will be difficult for you to bike the mountain with the trailer. On the other hand, if you want to bike through a desert, the trailer is better than the pack saddle panniers because you can carry sufficient water in the trailer for your desert trip.
In the true sense, both trailers and pannier bags are excellent in different riding situations. In fact, there is no right or wrong in choosing a trailer or bike pannier. Sometimes it depends on the personal choice. Some people think trailers more stable than panniers bike, whereas others feel scary riding downhill with a loaded trailer.
In conclusion, the most important thing is to go for an excellent ride as well as make the whole tour enjoyable. Therefore, how you decide to pack your stuff may affect the convenience of your journey. In some situations, bike panniers may make your journey convenient whereas, in other situations, selecting the trailer may be more convenient. So, this is wise to choose either trailer or pannier bags based on the place, route, time, etc of your journey.