I am planning a cross-country ride for next year, and I bought these panniers for that, as well as grocery shopping in my neighborhood. So far, they are living up to my expectations - they are strong, waterproof, and easy off/on. My only complaint is that it would be good if they had some exterior pockets to manage small items like wallets that you want easily accessible but not on your person while riding. But this is not a big deal and is easily solvable through other means.
Larry Lansdowne on 6/11/15
Heavy, Waterproof, quick Mount/ Release, Worth it
Just about bombproof
Kathy on 11/2/14
These panniers hang on to my rear bicycle rack, no fear that they will fall off. Fast and easy to clip on and off, too. Best bit is that where they clip onto the rack is adjustable so that even a person with size 13/euro size 50 feet didn't rub heels on panniers with every pedal stroke. Lots of space for groceries. The inside is coated and slightly sticky, and there are no other pockets, so plan to use additional bags (the thin ones from the grocery store?) to manage your gear. The shoulder strap has just a thin plastic bit to keep the bag on your shoulder, so plan to at least pad it some if you will carry it off the bike very far. No plastic stink. I'd buy them again.
Bike tour guide
Dennis Lennox on 6/28/13
They've lasted two southern tier tours and are still going strong after 10 years of constant use. What a great product.
Solid design, horrible carrying strap.
Alex Richman on 12/25/06
The Ortlieb Backroller Classics are probably the most common pannier I see in Portland and for good reason. The Ortlieb's have a durable, smart design. The dismount system is top-notch, they really take no extra time to take off or put on your bicycle. These panniers are also 100% waterproof, which is very important for the Pacific NW. I love that there is no rain cover, the material that the bag is made from is water proof. The Backroller Classics sport a roll-down top which I like. On the plus side you can leave them open when it's not raining and you can really pack a lot in there - perfect for grocery runs. Because of the roll-down top, you also have more flexibility packing smaller loads down securely. On the downside it does take longer to pack your load in, and it does take a little time to get a feel for how to pack it. I think there are two major design flaws that keep the panniers from being perfect. The lack of an outside pocket is an annoyance in the rain if you need to lock your bicycle up. I commute to school and having a wet lock in the same compartment as books and papers is just a bad idea. I have to bungie my U-lock to my rack or bring a little cloth to wipe it down which is a bit annoying. My other complaint is that the shoulder strap that comes with this is just a joke. During the winter it's not so bad because I have a jacket to provide cushioning, but in the summer wearing a t-shirt, the strap really hurt my shoulder. Ortlieb should really spend the extra $1 it would take to manufacture a more comfortable shoulder strap. However since they choose not to that means I have to buy 2 new straps for this summer. Kind of a bummer. Overall, these bags are incredibly solid despite their minor flaws. For the price I'm not sure they can be beat.