As I mentioned in my previous post, I picked up a Knog “The Boxer” rackless pannier system, but mostly with the intent to use it with a traditional rack. By removing the internal frame and threading a bungee through it, it worked well with a traditional rear rack. But recently I tried the rackless system, and found it less than satisfactory. In truth, I would say that there is no way that I could rightfully recommend this solution to anyone. I would say this thing is a safety hazard.
Everything up to this point looks great. The Boxer leaves what one would assume to be plenty of clearance around the wheel, even fully loaded (full change of clothes, towel, toiletries, laptop, and a 9×13 glass pan of brownies!). One could say that the brownies are over the top, but this bag is so voluminous, it just begs to be filled with goodies. On my reasonable 5 mile ride into work, I experienced non-stop pain and suffering. The bag system shakes back and forth (heretofore know as waggle) enough to rub on the inside surfaces of the bag, even at an easy-going level of effort. Throw in some moderate maneuvers to negotiate city streets (dodge a pothole or the wayward pet) and you are toying with disaster. The bag/rack system shifted enough to one side to catch the spokes and twist the mounting block inside the seat stay and disengage the bag mount, locking up the rear wheel. This occurred to me several times even after further tightening the mounting clamps.
The final straw was when I hit a moderate bump at about 12 mph, and both bottom mounts unhooked themselves from the blocks. (Yes I made sure the mounting blocks were properly adjusted and the hooks were fully set in place). I can handle a few inconveniences and oddities when hauling gear, (I’ve carried multiple cases of beer in panniers, a keg of beer in a trailer, coolers full of beverages, and zip-tied countless objects to various parts of the bike, to name a few.) but this is completely unacceptable.
This is a sample of some of the damage from my one trip to work and back with the rackless system. Keep in mind, this isn’t from constant rubbing; this is from the waggle and the handful of mash-ups with the rear wheel. I can’t say I’m completely surprised, as I read several reviews that indicated it was less than stable, but I hoped it would be tolerable. It wasn’t. Fortunately, it still works with a traditional rack, with slight modification. More on that later.