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.
The initial fit and build quality is fantastic; I even think it looks great on the bike. Install was very easy and fast.
The attachment system consists of three blocks that cinch to the seat post and seat stays with plastic pipe clamps. The frame built in to the bag just hooks into the blocks. Easy enough, right?
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.
3 thoughts on “Knog The Boxer: Don’t Walk, Run Away!”
Any updates on modifying this to use with a normal rear rack?
I want a pannier bag I can occasionally put on my back, and found someone selling these cheap
The best way to modify this rack is to cut off the top hoop part of the rack, and put the bottom “square” parts back in as side stiffeners. You can then drape the panniers over a conventional rear rack.
A velcro loop can go through two existing slits underneath the top part of the panniers, to hold it to the rack. At the bottom of the panniers you can use the plastic buckles and velcro loops to secure the panniers to the bottom part of your rack. You may want to purchase two small bungee cords to assist with this.
In the end you’ll have a nice set of panniers that ride securely on a sturdy rack. The panniers will come off of the bike easily, by unhooking some velcro and/or bungee cords.
Thanks for the advice, but I already took the entire frame out, re-inforced the inside-walls of each pannier with a sheet of corflute, and then mounted 4 pannier rack-clips on the inside so it can clip onto a conventional rack. I used the plastic buckles and velcro at the bottom, like you suggested.