Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bicycle gear review: Sunlite Gold Tec HD Tourer Rack & Roswheel 3 in 1 Bike Bags

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I's been almost two years since anything got posted on HYR.  I'll do another post as to why but for now here is a first impressions review of the Sunlite Gold Tec HD Tourer Rack I picked up from The Bike Shop last week (08/15/2016).

I decided to try to install it myself (rode home with it jerry-rigged to my backpack).  Managed to get it attached with a minimal amount of profanity and sober.  All right!  Woo!  Yesterday (08/22/16), as I was riding home the top connectors came loose (popped out more accurately) as I was riding and the entire rack hinged back and bounced off the wheel.  Fortunately, I wasn't on North St, was slowing to an intersection, didn't really have anything in my Roswheel 3 in 1 bags, and was only about a half mile walk to The Bike Shop (which was still open).  The staff at the shop was awesome and helped me get fixed up (and I need to not only start carrying tools with me but I need to get a set of wrenches, rassafrassarassa bicycles making me feel all, "You know nothing, Jon Snow!").

Apparently I neglected to tighten the connectors with a wrench.  I knew something was wrong after I installed it because I heard a rattle ("That doesn't sound right") and was going to swing by the shop anyway because I figured that I had messed something up and I did. So there. Stupid learning experiences.

There's nothing wrong with it now (knock on wood).  Rode home yesterday with a decent load of groceries.  Went for a ride this evening and nothing was rattly or shaky.  It's not particularly heavy (2.4lbs) and seems solid now that is properly attached.  That being said, I'm planning on putting fenders on my bike which means I (or the fine folks at The Bike Shop) will have to take rack off and compensate for a fender.  Once that is done I'm thinking applying some thread locker might not be a terrible idea (or maybe it is, what do I know?) to really clamp the bastard down.  First impressions, not really a fan, but for the price point *shrug*.

I picked up the Roswheel 3 in 1 bike bags earlier this month for about $30 (I couldn't pass up the deal at that price point).

I kind of really dig the OD Green.

It's been raining here in East Texas for the last week or so (not as bad as in Louisiana but pretty severely on and off) and these bags have managed to keep whatever I put in them dry.  Now, I haven't gone through a deluge with them yet so...

I like these bags though I haven't tried to see just how much I can cram in them (I haven't given them the 30-pack test yet).  It's a set of panniers that velcro to the rack and the top bag/satchel clips on at four points.  Looking at the photo now, ah so the satchel strap is supposed to go through the whacha-loop-things...hold on,  I was figuring that's how it was supposed to work because there are plastic D-rings on the panniers to help lift them up.  I'm going to go see how this is supposed to work.
*cue holding music*

Well, I can see by the picture how it is supposed to work but the shoulder strap clips do not fit through the loop.  It's about half-inch too narrow.  Easy enough to fix, was gonna have to pick up some bungees and paracord anyway.

The shoulder strap is nigh on useless as a shoulder strap in any case.  Before I picked up the rack I tried riding to work just with the satchel and shoulder strap. Uncomfortable and unsteady.  Won't do that again.

First impressions, there is a learning curve.  Once I figure out how to properly secure and pack the panniers with the right gear they're probably going to be pretty awesome for the price point.  They have great clearance for pedaling and they don't shift about (even with a poorly mounted rack).  There is a fairly rigid piece of paneling on the interior so the bags won't get sucked into the spokes (again, knock on wood).  What I am not so keen on is the lack of interior pockets/storage compartments.  However, if what I've been reading and watching on teh youtubes is true, I should probably be evidence bagging contents any way. "Compression sacks".  *DUN DUN* "Compartmentalize".  *DUN DUN*  

Then there are some old hat bicycle tourers who say, "Yeah, just use some ziploc bags and plastic shopping bags."  There we go, perfectly reasonable, "If the shit fits, wear it."

Hope that all of you and yours are well.

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