BTR's Deluxe Rack Pannier Bike Bag with Shoulder Strap is ridiculously easy to put on and take off. There is plenty of space inside, which is all easily accessible, and the shoulder strap makes it easy to carry around off the bike. The best bit? It costs less than £25.
- Pros: Easy to put on and take off, price, easy access to kit, handy shoulder strap for off-the-bike use
- Cons: Shame it's not fully waterproof
BTR has put aside fancy mounting brackets and clips: four sturdy, adjustable Velcro straps wrap around the rack to secure the bag. It's hassle-free and idiot-proof to attach and remove. Even when loaded to capacity (around 10 litres) it sits firmly in place when riding. It tolerates a bit of (tame) rough stuff too.
While trunk bags might be seen as rather old-school, there's no denying that BTR has something that plenty of hardened commuters, audax-riders and day-trippers will rave about.
I have had the bag mounted on an Axiom Journey rack for the majority of testing, though its universal mounting system really does mean it can go on any rack. I did a couple of rides with it on a Blackburn MTN rack and it was just as secure on this.
Two straps thread around the front end of the rack. Two wider ones thread under the rack, through a buckle and then back onto themselves. All of the straps are plenty long enough to accommodate a variety of rack widths. The Velcro never once came loose or needed re-securing.
The bag spent most of its time on my commuting bike. I did take it on a few gravel tracks to see if it would be displaced by some rough stuff (other than potholes), and it sat securely in place. It's good to know that it can tolerate more than just asphalt. I wouldn't advise touring with it: mounting it alongside panniers is possible but a faff, especially as you are likely to want to remove some of the baggage on a daily basis.
The two-way zips extend right round the two longer sides of the bag to let the 'lid' flip fully open. This makes packing and unpacking it seriously easy, especially while it's mounted. You can see everything in it and make use of the two small interior pockets to stash small, 'go-to' essentials: wallet, keys, phone... Since it's not fully waterproof I usually had my kit in a plastic bag or stuff sack.
Two straps come over the top of the bag for extra security. They're not sufficient on their own to stash extra gear under, as the straps are so smooth they slide back on themselves when you apply any serious tension.
The base offers a little bit of padding (from the integrated shoulder strap) but elsewhere it's minimal. It does hold its shape exceptionally well, though there is some 'give' in the bag. I regularly stuffed it to the extreme with a towel and clothing, and although this appeared to put some stress through the zips, the bag is not showing any weak spots.
There is even more storage space on the exterior. A Velcro pocket comfortably fits (slim) gloves, a smartphone and a wallet, but be aware that it is not sealed so rain will get in there eventually. It's also very easy to open; I avoided putting anything too valuable in there.
There is an effective bungee cord for securing excess kit too – perfect for a waterproof or an extra drinks bottle (if you pull it tight enough). The cord has a lot of give, but although it is still functioning well after a month's use, I would have reservations about its durability if used frequently.
The bag is pretty easy to take off. Although it doesn't match Ortlieb's Rack Lock Adapter system in terms of a swift removal, it's not going to take you more than a minute. Once it's off you can unzip the base section to release the adjustable shoulder strap. The strap can be clipped into the left or right side of the bag, so a diagonally orientated strap that will allow the bag to rest over the left or right shoulder. While it's really comfortable on the shoulder, the underside of the bag sits against your back – worth bearing in mind if you've been riding without a mudguard.
For only £23.99 you can't really expect a high-tech, all-singing, all-dancing bit of kit, but BTR has done a fantastic job of delivering everything except the waterproofing, though it will tolerate a bit of drizzle well. With the support of a mudguard it'll do a decent job of protecting your kit on a damp day (not that in the exterior pocket). However, take away a mudguard, ride in persistent, heavy rain and it'll begin to penetrate. This is not an issue if you put your kit in a waterproof liner or plastic bag before placing it in the bag... simple. Personally, I would do this anyway so it's not a hassle or drawback of using the bag. BTR does sell a waterproof cover if this is a priority for you. I haven't tested this.
The BTR bag has a lower profile than the Ortlieb Trunk RC bag, so a rear light mounted at the very top of my seatpost was visible. This won't be the case for everyone, especially if you have a saddle bag mounted, but there is a wide slot to clip a light to the rear of the bag. I also clipped a second light onto the carry strap, just under the intended light slot. There is a reflective band at the rear, too; although it's quite effective, I have definitely seen better.
As for value, the bag is far from overpriced. We tested a similar one some time ago from Lotus, which can be extended to a capacity of 8.7l and weighs 780g, both stats falling short of BTR's. Racktime has something fairly similar with the Talis Bag, which uses its own unique clip system, and costs £40. Halfords also has something quite similar for only £25, but its listed capacity is 4 litres less than BTR's, and it doesn't look as sturdy. If waterproofing is a priority you are going to have to fork out a fair bit more: an Ortlieb Trunk Bag RC will set you back £95; you aren't saving weight here either – it's over 400g heavier than BTR's.
In short, BTR's Deluxe Rack Pannier Bike Bag stands out as excellent value for money for anyone looking to create a bit of storage space on their bike without having to mess around with niche brackets. It's as easy to remove as it is to mount, and the integrated shoulder strap sets it apart from many others out there.
Excellent value 'old-school' storage space for any commuter or day-tripper, well designed for use on and off the bike
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road.cc test report
Make and model: BTR Deluxe Rack Pannier Bike Bag With Shoulder Strap
Size tested: Length 33cm, Height 18cm, Width 16cm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
BTR says, "Our Deluxe BTR Rear Bike Rack Pannier Bag is based on our Best-Selling Rear Rack Bag with new features to make it our Deluxe Version!
- a Built-in Shoulder Strap, so you Never misplace the Strap Again!
- Highly Reflective Silver Tape for Added Visibility
- Improved water resistant material. The stitching isn't lined so it isn't 100% waterproof but will offer you decent shower protection (Option to purchase with a 100% waterproof cover available) "
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
BTR lists these features:
Water Resistant Material - Helps your kit stay dry!
Quality Reflective Material Strip - Sewn on (NOT printed) to ensure we give you the best reflection available! Be seen & be safe!
Rear Light Loop - Easily attach your rear bike light to aid visibility
Easy On/Off Hook & Loop Fastening Straps - No fiddling around with clips or buckles. Simply attach, adjust & go!
Large Padded Main Storage Area With 2 Way Zipped Lid - Pack as much or as little as you like & access it fast!
Anti-Slip Base - our bag doesn't move!
External Pocket & Bungee Straps - incase you want even more storage!
Integrated Shoulder Strap - has its own zipped pocket so you always know where it is!
Also with an Internal Pocket with Flap & a Fixed Carry Handle
Length 33cm, Height 18cm, Width 16cms
'Approx 10l capacity'.
It's sound. No high-tech seam welding but for 24 quid it's damn good.
Just persistent heavy rain that cracks it, it's brilliant otherwise.
Nothing to suggest it won't serve you well for several years – more if it's not being thrown about.
Excellent in comparison to similar products. Though if you are using this you are probably not counting the grams.
Roomier and arguably more sturdy than others at the same price, with the added versatility of being a shoulder bag.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent; it's a shame it's not fully waterproof, though it's not claimed to be.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Spaciousness and ease of access. Fits any rack without custom clips/brackets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Exterior pocket would be better with a zip – more secure than a patch of Velcro.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Certainly not over the odds.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Absolutely, it's perfect for commuting and knocking around town.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a brilliant little bag that will serve any commuter, day tripper or audax rider well.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off-roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…