Thursday, November 18, 2010

Minnehaha Panniers Longterm Review

I purchased two Minnehaha Utility Canvas Panniers, at an extremely reduced price in March of this year. I use one of them on every ride, the other sits in a closet until it's needed for an overnight bike trip or something similar. I thought it might be good to do a quick review of my panniers in case anybody else out there is considering buying one.

First of all, I think these are great looking panniers that match up nicely with a vintage bike. The canvas is fading with exposure to the sun and the leather is darkening with repeated handling with sweaty hands. I like the look of weathered canvas so that's not a problem for me, but it doesn't exactly match the other pannier now.

The rubber sleeve on the left side hook has fallen off. The hook was scratching the previous rack that I was using, so I wrapped the hook with electrical tape, problem solved. I always carry more gear than I actually should in my pannier, sometimes it's kind of heavy, so far the metal hooks haven't deformed in any way despite occasional rides over rough terrain.

I believe that the worn spots on the pannier are due to contact with moving spokes. This happened while sprinting up a hill without properly tensioning the restraining strap on back.

It's hard to see but the interior pocket is coming apart on one side. It shouldn't be too hard to fix.

I used to experience the occasional heel strike when I still had the original, vintage rack attached to my bike. I recently installed an inexpensive Sunlite rack with adjustable legs, I haven't experienced a heel strike since. I looked for a rack that would allow the mounting hooks to attach toward the very back to maximize heel clearance.

The panniers come with a matching shoulder strap. I use the shoulder strap any time I stop for an extended period. It's too narrow and digs into my shoulder, I'll be replacing it with something wider. I can't tell you anything about the water repellency of the panniers as I haven't ridden in the rain. I carry a plastic bag just in case I get caught in an unexpected downpour.

Overall, I'm really happy with my panniers, they're durable, carry lots of stuff, and they look good.


  1. A plastic bag seems like a better rain defense than any pannier, unless we're talking about just a light, short sprinkle which your bags should handle easily.

  2. They certainly do look good. Thanks for the review.

  3. I think these look good on your bike - and off your bike - as well.

  4. They sure do look great, but that seems like a lot of wear for just a few months. Not impressed on the durability front.

    Not sure what Steve is going on about. I have used a couple of different kinds of waterproof panniers, and they work great! Then again, if you don't ride much in the rain, it's not necessary.

  5. Huh! I never use the word "handsome" to describe things, but those panniers are.

    @SteveA - Plastic bags are good, but in my opinion, waterproof Ortliebs are even better.

  6. Nice report Myles! Those panniers do look nice and the complement the Takara very nicely as well!

    I still like Arkel panniers. I have gone through some serious downpours, but with the rain covers on, nothing inside the panniers got wet.

    peace :)

  7. Hello. Hello. So great to meet you Myles!