I saw these plastic hard shell panniers at Bike Bike and was intrigued by the idea of a lockable pannier. They are made by Bike Bins and feature a locking lid so you can secure items on your bike when about town.
They install easily on any standard rear bike rack and are waterproof. You get a key for each bin and there are 150 keys used so you will likely need to carry a key for each bin unless you luck out and get 2 that use the same key. Of course that also means someone else with a Bike Bin most likely won’t have a key that works on yours!
They are selling for $80.00 Cdn at Bike Bike for 1 Bike Bin. That price isn’t out of line with other quality bike panniers, but it’s not a bargain either.
My friend Doug has a set of Bike Bins on his CETMA cargo bike. I asked him what his thoughts were after using them for a while:
- he liked the ability to lock them and keep a few essentials close at hand
- they were reasonably durable although he has had some issues with the hinges vibrating loose requiring some intervention.
- loose items rattle and make a lot of noise as you ride so he pads them with a jacket or a rag
- overall his appraisal was positive
My own thoughts are that they could be a useful addition for an errand or commuter bike, but they seem like they could use another cycle of product development before I would be able to give them two thumbs up. I’d like to see the following changes:
- better quality construction…especially the hinges. For $80 a bin I feel like they should be 25% nicer in terms of fit and finish.
- have reflective panels on them or provide reflective stickers with each bin.
- available in sets with the keyed the same so you would only need one key for all your bins.
- have a better locking mechanism to secure the bin to the bike…currently they suggest you lock the rubber carrying handle to secure the bin on your rack, but a decent knife would liberate that easily.
- offering some padding along the bottom and lower sides would make them more useable for carrying tools and a lock without making a ton of noise.
- 17L is a bit on the small side…something like 25-30L would be more useful for shopping.
I may invest in one bin for testing purposes or I may wait a year or so in the hopes they address the issues above. I’m not sure yet. If you are in the market for locking panniers these are worth a look.