Bike Bins

27 05 2010

Bike Bins hard shell pannier...

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.

View of Bike Bin with lid open...

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!

Bike Bin Specifications...

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.

Bike Bins on Doug's CETMA Cargo Bike...

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.