View Full Version : "Performance" pannier doesn't perform

01-22-2011, 02:29 PM
I can't complain too much; I got these panniers off Craigslist so obviously no warranty. The price was OK and they looked like they'd fit my needs (cut-away corner for heel clearance in particular). They look almost like new. The label in the photo is the only identification on them besides a little "made in Taiwan" tag on an inside seam. I don't know if it's the same "Performance" brand as the bike store in NW Portland with the online catalogue; they don't have anything like them in their catalogue now and these may be completely unrelated, or some sort of knock-offs. In case anyone else runs across similar bags, here's my experience with them.

So, I'm disappointed that they are falling apart from simple bad stitching. This was only the second time I used them, and just for a short grocery run with only a moderate load (under 10lb per bag). I was putting them back on the bike outside the store and, as in the next paragraph, was struggling with the attachment strap to cinch up the bottom hook. I pulled up on the black nylon 'luggage loop' on top and it just tore right out without much force at all on my part. I then tried to pull the D-ring next to it, and it pulled out, too. (The pieces are lying on the top flap in the picture.) And, as you can sort of see in the picture, the stitching on the other D-ring is also about to give way. If that stitching on that seam is that weak, how much trust can I put in the rest of the bags' construction if I want to load them up and drag them around a lot farther?!

Their attachment system is another downside. It has the typical "U" hooks on the top/back to hang off a pannier rack and those are solid and fine. But instead of a simple elastic bungie to hold the bottom hook, it uses a more elaborate system of nylon straps, a plastic patch the strap passes through, a nylon slip-buckle, and Velcro to snug up the bottom hook. Between the friction of the buckle, the patch and the strap pullying through the bottom hook, and the Velcro wanting to grab before the strap is tight, it's very awkward to get a snug fit. As the strap is cinched down, it pinches itself against the pannier rack before it gets the hook snug enough. That also makes it difficult to loosen the strap in order to remove the bag or adjust its mounted position. It also doesn't seem very vibration-resistant, but I haven't seen the bottom hook pop off by itself, yet.


01-22-2011, 09:18 PM
Thanks for the product review. I'm certain that others will think about this before making a purchase.

01-26-2011, 12:05 PM
Since I frequently use my gear, daily, throughout lots of sloppy N.W. riding, I've found this the past couple years:

Loose stitching: though I adore Showers Pass, I recently had a relatively new Softshell Trainer lose stitching on a back pocket; I own several of their garments so I call it an anomoly for them. All the same, it surprised me.

Gore Bike Wear was once a durable product, but anymore I consider it suitable for going to the opera -- it won't stand up to frequent use (I DO NOT abuse my gear). I've had many pairs of gloves develop lost stitching, and minor tears from simply putting them on and off. As well, I've had their zippers come unhitched on their Windstopper tights.

Almost all bike gear (like anything) is produced offshore. No getting around that. It's not a cultural issue: anyone anywhere is capable of producing reliable product. However, with mis-managed quality control, lots of garbage finds its way into the supply chain and to the consumer. Manufacturing is OBSESSED with keeping high returns to their CEOs and stock holders so we get the effluent of that.

For casual use, most stuff will work. I subjected my gear to 9,000 miles of riding last year and figured the sloppy months were the real test. I clean it all by manufacturers specs. and don't abuse any of it. However, I expect anything to withstand garden variety use.

By the way, my Ortlieb panniers seem to tolerate about anything, so far.

01-26-2011, 12:32 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, lacorota. I'm aware of the miles you put on your gear from the mileage thread...yours are strongly-backed opinions! :)

I'm convinced that Ortlieb makes the best panniers. I was saving some bucks by trying this set, but even with my less-demanding riding I may still end up with Ortliebs sooner or later. I noticed that Performance has quite a good price on the Back-Roller Classic this month.

I did get a nice, hard-working pair of Lone Peak cordura panniers for a very good price a year or so back. Their features are a bit simpler than the "Performance" (?) bags but they work well for me. Only two pockets including the top flap, but a nice draw-string inner collar and fastex snaps to the top flap secure the cargo, rather than zippers (zips have failed me more than once), and good lash-on points top and sides. No reflective tape, and they're black. Main problem is they catch my heels on the back, so I run them on the front.

As you say, stitching can often be an issue. One thing I've learned over the years is that cotton thread weakens (rots) quickly in damp conditions. Outdoor gear should only use synthetic thread, normally polyester. It's quite a bit stronger than even new cotton, too. I did the "melt test" on the thread on those panniers and it's synthetic, at least. I'll probably hand-stitch them back together and keep an eye out for other weak points.