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Burley Pannier Set Review

An impressively durable and waterproof design that is compact and inexpensive, but is not compatible with all rack sizes
Burley Pannier Set
Photo: Burley
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $90 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Highly durable, waterproof, inexpensive, sleek and bright design
Cons:  Smaller total storage volume, limited pocket options, only compatible with 10mm racks
Manufacturer:   Burley
By Liz Chamberlain ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 28, 2021
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 14
  • Mounting System - 25% 6
  • Storage - 20% 7
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Weatherproofing - 20% 9
  • Ease of Use & Versatility - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Burley Pannier Set is an all-around screaming deal for the pannier category, which is why we nominated it for our Best Bang for the Buck award. The set comes with two stylish bags that are tough on and off the road and waterproof in the wettest conditions. At 22 liters of total storage volume, the panniers impressed us with their overall storage capacity. While this pannier set may not fit all racks and it may not be the perfect bag for daily work commutes, it is a one-stop-shop for multi-disciplinary riding.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Burley Pannier Set
This Product
Burley Pannier Set
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award    
Price $90 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$119.95 at Amazon$90 List
Check Price at REI
$53.45 at Amazon
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Pros Highly durable, waterproof, inexpensive, sleek and bright designDurable and waterproof, huge storage capacity, easy and secure attachmentLarge volume, waterproof, simple & sleek design, great valueUser-friendly mounting system, several storage compartments, lightweight, bluesign-approved materialsEasy to install, convenient storage design, made from upcycled materials
Cons Smaller total storage volume, limited pocket options, only compatible with 10mm racksLimited pockets and organizationMounting system is not as secure as others, no additional compartmentsNot waterproof without rain cover, sold as a singleNot watertight, mounting system not as secure as others
Bottom Line An impressively durable and waterproof design that is compact and inexpensive, but is not compatible with all rack sizesThis top performer scores well in every category with no apparent weaknessesA high-volume, high-quality touring pannier that comes at a reasonable priceAn all-around great option for the everyday commuter who needs a lightweight, user-friendly bag that carries the necessitiesA simple, affordable, easy to use pannier perfect for cruising around town
Rating Categories Burley Pannier Set Ortlieb Back Roller... Thule Shield REI Co-op Junction... Green Guru Dutchy
Mounting System (25%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
Storage (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Durability (20%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
Weatherproofing (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Ease Of Use & Versatility (15%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
Specs Burley Pannier Set Ortlieb Back Roller... Thule Shield REI Co-op Junction... Green Guru Dutchy
Volume (liters) 2 x 11 L 2 x 20 L 2 x 25 L 22 L 22 L
Dimensions (in.) (H x W x D) 14.5" x 10" x 6" 16.5" x 12.6" x 6.7" 14.6" x 7.9" x 15.8" 18" x 12" x 7" 13" x 13" x 8"
Weight (pounds) 2.1 lbs (pair) 4.2 lbs (pair) 4.3 lbs (pair) 1.1 lbs 2.3 lbs
Material 500D tarpaulin PVC fabric PS 490 and PD 620 nylon Thermal welded 420D nylon Oxford nylon Upcycled Billboard and Banners
Pockets 1 main compartment, one small exerior pocket Internal sleeve and zippered mesh pocket Internal sleeve with two smaller mesh sleeves One main compartment with a laptop sleeve, one internal mesh pocket, three external pockets Internal sleeve
Best Use Touring/Commuting Touring Touring Urban/Commuting Urban

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Burley Pannier Set found the perfect crossover between simplicity and functionality. At 22 liters of total storage volume and just 2.1 pounds for the pair, we were pleased with the overall carrying capacity of the panniers and the lightweight materials. The bags may be intended for touring, but we found them to be useful for a variety of activities, errands, and adventures. While the mounting system was not as consistent as other bags and the organizational storage options were lacking, we felt this was a great all-around option. Most pannier sets cost twice as much as the Burley set, which is why we gave this product the Best Bang for the Buck award.

Performance Comparison


Heading into a camp night loaded with sleeping bag, sleeping pad...
Heading into a camp night loaded with sleeping bag, sleeping pad, puffy, and food.
Photo: Tucker Adams

Mounting System


At first glance, the Burley Pannier Set appears to have an easy-to-use and intuitive mounting system similar to other bags in the lineup. Theoretically, the mounting hook clips should have worked seamlessly with our rack as the mounting system is only compatible with 10-millimeter racks. Unfortunately, this became our biggest barrier to using the Burley set.


Oftentimes, when attaching or removing the bag from the rack, we had to fidget with the mounting hooks before they securely clamped onto the rack. Somewhat of a letdown, but once the bag was clamped to the rack, it stayed secure and showed little to no rattling.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Storage


At 22 liters combined, the Burley Pannier Set held an impressive amount of goods throughout our test rides. From grocery store runs to overnight camping adventures, this bag could do it all. There are times the panniers were supported by a handlebar bag or 2-liter frame bag to keep phone, tools, and repair kit close in proximity, yet they were still able to fit a surprising amount of goods in a stuff-sack style fashion.


The stuff-sack style panniers have their drawbacks; namely, there is an obvious lack of organizational options. The Burley has one large roll-top compartment and one shallow exterior pocket that would likely fit a phone and a granola bar. While organized pockets are preferred for commuting purposes, they eliminate total usable space. The stuff sack style panniers allow the user to maximize storage space, particularly for touring adventures, where camping gear or non-necessities don't need to be organized.

The Burley bags in tow for a long haul gravel tour.
The Burley bags in tow for a long haul gravel tour.
Photo: Tucker Adams

While the bags surprised us with their storage capability, it is important to note that the total storage space of the two panniers is 22 liters, which is half of the storage space of a pair of Thule or Ortlieb panniers. This may be perfect for the commuter or long-haul rider but may not be enough for the overnight bikepacker.

Our tester packs up a Burley bag for a ride down to the lake.
Our tester packs up a Burley bag for a ride down to the lake.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

Durability


The Burley Pannier Set boasts a 500-Denier waterproof tarpaulin with heat-sealed seams and a roll-top closure. Tarpaulin is a heavy-duty polyester canvas coated with PVC. This thick, high-strength material is very difficult to rip or tear and is highly waterproof and stain-resistant. Despite the tarpaulin's hefty nature, the panniers are rather lightweight. The Burley set passed all the toss tests during our gravel rides, proving to be seemingly indestructible, though small scratches and dirt are more obvious on these bags thanks to the bright yellow colorway.


One key feature we felt was missing from the Burley set is some form of padding in the bag. Even the mixed-use touring bags, like Thule and Ortlieb, have a hard casing in the bike-side panel to protect items in transit. When throwing the Burley bags around, we felt like certain items were more vulnerable to breaking.

The heavier load was tight and secure on road and gravel terrain.
The heavier load was tight and secure on road and gravel terrain.
Photo: Tucker Adams

Weatherproofing


The 500-Denier tarpaulin is highly waterproof on its own and is supported by heat-sealed seams and a roll-top closure to keep contents ultra-safe from the outside elements.


The set passed the sprinkle test and the all-out bucket soak, where contents in the bag stayed dry throughout. It is possible that multiple days of rain would result in internal dampness, so keeping a dry bag for your sleeping bag or valuable items may be a good choice if traveling in the backcountry.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Ease of Use & Versatility


The Burley Pannier Set scored well on ease of use and versatility, as the panniers proved to be multi-functional across a variety of biking disciplines and activities. Our biggest frustration in measuring ease of use was the lack of consistency during the bag-to-rack attachment process. This was a frustrating issue but did not happen with every use and was often not as much trouble during the removal process. Aside from rack mounting, the roll-top closure was simple and easy to work with through the testing process.


We took the set with us on errands, to the office, to the lake, and on a camping overnighter. With the larger 25-liter bags, weight distribution can be an issue and oftentimes make the rear caboose feel overloaded. While the Burley bags do feel heavy when fully packed, the weight distribution feels even and very manageable. Adjustable nylon straps on the side panels allow the user to cinch down the bag depending on how much storage space is used or needed.

Our tester puts away a layer and packs up the Burley set on a gravel...
Our tester puts away a layer and packs up the Burley set on a gravel ride in North Lake Tahoe.
Photo: Tucker Adams

The bright yellow colorway is a stark contrast to the standard black pannier. In addition to small reflectors on the two side panels, the yellow Burley bags increase visibility for road riders. The roll-top closure and YKK zippers give the bag a sleek and classic feel while maintaining a sturdy structural design. While the bag isn't as incognito as some of its competitors, it is a fun and fashionable option for a variety of bike storage needs.

Value


The utility offered by the Burley Pannier Set at such an affordable, budget-friendly price tag is a major selling point for the product. Most of the panniers in the review class cost the same or more for a single bag. With such high performance on a variety of rating metrics, we felt that this cross-functional bag made of durable and waterproof materials was a steal.

Conclusion


Our team was very pleased with the Burley Pannier Set and even chose it as our Best Buy option. Despite the lack of pocket options and the mediocre mounting performance, the Burley bags will deliver on their promise to keep your goods safe and dry. They perform under all weather conditions and can be used for a multitude of biking disciplines and activities. While the bags may not fulfill all commuter requirements for organizational needs, they are one of the most durable and reliable bags in the bunch.

Liz Chamberlain