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Tested: Two Wheel Gear Garment Pannier Classic 2.0

two wheel gear garment pannier on my trek commuting bike

As if the physical challenge of bike commuting isn’t enough (using your bike to carry both you and your belongings to work), there is the matter of logistics (what’s the best route? what is today’s weather forecast?). On top of that, what if you have to wear a suit each day? How in the heck do you carry one with you – and keep it from getting wrinkled?!

If you face these challenges, you’re not alone. Others have had these same concerns, and fortunately, a couple people took action and created something called garment panniers. There are very few of these products in existence, with one being the Two Wheel Gear Garment Pannier.

This bag was invented in Canada by bike commuters who had to carry dress clothes and have them still be neat and sharp when they arrived at the office. Easier said than done.

Regular panniers are great for groceries, but not so much for suits, nor keeping grooming essentials organized.

Think about it. Panniers are basically duffel bags that hook to your bike. Duffel bags are good for gym clothes. Stuff your office clothes in there, you’re getting wrinkles and creases. And what about your coffee, lunch, soap, towel, etc.? You’re going to toss all that in a duffel bag with your suit and tie or dress?

No. You need a garment pannier, like this one – the Two Wheel Gear Garment Pannier Classic 2.0.

It’s literally a garment bag that’s designed to fit on your bike, just like panniers do. It also comes with a shoulder strap so you can use it the same as a normal garment bag (carry on luggage size, too!) – so it’s dual purpose.

Want your morning commute to go like this?

Let’s see if this garment pannier is the answer!

The Set Up (and Ease of Use)

First, let’s look at the set up process, because you have to be able to set it up, and it has to be easy to use –
you’re not trying to make your bike commute harder than it already is!

The Unboxing (Or, how did they fit it in there?!)

I was shocked to find this relatively flat box on my porch, thinking the panniers must be thicker. This box it came in is surprisingly compact:

two wheel gear garment bag still in the box

But it fit, and I must say it was nicely packaged; the garment pannier was wrapped in a plastic bag and then placed in the cardboard shipping box. It’s just pressed completely flat, so they can make it fit.

The only thing to note here is that the rain cover is very tightly zip tied to the plastic clips on the bag, which means you need very high quality, precision shears or a wire cutter where you can snip the zip tie without slicing into anything else. (Just be careful.)

Speaking of the rain cover, it has a bad smell, but it’s not too too strong. That scent should go away within the first day or so.

cat walking past the two wheel gear box

(Unfortunately the box was a little too small for the cat to enjoy!)

Read the instructions! (I’m glad that I did.)

You need to go online to find the set up instructions (find them here), but that’s good for two reasons:

1. You can see what you need to do, and consider any fit conflicts, before you shell out any cash.

2. This allows them to provide written instructions as well as an instructional how-to video.

It made me realize that the mounting system is more complex than I had anticipated! (In a good way, though – not in a “it’s too complicated” type of way.)

Setting it up.

For tools, you only need one – a regular Philips head screwdriver. Everyone should have one of those handy.

It’s pretty straight forward how the two retainers slide around the vertical rack supports, and how the four main spring-clips mount on the top beams of rack. If you remember that the reflective bits face the back, it’s simple.

The first time you do it, though, it will take some time to get it all lined up. Some racks will be trickier than others. It’s not difficult or strenuous, but it takes some time and level-headed thinking.

But, one last thing before you tighten the screws! Make sure that the retainer clips in the middle will open and close easily. Even though they aren’t part of the mounting that’s adjustable, you need to ensure they are placed where they can flip open fully.

I learned that the hard way! I had to go back and make some more adjustments because sure enough, these were lined up with a vertical beam and were unable to open out properly.

Here you can see everything lined up and locked down:

two wheel gear garment pannier mounting system

Overall, no complaints here. The install is easy enough. (Your mileage may vary. Depends on your rack size and design.)

Packing it up with clothes.

Don’t forget the inside of the bag. The other step is figuring out how to pack your clothes. This is not difficult either, and no tools are needed!

Just place everything like so:

two wheel gear garment bag packed and open

You won’t notice it in that picture, but as you’re packing it in real life, the first thing you might notice is that the bag is not that big. Unlike my old garment bag that was seemingly made to carry floor-length women’s dresses, this is a nice compact size.

It’s a tight fit though.

My size 40 R jacket hits the sides, and the bottom of the jacket is basically touching the bottom of the bag.

suit jacket is a tight fit inside this garment bag

If you wear a bigger jacket, or any jacket that’s a long, it’s gonna be a tough fit (or require some creativity). You might have to skip the hanger altogether and just rely on the buckle strap.

Definitely something to consider!

As with any garment bag, I put my socks, underwear, and belt in the corner pockets.

accessories in the garment bag corner pockets

On the opposite side, rather than carrying a laptop, I packed a pair of denim jeans for after work. I don’t expect to carry my laptop in here often, but if I do, I know it will fit!

It’s a big laptop pocket – it fits a 17″ laptop! It’s well-padded and offers a secure Velcro closure.

There is one more internal pocket. The mesh one.

garment bag packed with laptop

Perhaps an undershirt? A sweater?

garment bag packed with shirt suit and tie

When you’re ready, buckle it in.

garment bag ready to be zipped shut

Once it’s packed up and you close it, you see there’s lots of extra room. You could fit another suit!

It zips up easily.

two wheel gear garment pannier zippers

You can even put a little luggage lock on the main zipper!

Now you have the exterior pockets.

These are great pockets for dress shoes, a tool kit, and a bath towel.

The side pockets are interesting, as they’re offset. That’s done intentionally, so that the pockets are never upside down!

Whether the bag is on your bike, or hanging vertical, one pocket will be positioned with the zipper at the top, and the other is turned sideways so the pocket can be used without your items spilling on the floor.

The top pocket seems like a good spot for your bath/shower products, or maybe your bike tools. It’s the easiest pocket to access without removing the bag from your bike.

two wheel gear garment bag top compartment

For the picture, I tossed some vitamins in there to give it some perspective.

The ride to work

Now it’s time to commute!

Practice your morning routine in advance.

This bag is very sturdy and will hold a lot of stuff. Which means it might get kind of heavy. And as easy as it was to get mounted before, it’s certainly harder to take this big, heavy bag and clip it onto your bike rack.

It gets tricky because the bag is much heavier now and harder to line up on the rack tubes. (They do it real slick in their how-to video, but I haven’t managed to do it that easily with a loaded bag!!)

Again, it’s not overly difficult, but it takes some practice (i.e., practice mounting the bag *empty* before you fill it up). It’s similar to learning something new (say, perhaps, how to use clipless pedals).

Fortunately, the bag locks down rock solid.

What’s the ride like?

My bike is heavier, but otherwise, there was no significant change in the ride. You’re probably on a fairly heavy commuting bike anyway. Just be ready to pick up some speed on the downhills.

While riding seated, the bag is unnoticeable. My bike handles fine, and the way the bag is angled allows for plenty of clearance for your feet/pedals. So your heels won’t hit the bag.

When you stand and let the bike sway, you’ll feel it. A heavy bag at one end of your bike – yeah, it has some leverage.

two wheel gear classic 2 garment pannier view from behind

Also, be sure to swing your leg up really high when mounting the bike.

The only thing that seemed precarious (in theory) is that the handle for the bag is on the drive side, hanging next to the rear derailleur. It’s far enough away that it shouldn’t get caught by anything in the drivetrain, but it could still be susceptible to catching on a tree branch, so be careful if you’re commuting on any mountain bike trails!

You can no longer lean the back wheel against a wall to support your bike.

If you have to stop along the way, and you don’t have a kickstand, you’ll have to lean your entire bike against a wall. You can no longer simply prop the bike up using only the rear tire. Bummer!

That’s the price you pay for the heel clearance!

Hopefully it doesn’t rain too hard.

This bag is not waterproof. They claim it is “extremely water-resistant.” (The seams aren’t sealed and the zippers are obvious points of water penetration, so you can’t expect it to be waterproof.)

Two Wheel Gear includes a rain cover at no additional charge, which is awesome! I’m used to having to purchase rain covers as separate accessories.

The cover should hold up to light rain. I haven’t put that to the test, though. For now, I’m just hoping not to need it!

Pro tip: You might even want to use the rain cover on a regular basis, considering that it’s a fluorescent color – great for visibility!

A word of caution: If you have to ride for a long period of time in not just pouring rain but also flooded roads, I wouldn’t be too confident in this bag, even with the rain cover.

Arriving at work.

This is easy. It’s much easier to unclip the bag and be on your way, than it is to get it attached and locked down initially.

So, just lock up your bike, unclip the bag, and hit the showers.

If you have a long walk (or if you’re using the bag as a piece of luggage) you can clip the bag together so it doesn’t flop around. It has a very neat and tidy way to clip together when you’re carrying it as just a bag. You almost don’t notice the snap loop on the one end! Smart design!

You can also use the shoulder strap for easy carrying.

two wheel gear garment bag clothes hanger hook

When you open up the bag to get your clothes, be careful. I really like the low-profile hook for clothes hangers, but I found my metal hangers would slip right out of it during the hustle and bustle of a ride!

So, double-check the hangers before you unsnap the buckle!

All in all, it was a good ride! (By the way, if you’re still figuring out the logistics for your own commute, Two Wheel Gear has a very detailed guide that covers practically everything you need to know to bike to work.)

two wheel gear classic garment pannier taking up space at the bike rack

Fortunately no one else was using the rack, because this thing was a wide load! My bike took up about four spots with this pack on it.

Style Points

Very rarely is cycling attire appropriate for the workplace. Half the time, accessories like bags and jackets aren’t, either.

Fortunately, this bag looks great, and it’s sophisticated enough for a lot of offices.

Because really, it’s a garment bag that has two sets of clips on the inner sides, which attach to a rear rack. When it’s not on a bike, you’d never even notice the mounting system.

I like the charcoal gray color – just like my favorite suits.

For the most part, it’s charcoal gray fabric with black zippers. The only accents are the red tabs on the zipper pulls and the reflective labels.

The Two Wheel Gear logo isn’t as obnoxious as I had worried about – it’s more subdued in real life than in the pics on the website.

But… it is pretty big, and it’s right there in broad daylight. I’m proud to rep the company while I’m riding my bike, but I don’t always want to draw attention to my bag thanks to that shiny label.

Some days, I do kinda wish I got the waxed canvas one (the “Executive 2.0”). It’s pure black (no silver patch on the side) and they say it will last a lifetime!

For me, it was not worth the extra $80. But if everyone around you is carrying a black leather bag, maybe it’s worth it.

One thing worth noting though, is that when this bag is packed full, and the exterior pockets are used, this thing takes up space! It’s a tight fit in narrow hallways.

two wheel gear company culture mission statement tag

Quality and Durability

Originally I think these were hand-made in Canada, but now as the company has grown, they’ve outsourced production. My bag says “made in Vietnam.”

So far, everything seems fine. The build quality is very very good.

The zippers (especially on the side pockets) did not really impress me, but they get the job done.

It’s just that, for being a $170 bag, I expected smoother zippers. On all my similarly-priced Osprey bags, the zippers are wonderful! Especially on my Osprey Flapjack messenger bag. Every single zipper on that bag is top-notch.

And considering this bag is part of my morning commute, I don’t want sticky zippers slowing me down!

Functionality

The downside of being a wonderful garment bag is that the bag is not entirely versatile. This bag does one thing – carry dress clothes on your bike rides.

Here’s what it doesn’t do:

Carrying groceries.

There’s not much else you can carry with this bag. You certainly won’t be carrying groceries with it.

It’s not a laptop pannier.

Yes, you can carry a laptop in this garment bag. That’s a great feature.

However, the laptop pocket is totally enclosed within the garment bag, so the bag has to be unfolded and unzipped before you can open the laptop pocket.

It doesn’t work if you have to run errands during the day with your laptop. For that, you would want a dedicated laptop pannier. That would keep your computer safe and easily accessible.

two wheel gear garment bag buckle strap

Price and Value

What this bag does, it does well. But that comes at a price.

This bag is not cheap – it’s nearly $200 ($189.00 USD)!

However, luggage is not cheap. Neither are backpacks. My Thule suitcase and Osprey backpack were both in the $200 range.

Standard panniers cost about half as much, but like I said earlier, you don’t but dress clothes in a duffel bag! You could find a cheap garment bag for maybe $40, but that’s not going to attach to your bike.

Are there even any competing products out there?

The only thing remotely similar is the Nashbar garment pannier, which is only $50. But, as much as I like Nashbar, I’m not going to trust theirs. It’s not waterproof, does not include a rain cover, and it uses bungee cords to attach to your rack. No way am I going to put a nice suit or a laptop in that!

My final verdict is…

This is an expensive bag, but it’s a good bag. And there’s nothing else quite like it (that I know of).

If you want to be able to carry a suit, tie, dress shirt, and personal grooming essentials on bike rides (as well as other trips, on planes, etc.), this is the bag you need. It does what a standard garment bag does, but it also attaches perfectly to a rear rack.

While not everything went perfectly smooth, this bag inspired me to begin bike commuting to work seriously, rather than just rare occasions! If you’re a bike commuter who needs to follow a “business” dress code at the office, this is your pannier.

Official website: www.TwoWheelGear.com

Product Review Details
Company: Two Wheel Gear
Product: Two Wheel Gear Garment Pannier Classic 2.0
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2017-10-18
Obtained Product: Test sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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6 Comments
  1. Olly vitamins?

    • @Sheela

      You know, despite Olly vitamins having all the signs of an overpriced, gimmicky product, those ‘restful sleep’ supplements are amazing!

  2. Thanks for the review, Coach. What type of light would I need for mounting on that rack?

  3. I would not trust putting a laptop in any type of pannier hooked to my bike. There is too much road vibration for sensitive electronics.

    • @John

      Thanks for sharing. I’m hesitant, too.

      Some computers are surely built well enough to handle that, but even then, I would recommend avoiding it (if at all possible). There’s simply not much shock-absorbing suspension for anything mounted on a rear rack.

      This is, of course, no fault of Two Wheel Gear. (And they do offer a pannier backpack, which could be used a pannier, but if you have your laptop in there, just use it as a backpack instead!)

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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