Introduction: Building Better Bucket Panniers
I live in the rainy Northwest United States and have seen these nifty 4-gallon square bucket panniers on some bikes over the past few years. A new pre-assembled pair will set you back about 90 dollars. I knew I could build them cheaper. Plus, I get way more satisfaction out of DIY products. For around half the price I was able to make my own, using brand new buckets and hardware. With a little ingenuity, you could save more scratch, it's up to you.
Here is what we'll be building:
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Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
Here is a pictorial inventory of what you will be needing:
Step 2: Trim and Drill and Awl
In this Step, we trim portions of the bucket lips so that the pannier brackets will fit flush with the exterior wall of the bucket. Additionally, we poke a hole through the nylon webbing that will become the carry strap and the bungee retaining strap. Use brackets and washers for a good guide on placement of holes.
Step 3: Get Strapped
Here we assemble the hardware to the freshly awled straps.
Pictured below are the drilled/trimmed buckets, the assembled carry strap, and the assembled bungee retaining strap. Shock, aka Bungee, cord is inexpensive so I bought new at approximate 2' lengths. Overkill... better than underkill. Really we only need about 18-20 inches.
Use your best judgment for the measurement of the webbing straps.
Step 4: Assembled and Attached
Everything is prepped and ready to be assembled. Work from the top down, first attaching the carry strap/pannier brackets, then thread the shock cord through the holes and secure them by tying knots on the interior of the bucket, and last attach the shock cord retaining strap ensuring a snug fit. Remember to attach the S hook to the shock cord and crimp it with pliers so it won't detach.
Optional: using cable clamps, attach to interior legs of shock cord creating interior tie down.
Attach to your rear rack ensuring enough room for proper heel clearance, place S-hook to bottom of rear rack. That's it. Finit.
For safety, mount reflective material on the rear and sides. Tape, reflectors, dayglo paint... be creative and rational, depending on your usage.
I'd like to thank CityBikes of Portland, OR for providing the assembly directions -- and Necessity for inspiration.