Ortlieb Bike Panniers – Comparing the OLD vs NEW Styles

You know I love my Ortlieb bike panniers… right?

Well, I recently decided to retire my infamous red (7+ year old) Ortlieb bicycle panniers with new (denim-steel blue) Ortlieb bike panniers of the exact same design.

Here’s what my new and improved Ortlieb bike pannier setup looks like:

If you watch the video above, you’ll see that quite a few years have passed since I purchased my original red Ortlieb bike panniers and because of this, there have been some minor changes in the overall design of the Ortlieb Bike-Packer and Sport-Packer Plus panniers that I love so dearly.

denim blue ortlieb bike panniers

Here’s a quick breakdown of the major changes / improvements that have been made to the Ortlieb bike panniers / handlebar bag over the last several years:

Ortlieb Ultimate 6 Handlebar Bag

  • The lock/handlebar bag mount has changed a little bit, to allow for a more secure attachment and greater support of additional weight.
  • The handlebar lid closure has changed from the use of two buttons to the use of magnets (This is the biggest and, by far, the best improvement with the Ortlieb Ultimate 6 Handlebar Bag).
  • There is also a small thumb loop in the center of the new handlebar bag which allows you to 1) easily open the bag with the use of one hand, and 2) allows you to more securely close the lid of the handlebar bag by locking it in place over the top of the locking mechanism.
  • The way the optional map case attaches to the handlebar bag has also been changed and no longer uses to old style button attachments.

Ortlieb Sport-Packer Plus Panniers

  • The small exterior mesh pockets have been removed from the new pannier design.
  • The pannier lid clips on the new pannier designs are sewn into the front of the pannier, instead of being sewn into the back/bottom of the bag like they used to be. This reduces the amount of material used in the production of the panniers, and at the same time, reduces the overall weight.
  • One of the two rails on the back of the pannier has been removed, leaving only one rail on which to move the bottom pannier attachment. This surely reduces the overall production cost of the pannier, as well as reduces the overall weight.
  • Two small plastic protectors have been sewn into the bottom of each pannier – meant to give your bags some added protection when placing them on the ground, etc… but I’m too convinced these things will actually do much to protect the panniers from any type of wear and tear.
  • Two large plastic attachments meant to be used with the included shoulder strap have been sewn into the sides of each pannier. I wish this were not the case, as I don’t ever use the shoulder straps and now I’m forced to carry around 8 large, plastic should strap attachments (2 on each of my 4 panniers)… which I will never, ever use (and only add to the overall weight of my fully-loaded touring bicycle).
  • The carrying handle at the top of the pannier has a new rubber pad around it, which not only feels better when carrying the pannier off the bike, but more importantly, ensures that the handle does not rub against the spokes of your wheel while the bike is in motion.

Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus Panniers

  • The exterior mesh pocket has been removed and replaces with a larger, harder-to-get-into, but fully-waterproof exterior pocket. This exterior pocket can not be removed.
  • The two shoulder strap attachments (like with the Sport-Packer Plus Panniers) are on the sides of each pannier.
  • The two rails on the back-bottom of the pannier have been reduced to just a single rain.
  • And the carrying handle, just like on the new Sport-Packer Plus pannier has a rubber pad around it, which prevents the handle from rubbing up against your spokes as you ride.

For more information on the Ortlieb bike panniers featured in this article/video, be sure to click here and read my review of the Ortlieb Bike-Packer and Sport-Packer Plus panniers.

Then click here to purchase the panniers featured in this article/video.


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