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Should you carry a laptop in a bicycle pannier? - 1 to 6
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Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Wed 21st Jan '09 12:09PM
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3rd Jun '03
Wondered if I could get your opinions on this. To echo the thread title: should you carry a laptop in a bicycle pannier?

I've got a quite lovely bike with pretty good suspension (you can still feel the odd bump but, hey, that's normal I presume). And I've got two panniers. And I've got a MacBook Pro. Now, it seems to me that this should be ok, given that the MacBook has various ways of protecting its hard disk (moving the heads etc , I presume). Also given that I've seen a bike pannier specifically designed for laptops, that would suggest it isn't definitely a bad idea.... But still, I worry about the vibrations damaging the thing or shortening its life. I'd rather not have to stick to having it in a bag on my back - that's why I got the panniers after all - but I will if necessary. Any thoughts?
   

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Wed 21st Jan '09 12:57PM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
No vibration is a good thing, but provided the drive is not spinning you should be ok.
If the disk is spinning and you shake up a laptop it could have a headcrash which can be fatal for your data.
    

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Wed 21st Jan '09 1:57PM
4597 Posts
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7th Apr '03
If it's a well padded pannier, you're on mostly flat roads and have decent suspension then it should be fine. It shouldn't get much more vibration than it would on your back anyways.
    

Desert Creature
Boof boof, sproing!
Wed 21st Jan '09 5:36PM
101 Posts
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9th Oct '07
Hmmm. Legs and arms do add many more inches of suspension travel and damping. I'd err on the side of caution myself and keep it on my back just in case. I guess it depends on how valuable and how well backed up the data is.
  

Epicure_mammon
I'm not crazy cause I take the RIGHT pills :)
Thu 22nd Jan '09 9:21AM
140 Posts
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12th Dec '06
I carry my laptop in a pannier - but I use one of these:

http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/backpack/features.asp?fl=1&site=

Its extremely well designed, the laptop is suspended on elastic to reduce the vibration damage. I often have one of these on the other side:

http://www.weswarren.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/more.htm

Which is similarly well designed, but probably wouldn't work as well for a laptop as it does for a trumpet!
  

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Fri 23rd Jan '09 10:00AM
1673 Posts
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Member Since
3rd Jun '03
Wow, good info - thanks everyone!

On closer inspection, it appears that my bike has front suspension in the fork, but the rear suspension is in the seat post itself. Which means that there would be no suspension at all between the ground and the pannier - so, not looking like a good idea.

I am indeed on mostly flat roads, but that's flat in the sense of "mainly horizontal" ; the road surfaces here, especially in the cycle lanes, are dreadful. That's the sole reason why I finally got rid of my old folding bike - the tiny wheels made me feel as though I was about to die under a juggernaut every time I hit a bump in the road.

I don't have any unique data on the laptop - I deliberately keep it that way, so I'm not too inconvenienced when it eventually breaks down or is stolen (which experience combined with pessimism tells me it surely will). However, it's expensive, beautiful and lovely, so I still really really don't want to damage it! But if it's a case of potentially shortening its life from 5 years to 4, I can probably live with that for the sake of the added convenience.

I like the look of those laptop pannier things; just wish I hadn't only just (this week) spent 80 on some panniers already. Do you know of anything that would provide the requisite padding but would insert into a normal pannier?
   

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