Hack/Bodge of the Week: Fixing Ortlieb’s Crappy Pannier Mounts


The other day, Marijke got an Ortlieb Vario pannier for commuting. This fancy waterproof pannier converts into a backpack for easy carrying. Unfortunately, it uses Ortlieb’s QL3 mounting system, which turned out to be both fiddly and flimsy.

Firstly, the mounting instructions are amazingly bad. As well as having no written instructions, a special prize goes to diagrams “B” and “C” on page two (pdf) for featuring question marks! It’s never a good sign when the instructions are confused.

The top rail of the QL3 system is attached with these plastic P-clips which seem pretty under-specced to me. They also don’t fit the tubing on Topeak bicycle racks very well.

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While installing, one of the screws was over-torqued, warping the P-clip, and the nut actually pulled through. (There’s no washer to prevent this!)

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I tried adding a washer, but decided to just ditch the stock P-clips. With a hacksaw, I cut off the front parts of the clips, where they have raised circle that fits into the rail clamping parts. This turned them in to plastic washers I used in front of the new P-clips. Then I picked up a couple of 10mm metal P-clips from Omafiets, and fitted them all together with washers added at the back in front of the original nylock nuts.

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Waaaay better!

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