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Home > Magazine > Gear > OYB Retro Pannier -- Modified Vintage Swiss Army!

OYB Retro Pannier -- Modified Vintage Swiss Army!
April 14, 2016

$75 (inc. S/H)

[$75 postpaid in USA for ONE pannier. Internat'l customers pay excess postage.]

Presenting the Original OYB Classy Retro Pannier!

Dang, they're sharp. (And I just received fresh inventory of base bags from Switzerland!)

UPCYCLED The base cases I use to create this pannier are high quality, rare, vintage Swiss military surplus in pretty good used condition --- a few nicks, scuffs, stains and/or rumples. They have "beausage" -- the beauty of use. I only have 6 remaining! Only the lighter "honey" color leather.

HOMESTYLE These are home-shop products. I repurpose several unrelated parts into something useful, but the pans do NOT lock to a rack. I've kicked them off and bounced them off! When that happens they can jam into spokes and could cause a crash. So, heads-up! Watch your heels, bumps and curbs and don't overload. I've had bounce-off happen w/ all my store-bought pans, too. (Only cure is locking clips from Arkel, $44.) If you get heel-strike, wrap tape around the rack to keep the pan from sliding forward. These pans come with zero guarantee about all that. Also, I've used mine for years w/o breakage, but parts could fail or pull-thru. So my warranty is: If something fails "too soon" I'll repair or provide fresh parts, or you can just DIY -- it's not too tricky. Anyway, if you ever need parts, just let me know.

They are made of VERY thick leather and canvas. It's like saddle leather. The canvas is stiff, twice or thrice as thick as a messenger bag. The canvas color is a light green-blue-ish. The case itself is water-resistant, sure, but not waterproof.

The size is 8.75" tall, 4" deep, 11.25" wide. This is a SMALL pannier (at 5.4 liters) but it's still good for lots of things! Inside length "as is" is 10.75". If that's fine, great. If you want it to fit 8.5x11" items, simply get a stack of a couple dozen magazines and insert them one at time until the pannier is completely filled, tightly, like a brick, then let it "rest" a few hours before removing mags.)

When modifying a bag I feel like a blacksmith. Depending on what options you order, there are at least 6 stout copper tube rivets in each. It takes a half hour of hammering, drilling, tugging, and pulling to set one up. I recently met a silversmith who said, "Ah, now there's someone else who works with his hands!" I had thought this would be a nice little change of pace from desk-work. Well, it is...and then some!

Waiting for Your Order Speaking of typing, I still make media here. That, and my backorders list, means that it'll be a week or so before I can make and ship your pannier.

Pick the Right Clip! The pans come by default with clips to fit 8mm Blackburn-type racks. If you have a 10mm Bontrager or 12mm Tubus, be sure to let me know. Also, let me know if you have a Pletscher rack (with the sprung top holder) -- it needs a longer bungie. Also, let me know if you have a compact "rando" rack like a VO -- I'll need to set the pans 1/2" rearward to avoid heel-strike risk. And if you have size 12+ feet plus a rando rack, it should go back an inch! Lastly, if you have a 17mm rack, it'll be an extra $10 per pannier as I'll have to hammer and rebend my biggest 12mm clips to fit, a tricky labor-intensive operation.

Don't Forget the OYB Bike Bag! The Bike Bag with Stick-mount option is a world-class saddlebag -- and more. It's listed under this pannier in the Luggage section.

Two Logo Patch Options! OYB panniers and bags now come by default with a leather logo patch riveted on. Note: the patch in most pics is light-colored, but after two weeks of sun it'll darken right up. Also, the patch can function as a blinky-light strap -- just clip your light onto it. But! I can install an embroidered patch instead, if you like, and if you add a note telling me to do so. So, you can either go classy or colorful! Any other requests, just let me hear it and I'll see what I can do.

Optional Set-ups I also offer it as a shoulderbag with clip-on strap or as a saddlebag/handlebar bag (with 3 leather mounting straps), in addition to the pannier mode. See pics below. It's an extra $15 for the Strap or the saddle/bar mode. Pile on the options!! Mix'n'match. Or, just replace the default Pannier option with a Shoulderstrap -- just ask. Click the yellow "Add to Cart" button once for each option you want. (If you get all options, it'll be an OYB International Model Perfection 4-Way Lunchbox!)

2 Shoulderstrap Options: ($15 ea.) I offer 2 lengths of shoulderstrap. The default strap is 1.5" wide, brown synthetic webbing, adjustable 35"-64" (very long), with black metal clips. If you are under 5'7", I have a better length strap -- it's dark green, 2", adjusts 29"-47." If you prefer the brown strap, that's fine, you'll just have excess doubled-up length under the slider.

Saddlebag/Handlebar Option: ($15, with 3 leather straps)

Buy Two, Get a Discount? Sorry, no can do. Margins are too small, time-per too high. (I now better appreciate why other leather pans and bags can cost $250!)

Blinky Light Strap Option: For an extra $5 I'll rivet on a little lower strap that you can clip a blinky-light to.

Money Back Guarantee & Warranty: If you don't like it, return it for a refund in a week. If something ever breaks, I can send you a part if it's easy to replace, or send it back and I'll do the repair and I'll pay for Parcel Post shipping. (These items are very tough. None have needed mail-back repair yet.)

Decaleur Bag? It seems like this item would work great as a front bag with a decaleur and front rack---in that case, no attachments are needed at all (you'll just screw the mount bar to the bag). The price would be just $30 for a plain base case. If interested, email me.

This was my first customer response...

"Thanks! It's one of the best pieces of design I've ever seen." --Dr. E. Parker; Leicester, UK

It's enough to go to your head. ("Bicycle Times" mag and "Lovely Bicycle" blog said they were cool.)

This has to be the cheapest leather-canvas pannier out there. The others are about $100! I think it has the most leather of ANY pannier.

More Neat Features... Check out the closure-tang thing---sweet. Each pannier has a stiff leather band inside the top front and back edges and the whole bottom area. 5 metal button-stands let it stand nice and protect the bottom leather. There are two partial-flaps under the main flap. The handle is designed to slide down flat.

Monogramming... If you like, for an extra $5, I can stamp your initials vertically (and about .5" in size each) into the closure strap or the left area of the front leather panel. See pic below. Use button below to add the $5:

Non-US Customers You SHOULD see an option for postage to their country (or near enough). This pannier requires the *3-4 pound* postage rate. It's an extra $20 to the UK/Europe. Extra $12 to Canada. If you don't see the option I can send a manual Request for the excess.

Why Luggage at OYB? I offer these items to support and fund the cause of OYB: to promote indie outdoor culture & heritage. Nowhere else offers a wide "roundup" view of the scene. (A general overlook isn't considered a strength of the web, but I feel otherwise.) No one other vendor keeps such a range of outdoor book and media classics alive and available. The 2000+ free articles here give a unique view, but I still need to pay my way. So feel free to explore -- and shop -- and support the loyal indie advertisers -- at OYB!

Here's a close-up of the OYB Classy Lunchbox Pannier (with new leather patch -- but before I started using copper rivets):

Here's how one looks on a bike (old patch alert!):

Here it is as a shoulderbag:

Here's a bunch on a bike:

Here's a shot showing the backside attachments (attached with pop-rivets in this older pic; now I use solid one-piece split rivets):

Here's the $5 blinky strap in action. (You can also see optional shoulder-strap swivels):

Here's how the optional initials look that I'll stamp for you for an extra $5:

The $10 handlebar/saddlebag option:

Here's the backside of the bar/saddle option:

(Note: Lower mount shown is the pannier option. If you order it only as a bar/saddle bag I'll rivet the leather strap vertically (unless you're only using it with a rear rack---please, let me know). Also, this bag should work fine with a decaleur and front rack---just screw the mount bar on---there's 2" of thick leather at the top of the bag to back up the bar. I'll provide pics and feedback for decaleur use as I hear back about it.)

The same option set up on the saddle:

Note: It only works with Brooks-type saddle loops, and it's steadiest to *zip-tie* it to the loops. If it cants too much for you, I can provide a lovely whittled superstrong Osage Orange "stand-off" stick for $10 (just click the Option button). (An Osage stick is shown at the 6-Way Bag listing to give you an idea of its niceness.) ...When mounted in full-cant my thighs just touch the bag when riding. It'll also mount nice'n'vertical'n'steady on a bike with a rear rack (with gap b/w rack and loops of 8" - 12").

Speak of the devil, here's a pic of bag with "stand-off" stick (not Osage; also, it would have a stabilizing hole in the stick to zip-tie to the leather base strap):

Here's how it works with a rear rack:

Customer Photos:

Here's a customer with a VO rack (close to heelstrike territory):

They work for motorcycles, too! Order the Saddlebag Option -- it has 3 lash-points and straps to attach to some moto racks or frames (send me specs/pics if need be).

Looking bag-matched and proportionate on a Raleigh 20! (Courtesy of the Veloscene blog at

Here are two on Mike's bike at Mike's Bike (and Skate) Shop in L.A. (it's a 1960's Ideor -- Italian -- 12-sp with Campy Gran Sport group):

Ah, a "character" bike project! Looks great!

Reader Comments - Add Your Own Comment
JeffOYBmain - Williamston, MI, posted on Dec 03, 2008
Here's Dan from Morgan & York with his set of Fancy Pans heading into work...

JeffOYBmain - Williamston, MI, posted on Jan 30, 2009
Hey, guess whose panniers got to go to the Inauguration? : )

JeffOYBmain - Williamston, MI, posted on Jan 30, 2009
<b>do the comments accept html anymore?</b>

<i>do the comments accept html anymore?</i>