The Blackburn Local Rear Pannier is a practical choice for carrying everyday stuff. It's not a trans-continental all-weather off-road touring tardis, though.
The Local pannier addresses two of my major gripes with removable panniers – how to get them on and off multiple bikes quickly, and then how to carry them off the bike when you don't want to leave them attached.
Blackburn claims that the Local is 'compatible with all standard racks'. That would be racks of tubing not more than 10.5mm then. The Local panniers wouldn't fit the 13mm tubing on my beloved bright orange (it's Dutch, yeah?) Workcycles FR8, the Rolls Royce/Volvo estate of utility bikes. Which was a pity as the colour match was perfect and looks count for a lot.
The main clips are sturdy enough and are replaceable should they break – Blackburn offers a lifetime warranty on the whole package. The lower fixing speaks to the on-off-on-off use case for the Local – it's two Velcro straps, ergo should fit any possible rack you can think of without requiring repositioning of a fixed solid clip or locking mechanism. It does mean there's a (slim) chance that at high speed, over rough surfaces, the Velcro will work loose, but for pootling about town you'll be fine, and swapping between bikes of different rack types is easy.
They come with a non-adjustable, removable shoulder strap that allows the pannier to be worn messenger-bag style when wandering about the shops or back and forth between bike storage and office/home. As the plastic rack clips stick out a bit you need to turn the bag over so the front side is against your body, but that's not really a hardship.
The reason the clips protrude is due to their being part of Blackburn's 'Interlock' system, where the pannier itself can be secured to a compatible Blackburn Interlock rack to deter thieves. Higher-spec panniers in the range also accommodate straps that prevent the pannier itself being opened, although – let's face it – any thief with a pocket knife can get at your stuff through a fabric pannier.
Features-wise, the Local pannier has two rear light fabric loops, a small side pocket with Velcro closure that's protected by the main flap (held closed by a single plastic buckle), and a carry handle. That's it. No rain cover, pump pocket, internal sleeve, or reflective trim acreage (small logo aside). Inside there's a nice grey topomap contour-line print that makes finding things a little easier, although removing the lines would be better if the aim was not to camouflage small, dark items.
With 13 litres of space (per pannier – they're photographed here as a pair, but are sold singly) it has no problem swallowing a commute's worth of kit, including a 17in Macbook on its edge. When stuffed full to the brim the flap is definitely not water-resistant, with a large gap showing at both ends. There's a rather odd fold of fabric at either side of the flap that seems to be perfectly engineered not to do what you'd think it was there for. So yes, it will carry stuff, but if it's raining that stuff will get wet. While I get the argument about performance vs. cost/utility/usability, I don't think it's too much to anticipate 'rain' in an urban environment, nor wanting to keep the contents of a trip to the shops, work or library 'dry'. A simple flap sewn into the edges of the lid would have sorted that, so it's a strange omission.
At a shade over 30 quid the Local is a fairly low-cost, practical option for carrying stuff on – erm – 'local' ventures, transitioning on and off the bike relatively quickly. Lacking more robust features such as water resistance, a secure lower fixing, reflectivity, internal division or firmer closing is reflected in the price, and you can pay four times as much to add questionable utility. So overall it's a cost-effective urban luggage solution, just be aware of the design choices.
It's a practical urban luggage carrying choice, but could be more water resistant
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Blackburn Local Rear Pannier
Size tested: 13 litre capacity
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's an affordable option for carrying stuff in an urban environment.
Blackburn says: "A great carry all for work, school, shopping or wherever your bike goes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
One key, to protect them all. That's the idea behind our exclusive Interlock system, enabling a single keyed lock to secure any of Blackburn's new Interlock panniers and rack-top bags so they can't be removed.
* When used with our Interlock racks, the bag can be secured on the bike with a single key
* Compatible with all standard racks
* Roomy exterior pocket
* Flasher loops on either side
* Removable shoulder strap
* Reflective print
* 210D polyester w/ with water resistant treatment and backing
* 13 Liter capacity
* Part # 7058762
Very well put together, with a lifetime warranty to boot.
The lack of a rain flap lets things down, otherwise, fine.
Looks like it will outlast me.
Pretty light, as there are no metal fixings.
For just over 30 quid it's good value; if it was more water resistant it would score higher here.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
In the dry, no problem. Slightly concerned in the wet, though. You'd need to either carry a protective enclosure for sensitive stuff, or not ride in the rain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The colour (it comes in black/grey too), and the wearability as a messenger-style bag off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of protection from water.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Local is a good choice – just understand what it can and can't do, for the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling