The Trek Bontrager Interchange Grocery Pannier Eco is a heavy-duty, oversized grocery pannier made from 51% recycled materials. The materials used in its construction include recycled inner tubes, advertising banners, and seat belts. The bag is made for Bontrager by Alchemy Goods in Seattle, WA (the bag itself is made by Alchemy, the mounts are Bontrager’s “Interchange” pannier mounts). Alchemy doesn’t sell a pannier, so if you’ve been waiting for an Alchemy pannier, the Bontrager is it.
The Eco is a huge bag that easily swallows an overflowing grocery bag, or even a full-sized laptop backpack. Besides using the pannier for shopping, I also sometimes use it for carrying my Tamrac photographer’s backpack or my Crumpler commuter/laptop backpack. I really like the nylon interior; the slippery surface makes it easy to slide the backpacks in and out, and it’s a cinch to clean in the event of a grocery spill.
The top can be closed with the main zipper as seen in the photo at the top of the page, or if you have a smaller load, it can be folded down and cinched roll-top style. In roll-top mode, there’s clearance enough on the top of the rack for a rack trunk or a bundled up sweater or coat. There’s a fairly large zippered pocket on the front for holding a wallet, keys, papers, etc.
Bontrager’s Interchange hardware is excellent. The clamps run on sliding tracks which makes mounting on almost any rack a cinch. I was able to mount the bag on four different racks with no issues. The only downside is that if you move the pannier around from one bike to another on a regular basis, it’s a bit of a hassle to readjust the mounts each time. This isn’t going to be a problem for most people who will probably use the bag on the same bike most of the time.
This is the Interchange quick release. Simply lift up on the handle and the clamps release. Pressing down on the handle locks the clamps closed. It’s not at all necessary, but for extra security I wrap a velcro strap around the handle when I’m carrying a computer or camera kit in the pannier.
The overall construction of the Eco Grocery Pannier is excellent. The strap is indestructible, and the outer shell is waterproof, tough, and attractive. I’ve been a fan of Alchemy Goods for a while now and I’ve always wondered why they didn’t make a pannier. Now we finally have one and it has the added benefit of being outfitted with Bontrager’s excellent Interchange hardware. Highly recommended.
Features and Specifications
- 51% recycled materials by weight, made from recycled Bontrager inner tubes and advertising banners
- Installs and removes in seconds with Interchange hardware
- Hidden carrying handles
- Fits one paper grocery bag (not that you would use one)
- Zippered pocket for wallet and extras
- Zippered and roll-able top for variable conditions
- PE sheets made from 100% recycled materials
- Folds flat when not in use
- Capacity – 1,950cu.in. (31,955cc)
Disclosure: Trek provided the pannier for this review.