Ortlieb Plastic U Inserts

Rubber Hose

Rubber Hose

Rubber Hose Slitting the Hose Along Its Length Hose fitted to rack Hose fitted to Rack down stay

Do you use those fiddly little plastic inserts to adapt your Ortlieb panniers to fit your rack? We used to, but not anymore.

Why? Well after a bit of use they work loose. You lift your panniers off the rack with the handle that lifts the locking mechanism, making it possible for the insert to drop off; and drop off they do. This usually happens when you are under pressure, like getting on a ferry , or a bus. We have lost more of these inserts than I care to mention. Cost of replacement? Typically £4 (6 Euros or 6 dollars) each! Absurdly Ortlieb sell replacements as a pack of four, two large and two small. Now I don't know about your set up, but in our case our front rack tubing are the same diameter as our rear ones so we only need one size of insert. So two of the set are discarded. In other words, they work out at £2 each for a piece of plastic that probably costs less than 10 pence to produce. A pretty good mark up eh?

There is a much slicker and cheaper solution. Go online to one of the companies that sell rubber tubing or hose, such as Hoseworld. You need a tube with an outer diameter of 15mm to fit snugly inside the Ortlieb securing mechanism. Select a tube with this outside diameter and an inner diameter slightly bigger than the diameter of your rack tubing. You can order it by the meter. A rubber is better than plastic as it doesn't rattle.

With a sharp craft knife (careful of those little pinkies now), cut lengths long enough to fit onto your rack where your pannier fits. Then (even more carefully) stand the length on chopping board and with the kraft knife slice all the way down one side. Next simply slide the tube over your rack. To make double sure that it doesn't come off you can apply a cable tie around each end of the tube.

I would also recomend buying another length of tubing, most likely of a lesser wall thickness to apply to the down sections of tube on your rack. This is where the rear Ortlieb Lower Anchor hooks over the rack. In our case we chose a tubing with 10mm internal diameter and a 1.5mm wall thickness. You need to select the tube sizing to suite your rack. Again use cable ties to secure these lengths in place.

Apart from giving a much more secure solution than those silly inserts, the rubber tube helps to reduce any rattling of your panniers on the rack.

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Jun 19, 2018
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Great Idea
by: Ryan

I almost resigned myself to buying the plastic inserts until I came across this post. I did essentially the same thing, but I used an old inner tube instead of a measured hose. I had to play around with the tube and cut it down to size before fastening it to my 8mm diameter rack with zip-ties. Not quite as elegant, but so far so good. Thanks for the inspiration!

May 29, 2018
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Ortlieb pannier insert solution
by: Niall McGrath

Well done for posting the sane alternative to paying too much to replace those silly plastic inserts.

I understand why Ortlieb use them, but at £120 a pair for the panniers in the UK you'd think they could give you a lifetime's supply of replacements with them!

Even 20 of each size with the bags would only add a couple of GB pounds to their costs, and would mean I had NO reservations about the product rather than one.

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