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Ortlieb Waterproof Back Roller and Front Roller Plus Review

RRP Back Roller Plus : £104

RRP Fontroller Plus : £79

Available from:

• Wiggle, (Back / Front)

• Amazon, (Back / Front)

Rating: 8/10

Actually I feel a bit silly reviewing this cycle torturing stalwart – if you’ve looked into your gear at all then no doubt your aware of Ortlieb products and that they are considered to be among, (if not, the) best you can buy. But we thought it helpful to list a few of our experiences living with the Ortliebs.

Ortlieb Setup

The Ortlieb Setup

To give you an idea of usage, we’ve both had our Back Rollers for about 3 years and used them extensively for commuting and short tours; the Front Rollers were new for our ‘cycle to Australia’ trip and at the time of writing had done over 9,000 km. Both have been used in a range of extreme weather conditions.

The Good Stuff

What can you say – they do their job very well; we can attest to the claim that they are 100% waterproof; they are cavernous, (this could lead to over packing if you’re not disciplined) which is handy if you need to carry additional food, etc; and they adjustable attachment mechanism means they should fit on nearly any rack.

Ortlieb Attachment Mechanism

Ortlieb Attachment Mechanism

Ortlieb Front Rollers

Ortlieb Front Rollers

The unclasping mechanism has the advantage of being simple and effective but also not being immediately obvious to any shifty types looking to swipe one of your bags.

Not a major concern, but they come in a wide range of colours so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding ones that match your ride. We also really like the reflective patches that help with night time/tunnel visibility.

There is also a range of other Ortlieb products which fit with the bags very snugly such as the rack bags, bolt on bottle holders, (we’ve seen this used well for fuel bottles) and extra pouches and the water sacks… ah, they do know how to sell you extra stuff :)

Our Gripes

Don’t really have many as we are on the whole very happy with them. Some people consider them expensive, sighting the fact that you can buy similar products from Vaude etc, for a lot less; however, we can’t attest to the durability or attaching mechanisms of these products and we feel that for the use you can get from the Ortliebs they are in fact very good value.

Plethora of Panniers

Plethora of Panniers at a Borer Crossing

Like most panniers they can wear the paint out on your racks – but I don’t think this is a problem specific to the Ortliebs but the rack pannier system in general… if it bothers you get stainless steel Tubus racks.

One thing they could improve on is the internal pockets; the ‘bumps’ on the inside designed to protect the pocket from the screws holding the fitting oval in place eventually start to wear holes in it. This isn’t a catastrophic failure as you don’t generally keep much in there, but nonetheless it’s a niggle.

Internal Pocket Wear

Internal Pocket Wear

Also after extended use in bright sunlight the colours do fade; especially with brighter colours, (Kat’s red ones are notably more faded than my grey bags). Although some people we’ve spoken to like this as it makes the bags look less new and nickable.



• Durable

• Good Looking, (nice range of styles)

• 100% Waterproof

• Good Attachment Mechanism

• Handy Reflectors

• Good Complementary Products



• Expensive, (but we’d say the durability makes them very good value)

• Wear on Racks, (although not specifically an Ortlieb issue)

• Wear on Internal Pockets

• Bright Colours Fade



• Waterproof

• QL2 Mounting System – adjustable without tools

• Compatible with all standard racks with rails up to 16mm

• Reduction inserts for 8 and 11mm rails included

• Highly reflective 3M Scotchlite reflectors

• Simultaneous use of ORTLIEB Travel-Biker, Bike-Box or Shuttle possible

• Can be used singly or as a pair

• Comfortable to carry (shoulder strap included, removable)

• Can be easily cleaned inside



Great panniers that serve us well – despite the cheaper alternatives we’d go for them again when, (if?) they wear out. Recommended.

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