Advanced Touring Systems Hummingbird IFT Panniers

“The absolute, flat-out best packs are made by Bob Beckman.  His designs are extraordinarily clever and his workmanship impeccable.”

(Southwest Cycling Magazine)

The unique challenge in designing all of the Hummingbird IFT panniers was to create rack/pannier systems of exceptional performance that are featherweight.  It would have been pointless for me to spend years and a tremendous effort in developing a line of panniers that were only 10% or 20% or even 50% lighter than my other pannier models.  The Hummingbird Systems were first introduced in 2003 and 2004, and after a decade of further design exploration and refinement, today the Hummingbird IFT panniers are as lightweight as 18 ounces per pair and as little as a third the weight of some past versions of my RBD panniers.  They are also about a quarter of the weight of some comparably sized panniers on the market that perform to a dramatically lower standard. 

Another huge challenge to me as a designer was to maintain the performance standards that my other pannier models, built during the past three decades, have displayed.  It would have been a failure on my part to produce extremely lightweight designs that were diminished in terms of their stability, effectiveness of mounting systems, the performance of their dual and triple compression systems or in a reduction of detail that relates to gear-loading standards that RBD panniers have set previously.  That challenge was met head on.  Many design details are actually better in the Hummingbird panniers than in any RBD panniers of the past.

In many ways the ATS Hummingbird panniers, incorporating Internal Frame Technology (IFT), are the most advanced panniers ever developed.  Their composite of complimentary features represents a unique evolution in pannier design combining superb overall stability and the most stable mounting system available in the world today (ATS Ultra-Lock System).  Their designs also include a very precise, unparalleled loading and gear-segregation design within extraordinarily lightweight pannier/rack systems (tubular steel racks that weigh less than nine ounces and panniers that weigh as little as 18 ounces per pair).  The extraordinary performance of all Hummingbird IFT panniers is the result of a blend of design and execution highlighted by the incorporation of super-lightweight tubular aluminum internal frames replacing the use of plastic or aluminum plate stiffeners in a pannier design.  Tubular aluminum frames are featherweight when compared to plastic plate stiffeners, but are dramatically more rigid, and provide a much better anchor for the elaborate and highly effective compression systems used in all Hummingbird IFT panniers.  The internal frames also provide and extremely rigid foundation for the ATS Ultra Lock mounting system.

Since their conception in the late 1970's and their initial development in 2003 and 2004, the Hummingbird IFT pannier designs now include ultra-lightweight expedition-oriented and tandem panniers like the 30 oz. (per pair) Modular Transit Pannier pictured above.
The original concept for a pannier design incorporating a tubular internal frame goes back a long way to a series of tours that I made in 1978 in mountain ranges in Western Wyoming.  Those trips were the first for me in which part of the tours included riding on hiking trails.  In preparation for the trips I experimented with different types of compression systems for my panniers to increase load-carrying stability.  I couldn't help but notice, through the process of creating different types of compression mechanisms for my panniers, that the most effective connection for compression straps were my in touring racks, not my panniers.  Those experiments cultivated a lot of thought about how I could greatly reduce the weight in both panniers and racks through a symbiotic design in which structure (tubing) removed from racks could be replaced by a tubular pannier frame, and how in such a design all of the weight of a pannier rear plate stiffener could be eliminated.  It wasn't until 2003, when I had purchased the machinery necessary to fabricate all of the intricate custom parts (about 70 total custom parts of 19 different designs in one rack/pannier system) for the internal frames and racks, that I began work on the Hummingbird systems.  And it wasn't long after that time that I realized the extraordinary potential of pannier/rack systems incorporating internal tubular aluminum pannier frames.

Initially, in the early stages of development in the new Hummingbird IFT rack/pannier systems, it was my intention to only design systems for ultra-lightweight touring on single bicycles.  But after working with many details in the designs I realized that through some simple modifications, and the creation of new types of Hummingbird racks, I could create extremely effective designs for tandem touring as well and even expedition-oriented touring.  Today I offer a wide range of Hummingbird IFT pannier/rack systems for all types of touring.  The systems have been developed for bicycle tourists interested in experiencing a totally new dimension in bicycle touring.  It's a unique dimension that reflects the amazing potential in speed, efficiency and flexibility found in the design of the Hummingbird systems, and through careful gear selection, in taking a highly advanced approach to bicycle touring.