I have a (non-electric) disc brake bike with 28mm wheels with quite a heavy NuVinci hub and am on the heavy side (maybe 130kg with me, bike and pannier).
The whole set-up is at the limit of wheel strength design and my previous wheel popped spokes and I had it rebuilt with a rim with extra strengthening around the spoke holes (sorry forget the exact term) as well as electric wheel spokes (I think 2.3mm throughout?) to give me the strongest wheel possible.
The whole exercise made me think about spoke loading and which side of the bike to have the pannier on as I only ever use one (and I don't want to have the hassle of two half full ones).
I sat down this morning and scribbled a force diagram and I got to this conclusion.
Putting the pannier on the drive (i.e. right) side of the bike increases spoke tension when pedalling and decreases spoke tension when braking vs. no pannier.
Putting the pannier on the brake side (i.e. left) side of the bike increases spoke tension when breaking and decreases spoke tension when pedalling vs. no pannier.
Spoke loads induced by breaking are higher than those induced by pedalling as you tend to brake quicker than you accelerate.
Therefore if the goal is to minimise chance of popping spokes you should mount your pannier on the brake side of the wheel.
Do people agree with this or have I messed up a sign somewhere in my force diagram and the exact opposite is true?
And please I know there are lots of other things I could improve in my set-up to reduce chance of breaking spokes (lighter hub, bigger tyres etc., diet!), but I like the set-up just the way it is. I want it to work as it is but don't care which side the pannier is on so my goal is helping it with that.
Many thanks in advance.