Mad bike riding scientist
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
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Originally Posted by Lord Chambers
I've been looking at a lot of bikes and have settled on the Tricross over other models which suit my needs because it has front fork eyelets and I have touring in my foreseeable future. However I have been reading about Old Man Mountain racks which mount on the brake bosses, as well as people using rubber adaptors to mount racks on bikes without eyelets on the front or the rear.
After looking far and wide for a deal on a used Tricross and coming up short I've been pondering whether eyelets should be such a selling point for me. Mechanically speaking, does the frame actually bare the weight more robustly when attached via eyelet screws? Should rubber adaptors and brake bosses be considered compromises? Should eyelets be preferred to these other options, or are they all viable and interchangeable? I've assumed that since eyelets are "built in" to the frame they are a superior option for loaded touring but without any real experience or knowledge of why this would be true or false.
Specific to the Tricross, it has a carbon fork with eyelets. Carbon sometimes gives people catastrophic failure anxiety. Does that enhance the need to use a rack which mounts on the fork eyelets or diminish the need?
It's all about design. A touring bike needs to be long and have neutral handling to provide comfort and stability. A quick handling bike like a road race bike is too difficult to handle when you've loaded the frame with an extra 50 lbs of gear. With the extra load, the steering becomes even quicker and you have to work harder just to keep the bike under control. After a long day that gets very old. After a week, you'll be here
Frames with the eyelet already attached have them at the optimal place for keeping the load low (better center of gravity) and further back (less heel clipping issues). Try loading 30 lbs on a seat post rack and you'll immediately see the reason why you want the load low. Racks that have to be mounted with P-clips are often too high for carrying a reasonable load without compromising handling and, I'd suspect, be prone to twisting especially on the lower part of the seat stay. Even a flexy rack mounted to eyelets can effect handling while riding. A rack that twists would make matters even worse.
The carbon fork issues are probably overblown. Tourists tend to be the most retro of retrogrouches. They are very slow to embrace change. Heck, they don't like that new fangled metal call aluminum
There are some issues with carbon fiber and quality...I've had some carbon parts fail but, then, I've had steel and aluminum parts fail. The Specialized fork does concern me for use with touring, however. Not knowing how they put it together, the zertz insert seems like something that could compromise the strength of the fork, especially with a load.
Finally, I'll agree in part with operator...but only in part. The Tricross isn't really a touring machine. It can be used that way and you probably would notice the difference until you threw your leg over a loaded touring specific bike. The geometry is not optimal for loaded touring. The gearing is high but then it's high on some 'good' touring bike. For the price, you'd get a better touring bike in a Cannondale T2 without sacrificing too much in the way of zippiness. The LHT Complete is much less expensive but it is a little heavier than the T2.