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  1. #1
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Which is better: Rear rack trunk bag, or front rack rando bag

    I do mainly lightweight tours and credit card trips so I don't typically need panniers. My preference has been a rear rack trunk bag, but a front rack randonneur bag is about the same size.

    I'll probably have to build up a low trail rando bike with a big-ish front bag to see for myself, but I'm wondering if others have tried both extremes and have developed a preference.

    I am mildly annoyed by front bags for no good reason other than I'm used to seeing the front wheel/hub/tire --and find it an almost meditative experience seeing them spin.

    Who prefers front bags?
    Last edited by dbg; 03-17-14 at 09:43 AM.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I use a front Low rider rack and Panniers on it,


    but the N+1 and building a special Rando Brevet bike just to carry a big front bag load
    with Classic High style will always be supported.

    http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...ent-mkiii.html

    http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...-decaleur.html
    http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...lebar-bag.html

    also style points are gained by using a large Carradice Canvas saddle bag ,
    on the strap loops of the equally classic B17 saddles.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-18-14 at 01:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that the handlebar is a busy space with control cables, computer etc. There's ways to work around that stuff, of course, but why?
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  4. #4
    Over forty victim of Fate Cougrrcj's Avatar
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    That depends on how your bike is built. My old Fuji has a very long wheelbase and longish chainstays like a 'touring bike'. As such, it rides fine with a trunk bag and rear panniers only. Other bikes need to put some of the added weight on the front.

    I have a handlebar bag, but have never used it because I had a handlebar-mounted waterbottle. When I switched to putting the bottle on the downtube, that left the front more open, but I still have the cable issue since I have old-school brake levers and bar end shifters. Even if I were to go with aero brake levers and under-the tape routing for those cables, I still have the bar-end cables to deal with...
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  5. #5
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    I favor a trunk bag, but FWIW, I've heard that the handlebar bag is actually better for stability purposes.
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  6. #6
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg View Post
    Who prefers front bags?
    Not I, the classic British seatbags suit my purposes w/o needing a special frame design for a bag.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I rather like using a handlebar bag when I need to carry just a few things. I like being able to reach things easily. Additionally, in cooler weather, the bag can act as a windbreaker for your hands, keeping them just a bit warmer. Finally, I'm a bit old school in that I like paper maps of cue sheets when doing longer rides. My handlebar bag has a nice map holder on top. I don't have cable issues with the bag. I'm not sure why others do. My bag sits nicely in the middle and pushes the cables to the side without any issues.
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  8. #8
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    I am experimenting with Revelate Designs Viscacha seat bag and the gas tank bag for food and little stuff. Total capacity is around 1000 cubic inches. Very well made and light. Need more time to comment but the initial take is very positive.

    I have front and rear panniers with a handlebar bag for serious loaded touring when the 48 spoked Phils get called into action. The handlebar bag is great because it disconnects easily and with a strap acts as a carry bag holding the personal junk like money, passport, camera, food, spare ammo, maps, first aid kit, and other essentials. Big fan of some handlebar bags.......need the waterproof map window and it has to be stable.

  9. #9
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    I don't like the added steering axis inertia of anything more than a few oz. up front, so I'd go with a trunk. However, if you're one of those folks that likes to grab stuff out of a bag while riding, go for the front bag.

    BTW- if you're going to use a front rack, you can probably work some sort of front trunk style bag keeping the bars free,
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  10. #10
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about a handlebar bar bag mostly because I think it would be cool to have a spot for a map.

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I use a trunk bag but also like a bar bag. This one:
    Topeak® Cycling Accessories ? Products - Compact Handlebar Bag
    is small enough to route cables around and doesn't affect steering unless I really load it up. But no need to do that.

    Another problem with bar bags is lights. I mount my on knobs on the front fork.

    I use a BarMap cue sheet holder. No need for a bag for that.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    I shift bag types with the seasons. During winter when carrying extra layers or for doing errands in town, I use a rear rack and a single or two panniers. As the seasons warm, the rack comes off eventually and a bar bag goes on for longer rides with a rain jacket and and extra gloves.

  13. #13
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    My style on randonneur rides ("brevets") is to carry as little as possible. For Paris-Brest-Paris, I just had a seat bag (not a saddle bag, just the small bag that fits under the saddle), and I put everything else on my jersey pockets, or wrapped with the seat bag under the saddle (my rainjacket I strapped to the saddle). I also wore two pairs of shorts, which I changed around at half-distance. Absolutely minimalist!

    That said, the style for riders here in the Pacific NW is to go French and use the handlebar bag. This lets you put a map in the clear pocket they always come with, and it lets you get stuff out while you're rolling. But in order to mount it most effectively, you evidently need something called a "decaleur." Not being a handlebar bag user, I have absolutely no idea what a decaleur is.

    Were I to need more carrying capacity, I think I would go with @Bandera and use a saddle bag. Contrary to popular belief, I think you want the weight mounted relatively high, or as close to the bike/rider combination's center of mass as possible, in order to preserve the handling. I don't regard the bicycle as a "pack animal" designed to carry stuff. The ride is so uninteresting. I want a responsive ride! Hence, minimalism. Otherwise, a saddlebag, which puts the weight closer to center of mass.

    Jeez, my bike doesn't even have a rack, or even eyelets for a rack!

    Luis

  14. #14
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    OTOH, the single piece of equipment used by more PBP finishers than any other, according to a BQ survey, was a pannier. That's a bit mind-bending, but perhaps more spares, especially clothing, more food, etc., might be the reason. IIRC this was the survey after the very difficult rainy PBP of '07.

  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I have trunk bags, medium sized saddle bags and handlebar bags. I don't normally use them at the same time. I like the medium saddle bag for my multi tool and flat repair items, and normally keep one on my bike at all times. I use either the handlebar bag or trunk bag depending on the bike and weather conditions. Some of my road bikes don't have a rear rack, that's the ones with a handlebar bag. I don't normally try to open the handlebar bag when riding but I find it more easily accessible than a trunk bag.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member curly666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I use a trunk bag but also like a bar bag. This one:
    Topeak® Cycling Accessories ? Products - Compact Handlebar Bag
    is small enough to route cables around and doesn't affect steering unless I really load it up. But no need to do that.

    Another problem with bar bags is lights. I mount my on knobs on the front fork.

    I use a BarMap cue sheet holder. No need for a bag for that.
    I hang my lights below stem when I use the bag.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Hairy Hands's Avatar
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    I do long rando rides. I have both set ups and use them differently depending. I have a light tubus rear rack with a Arkel tail rider on it, the good is that the setup is light weight, has plenty of room, the bag can easily be removed and taken with me, and the rack provides a place to permanently mount a taillight. The bad is I have to stop to get anything out of it which can be a problem if randonueering and under time constraints.

    The front handlebar bag is great for having everything accessable while continuing to ride, but they can't carry a whole lot if that's the only bag your using, also if you have clip on Tri bars they won't work.

    90% of the time I use the rear bag and rack! and stuff my jersey pockets with immediate need items. If I need something from the rear bag I try to time it with a bathroom break or stoping at a control while having my brevet card stamped.
    ~John~

  18. #18
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    My bike is set up with a front rack/bag. I never used one before, but my bike came with the front rack so I figured I would give it a shot. I like it. The main advantage over a rear rack/trunk bag is, you can access your stuff without getting off your bike. Main disadvantage is, the bag that fits the rack is a little smaller than most of my rear trunk bags.

  19. #19
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    I prefer the rear rack and trunk pack. It has more room, is held tighter, and has room for my "bike shop in a bag". I intend to ride home, not walk.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    I favor a trunk bag, but FWIW, I've heard that the handlebar bag is actually better for stability purposes.
    You are correct. Weight up high, such as on the handlebars, is far better stability wise than a similar amount of weight up high on a rear rack. This fact can be easily proven by loading up a rear rack and then, while dismounted, leaning the bike over (it doesn't take that much high/rear weight to lift the front wheel up and off the ground).

  21. #21
    1coolrider arcticbiker's Avatar
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    Love my Tubus rear rack with trunk bag.

    Arcticbiker

  22. #22
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I have enjoyed this thread a ton. Thanks for asking.
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  23. #23
    Avid Cyclist MickeyMaguire's Avatar
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    I have a bag (XLC) on a Topeak rack on my Fuji Absolute2. Here is a picture...

    Fuji_Absolute2sm.jpg

    The bag contains a spare tube, mini pump, tire tools, allen wrenches, a few other common Park wrenches, Pearl Izumi jacket, wallet, smart phone, glasses, sometimes munchies and camera (occasionally).
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