PBP is still a ways off but I may do some 300k+ rides yet this summer, maybe even tackle a 1000k. The intent would be to dial in my equipment so when it comes time to do the series my bike setup will be just right and all I need worry about is the engine!
After much reading of reviews, ride reports, etc. I am still unsure of what bags to use for the front and rear. I am asking for suggestions and 'what to watch out for'.
I am having a new bike built with all the bosses, including those for a front rack (VO Randonneur Front Rack with Integrated Decaleur). This does not mean I must use the rack, it has not been purchased. The bike in all probability will have STI shifters. And I will have a saddle with loops.
The Arkel Tailrider and Rack combo is appealing. So is a bag and the Carradice bag support. One need not use a Carradice bag, though the 13L Cadet looks favorable. I don't think I need more than 13L. So - seatpost type rack and trunk combo, or bag hung off the saddle? I know the Arkel rack is mainly rail supported, but I think it comes under the category of rack & trunk. Removability/portability of the luggage piece isn't critical. Waterproof, or an integral rain cover is critical.
The Berthoud units seem very expensive! There seem to be quite a few small domestic shops that allow one to add/subtract pockets, features, colors, etc. Is a box style better than a soft bag? Does a typical rando box style interfere with STI? Do STIs require a soft sided bag, or might I be able to mount the luggage such that the top is below the swing of the STI levers?? It would be nice to have a good plastic map sleeve in the cover - or do these leak or get degraded by the uv rays where they become nothing more than an extra pocket? My past cue sheet holder has been a recloseable plastic bag, two zip ties, and two alligator clips from the office. I used CueClips once and a strong gust of wind took my plastic bag across Lake Superior. The Dill Pickle handlebar bag seems proper. It's mounting isn't complicated and may be adaptable to a small rack. In its natural mounting it doesn't seem to offer easy portability, which is ok for my needs. Is a Klickfix system worth using, or is it just another piece of hardware one must deal with, like a decaleur?
I will not be doing commuting or other types of travel where detachability is important. Also, I have access to a wonderful seamstress/shoe repair store that can do any final tweaking or modification.
Any suggestions for front or rear will be appreciated.