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  1. #1
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    Rando luggage conundrum

    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.

    Rear -
    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.

    Front -
    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.

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    We use the Arkel Tailrider combo on our tandem. Great rack and bag. Lots of room. More than you really need, though a small front bag is handy. If you use a front bag of most any size, you should be able to run something smaller in back, like the Ortlieb Large Saddle Bag. Good bag as long as you remember to close it.

    The Topeak Compact Handle Bar Bag works well with STI brifters. The cables pass under the bag. It's small enough that it doesn't affect steering on standard geometry bikes.

    The Cyclo Active Bar Map Holder is the thing for cue sheets.

  3. #3
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    I'd suggest you start by asking, "How much do I need to carry?" After that you can figure out where to put it. Not knowing the exact size of the bags you're looking at, I suspect you could get by with only a front bag for up to 400k, unless you (and your bike) are pretty short. Stick an extra liter bottle of water in a jersey pocket for long hot stretches without any services. If the front bag has a map holder, so much the better.

    For longer rides where you have to worry about clothing changes, assuming no drop bag service, you may want to add additional luggage. Also for colder or changeable weather, you may need a way to handle an extra jersey, warmers, jacket, etc. that might not fit in your front bag.

    Which is not to say I follow my own good advice. I'll usually overpack for anything over 200k.

  4. #4
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    Rando luggage conundrum

    I am currently using a Revelate Viscacha bag, https://www.revelatedesigns.com/inde...alog/Seat-Bags
    on the rear of my Honey Winterando bike. It fits almost as much as my Carradice Lowsaddle longflap did which was mounted to my Litespeed Arenberg on a Nitto Mark's rack with p-clips.

    Positives:

    Much lighter as no rack and Carradice bags are heavy. Bag does not have the wag the tail effect that the Carradice bag did and you can roll down tightly if not fully packed.

    Negatives: Cannot see everything in the bag at once and must pack least used/heavier items closer to the seatpost. No side pockets for small items you may want to grab quickly.

    I am not sure how waterproof the bag is as I have not ridden in extended downpours with it. You could always put clothes in a dry bag or plastic bags.

    I used this bag for a full series this year with a Sprocket top pouch

    I would consider a small front bag for arm/leg warmers and gels/bars,sunscreen, rain jacket.

  5. #5
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    So many options out there, for events in the UK, Carridice are probably the most common, but there are just as many variations from tiny saddlebags to panniers and everything in between.

    Personal setup for me will depend on event, as standard I have a Revelate Designs Tangle frame bag, which has enabled be to just about eliminate carrying anything in shirt pockets, for 100/200(dry) I have a small Ortlieb seat bag which holds tools & innertubes, over 200/wet this may be swapped for a larger seatpack or single pannier.

    When I started riding long distance, i had a Ortlieb bar bag, but sold this after a year or so, as you had to stop to open it, and it offered no real advantages over a rear bag to me.

    #pdlamb comment on over packing is very valid, I did this a lot this year, purely to simulate the extra I would be carrying on a 1000km I did a few weeks ago, no that's over, will be reducing to what's needed.

  6. #6
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    The Viscacha seems good. How easy it it to dig out one's stuff? Does it have a light colored inner liner to make it easy to see into at night, under the CREE led lights at the gas station check point?
    Its weight is low, and the price isn't too bad, and no extra hardware needed to mount it. A lot of pluses going for it.

  7. #7
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    "I'd suggest you start by asking, "How much do I need to carry?"" That was my first thought, too.

    First off, the style of bags used, as well as the amount of crap you carry along, varies regionally as well as individually. So here in north Texas, you just about won't see a big boxy bag up front. In other areas, it's part of the official uniform and you must have one, etc.

    Anyway, on the tandem, we use a Topeak bag with fold-out panniers, usually with one side folded out. On the single bike, I just wear my Camelbak with backpack, and can fit stuff in there okay for most shorter rides (300k). Several of the local riders swear by various sizes of Carradice bags that go behind the saddle. Some of the people that ride the most carry the least, and vice-versa.

    You can get in a pattern of thinking that says "What might I need on the ride" and wind up carrying all kinds of useless stuff that you MIGHT need but really don't.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  8. #8
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    novice here, but i was in your boat re: luggage just a few months ago. for this year, i went with a carradice super c audax to bagman 2 QR support, and only a small handlebar-mounted bag (not the boxy traditional style).

    although the carradice tends to get me to overpack, i've found in the winter (maybe because my front bag is smaller) it actually is a bit smaller than i'd like. however, the bagman support allows me to strap jackets/rain gear/etc. without having to either take up bag room, or awkwardly strapping it to the top of the bag via the D rings and making it more difficult to access items.

    another crucial reason i went with the carradice super c series is the fact that it has plastic QR buckles instead of the nicer-looking (but less functional, to me anyways) leather straps. i don't want to be fiddling around with that at night or when i am wearing thick winter gloves on a long and cold ride.

    also, think about what kinds of items you bring, and how you organize them. do you like pockets, dividers? or are you a "big compartment" kind of packer? i am a pocket person and having a system can help when you're looking for that one specific item late in a ride...

  9. #9
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Of course the other approach is to get a couple of bags, like the Orlieb saddle bag and Topeak bar bag, and then figure out what you need to get that will easily fit in there. Lighter is better.

    If one is planning early season brevets featuring mountain passes in the PNW, it is possible to run into 33° and sleeting descents, in which case adding a small rucksack to your drop bag with serious emergency warm descending clothes works very well. Although I've done OK in those conditions with my normal light gear, not even needing the bar bag. There's no reason to carry a lot of stuff, unless one is fueling with Ensure and wants to bring along a dozen bottles or something. I normally carry about half my fuel needs with me, but not Ensure.

    Since you're having a bike built, you've probably already figured out the interaction between your baggage and your lights, no matter what that baggage might be.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    "I'd suggest you start by asking, "How much do I need to carry?"" That was my first thought, too.
    +1

  11. #11
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    I rode PBP with a a large Ortlieb saddle bag. It holds plenty for that purpose. On a 1200k, a front bag has a lot of advantages. I failed to close my bag properly and it was emptying itself through the streets of Fougères. Some riders made me aware that it was open, but I turned around and couldn't find my rain jacket. Fortunately I didn't need it. A front bag of the French style doesn't empty itself, and if it did the rider knows all about it. Not the first thing I've lost out of that bag.

    The money for a bag like that is nothing in comparison to the trip, and the price of my rain jacket pretty much would have paid the difference between the cost of the bags for me.

  12. #12
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    The revelate bags are not particularly waterproof, and you really have to dig around to find stuff. Otherwise they are great, hold a ton of stuff and sit nicely out of the way.
    I think one of the knock offs might be waterproof.

  13. #13
    Pirate/Smuggler jlafitte's Avatar
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    Last spring I rode a series using a Topeak trunkbag with the fold-out panniers, and a top tube bag. Nicely accommodated all my gear including rain and chilly weather wear, as well as a stock of food for the end stretch of a 600 with almost no services. Also not waterproof, but they make a nifty hi-Vis rain cover for it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbithaca View Post
    I am currently using a Revelate Viscacha bag, https://www.revelatedesigns.com/inde...alog/Seat-Bags
    I went with the Pika because I don't quite have the seat post length for the Viscacha and the Pika limits how much stuff I can carry.

    Keeping in mind that many different things work for people, what I like about the Revelate-style bags is that they are light weight and they are fairly compact when you aren't carrying much stuff. I was worried that it would swing noticeably (it might swing a bit but it's not noticeable).

    I use a small "handlebar" bag for things that I need ready access to (like a battery for my Garmin).

    Quote Originally Posted by 9606 View Post
    The Viscacha seems good. How easy it it to dig out one's stuff? Does it have a light colored inner liner to make it easy to see into at night, under the CREE led lights at the gas station check point?
    Its weight is low, and the price isn't too bad, and no extra hardware needed to mount it. A lot of pluses going for it.
    The liner is lighter than the outside but not light. I use small stuff sacks to segregate small stuff. I can identify the sacks by feel. Unless what you need is at the end of the bag, you are likely going to have to remove a lot of stuff to get at the bottom.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 07-18-14 at 05:02 PM.

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    We have several different sizes of the Carradice bags, and use the size that seems appropriate for the distance and conditions.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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  17. #17
    Senior Member LucF's Avatar
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    I use a Vaude Off Road M seatpost bag and contrary to recommendations, have had it attached to a carbon seat post for > 15 000 km without any issues. The photo shows it in its non-extended form. It holds 4 kg and has a separate rain cover. Half the price of the Arkel rack+randonneur but not as sturdy.

    I use this frame bag for food and phone.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucF View Post
    I use a Vaude Off Road M seatpost bag and contrary to recommendations, have had it attached to a carbon seat post for > 15 000 km without any issues. The photo shows it in its non-extended form. It holds 4 kg and has a separate rain cover. Half the price of the Arkel rack+randonneur but not as sturdy.

    I use this frame bag for food and phone.
    What bladder is that? The water bottle integration looks neat.

  19. #19
    Senior Member LucF's Avatar
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    The bladder is a Camelback Antidote 2.0 L with a few mods.

  20. #20
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    I started out with an Arkel Tailrider on a rear rack and a small ditty bag in front. Switched to a Carradice Lowsaddle Longflap on a Bagman support, both to get more carrying capacity with lower weight, and because the Carradice moves the weight closer to your center of mass so it doesn't affect handling as much. Rode BMB with that setup. For PBP in 07, realized that the Carradice is designed to be used without a rack and ditched the Bagman. Bought a small handlebar bag. By BPB in 11, I had decided that I like having most of the things I need in the handlebar bag, so I bought a bigger handlebar bag (Gilles Berthoud 28) with a rack (and a bike with low-trail fork) and a smaller Carradice Pendle. For rides up to about 300km or even longer but with little change in expected weather, I can go with just the GB bag and maybe a small wedge pack for inner tube, tools, and parts. If there is much weather change expected, then I'll end up carrying more clothes, and even though I can sometimes jam everything into the GB, it gets so stuffed that it is a pain to use. I'd rather carry the Pendle and be able to get in and out of the GB bag without having to stop.

    Pay attention to how your luggage affects your bike's handling. What takes a small effort to overcome on a 200km adds up over a 1200km to a lot of wasted energy and excess fatigue. You want the luggage you are carrying to "disappear" with respect to bike handling. That's why I like the Carradice bags--they don't affect handling the way that having a load cantilevered off the back of the bike does. As a thought experiment, imagine a 20-foot long rack cantilevered off your seatpost with your Arkel Tailrider at the end! Now imagine trying to climb a hill, standing up out of the saddle, with that swaying in the back. You want the load under and inside your center of gravity so that you don't notice it. Similarly, the higher up and further forward a handlebar bag that you have, the more it affects steering effort. For me, the convenience of a handlebar bag is so valuable, that it's worth the extra weight of the rack and decaleur that are required (along with low-trail geometry) to get the handlebar bag low and close to the steering axis so that it doesn't affect handling.

    Nick

  21. #21
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    Thank you for your input.
    At this point I am leaning toward a Swift Ozette 7L for the front, with mini rack, and I hope I can mount it without a decaleur; and a Dill Pickle medium or large saddlebag with Bagman Support. But this is sure adding up the $$.
    The final sizes of the bags will be determined after I put into a box the stuff I may carry and determine how many liters it makes up.

  22. #22
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    i use my revelate bag all the time... last long brevet i did was a 400k a couple of years ago. have used it on all sorts of short stuff.

    IMGP1112-400x300.jpg

    Ortlieb bar bag, Revelate vissacha (but custom, that bag is old, before he changed his name...)

    I also like using the Ortlieb saddle bag and a combination of feed bags, gas tanks, etc. I had my mini rack on here for jacket / layers / etc.

    IMG_1906 by mbeganyi, on Flickr

  23. #23
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    The Visacha certainly seems popular, but it seems to me it has two shortcomings:
    1. Must dig deeeeep to get at stuff when the bad is near full,
    2. Not waterproof.

    The Ortleib seems to sit so high, and the mounting bracket seems to take up valuable handlebar space.

    I have three different brands of feed bags but haven't used them on anything longer than 200k. They don't seem to have a high mark for useable volume per surface area, though they are nice ditty bags and fit into tight spots.

  24. #24
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    I'd start by assembling all the stuff you imagine wanting to carry for rides of various lengths, and making a big pile of it on the floor. Then sort through it and think about what needs to be easily accessible while riding (food, warmers, sunglasses, etc), what needs to be easily accessible while stopped briefly (flat fixings, rain jacket, maybe vest or warmer top), and what needs to be there but you probably don't need easy access to it (maybe spare tire, change of clothes, toothbrush, "just in case" tools, etc).

    Personally, I like a relatively small handlebar bag that's mostly used for comestibles and maybe arm warmers, gloves, glasses, camera, or whatever other small odds and ends I might want to grab while riding. But by the end of a long ride, I tend to make a huge mess in whatever is carrying my food, and as the ride progresses and I get stupider, I make more of a mess rooting around for what I want. To me, that's the biggest argument against the huge boxy front bag: I'm pretty sure I'd dig out my jacket and find half a sandwich in it. But I've ridden with other folks who are meticulously organized about what goes where, for whom that isn't an issue in the slightest.
    I also like the side pockets of my saddlebags for things like rain jackets and additional bottles so that I can get at them while riding. I'm picky about my brevet bike being easy to steer with no hands so I can put on or stow my rain jacket without stopping, etc.

    Then when you've divided up your stuff into what you want to carry in front and what you want to carry in back, dump each pile into a plastic bag, roll it up, and see how big it is.

  25. #25
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9606 View Post
    The Visacha certainly seems popular, but it seems to me it has two shortcomings:
    1. Must dig deeeeep to get at stuff when the bad is near full,
    2. Not waterproof.

    The Ortleib seems to sit so high, and the mounting bracket seems to take up valuable handlebar space.

    I have three different brands of feed bags but haven't used them on anything longer than 200k. They don't seem to have a high mark for useable volume per surface area, though they are nice ditty bags and fit into tight spots.
    yup, all true.
    works for me, might not work for you.
    regarding packing the V - yeah, you can bury stuff in there, for sure. spare tire went in there on the 400k. then night layers, then assorted small stuff sacks near the back. i don't plan on the stuff in there being needed at a moments notice - thats what the front bag, feed bag, or jersey pockets are for.

    FWIW, the Oritlieb bag mount doesn't take up much bar space at all. its clumsy.

    I've been through carradice rear (big and small), acorn on the front rack, acorn saddle bag, ortlieb front and back, a jandd handlebar bag, a frame bag (revelate tangle for the indy fab and a full frame bag on my fargo), the various feed bags, and gas tanks. aside from the acorn which i don't have anymore (its not waterproof either) i mix and match depending on the ride.

    are the dill pickle and swift waterproof (checking their websites now)...?
    emily makes nice stuff. if i had some more $$ floating around i'd have one of her rear and front bags to add to my mix of luggage.


    but, you'll figure out what works for you.

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