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Old 10-06-05, 08:01 PM   #1
NoReg
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Rivendell vs Surly/Front racks

I have Blackburn Low riders. Worked OK, but I'm looking for a rack with more storage. At 6'1", I have pile jackets that take up a whole panier. I go lightweight, but I had volume problems. Some of the cool features on the Riv aren't big for me, I can fab, TIG weld fender fittings, or light mounts, so I don't need that stuff but good design is still appreciated.

I would prefer to have the front wheel come off without getting hung up in the rack, but that is a minor issue. It would require the rack totally above the axle, and I have seen some nice units like that, s I'm open to suggestions.
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Old 10-06-05, 08:21 PM   #2
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The Tubus Tara is a low-rider and doesn't get in the way of removing the front wheel, but has no top shelf. There are small front racks with a shelf that you can add. MEC has one: http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1128651627658
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Old 10-06-05, 08:29 PM   #3
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The MEC one is a real deal. I have to look at it when I get back in town. Looks small in the picture, but I could buy ten for what the Riv costs.

I could make one, but I don't have powder coating capability, which would cost as much as the rack.
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Old 10-06-05, 08:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterpan1
I have Blackburn Low riders. Worked OK, but I'm looking for a rack with more storage. At 6'1", I have pile jackets that take up a whole panier. I go lightweight, but I had volume problems.

I would suggest looking at the problem from a different angle. It's not how much you can carry, it's what you're carrying. A pannier dedicated to a single piece of clothing is very strange.

Pile/fleece garments are a dated concept in the outdoors world now- they are too bulky for their warmth, don't compress at all and seem to collect perspiration. If you need warmth while you are active, use a softshell such as a Marmot Driclime (nylon/very light fleecy layer). If you need warmth when at rest, use a light synthetic primaloft jacket. Both approaches have far better warmth for bulk than fleece. It's telling that fleece garments have disappeared entirely from the product lines of some of the better manufacturers, or have been relegated to "sitting around at home" pieces.

If you really want warmth for weight, you should go with a down jacket. A large down jacket will compress to the size of a (thinking desperately for an analog here) large can of soup. But then, touring in weather that really needs that much warmth is unusual.

Last edited by womble; 10-06-05 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 10-06-05, 09:30 PM   #5
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Those are excellent points. However, the clothing was just an example of how bulk can be a problem even when weight isn't. I do have some pretty klunky clothing, I'm a John Wayne didn't wear lycra kind of guy, though I'm not really planing a change. But even without that I found that bulk was more of a problem for me than weight. I had 35-40 pounds of gear over 2 week, and about a third of it wasn't really needed. But I was never overspaced. My paniers aren't that large, but I like them. I think a front rack might help with space.
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Old 10-07-05, 05:52 AM   #6
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Fleeces are far from outdated. My opinion is that softshells are the new gimmick. An attempt at putting two functions into one piece of clothing, which goes against the tried and true principle of layering. Jack of all trades, master of none. You can't take the insulated and windproof apart as they are stuck together. I use:

1- short sleeve synthetic t-shirt/jersey
2- next-to-skin long sleeve synthetic underwear
3- 100 weight fleece
4- wind jacket with zip-off arms (I often leave the arms at home)
5- rain jacket

This gives a bunch of possibilities for riding and in camp. One combination I like is the long underwear with the vest. You can't do that with a softshell. Versatility is key when touring as you can run into all kinds of weather.
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Old 10-07-05, 06:27 AM   #7
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The softshell concept has certainly turned into the latest outdoorsy marketing fad, and those purveyors of the personal body sauna, WL Gore, is doing their best to hijack it, but the idea has been around for decades before Patagonia found a catchy marketing name for it. Buffalo in the UK had it at least 15 years ago, and they're still popular over there.

All of my biking clothing is adaped from my climbing/mountaineering background. Not entirely similar activities from an equipment point of view, but it is quite telling to me at least that the old 3-layer idea pushed by WL Gore (wicking/insulative/waterproof) has taken a pretty severe kicking in the area that it was originally developed for.

My commuting top clothing is now sythetic t-shrit + a Marmot Driclime (shelled microfibre). This goes down quite comfortably to 5 celcius temperatures and through moderately heavy rains (I used to ride a lot through UK winters).

My rain layer is a Paramo, which is waterproof in a completely non-Goretex way, breathes incredibly well and probably equivalent to polartec 100. If it's cold in camp, I wear it over the top of the Driclime. If I was somewhere really cold, I'd be also carrying a compressible synthetic vest, which is much easier to pack than say a polartec 200. But then, I've never cycled anywhere that cold as this clothing mix (base + driclime + vest + Paramo) keeps me comfortable at rest down to -5 celcius. Call me a pansy, but I'm not going to cycle tour in subzero temperatures

Come to think of it, I did take a 100 weight fleece around Patagonia a while back. It was a good piece at the time, but I've ditched it for the driclime, which is just as warm and light, but easier to layer over and makes the wind jacket redundant (pretty much the "long underwear + vest" that you mention). Suitably treated, it usually makes a rain jacket redundant too.

Last edited by womble; 10-07-05 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 10-07-05, 07:01 AM   #8
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I like the look of the Jannd front rack with the shelf. the Surly and Riv both have adjustable dropouts in front, right? I'd be concerned about that fitting. I've never seen the Surly up close, but the Riv ones are nicely finished.

Softshell, not a gimmick; think ventile cotton worn by Admundsen to the Pole.

Norwegian military uses a non waterproof 'softshell' outer garment. Every 60/40 parka sold in the 70s was a softshell. A wool sweater is a softshell of sorts.

a 'softshell' windbreaker made of Schoeller dryskin, for example a MEC Feratta jacket, is the best piece of outerwear I have worn in 30 years, for rainy, windy and snowy conditions.
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Old 10-07-05, 07:20 AM   #9
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Nice for dayriding or commuting. For multi-day touring, I prefer having my layers separated. when it's too hot for the windjacket or zip-off its arms, I don't want to have to take off the insulation layer as well.
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Old 10-07-05, 07:50 AM   #10
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your windjacket would be considered a softshell, esp. if it has an inner of mesh or wicking fabric like many cycling jackets do.
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Old 10-07-05, 11:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erick L
Nice for dayriding or commuting. For multi-day touring, I prefer having my layers separated. when it's too hot for the windjacket or zip-off its arms, I don't want to have to take off the insulation layer as well.
So you would ride in a polartec 100 fleece? I don't find all that much difference between that and the driclime as the latter breathes about as well as the fleece. If I get hot, I just unzip it as I ride. Shelled microfiber is kind of weird. It seems to have a similar high temperature comfort rating as fleece (eg. I could wear both up to the same temperature), but it performs far better than fleece in colder/windier conditions.

I used to have the same doubts about the whole softshell thing. But I've gone through six fleece jackets of varying weights, with and without windblocking layers (Polartec and Gore Windstopper), all in the quest for the 'perfect' jacket. All of them... well... sucked... to some degree. I probably tried a new fleece every 2 years. I bought the one driclime four years ago, and have stuck with it since. Haven't been tempted to 'upgrade' it in any way either, and for a compulsive purchaser of outdoor equipment, that's saying something.

There's a difference between being healthily sceptical of fads and simply being reactionary. It took me years to finally try what I assumed was the hydration bladder fad, too. And lo and behold, there was another 'fad' that actually had some substance behind it.
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Old 10-07-05, 12:55 PM   #12
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I was also going over and over on the nitto racks that rivendell sells vs. the surlys. the thing for me was, particularly on the front, the mount points. since the frame i've got has eyelets on fork blade, i wanted to be sure that the front rack would fit those, and while the s. has adjustable mounts, the n. has only a fixed, diagonal open slot attachment. i finally determined that the n. distance from eyelet to fore-, mid-, and aft-ends of the blade mount area on the n. front rack are 9-5/8; 9; and 8.75", and thus not right for me. i like the space on top of the n. a little more - looks bigger.

by the way, in a discussion with a web colleague over the surly rack question, he posted some images of his racks, for those who want a closer look:
http://www.pbase.com/jblish/surly_racks

-r
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Old 10-07-05, 12:57 PM   #13
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I rarely ride in polartec 100 fleece because it's too hot. And when I actually ride in one, I do want the wind to flow through. And if it's really cold, I have the choice of putting my shell with or without the sleeves. I have a windstopper fleece and I think it's the worst thing I've ever bought (and overpriced!). I use it on dayhikes but it's not versatile enough to take on long trips. Windstopper doen't make sense as there's insulating material on the outside. The heat trapped outside the windstopper membrane gets blown away with the wind. Might as well wear a thinner insulating material on the inside and a wind shell on the outside. Softshells make more sense for that reason, but then, I don't always want a windbreaker!

Good if it works for you but my system works perfectly for me and have no intention of changing it. The last purchase in my "perfect system" was the windbreaker with detachable sleeves. I use it as a vest a lot.
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Old 10-07-05, 07:12 PM   #14
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I still have my patagonia pile jackets from the early 80's a little threadbare down the front, but I think of it as a grill.

Back to racks!! Just kidding, talk about whatever you want. I'm going to look again at the Jandd. And thanks for the extra info on Surly!
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Old 10-08-05, 12:44 AM   #15
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Back to front racks- I recently replaced my low riders with this one from Nashbar.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

I have been loading it up with 18 pounds of phone books for training rides and it has worked just fine. I do feel the handling is not as good as the low riders- the steering feels heavier to me.

I don’t tour beyond a week or go way out in the boonies, so I don’t obsess about rack failure too much.
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Old 10-08-05, 03:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterpan1
I still have my patagonia pile jackets from the early 80's a little threadbare down the front, but I think of it as a grill.

Back to racks!! Just kidding, talk about whatever you want. I'm going to look again at the Jandd. And thanks for the extra info on Surly!
I've a Jandd set (expedition rear, extreme front) and am very happy with them. You can mount bags high or low on the front. Mounting high in front is handy when riding through scrub/high grass.

The rear platform is huge, but I still store stuff on the front platform (usually my sleeping bag in a dry bag).

They're a bit heavy, but I don't mind.

[Edit] Adding: The extreme front is also predilled at the front for a light (or reflector). My dynohubs light fits perfect, but I didn't use that wheel, nor bring the light on tour
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