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Old 02-10-06, 02:17 AM   #1
Uncle Dave
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Hi guys,

Any advice for best (toughest) racks for offroad touring? Any websites offering such racks would be appreciated too.

I have front suspension, and am planning on doing extended offroad touring. Are there any good front-racks which mount on suspension forks? ...or would I be better off getting non-suspension forks? ...I'm planning on doing a lot of stuff on corrugated roads, so I'm not sure how non-suspended forks would go on this.

Thanks in advance,

Dave

Edit: Maybe Best-racks for dirt / corrugated roads would have been a better heading.
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Old 02-10-06, 03:20 AM   #2
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Tubus Swing - http://www.tubus.net/eng/produkte/fe...eger/swing.php

OMM Sherpa/Cold Springs - http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Front_Rack.htm

Faiv - http://www.faiv.de/english/lowrider_gb.htm

I use the OMM Sherpa.
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Old 02-10-06, 08:42 AM   #3
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Oh and check out the Thorn steel lo loader here - http://www.sjscycles.com/store/cat253.htm (the one at the bottom of the page). 18kg (9kg per side) rating for use on washboard roads. That is very impressive!

I prefer front racks as opposed to low riders for rough road touring, but I guess provided the bags don't sit ridiculously low a low rider would be ok.
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Old 02-10-06, 11:33 AM   #4
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[QUOTE=Uncle Dave]Hi guys,

Any advice for best (toughest) racks for offroad touring? Any websites offering such racks would be appreciated too.

I have front suspension, and am planning on doing extended offroad touring. Are there any good front-racks which mount on suspension forks? ...or would I be better off getting non-suspension forks?

I would recommend that you use a "rigid" fork.
You might want to check out the Bruce Gordon Cycles Racks at http://bgcycles.com/racks.html.
Any questions feel free to give me a call.
Regards,
Bruce Gordon
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Old 02-10-06, 03:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Dave
Hi guys,

Any advice for best (toughest) racks for offroad touring? Any websites offering such racks would be appreciated too.

I have front suspension, and am planning on doing extended offroad touring. Are there any good front-racks which mount on suspension forks? ...or would I be better off getting non-suspension forks? ...I'm planning on doing a lot of stuff on corrugated roads, so I'm not sure how non-suspended forks would go on this.

Thanks in advance,

Dave

Edit: Maybe Best-racks for dirt / corrugated roads would have been a better heading.
I've done touring both on- and off-road. While I'm not a big fan of trailers on-road (don't like the ride), for off-road/dirt road/rough road riding, a trailer performs better than bags, especially if you use front suspension. Adding weight to the lower sliders on a suspension fork isn't that good an idea, for various reasons, the first of which is ride quality. A set of front and rear racks of the quality that others have suggested will cost you about the same as a trailer.

I'd stick with the suspension, especially if your ride is on mostly dirt roads. If the suspension has a lockout, all the better.
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Old 02-10-06, 04:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Dave
Hi guys,

Any advice for best (toughest) racks for offroad touring? Any websites offering such racks would be appreciated too.

I have front suspension, and am planning on doing extended offroad touring.
Uncle Dave,

Could you be a little more specific about the weight you plan on carrying, your weight, your bicycle type, and the roads? Those factors would help for anyone giving advice.

I am familiar with Old Man Mountain racks, which are inexpensive, strong, and made in Santa Barbara, CA. I have talked to the guy who fabricates them, and he is a very nice and accomodating person. He makes racks that accomodate bikes with suspension and without.

Bruce Gordon's reputation for racks is unsurpassed; perhaps there are people who make similarly excellent racks and bikes, but I can't imagine there are better. They do cost more, but you get what you pay for.

Cycocommute suggests a trailer. For certain kinds of trips and roads, a trailer is a great option to consider. The BOB single wheel trailer is regularly used for extended trips in the Utah desert and dusty trails of South America and Vietnam. If you are interested, do a search of old posts. No new posts on that topic are necessary. A two wheel trailer is more ideal for roads and certain kinds of touring - I have a Burley Nomad that's great but wouldn't be appropriate for off-road touring, IMO.

As far as forks go, you can either keep your suspension and use a trailer, keep it with racks and deal with potential (if any) compromises, or get a decent steel fork with rack braze-ons and use a nice fat tire. A Schwalbe Marathon XR or similar tire would work for that system. But you should really give more details first. Whatever you do, make sure you go. It sounds great.
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Old 02-10-06, 04:39 PM   #7
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Both the Tubus Swing and the Faiv are designed so that panniers are part of the suspended load.

Check this site - http://www.pbase.com/cassgilbert/image/51853393

The guy does tours in the Himalaya. He uses BOBs for his clients (so they can just bring their own bikes) but a Tubus Swing (with front suspension) himself.
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Old 02-11-06, 01:51 PM   #8
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I use a Trek 970 with rigid front fork and Continental Town and Country 26 x 1.9 tires. It rides fine on or off road, especially loaded. I find suspension just sucks up too much energy, although if I were doing much single-track with this setup, I might put one on. I use Jandd Expedition rear & Extreme front racks. Very nicely made, and the Extreme front allows high or low mounting of the bags as required for clearance and also has a nice shelf. The OMM racks also look very nice, espec with susp fork.
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Old 02-16-06, 12:17 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your responses. I've checked out all the websites and will be continuing to gather info over the next few months before my trip.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCommuter
Could you be a little more specific about the weight you plan on carrying, your weight, your bicycle type, and the roads? Those factors would help for anyone giving advice.
Me: 68kg (149.6 pounds) - although it was a good x-mas :-) Hopefully I'll be under 65kg (143 pounds before I leave)

Bike: 18kg (39.6 pounds)

Load I carried on my last trip was 37kg (81.4 pounds)

However, I only had about 10 litres of water. My next trip, I'll probably need another 10 as there'll be a stretch of about 350km (217.5 miles) on corrugated dirt roads with no water supplies.

The trip will be along the Tanami Track which is about 1050km (652 miles) of mostly corrugated dirt road.

The bike is a Mongoose mountain bike.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCommuter
As far as forks go, you can either keep your suspension and use a trailer, keep it with racks and deal with potential (if any) compromises, or get a decent steel fork with rack braze-ons and use a nice fat tire. A Schwalbe Marathon XR or similar tire would work for that system. But you should really give more details first. Whatever you do, make sure you go. It sounds great.
A couple more questions which I hope aren't too silly...Is using a trailer with either front or back panniers an option? (I imagine a trailer with both front and rear would be overkill?) Which would it be better to use a trailer with; front or rear?

Thanks again,

Dave

PS: How do I upload an image of my bike from my computer?
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Old 02-16-06, 07:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Dave
Thanks everyone for your responses. I've checked out all the websites and will be continuing to gather info over the next few months before my trip.




Me: 68kg (149.6 pounds) - although it was a good x-mas :-) Hopefully I'll be under 65kg (143 pounds before I leave)

Bike: 18kg (39.6 pounds)

Load I carried on my last trip was 37kg (81.4 pounds)

However, I only had about 10 litres of water. My next trip, I'll probably need another 10 as there'll be a stretch of about 350km (217.5 miles) on corrugated dirt roads with no water supplies.

The trip will be along the Tanami Track which is about 1050km (652 miles) of mostly corrugated dirt road.

The bike is a Mongoose mountain bike.




A couple more questions which I hope aren't too silly...Is using a trailer with either front or back panniers an option? (I imagine a trailer with both front and rear would be overkill?) Which would it be better to use a trailer with; front or rear?

Thanks again,

Dave

PS: How do I upload an image of my bike from my computer?
For photos you can use photobucket.com

That's quite a load, He-Man. If you go with the Bob trailer, neither the unsuspended nor suspended version (IBEX) is rated for more than 70 pounds. I don't know how that is evaluated, but if you want to follow their rules, then you will need racks. I've used a trailer and rear racks before, but that's because I had rear ones - there was no physics problem I solved or anything. But if you are loading 80-100 pounds total, it sounds like you will need to use something additional, or another trailer I'm unfamiliar with. The Burley 2 wheel trailers can carry that weight, but 2 wheel trailers are much better on the road than the trail, especially sandy and rocky terrain.

I don't know anything about Mongoose mountain bikes. I may be wrong, but when I think "Mongoose" is terms of current production, I think: cheap Chinese frames with crappy and unreliable parts. Maybe yours is different?
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Old 02-16-06, 02:29 PM   #11
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Thanks SteelCommuter. There's a picture of my bike here



Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCommuter
I don't know anything about Mongoose mountain bikes. I may be wrong, but when I think "Mongoose" is terms of current production, I think: cheap Chinese frames with crappy and unreliable parts. Maybe yours is different?
Haven't had too many problems, and she's gone 'round Australia. The new velocity wheels are much better than the originals. The sealed unit in the bottom bracket needed replacing at some stage. The magnets feel like they're liable to fall out of the disk brakes each time I change a tyre, but other than that she's been pretty reliable.

The advice about BOB has given rise to another question. Can you get thorn-proof tubes for that size tyre, and are they recommended?

Thanks again,

Dave
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Old 02-16-06, 03:14 PM   #12
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Nice rig. I would suggest that you need a trailer and panniers with that much water weight, if nothing else it will halp keep the bike from being pounded to death on the corrugated roads. I would carry water in the trailer. You can use Tuffy liners in the tires to prevent thorns. BTW, have you seen this?

http://www.extrawheel.com
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Old 02-16-06, 05:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Dave
However, I only had about 10 litres of water. My next trip, I'll probably need another 10 as there'll be a stretch of about 350km (217.5 miles) on corrugated dirt roads with no water supplies.

The bike is a Mongoose mountain bike.

A couple more questions which I hope aren't too silly...Is using a trailer with either front or back panniers an option? (I imagine a trailer with both front and rear would be overkill?) Which would it be better to use a trailer with; front or rear?

Thanks again,

Dave
Looking at the load you have to carry, especially the water load, you may want to see if you can find a
Kool Mule or Wilderbeast instead of a BOB. I like the design of the Mule especially for places where you might drag the BOB (it sits kind of low to the ground). I don't know the availability of these trailers but they might be worth looking into.

As for using bags with the trailer, I'd opt for the fronts, personally. The trailer is already loading the rear wheel and the bike will handle poorly. Adding weight to the front would balance the trailer nicely. On sandy stretches the weight on the front would work against you since the front wheel would have more of a tendency to dig in to the sand. Six of one, half dozen of another.
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Old 02-16-06, 07:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Dave
Thanks SteelCommuter. There's a picture of my bike here

The advice about BOB has given rise to another question. Can you get thorn-proof tubes for that size tyre, and are they recommended?

Thanks again,

Dave

Uncle Dave,

I'm slapping my forehead. Duh! What you need is an Xtracycle. I have one. It's attached to a Jamis Exile, a sweet production hardtail. The Xtracycle can carry up to 250 pounds and hold all kinds of odd things. It doesn't require any extra wheels or tires, and it can easily do this sort of trip.

I haven't read this yet, but this should interest you below. It's an account of an off-road wilderness trip using an Xtracycle:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journ..._id=29543&v=4z

Here's a picture from the Crazy Guy website:




And one from the Xtracycle website:



While they are not as cheap as a trailer, they are comparable or cheaper than a trailer, a quality rack, and bags. You don't have to use panniers, any sort of bags will do. They have a longer wheelbase, which changes riding technique in certain ways, but I can tell you from experience that this is an option well worth considering. I'm in NY and my Xtracycle-bike is in CA, so I can't send a pic this moment. Maybe I can find one somewhere...It's set up right now with Nitto Albatross bars and friction thumbshifters. I really like the advantages of friction shifting when using the longer chain length required for an Xtracycle, and I used an 8 speed cassette.

I have use mine to carry everything, including bags of cement, industrial water hoses, mulch, groceries, etc.

Xtracycle Website

You would have no problem carrying 100 pounds with this.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-18-06, 02:24 PM   #15
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Thanks again everyone.

I do like the look of the xtracycle, and have made some enquiries through their website. Seems to have held up well on crazyguy's trip too, which seemed pretty rugged.

If anyone else on the site has experience with an xtracycle (especially on long stretches of corrugated dirt roads with lots of gear), I'd love to hear about it.

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 02-20-06, 05:37 PM   #16
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Uncle Dave I saw you live in Sydney get down to Cheeky Monkey they are the Australian importers of both Xtra cycle and Old Man Mountain racks they have heaps of other touring parts and advise cheers and good luck Bikeguru
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