Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: SW Washington, USA
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Originally Posted by SarahJ
Oh my goodness!
I'm such a goof-- You are all right, I am talking about racks and didn't even catch my error. Not panniers. I'll fix my post right now and appologize for the error of my ways
Now that I'm not confused anymore.....
Or maybe I am. By "triangular" and "rectangular", you mean the view from the side? The difference in design IMO is simply to give greater stability to a set of panniers. The rectangular ones have an extra tubing piece that might keep the panniers from twisting toward the wheels.
This is in theory, I've never had problems with my Blackburn Expedition (a triangular design; without top shelf by the way). If you're gonna carry a lot (say more than 25 lbs), you should get a rack with three vertical struts (e.g., the Expedition). Two struts are OK for lighter loads. A "rectangular" design probably adds a bit to carrying capacity, but as I said, it seems to be for pannier stability. My panniers have a rigid internal plastic plate (don't they all???), so I haven't had any problems with stability.
The only reason I see for a shelf is for bopping around town with a bag of groceries -- it would help keep things in place. It would also be useful for road spray, but fenders are 1000% better; besides with a touring load, road spray isn't going to get past the rack, shelf or not.