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Old 07-27-06, 06:28 PM   #1
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60/40 or 40/60?

Reading this forum and a few books it is suggested to split the weight of your gear 40% to the front and 60% to the rear. Should it not be the opposite since the majority of the rider's weight is to the rear?

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Old 07-27-06, 07:31 PM   #2
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I have heard arguements both ways for years. I go with the smaller load in front to ease steering and to make the bike easier to handle when I am off of it. Tandems have the full weight of a person and more on the rear wheel and survive. Get a slightly larger tire if you find you are getting rim pinches.
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Old 07-27-06, 08:23 PM   #3
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I think your total weight is more important than the ballance for a lot of reasons. If you carry 12 front and 8 pounds back, or vise versa who cares. If you carry 120 front and 80 back, you might have too whatever you want to do in order to spread the weight. My front paniers are pretty small so I put all the heavy metal stuff in them, and it comes out at what it comes out at. In most cases front paniers and racks are not designed to carry really heavy loads. I am doing up some 4130 front racks that would allow me to carry the same size paniers front and back, and not have the risk of the front rack breaking, but a lot of people don't have that kind of option.
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Old 07-27-06, 08:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1
I think your total weight is more important than the ballance for a lot of reasons. If you carry 12 front and 8 pounds back, or vise versa who cares. If you carry 120 front and 80 back, you might have too whatever you want to do in order to spread the weight. My front paniers are pretty small so I put all the heavy metal stuff in them, and it comes out at what it comes out at. In most cases front paniers and racks are not designed to carry really heavy loads. I am doing up some 4130 front racks that would allow me to carry the same size paniers front and back, and not have the risk of the front rack breaking, but a lot of people don't have that kind of option.
I'm thinking more of how the split affects the handling of the bike. Or is it a ongoing experiment to find the right combo?
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Old 07-27-06, 10:57 PM   #5
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The 60/40 has worked for me for decades. It has worked even better as I have gradually reduced my overall equipment weight over the years.

Two front panniers and a dry bag rack top stuffer only works well on and off road including single track. It allows the lifting of the front end over an obstacle and then the unweighting of the saddle to let the rear wheel articulate over the obstacle without slamming the rim as you would with a 40/60 setup. I still have not had to retrue my 700c wheels after the Divide Ride three years ago. All this on a rigid bike and 700x47 tires.

Give it a try. You may stick with it as I have for good reasons proven in the field over and over again.
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Old 07-28-06, 09:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by arctos
The 60/40 has worked for me for decades. It has worked even better as I have gradually reduced my overall equipment weight over the years.

Two front panniers and a dry bag rack top stuffer only works well on and off road including single track. It allows the lifting of the front end over an obstacle and then the unweighting of the saddle to let the rear wheel articulate over the obstacle without slamming the rim as you would with a 40/60 setup. I still have not had to retrue my 700c wheels after the Divide Ride three years ago. All this on a rigid bike and 700x47 tires.

Give it a try. You may stick with it as I have for good reasons proven in the field over and over again.
I do a 60(front)/40 (rear) split, too. I carry all my heavy stuff - cooking gear, food, tolietries, etc - in the front bags and the bulky lighter stuff - clothes, foul weather gear, etc. - in the rear bags. Tent and sleeping bar are carried on top of rear rack. If I'm carrying a small load, I use the front bags only. The bike just handles better that way.
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Old 07-28-06, 03:37 PM   #7
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There was just a big discussion of this topic on the bike touring list. The upshot is that some people prefer their bikes with a front biased load and some prefer a rear biased load.

Depending on your bike and your body the answer will be different. The only way to figure this out is to try it for yourself.

Personally I would only use rear panniers if I had a small to moderate load. If I was going "fully loaded", which I try to avoid as much as possible, I would spread the weight out between 4 panniers front and back.

Don't listen to anyone else's opinion as it may be totally wrong for you.
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Old 07-28-06, 05:42 PM   #8
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"I'm thinking more of how the split affects the handling of the bike. Or is it a ongoing experiment to find the right combo?"

I think you are right, it is the weight thing, but my point is that at the fairly low weight level the difference in net terms is pretty small and at really high weight level the decision is probrably driven by something else, like a person might be bailing out to a trailer.

I think it is one of those things where 60 40 works, but so does 40 60, so at the end of the day it probably doesn't mater.
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Old 07-30-06, 12:23 AM   #9
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+1 Less overall weight is better for so many reasons.
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