Originally Posted by mosquito
I've considered Porteurs, and I DO plan to get one in the future. It's just not a priority now because from my understanding it is more of an "all round" bike rather than touring.
I am very close to getting a LHT because it is a dedicated tourer. I'd still like a lugged frame, but haven't come across any thread recommending frames vintage or new other than rivendell and the other pricey sorts.
By the way Kogswell, that front rack is beautiful. Is it suitable for touring? Does it come with the frame?
Thanks for the kind words.
Before I talk about the racks, I think it's REALLY important to talk about why the Kogswell P/R is a superb loaded tourer.
FRONT LOADING - HISTORY
When we set off to design the P/R, we wanted to make a bike that could be ridden with a load on the front. Lots of us like to see the stuff we're carrying. We like to use a handlebar bag for maps, camera, food and clothes. We like the idea of putting weight on the front wheel since it is naturally too lightly loaded to start with. And like the idea of using low-rider racks and panniers to put the load down low.
We call ourselves -front-loaders-.
Jan Heine of Bicycle Quarterly showed us that there was a class of touring bikes from that past that were not only designed to carry loads in the front, but that did it without any compromise to handling.
Together we reasoned that if we studies and perhaps copied these vintage geometries, we could make a bike that handled the same way with a load on the front.
So we took some measurements and found that these bikes were pretty normal except for one thing:
fork offset, the amount of bend in the fork
We didn't have anything better to do so we made some forks with more offset and lots more offset and we ran some tests. And to our amazement, we found that they did indeed handle front loads well.
This lead us to wonder why. And Heine thinks he knows why.
FRONT LOADING - HANDLING
A fork with more offset reduces the tendancy for the wheel to turn when leaned - it reduces wheel flop.
That reduction of wheel flop allows you to shift your load to the front of the bike while maintaining good handling.
FRONT LOADING - SAFETY
The other thing that having the load at the front of the bike does is to improve it's emergency braking performance. If you have the load at the rear of your bike, rapid deceleration puts the bike into a state where the load wants to come forward. And if you lean or steer at all during braking, the load will try to spin the bike.
All of this is contrary to conventional touring wisdom. We know that lots of folks have put lots of miles on bikes that were loaded at the rear and that nothing bad ever happened as a result.
But the front-loaders who have tried the P/R are now very happy. So if you see a P/R on the street, don't take my word for it. Ask the owner if you can take a quick test ride and see for yourself.
And about racks, we've taken a year and really thought out how to best make them and we have a couple of designs that will go into production soon. One will be a handlebar bag rack meant to be used with low-rider racks. And the other will be a porteur rack designed to carry large loads above the fender.