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Old 05-12-08, 01:04 PM   #1
psycho d
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front or back panniers first

Hola. i am in the process of setting up my LHT for some serious touring. Right now i have almost enough for either front or back panniers and rack. i will probably be getting Tubus racks and Ortlieb panniers (maybe Arkels up front). Though i plan on getting both, which would make most sense to get first, especially in reguards to the handling. i will not tour until its fully rigged, but want to be able to grocery shop etc with my bike now without always having to schlep my backpack along. Does it even matter??? Thanks.
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Old 05-12-08, 01:08 PM   #2
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I'd personally get the rear stuff first just because it holds more. I've also done a lot of loaded long tours with a rear rack only and found it to be sufficient space.
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Old 05-12-08, 02:45 PM   #3
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Agreed. Get the rear setup first. Much less effect on handling, plus more room for groceries/luggage/commuting stuff in the interim.
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Old 05-15-08, 05:38 PM   #4
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Pros and cons either way.

Rears first:
1. Most people will tell you this is the Only Correct Way
2. Better balance with just one bag
3. More drag
4. Worse handling than fronts only

Low-mounted fronts only:
1. Makes bike *more* stable, not less so
2. Can easily jump bike over holes by lifting up on bars; much harder to lift loaded rear bags
3. Less aerodynamic drag, and some shielding of legs by bags => cleaner airflow
4. Smaller bags and less luggage = lighter bike
5. Most people will tell you you're wrong despite having never tried it themselves - what do they know?!?
6. You will need to use two bags, not one

I personally hate rear panniers but they are sometimes necessary to carry the required volume of stuff, and pretty well de riguer offroad where one needs more manoeuvrability, and thus to minimise inertia at the fork.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:23 PM   #5
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The bike feels significantly different with front only vs. rear only. I tried front only commuting for a week and decided to go back to rear only. My personal observations:

Front only:
- Very stable ride, bike felt nicely balanced.
- More cumbersome to access panniers.
- Being down so low the panniers hit things more often
- Riding on loose surfaces was sketchier. Front wheel tended to wash out more.
- I thought there was more wind resistance but that could have been my imagination

Rear only:
- Unbalanced ride. Front end more wobbly. I tend to lean forward more to compensate.
- Easy to access stuff, nice rack platform to set stuff on.
- Can safely carry heavier loads on rear racks
- Panniers more out of the way when carrying bike up/down stairs
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Old 05-15-08, 07:31 PM   #6
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Another vote for rear. FWIW, I really like my Arkel T-28 front panniers but think the GT-54's are overkill in the pocket department - would go for the T-42's if i did it over. or Lone Peaks.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:56 PM   #7
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would go for the T-42's if i did it over. or Lone Peaks.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:56 PM   #8
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Go the rear first. I tour almost exclusively with rear only panniers and it works fine. It holds the volume I need, and I don't have any handling issues beyond the initial adaptation to having a loaded bike (which lasts all of about 500 metres, and would probably be just as bad with front only panniers anyway).
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Old 05-16-08, 12:03 AM   #9
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I got fronts first because the rears weren't in stock at the time. I still used them on the rear rack and just strapped a bunch to the front rack in dry bags. I have Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus and Back Packer Plus on my LHT.

Check out Wayne at http://thetouringstore.com. He has Ortlieb and Lone Peak.
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Old 05-16-08, 07:34 AM   #10
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I went:

Handle-bar bag

Rear bags

..with the weight on the back your steering is pretty close to regular,with the weight up front only your steering changes quite a bit....it gets weighty while the back end is still as light as before.

Load up the back....and carry things you need more often in a handle bar bag

Last edited by Burningman; 05-16-08 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 05-16-08, 09:11 AM   #11
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Re: panniers. It's a non issue for me. I use the same panniers front and rear - Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus.

Racks - I generally use only the rear panniers when my space needs are small.
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Old 05-16-08, 09:17 AM   #12
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i agree. i went from VA to Cali and started with all four but then mailed the two front home when i got to Kentucky because i didn't need them. i would go with just the back two from now on.
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Old 05-16-08, 09:56 AM   #13
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I think I'm starting to decide that handlebar bag + rear panniers is better than rear panniers alone. And it's fantastic being able to take off a jacket and tuck it away without having to stop.

One thing I do find disconcerting about the handlebar bag is not being able to see the leading edge of the tyre, for kerb hopping.

Steve
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Old 05-19-08, 03:39 AM   #14
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IMO bar bags suck! Yes, they're convenient but that's the end of their good points. On the other hand, bar bags:
1. make it difficult to draft closely behind people as you cannot see your wheel
2. make it hard to avoid holes as you cannot see your wheel
3. get in the way of most headlights
4. prevent top mounted brake levers being used
5. obstruct STI cables unless these are unnaturally long
6. make carrying the bike up stairs or hillsides more annoying
7. are a magnet for thieves as they're easy to remove and typically filled with expen$ive stuff
8. make handling worse if there's any significant weight in them, and the longer your stem, the worse it gets

If you really want to ditch the jacket, there's a better way: Rivendell sell a couple of small front racks to which things can be bungeed: http://www.rivbike.com/products/list/bags_and_racks (3 pages)
Admittedly, being made by Nitto, these are not cheap. Riv also have bags to fit them - some have D-rings for attaching clothes, i.e., http://www.rivbike.com/products/list...product=20-127. Also, some of the typical bar bag problems are reduced when they're off the bars, plus the racks give somewhere to fit lights too.

Wallingford probably have something from Gilles Berthoud that'll do the same job: www.wallbike.com

Last edited by satanas; 05-19-08 at 03:45 AM.
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