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  1. #1
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Where should the weight go?

    I took my Bianchi Volpe out on a camping trip this weekend. I managed to get the gear down to 32 pounds on the back and about 5 pounds in a handlebar bag on the front.



    Unfortunately, this setup leaves the front end rather "twitchy". In fact, after doing 120 miles this weekend, I notice that it's not my legs that hurt but my arms and shoulders from wrestling with the steering.

    You may also notice that I am kind of top-heavy too. But actually the top weight is only 10.5 pounds. (Although in normal round-town riding, I have abandoned the use of a trunk on the rack because it makes the bike seems too top-heavy.)

    Any suggestions? Should I move some of this weight up front? Abandon the handlebar bag? Get a new bike?

  2. #2
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I find that putting a lot of the stuff up front helps a lot. My touring buddy likes tossing all his stuff in his trailer.

    Is that an REI half dome? How do you like it?
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

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  3. #3
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Is that an REI half dome? How do you like it?
    That is an REI Taj 3 person tent. Plus side: seems like good quality, 2 doors, lots of room, survived rain, $159 at REI Outlet. Downside: 7.5 pounds.

  4. #4
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    Front rack & panniers will make it nicer. The combo of heavy rear rack plus heavy handlebar bag is probably the worst case.

    You do have to be pretty careful about having the front load balanced between the two sides.
    ...

  5. #5
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Low Rider helps a lot.

    I have the Tubus Locc rear rack - there can pack the backpackers a bit deeper.

    Heavy things should be on the bottom of your bags.

    Thomas
    My Travelogues: http://thomasontour.de (currently only in German)

  6. #6
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    Everything that has been said here is good advice, especially the Low Rider. I find that the low rider style panniers really stabilize the bike.

    One more thing you can do is to get a frame or top tube pack. These will usually by small, holding a pound or two, but what I like to do is use them as a permanent place to keep a tube and some tools, and maybe an extra pair of gloves, like a full finger glove, if you are out in colder weather. Any weight you put inside the triangle doesn't seem to matter much as far as the stability of the bike.

    Howard

  7. #7
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Leave some of it at home.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lighthorse View Post
    Leave some of it at home.
    Always good advice.

    Barring that front panniers help.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 05-19-08 at 06:35 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    Are you going on a long tour? Reason I ask is that I usually do 2-7 day tours with 2 rear panniers and one front bag (I also use a front shelf rack now where my tent goes).

    Anyway, pretty much the sleeping bag, mat and stove/eating stuff goes in one rear pannier, and the rest of my clothes go in the other pannier. Tools, camera, maps go in the front bag. As I said, I used to stuff my tent into one of the panniers, but now I put it on the top of my front rack. A foam mattress is rolled up and put on the top of the rear rack. Seems easy to ride and very stable (up to 50mph with no problems!).

    It could be you might be better off with bigger capacity rear panniers to lower your centre of gravity, as well as a larger front bag. Also consider a front shelf rack (got mine from Nashbar for $10 -haven't seen them lately but they are certainly good enough for supporting that tent).

  10. #10
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nigeyy View Post
    Are you going on a long tour? Reason I ask is that I usually do 2-7 day tours with 2 rear panniers and one front bag (I also use a front shelf rack now where my tent goes).

    It could be you might be better off with bigger capacity rear panniers to lower your centre of gravity, as well as a larger front bag. Also consider a front shelf rack (got mine from Nashbar for $10 -haven't seen them lately but they are certainly good enough for supporting that tent).
    I'm thinking about maybe low-rider panniers at some point. I have seen the Nashbar front rack, but wonder if low weight might not make the bike a little more stable. I'd be inclined to just put everything in bags and keep the weight as low as possible.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    I'm thinking about maybe low-rider panniers at some point. I have seen the Nashbar front rack, but wonder if low weight might not make the bike a little more stable. I'd be inclined to just put everything in bags and keep the weight as low as possible.
    I think Low Riders work for stability because of not just keeping the weight low, but also because they center the weight around the axles of the front wheels. I don't put a lot in the front panniers, but I deliberately select heavy things to pack there.

    Low Riders make for a stable ride, but it not responsive steering. If you like the kind of sharp turning you would do on a racing bike, it might bother you.

    Howard

  12. #12
    40 yrs bike touring
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    When I started using front panniers only and a H20 proof stuffer on top of the rear rack bike handling improved and rear wheel problems disappeared due to a 60/40 front/rear weight distribution.

    This has remained true over the last 25+ years as I shifted to more and more off road routes including the Divide Ride. Reduced total weight carried has also helped increase touring pleasure.

  13. #13
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    I find that putting a lot of the stuff up front helps a lot. My touring buddy likes tossing all his stuff in his trailer.

    Is that an REI half dome? How do you like it?
    Only because I'm using a bike that won't accept a front rack and panniers.

  14. #14
    Senior Member NeezyDeezy's Avatar
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    I like a 60/40 front/rear weight split. You should get a low-rider front rack.

  15. #15
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    Don't get a new bike! I love my Volpe for touring!

    Just throw a front rack on there and shift the weight forward like others here have suggested.

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