Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
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I don't know what a Kona Dew Deluxe is, but I'll comment on handling with a loaded front. Yes, it does affect handling to have a big load on the front, but it's only annoying at low speeds. When you first start out from a standing start you have to pay attention to balance and steering. I use platform pedals and find myself wandering a bit while I try to get the pedals right side up. I imagine it might be similar or worse if you were trying to clip into clipless. When I'm climbing a steep hill and am in my lowest gear and going 5mph or less I have to concentrate on keeping a straight line.
But none of those are really a problem. Once you get going, I hardly notice the difference. Sure, if I see a pothole or obstruction at the last minute and try to do a quick avoidance maneuver, it doesn't work so well. But overall, the advantages to distributing the load between the front and back far outweigh any disadvantage, at least in my book.
Be careful at first though. 25 years ago I convinced a friend that bike touring was the bomb. He had a bunch of money from his grandmother so he bought a complete outfit - new bike, racks, front and rear panniers, etc. He loaded it up for the first time to go on a weeklong trip to the San Juan Islands. He got on, waved goodbye to roommates and friends, started off, and promptly crashed in the street. He simply wasn't used to the load! No big deal - just some embarrassed laughter. He started again more carefully and had not further difficulty. It turned out to be an amazingly wonderful trip.