Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    coffee and slippers...
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    16
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    a quick packing question

    For those of you who have or do pack your gear all on your rear panniers and/or rack, how do you like the handling with all the weight in the back? I've heard that it can get a little sketchy without weight up front. I ask because I can save a little weight by not using front panniers and by removing my front rack, but I am not sure it's worth it in terms of handling.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NE Tx
    My Bikes
    Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial
    Posts
    2,634
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You'll probably be fine with all the weight on the back. The bike just won't be as stable and the chance for a broken spoke will be a little higher, maybe a lot, depending on how well your rear wheel is built and how much you're packing.

    I like a 60/40, front/back combo. Rarely achieve it, but I put as much as I can on the front, shooting for a 50/50 overall. The ride is very stable that way. With a complete kitchen, my gear weighs about 40 pounds for winter touring, not counting water.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Bay Area, Calif.
    Posts
    4,828
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hard to say since the answer depends on how much weight your total load amounts to, the geometry of your particular bike, and your comfort level with any handling idiosynchracies. I try to travel pretty light (around 25 lbs.) and prefer to just use the rear panniers and a few things in a handlebar bag.

    But when I was carrying our daughter in a rear child seat and she started getting heavier I noticed that the bike handling was noticeably better if I loaded her accessories (food, extra clothes, dolls, etc.) in my low-rider front panniers - that also helped keep the front wheel on the ground on sharp uphills. And my very first bike camping trip was using our tandem with only a rear rack and panniers. It worked ok, but was not the best way to do things. I found the bike to be almost unmanageable for riding solo (sometimes handy if we wanted to go to different stores to restock) with all the load so far back there and the rear wheel (36 spokes) just barely survived the trip - as soon as we got home spokes started breaking one after another. Later trips had much of the weight loaded on a front rack for the tandem (and a new 48-spoke wheel in the back).

    So I certainly see advantages in loading weight up front in some circumstances. I'd suggest you gather all the stuff you plan to take, load it in the rear panniers and on the rear rack and then go for a local ride that has a variety of terrain and road surfaces. If everything feels fine then go ahead and ditch the front rack and panniers.
    Last edited by prathmann; 07-29-09 at 09:04 PM.

  4. #4
    coffee and slippers...
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    16
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    To let you know I'm a 165lb guy riding a 64cm frame, loaded up with about 32 lbs, not counting water.

    Your reply, prathmann, also gets me thinking whether it might work to use my low-rider panniers in the front and only a rack-pack on top in the rear...
    Last edited by hadleman; 07-29-09 at 09:09 PM. Reason: forgot the first part

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    46
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hadleman View Post
    Your reply, prathmann, also gets me thinking whether it might work to use my low-rider panniers in the front and only a rack-pack on top in the rear...
    If you're thinking of doing that, you may want to check out this thread from a couple days ago. I had similar questions. One of the later posts shows a picture of a bike loaded up the way you describe.

    Pannier Set Up

  6. #6
    Bicycle Lifestyle AsanaCycles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Pacific Grove, Ca
    My Bikes
    Neil Pryde Diablo, VeloVie Vitesse400, Hunter29er, Surly Big Dummy
    Posts
    1,737
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    a lot of it depends on your bike
    the geometry that is.
    probably the only way you are going to know, is to do trial and error
    optimally, you want to up light bulky things up high...

    i've used just rear panniers, and it was fine

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,337
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    i carry everything on the rear no problem at all .bike thorn sherpa //rack tubus /panniers ortlieb /b/p plus.oh i also use a barbag .

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    England
    Posts
    12,304
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Experiment with the weight distribution within your panniers; is it better to keep the heavier items low or bring them up and forward. Weight positioned behind the rear axle is doing the harm so keep your pannier as forward as possible. If you have horizontal rear dropouts you have a little room to move your rear axle back.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,565
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    This are questions more than statements. I would be interested in others' thoughts are, and it sort of fits in with the topic. Keeping the center of gravity low seems like a good idea, but when you look at the weight distribution of a rider on a bike a large proportion of the weight is above seat level. On a bare bike your center of gravity is already high. It seems like it is more important to keep the wieght centered over the axels for stablity. I've never had a problem with putting my tent, ground cloth, sleeping bag, thermorest, running shoes, and a spare bottle of Power Aid on top of the rear rack. I've even stuck my rain jacket under the bungee. I found that weight distribution is a lot more important, even critical on the front rack.

    This is our standard setup. I use front and back panniers, and my wife uses just back. This is what my wife used on a cross country trip and she does not hesitate to go down hill at 40+ mph. My bike usually does not look that disorganized, but I just had a sidewall tear and had not fixed the tire yet.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,565
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    PS. How about "These" are questions........... damn brain gets in the way of my fingers!

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,337
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    doug64 any more photos of your tour.

  12. #12
    coffee and slippers...
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    16
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well, I did a bit of testing, and it seems that using only my panniers up front and a rack pack in the rear is the best mix between handling and keeping the weight down. That puts a little less than 20lbs up front and somewhere around 12lbs on my rear rack. By not using my rear Ortliebs I'm saving something like 5.5lbs.

    Does that much weight seem reasonable for the front wheel to handle? I'm leaving on my tour tomorrow for a month, so if there's something horribly wrong here, let me know.

    Thank you all.

    By the way, I'm going from here (Oregon) over to Glacier and then down through Yellowstone if anyone cares to know, or is heading in the same direction.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,565
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Handleman, Good luck on your tour. It is cooling a little which should make it a little better. Are you going to put your trip on Crazyman on a Bike? Where are you starting in Oregon? It would be fun to follow your progress.

    antokelly wrote:
    doug64 any more photos of your tour.
    Way more than you'd ever want to see. If you can get through all the family stuff, some of the pictures from the 2007 cross country trip and our coast trip last summer are at our blog site:

    http://ddlivestrong.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,256
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hadleman View Post
    Well, I did a bit of testing, and it seems that using only my panniers up front and a rack pack in the rear is the best mix between handling and keeping the weight down. That puts a little less than 20lbs up front and somewhere around 12lbs on my rear rack. By not using my rear Ortliebs I'm saving something like 5.5lbs.

    Does that much weight seem reasonable for the front wheel to handle? I'm leaving on my tour tomorrow for a month, so if there's something horribly wrong here, let me know.

    Thank you all.

    By the way, I'm going from here (Oregon) over to Glacier and then down through Yellowstone if anyone cares to know, or is heading in the same direction.
    sounds ideal to me. Of course you've totally left out details like what you're riding and what the wheels are but if it's a "touring bike" I think you've got a perfect combo. Lately I've been using a long bungie to hold the front pannier bags to the Tara low rider frame more securely so things in the panniers don't move around. I loop it at the bottom and stretch it over the bag and hook it on the cross piece.

  15. #15
    coffee and slippers...
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    16
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    Handleman, Good luck on your tour. It is cooling a little which should make it a little better. Are you going to put your trip on Crazyman on a Bike? Where are you starting in Oregon? It would be fun to follow your progress.
    I'll be starting in Troutdale, Oregon, heading west on the Old Columbia Highway. And as for posting my progress, when I can I'll be posting stuff on my blog- www.thenewcycletourer.com.

  16. #16
    coffee and slippers...
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    16
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well, I found internet my second day of the tour, here in Hood River, OR, and the packing solution (two lowrider front panniers up front and a rackpack in rear) is working great. The steering might be a little slower than usual, but all in all very good. No problems at all on a 38mph descent.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Hollister, CA
    My Bikes
    Bianchi San Jose, Mercian King of Mercia
    Posts
    455
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hi Hadleman,

    Am I the only one to catch that you're on a 64 cm bike and you weigh 165? I am a leggy 6-4, and ride 64 cm. I'm thought to be fairly thin at 200 plus. How tall are you? I can't imagine being 165, but then I can't imagine what a great climber I'd be at that weight either.
    Mark

  18. #18
    coffee and slippers...
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    16
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by paxtonm View Post
    Hi Hadleman,

    Am I the only one to catch that you're on a 64 cm bike and you weigh 165? I am a leggy 6-4, and ride 64 cm. I'm thought to be fairly thin at 200 plus. How tall are you? I can't imagine being 165, but then I can't imagine what a great climber I'd be at that weight either.
    Mark
    I'm a little over 6 feet. The frames not the ideal size for me, but I got a great deal on it and with a few adjustments I fit just fine.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,256
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hadleman View Post
    Well, I found internet my second day of the tour, here in Hood River, OR, and the packing solution (two lowrider front panniers up front and a rackpack in rear) is working great. The steering might be a little slower than usual, but all in all very good. No problems at all on a 38mph descent.
    sounds great. I think most folks are initially put off by the slower handling with front panniers or sloppy handling heavy handlebar bags but there's a limit how fast one can maneuver a loaded bike anyway. At some point the bike becomes ballistic if you try and maneuver all that weight as quick as you can when unloaded, no matter where the weight is located.
    Last edited by LeeG; 08-03-09 at 04:30 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Newfield, NY
    Posts
    137
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hadleman View Post
    Well, I did a bit of testing, and it seems that using only my panniers up front and a rack pack in the rear is the best mix between handling and keeping the weight down. That puts a little less than 20lbs up front and somewhere around 12lbs on my rear rack. By not using my rear Ortliebs I'm saving something like 5.5lbs.

    Does that much weight seem reasonable for the front wheel to handle? I'm leaving on my tour tomorrow for a month, so if there's something horribly wrong here, let me know.

    Sounds good to me. I usually use front and rears, but the last time I rode with only 2, I opted with the front only, on a low rider tubus tara front rack. Tent and sleeping bag went on the rear rack. Bike was balanced well this way and rode fine.

  21. #21
    Member Windrush's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    My Bikes
    Marinoni Ciclo
    Posts
    39
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have used only rear panniers for the past 10 years, touring extensively in Europe and never had a problem. Be sure to place your heaviest items on the bottom of the pannier, evenly balanced on both sides. I have a small handbar bag up front for odds and ends.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    My Bikes
    Specialized Tricross Sport 2009, Giant Yukon FX3
    Posts
    1,471
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I use rear panniers, a rear rack bag, and handlebar bag. This is about the worst possible set up in terms of handling.

    Punchline: it's not that bad. The worst bit is manoeuvering the bike up steps, into trains, or riding over very slippery terrain like sand or mud - the bike constantly wants to lie down. But for most riding it's fine. Really. Try it and see what you think.

  23. #23
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    15
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I find it works for me to store stuff in side panniers on the back. It'll take a little getting used to on your part but it's not significantly more unstable.

  24. #24
    coffee and slippers...
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    16
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by paxtonm View Post
    Hi Hadleman,

    Am I the only one to catch that you're on a 64 cm bike and you weigh 165? I am a leggy 6-4, and ride 64 cm. I'm thought to be fairly thin at 200 plus. How tall are you? I can't imagine being 165, but then I can't imagine what a great climber I'd be at that weight either.
    Mark
    oops, just caught my misprint. you're right, 64cm would be ridiculous for me. I have a 56cm...not sure why I wrote 64

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •