I've only been on a couple short (3 day) camping excursions, but I had a few questions now that I've got some experience under my belt.
I ride a Surly Crosscheck for touring, and have 2x ortleib backroller rear panniers and a handlebar bag.
Generally when I have packed I put all my gear into the two rear panniers, and my sleeping bag + tent tethered to the top of the rack. Keep my valuables in the handlebar bag. Total weight - ~30-40lbs.
Now I have noticed that once i'm all loaded up I feel what (at the start) was a startling amount of frame flex. The bike almost felt like a rubber band! It was disconcerting at the start, but i adjusted and stopped noticing so much after a bit of riding.
- Q1: Is it normal to be able to so obviously feel the flex? It was enough that I didn't feel at all comfortable standing or riding with no hands (which is probably a bad idea anyway? )
- Q2: Would getting front panniers minimize or increase this flex? In another thread I read best practice is to load 60% weight in the front, 40% in the back. Is the flex issue (is it even an issue?) because I had too much weight on the back?
- Q3: Is it a bad idea / am I asking for trouble riding with almost everything loaded on the back? I have a couple 3-5 day trips planned before the end of summer and I'm not sure I want to spend another whackload of money on some front panniers before next season.
Thanks for all your help.