Front Pannier Questions
I have huge rear panniers and my longest tour was a week, so I've never needed front panniers. But I have a couple of questions for those of you who do use them:
If you have 4 panniers, plus a handlebar bag, and maybe a drybag as well, isn't that restrictive? If I want to get on a train or bus, or stay in a room for the night, I can grab a bag in either hand and I'm good, but if you have a full set of bags it seems like you must have to leave some of them unguarded at times. At the least, they'll be awkward to move. I can't even work out how you cope with multiple bags for plane travel. How do you manage?
It seems like the Tubus Tara is the most popular front rack, but it looks a bit insecure to me. The bar at the bottom is only a few inches wide and it's rounded. Isn't it easy for hooks, etc, to slip off?
Thanks for any comments.
Mad bike riding scientist
You just match the handles of the bags together and 4 bags can be easily handled by both hands. The overall weight is (should) be the same. Just because you have 4 bags doesn't mean you want to carry twice as much stuff
Originally Posted by ScruffyChimp
Most of the time, however, the bags stay attached to the bike. I've seldom have problems with hotels allowing me to take my bike to my room. I always ask first but I've never been refused at a hotel. At B&Bs, they usually have some kind of storage facility that I can park my bike in. Then I'll take the bags off but usually only with the stuff I need. At campgrounds the bags just stay on the bike.
The Tara works well with Ortlieb or similar bags that use a hook rather than an elastic to hold the bags in place. The Tara does come with a adapter so that you can use elastic cords to hold them in place.
Wow that was a fast reply. Thanks.
As an alternative consider using medium sized panniers up front with or without a handle bar bag and your stuffer only on top of the rear rack. I find this combination very efficient and balanced and easy for train or bus connections.
If your bags have shoulder straps (like the Ortileb bags do) then it's easy to sling four (or five with the handlebar bag) shoulder straps on. Shoulder straps are good for multimodal commuters (e.g., ride your bike to a train or bus).
I don't travel with the bike. Ship the bike and bags together via UPS or some similar outfit. Why hassle with that stuff at an airport? As far as being on the road—cyccommute covered it well.
I tend not to like front panniers at all. That said there's something to be said in having four front-sized panniers in that it does equalize the load over the bike, rather than two large rear and two small front.