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Old 06-29-10, 02:12 PM   #1
MileHighMark
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Front-loading a rear-loader

Looking for feedback from folks who have added low-riders to rear load-biased bike such as the SOMA Saga or Surly LHT.

My Saga is set up with a Tubus Cosmo rear rack and two small Ortlieb panniers. The panniers weigh anywhere from 9-12 pounds depending on what I'm carrying. My saddle is set all the way back on a Velo Orange seatpost, so that makes the front end of the bike feel very "light," which is quite noticeable when descending and/or riding out of the saddle.

To balance out the load/handling, I was thinking of adding a pair of Tubus Nova low-rider racks, and moving the Ortlieb panniers to the front. SOMA says the following about the Saga:

"Rear load bias touring geometry (rides best with a load in the rear or with a load in the front AND the rear)"

Geometry:
http://www.somafab.com/geometry03.html

I'm wondering if the weight of the rear rack, combined with my rearward saddle position would be enough to compensate for the added weight up front (low-riders, panniers).

Any suggestions?
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Old 06-29-10, 02:28 PM   #2
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I just saw this discussed recently on the Long Haul Trucker list: http://groups.google.com/group/surly...2d322537?hl=en. I think the result of tinkering was that some weight up front was helpful, or at least perfectly stable. But there was a point where it got to be too much. For the most part the recommendation seems to be with rear-loaded touring bikes to find a balance between front and rear, not to put all your weight on the rear. I think for the Trucker the "ideal" is in the range of 60% rear to 40% front. But the ideal is all based on handling. If you feel that you're adding more rider weight to the rear, try more gear weight up front.

But that's all based on loaded touring, and I'm guessing they're thinking more than 10 pounds of gear. If that's all you're carrying, I would definitely try it. My Trucker isn't set up to carry more than 5 pounds up front, but based on what I have put on it, and on what I've carried on the front of other bikes, I wouldn't hesitate to put 10 pounds up there if I had the racks for it. Especially if you feel like you're already rear-heavy.
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Old 06-29-10, 02:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MileHighMark View Post
Looking for feedback from folks who have added low-riders to rear load-biased bike such as the SOMA Saga or Surly LHT.

My Saga is set up with a Tubus Cosmo rear rack and two small Ortlieb panniers. The panniers weigh anywhere from 9-12 pounds depending on what I'm carrying. My saddle is set all the way back on a Velo Orange seatpost, so that makes the front end of the bike feel very "light," which is quite noticeable when descending and/or riding out of the saddle.

To balance out the load/handling, I was thinking of adding a pair of Tubus Nova low-rider racks, and moving the Ortlieb panniers to the front. SOMA says the following about the Saga:

"Rear load bias touring geometry (rides best with a load in the rear or with a load in the front AND the rear)"

Geometry:
http://www.somafab.com/geometry03.html

I'm wondering if the weight of the rear rack, combined with my rearward saddle position would be enough to compensate for the added weight up front (low-riders, panniers).

Any suggestions?
First, I'm not sure what a 'rear load bias' geometry is. It seems to be something that Soma made up. Not that their bike is all that long in the rear compared to the LHT or Cannondale T1. If your bike feels 'light' in the front end, especially with the light load you are talking about, you'd benefit from lowriders.

I've ridden bikes with heavily loaded rear bags, the typical 60/40 front to rear split and with front only bags. Heavily loaded rear bags are by far the worst in terms of handling...even with a good touring bike. The only thing worse is a trailer. The front only or 60/40 split calms the bike's handling down a lot.
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Old 06-29-10, 03:07 PM   #4
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Thanks for the pointer to that thread. I posted my question there, so hopefully I'll get some additional feedback. I'll probably pull the trigger on the Tara low-riders and give it a try. Even if it doesn't work out, I can probably sell them pretty easily.
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Old 06-29-10, 03:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I've ridden bikes with heavily loaded rear bags, the typical 60/40 front to rear split and with front only bags. Heavily loaded rear bags are by far the worst in terms of handling...even with a good touring bike. The only thing worse is a trailer. The front only or 60/40 split calms the bike's handling down a lot.

I second all of this...
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Old 06-30-10, 09:08 AM   #6
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Wiggle had a sale, so I pulled the trigger on the Nova low-riders. Should have them in a week.
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Old 07-04-10, 07:14 PM   #7
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Wiggle's shipping is amazingly fast. Ordered the low-riders on 6/30, and had them on 7/3. Here's the bike with the racks/bags mounted:



The bags look like they're really sloping, but it's the photo. I spent close to an hour playing around with the different positions of the Tubus' various parts, and managed to get the horizontal bars 2 degrees from level. Of course, the weather has gone to hell, so I've only been able to take it out for a very brief spin. Rides great.
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Old 07-04-10, 07:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
First, I'm not sure what a 'rear load bias' geometry is. It seems to be something that Soma made up. Not that their bike is all that long in the rear compared to the LHT or Cannondale T1. If your bike feels 'light' in the front end, especially with the light load you are talking about, you'd benefit from lowriders.

I've ridden bikes with heavily loaded rear bags, the typical 60/40 front to rear split and with front only bags. Heavily loaded rear bags are by far the worst in terms of handling...even with a good touring bike. The only thing worse is a trailer. The front only or 60/40 split calms the bike's handling down a lot.
Like the others, I go with what he said^^^.
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Old 07-04-10, 10:09 PM   #9
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>I spent close to an hour playing around with the different positions of the Tubus' various parts, and managed to get the horizontal bars 2 degrees from level.

Why? Are you carrying goldfish?
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