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  1. #1
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Tubus vs Surly Nice

    I'll be adding a Surly LHT soon to my stable and have my rear rack addition solved. However I have never had a front rack before and am trying to decide between the Tubus Tara or the Surly Nice. Any ideas? I like the idea of the Surly Nice platform ( is it all that useful)? and the low riding Tubus Tara ( do they handle all that much better)? My planned tour will be on both paved and unpaved roads, no single track days are planned. It'll be self supported. I'm open to Jannd as well.

  2. #2
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    I really like the Tubus Tara. Great rack and less weight than the Surly. Never found a use for the platform on a front rack.
    It's a good day to ride.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I think you first need to determine how much carrying capacity you'll need. The Surly rack is quite heavy. The Tara low rider rack seems more stable, but you'd get used to either one.

  4. #4
    What, me hurry? Boston Commuter's Avatar
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    I have the Rivendell/Nitto Big Front Rack. Like the Surly, this has a platform and both high and low pannier positions. I really like the way my bike handles with low-mounted front panniers, and I personally wouldn't want a front rack that doesn't offer a low pannier position.

    I use the rack platform mostly to support a wire basket around-town. If you plan to use a handlebar bag that mounts to the handlebars (such as Ortlieb or Arkel), you probably wouldn't miss the platform on tour. Having said that, I know some people do use the platform, so be your own judge.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    My Koga came with a Tubus Logo, Ergo pair, rear and front.. they work flawlessly.

    26" wheels , I have my light at the fork crown,. dynamo in the hub .
    light sits just below my bar bag.

    low enough that my rain cape doesn't cover it.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-13-11 at 09:32 PM.

  6. #6
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I have a Surly to have a lowrider and platform and never use the lowrider, so my choice would be neither. If I were buying new, I'd choose something with a platform/highriders only like the OMM Cold Spring.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  7. #7
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    if it's a 700c LHT I'd go with the Tara, 26" LHT some other type of platform front rack. I've got a OMM Sherpa on the front of a 26" wheeled LHT.

    I'm assuming all this is because you plan on carrying front panniers?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
    If I were buying new, I'd choose something with a platform/highriders only like the OMM Cold Spring.
    Why?

    LeeG: My LHT will be using 26" wheels, and yes to your pannier question.

  9. #9
    old and in the way gomadtroll's Avatar
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    Another choice for lowriders, Salsa http://salsacycles.com/components/down_under_rack/

    I like low riders, the Salsa is cheaper than the Tubus. The Salsa mounts like the Thorn lowrider rack, both sides of the fork. Mounts on a LHT.

  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    didn't like the heft of the salsa lowrider when a special order came thru the shop this year. the Tubus is steel.

    The surly rack is a BEAR and about 18 million fasteners and plates to attach it. I'd avoid that kluge like the plague.

    I've had great success on a twin lower eyeleted fork to run both a lowrider and a cheap, light Bor Yueh front high rack both mounted to the fork. seemed lighter than the Jannd extreme front rack.

    I like the platform in front, if just to haul a six pack to the campground with and dry clothes on during the day.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Commuter View Post
    I have the Rivendell/Nitto Big Front Rack.
    Love mine. No handling issues whatsoever. Since I am tall and need a large sleeping bag, I put it on the front rack rather than on the rear with my tent on in a pannier. If you don;t have the discipline to not carry more than you "should" because of the extra capacity afforded by a platform you should probably stay away from a front rack with a platform.

    bike.jpg
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
    Why?

    LeeG: My LHT will be using 26" wheels, and yes to your pannier question.
    you mentioned unpaved roads. I'm figuring that involves occasional ruts and rocks so that some panniers might be very low to the ground. btw I meant to type "OMM Sherpa". I've got a 26" 56cm LHT with OMM Sherpa on the front. The Surly Nice Rack does have it all, good placement for low rider but I don't see the advantage for it's extra 2lbs of mass. I can mount front panniers back far enough on the OMMSherpa top rack so they just overlap the cantilevers and the handling is just fine. I can also strap on another compression sack on top of the rack. I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather have the panniers a bit higher on a 26" wheel for rough conditions and would rather carry an extra 32oz of water than rack.

    Surly beefed up the lower mountings on the Nice Rack but it's kind of interesting to see how the attachments are cantilevered back to accomodate all the possible positionings. On the OMMSherpa I got I first set it up for another 26" wheeled bike but when I put it on the LHT I wanted the rack to stay secure while the front wheel was removed so I installed it without the axle mount and removed the aluminum fixtures. Turns out you can attach the Sherpa rack straight onto the top eyelet with p-clamps on the mid fork and cantilever bosses. Way solid and lighter than the stock OMM set up and 2lbs lighter than Surly.

    http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Pages/...nt_gallery.htm

    go to the second and third photo from the bottom where it shows the Sherpa on a road bike and mtn bike. Ok, remove the aluminum strut/spacer that attaches to the bottom of the rack with it's extra long skewer and use a 1/4" wide spacer to clear the top of the dropout and attach the rack to the top eyelet on the LHT fork. I attached the straight aluminum straps to the mid fork eyelets and a set of p-clamps onto the cantilever bosses. Even with the wider than stock IRD cantilevers I can mount the panniers back enough so they overlap the brakes but aren't rubbing, pretty sure the stock Oryx brakes will fit fine.

    The platform will sit high enough above the front tire to fit a 2" tire and fenders. Plenty strong without carrying an extra 2lbs of rack with all the weight going straight down on the eyelet and four available connection points to the fork.
    Last edited by LeeG; 06-16-11 at 03:14 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    The Surly is quite heavy.

    IMG_4917.jpg

    For non-touring use, I strip off the front rack because of the weight. I recently put one of the cheap Nashbar front racks that mounts on the brake bosses on. The Nashbar has very little weight capacity but is useful for small lightweight items. If you get the Tubus, you may consider also getting the Nashbar.

    reIMGP0400.jpg

  14. #14
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    I agree with LeeG. The surly nice racks are way too heavy and unnecessary in most cases. The Tubus Tara is a great rack. For my self i wanted a top surface though. Ive got a LHT with tubus cargo rear and omm cold spring on the front and its great!!!. Its very safe to say that i have just as much capacity, but my rack setup its probably 2-3 lbs lighter. It can certainly be beneficial to have the front bags a little higher if you can...

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Tubus Smarti is a rack that sits higher on the fork... top mount is the V brake bosses..

    Bruce Gordon's racks I got 25 years ago have the most miles ,
    still as good as new, but for a chip or so in the finish..
    I have a small, separate, hand made rack, over the front wheel.

    Bruce also makes a higher ground clearance fork tip and higher, front rack.
    not an Import, he makes his racks in his shop.

  16. #16
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
    Why?
    Simply because I don't use the lowriders so it's dead weight and material hanging from the fork. I do use the platform. I don't find a significant difference in handling between low and high. If I really look for a difference, I'd say I prefer the highriders. It may feels a tiny bit less stable at speed but it feels "quicker" and more responsive at low speed, which is more important to me.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  17. #17
    Acetone Man
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    QBP really doesn't seem to know how to build a rack. The Surly racks seem more about presenting a superficial image of loaded for bear, kitchen sink touring than to actually be practical for this activity. They are ideal for what I see them used for, which is strutting around like a dapper, clean shaven Grizzly Adams while rolling through the Alberta arts district to get a cuppa joe. When a pair of Tubus' has more or less the same capacity as a pair of Surly's, but weighs several pounds less, there is a problem in the engineering department, and problems with bicycle engineering tend most often to be sourced to the design and marketing departments. The new Salsa 'triforce' rack is even more ridiculous; it weighs as much as the Surly but has the capacity of my old Blackburn which weighed half as much. The Blackburn and the Tubus are triangulated both in the front-back plane and in the side-side plane, whereas the Surly and Salsa racks are triangulated only in the front-back plane, which means they are not reinforced against sway and must be unnecessarily overbuilt to compensate.

    Currently I'm rocking the Bruce Gordon front high mount, which I think is the finest front rack with top shelf that is both quite light and will carry as much weight as you'd ever want to. Just a Topeak in the back right now, but I'll get a Tubus Cargo back there eventually.
    Last edited by Thasiet; 06-16-11 at 02:29 PM.

  18. #18
    40 yrs bike touring
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    +10 on the Bruce Gordon Front Mtn Rack after 25 years of use on and off pavement.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    I've had great success on a twin lower eyeleted fork to run both a lowrider and a cheap, light Bor Yueh front high rack both mounted to the fork. seemed lighter than the Jannd extreme front rack.
    The Bor Yeuhs look interesting. Any particular model? It looks like the BY-203N is meant to work like the various mini front racks and attach to the brake mounts, which might work well on my bike...

  20. #20
    Look Ma, NO hands!
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    I ride a LHT 58cm 700C with nice racks front and rear. The front rack comes with a boat load of parts to make it flexable in fitting many rides, but once fitted it is easy to remove and replace, and I have never had a bolt back off or become loose in over 5000 miles. I ride with my large panniers up front and low, light mounted to the front of the rack and have used the front platform on tours for carrying extra water in one of those MSR pouches. They have been rock solid for me and I trust them. Heck 2lb on a touring bike is just a can of beans!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by uciflylow View Post
    . Heck 2lb on a touring bike is just a can of beans!
    and now I'm carrying the equivalent of 20 2lb cans of beans around my midsection!

  22. #22
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    I have a 56 cm 26 in LHT with both front and rear nice racks, that being said I like the front rack but it is HEAVY. I like the platform a lot, while on tour I use mine for a lightweight softside cooler to keep food and beverages cool. The front rack is also very useful for gathering firewood, and I really like it for grocery shopping at home. The racks now sit in the closet waiting for the next big adventure as I shed a little weight off the bike recently.

    I picked up the salsa minimalist rack for a lightweight setup and really like them although I had to double up the rear attachment because of too much flex. I'm thinking that the tara and the salsa may be a good although more expensive option.

  23. #23
    Dumpster cyclist
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    I have the Surly nice front rack and it doesn't live on my bike anymore. When I tour in the US, I don't use front panniers. I only use the top platform for my cooking gear or a tent. I bought it with the intention of using it when I went on a really long trip, but now I think it would just be overkill. It's built like a boat anchor and it uses a 16 bolt mounting system! 16! It's so big that I've used it's many cross bars as drying racks for my clothes on tour.

    The rack is actually sitting on the desk behind me, watching me write these things. Hm...

    If you don't need a platform up top (which is really nice to have) certainly go with the Tubus Tara. It'll feel less like you're trying to steer in slow motion. However, Grant makes a good point when talking about his (Riv/Nitto) front racks: Ever tried to lash a watermelon to a low-rider?
    My latest feckless undertakings:
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  24. #24
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    I got the Nice rack for the front of my 62cm 700c LHT. I like the platform for the cooler and various bags I may strap on. It took 4 hours to sort all the bolts and get it on, lol
    All in all I like it but it may not suit everyones needs.

  25. #25
    ghost on a machine Bike Hermit's Avatar
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    Don't know if it has been fixed yet, but when installing Surly racks we always had problems with the supplied bolts breaking as we were tightening them. Absolutely love Surly bikes but not so much the racks. They are complicated with lots of separate pieces of hardware. Tubus racks are simple and strong as are Nitto if a top platform is important.
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