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Old 04-29-13, 03:30 PM   #1
shipwreck
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My rackless experiment

Thought I would shoot a pic of what I have been messing with for the last couple days.



Made the frame bag last night, it is shown on my 58cm Univega, but I made it so that it also fits my 59 cm Fuji road bike. The strap is not needed, just seemed a good place to keep an extra strap. Figured that when useing them as my main lashing system a spare is not a bad idea.

Here is what I am carrying.



Not going for the ultralight thing, as I have a three+ pound tent as well as a Hammock.
Took the racks off, weighed them with my Jandd panniers and it was almost seven pounds! That more than makes up for having the tent. Love hammocks for a good nights sleep, but sometimes a full tent is nice in a campground or rest days in the rain. This is what I consider fall/early spring touring gear, so its a little bulkyer than mid summer, but for full winter I would lose the hammock and tarp to make room for heavier clothing. Going to have to use the camel bak for extra water, or else lash my Playpuss on the back.

All I need to do now is spring for a down Quilt or bag, something that packs smaller than the monster I have now. It fills the entire front bag, with just some room left for a hat and some snacks.

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Old 04-29-13, 04:39 PM   #2
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Very interesting. How's the pedaling with the gear suspended from the top tube. Do the knees have to flare out a little to avoid rubbing on the frame bag?
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Old 04-29-13, 05:42 PM   #3
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Nice job. No room for meal food though, seems like a problem to me. The weight carried so high might create handling problems. I'm guessing that frame might be a bit noodley. That said, it's always amazing how adaptable bicycle and rider can be. Enjoy, it looks like an interesting experiment.
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Old 04-29-13, 06:03 PM   #4
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Full the frame bag is not much more than the thickness of a 1.5 liter bottle.
Thats good, I was a little worried while making it. So no, the legs might rub now and again climbing, but not bad.

The gran turismo frame is a eighty one, double butted. I don't find it noodly at all. The gear shown with the water bottle full came in at 41 pounds, and its a twenty four pound bike. The bags are just about one pound for all four.
Did 14 miles on the local hills today, the center of gravity is high, but that has never bothered me much. I do not like low riders all that much.



Did this trip last spring, and decided that I needed a little more room for a late October trip.
The main reason for this is to decrease wind resistance. I will be trying it out on a five day trip soon, then make up my mind about using it on a month long this fall. Was also thinking about travel, I will be taking a bus to the begining of the tour, and don't want to mess with lots of racks. The bags strap together as personal luggage. The fenders are removable, with zip ties, so boxing is easier(I have always done this, it works fine.
I also have single track trails in mind so pannier tend to be in the way.

Oh, and I do have a little room left in the frame bag, enough for a couple bannanas or enough cookable food for the night, about the size of a six inch subway sandwich. Also, the red bag next to the hat is for overflow, and can be stuffed pretty large as its got elastic sides. I really considered the food angle, as I love to eat.

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Old 04-29-13, 07:16 PM   #5
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i know you do it so well, shipwreck, but in my opinion that's a lot of stuff to be packing rackless.

but that's just me. at that level of gear i'm thinking about loading the weight low at as close to the axles as possible for centripedal advantage.
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Old 04-29-13, 08:34 PM   #6
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Agreed. It is an awful lot. There are lots of rackless tourers out there but I want to see what the limit might be.
I figure that if I do try this on the longer trip, there is always the post office!

I am also planning on having a box at home base packed and ready to go with a rack and panniers.
Worse come to worse I can have them sent to me.
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Old 04-29-13, 08:39 PM   #7
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no, no - i think your systems look great. for me, it'd be a lot of stuff to go rackless with.

my tarp is the size of a red bull can, and i'm contemplating a 5 ounce bivy sack. I might sew some netting onto a tarp that's the size of a coke can, it might be a little more unwieldy to pack then. and this is my sleeping bag... the gear sure adds up quick though, doesn't it?
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Old 04-29-13, 10:50 PM   #8
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Still, you have a point. Thus the emergency plan A, B, C, and so forth.
Part of the problem is budget, I send everything off to Sally Mae every month and will be doing so for a long time to come.
The tour this is planned for is the Mississippi River trail, and there is a lot of wind. I could spring for a tarp tent but money aside my zuess II is both the one I have and the one that was left standing one night in a field when my buddy's went down in fifty mile gusts. I could take my large nysill tarp, but its bright red, not very low key. The smaller tarp that is packed is camo, but only 5 by8 feet.
one thing I was considering was losing the big Agnes aircore(it sucks anyway, loses air and the insulation is loose)and taking a closed cell pad. A ridge rest and a blue foam pad weigh less together.
Saving my pennies for a good bag, one the size of yours will free up lots of room.
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Old 04-30-13, 07:21 AM   #9
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Thank you for the inspiration. I'm on the same path.
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Old 04-30-13, 07:53 AM   #10
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Nice set-up Shipwreck, your handlebar bag looks like a favorite item. I would be inclined to install a front mini-rack that attaches at the fork crown and top of fork blades to move the handlebar mounted load lower and closer to the steerer.

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...ess-steel.html

I like these because they're small enough to not add appreciable weight but provide a solid attachment for front loads instead of cantilevered off the bars. And if someday you need to bring a 12 pack of beer home it'll carry it just fine.

wrt frame bags I put a medium size Revelate frame bag on my 56cm CrossCheck and haven't taken it off. For folks with bikes your size it's a perfect place to put a useful amount of stuff.

https://www.revelatedesigns.com/inde...=1&ProductID=5
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Old 04-30-13, 10:03 AM   #11
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The front bag is supported with straps on the brake levers. Thought about a front rack, but wanted something that can be transferred from bike to bike without much issue. Copied the idea from the rivendell boxy bag from thier site. It works pretty good, have had lots of shopping in it, about twenty pounds. Still, everything is always up for improvement, so if I sew another I will think about a small rack. Really love my old cannonde front bags with the metal brace that goes over the stem, but this is simpler.
Cant post detailed pics cause my computer is in the ahop right now.
The straps are not for everyone, they are a little thick, but I got used to them. Might think about a thinner strap for the brakes.
Was thinking about sewing some more bags a little bigger, but would like to keep it as small as possible, if you have it you will fill it!
all the bags I sew are sort of stream of conciousness, so no patterns:0

on another note, I took a mid ight ride to the store on my old trek 560 last night, and its the first time I have ridden an unladen bike in months, it felt like a rocket!
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Old 04-30-13, 03:46 PM   #12
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Very cool Shipwreck! I wondered about knee interference too, since it bugged me when I carried a tent that way (I had panniers also). My knees nearly brush the TT anyway though, so as long as yours don`t do that you`ll probably be happier with the plan than I was. Good luck with it
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Old 05-01-13, 05:52 AM   #13
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Very cool Shipwreck! I wondered about knee interference too, since it bugged me when I carried a tent that way (I had panniers also). My knees nearly brush the TT anyway though, so as long as yours don`t do that you`ll probably be happier with the plan than I was. Good luck with it
When found the same knee interference issue when I strapped my tent to the top tube, also it prevented me form carrying 2x water bottles inside the main triangle. However, my attempt didn't use a frame bag.
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Old 05-04-13, 07:15 AM   #14
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Here is what I am carrying.

In comparison, here's the key components of my kit...

from Top to bottom:

sleeping bag (and down vest)
thermarest neo air
integral designs sil tarp
bivy with mosquito netting
banana for size comparison

I am in awe you can get that on the bike with no racks.

The bags you make are key to the operation to make it work well. People could do similar getting a big front bag, or running a Carridice as a front bag- i think Nun has done that in the past.
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Old 05-04-13, 08:07 AM   #15
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Well, to be fair everything in my picture is fairly loose, and is also showing on bike clothing. The event compression sack is loose, and whatnot. Also this for projected temps down to thirty or so for being on the road over thirty days. There are a lot of off bike clothes here cause I will be stopping for five days to attend a scifi convention.
If I lost the tent and got a smaller bag it would be a small load. In fact, when I go on some real fast light trips this summer I might get everything into the frame bag, with just the hammock and tarp, stove, and nothing but on bike clothes.

Question, does compressing your bag so far reduce any loft? One reason my bag is so big is I don't want to pack it to tight.
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Old 05-04-13, 09:14 AM   #16
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Well, to be fair everything in my picture is fairly loose, and is also showing on bike clothing. The event compression sack is loose, and whatnot. Also this for projected temps down to thirty or so for being on the road over thirty days. There are a lot of off bike clothes here cause I will be stopping for five days to attend a scifi convention.
If I lost the tent and got a smaller bag it would be a small load. In fact, when I go on some real fast light trips this summer I might get everything into the frame bag, with just the hammock and tarp, stove, and nothing but on bike clothes.

Question, does compressing your bag so far reduce any loft? One reason my bag is so big is I don't want to pack it to tight.
My clothing (which isn't pictured) far and away takes up the largest volume in my kit. the volume is obnoxious, to be perfectly honest.

As for down - down can take getting stuffed and compressed no problem. maybe 10 years in the bag needs a little refill, but the fabric of down bags tends to wear out first, in my experience.
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Old 05-04-13, 08:37 PM   #17
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Does the rackless setup provide much of a gain in speed?
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Old 05-04-13, 10:55 PM   #18
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You could also try going pannierless but not rackless - a Blackburn rack weighs 18 oz and can hold some otherwise bulky items wrapped in a garbage bag and bungied to the top.
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Old 05-04-13, 11:46 PM   #19
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Interesting idea and fine if it works for you, but I think I'll stick with my rear rack and panniers. My rack weighs just under a pound and the panniers are another 2 lbs., so compared to the bags shown I have less than 2 lbs. extra. That gets me luggage that stays away from my body (my knees sometimes even rub against my top tube, so the frame bag shown would certainly be in my way and it looks like the bag by the seatpost would rub against my legs), luggage that can be removed in seconds leaving me with an unencumbered bike, no loss of hand positions on the bars, and free space on top of the rear rack for food, firewood, or any other items I may want to carry from the last town to the campsite. Seems like a worthwhile tradeoff for the slight weight increase.
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Old 05-05-13, 06:11 AM   #20
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Every time i pack even my minimal gear onto a bike and go rackless, i think to myself, "man, this is a lot of volume - why didn't I just pack it on a rack?"

It always works out, but there's always a lot of stuff -even for the super minimalists among us- to be hauling around if you're living off your bike and are sleeping outside.

This was a great trip , but i had very little in the way of extra off the bike clothing.
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Old 05-05-13, 08:34 AM   #21
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Does the rackless setup provide much of a gain in speed?
When it is all on my road bike, yes. But that's just cause the road bike is faster, with less spokes, 23mm tires, all that.
Not sure if it will make a difference on this bike, with 40 spoke rear 36 front, 35mm tires.

@alhedges
The idea of wrapping things up in a trash bag fills me with horror. I would do it, but only on a BSO on Halloween.

@prathman
The front bag does actualy come off faster than a pannier can be removed, two snaps and some Velcro. I also use the tops of the bars a lot, so if it interfered I would try something else.
I have never carried fire wood. Never even thought about it even with front and rear platform racks. Usualy when at a campground with fire rings I satisfy myself with being annoyed at all the drifting smoke from other campers, which saves me the hassle of irritating myself.

This is more messing around with less to re/dis-assemble at a buss, train station or airport, being able to use multiple bikes without worrying about how they can take a rack, and just messing around.
The biggest drawback so far is that I really like downtube friction shifters, even on nine speed, and will have to make another bag that will not interfere with them.
The biggest worry was side winds, and so far it is less than the pull you feel with pannier on the front and rear.
I still have several bikes that are all racked out, and they will probably stay that way.
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Old 05-06-13, 11:42 AM   #22
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This is more messing around with less to re/dis-assemble at a buss, train station or airport, being able to use multiple bikes without worrying about how they can take a rack, and just messing around.
The biggest positive for me about going rackless is that you can fit your gear onto almost any bike. It also makes packing and transporting the bike just a little bit easier. Whether the perceived loss of utility is worth these features is up to the individual.
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