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Rack vs Back Pack

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Old 05-12-18, 08:35 PM
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Speedoape
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Rack vs Back Pack

any thoughts? Seems to be some nice back packs out there. I know in Houston I will get sweaty but thatís going to happen anyways.
Bikes today look so sleek and nice Iíd like to keep that look and maybe wear a pack?
Or, am I just hosing myself in the long run?
gracias
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Old 05-12-18, 08:56 PM
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PaulH
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Your car has a trunk; your bike has a rack. Backpacks are for climbing Mt. Everest.
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Old 05-12-18, 09:08 PM
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Did rack for a while. Now I backpack. As you said, you get sweaty anyhow, and backpacks are more convenient. I have two, a Mission Workshop Sanction which is waterproof and very well crafted, and an Osprey Radial 26 that is quite cool on the back and has lots of features.

I also have a backpack for carrying my laptop and stuff at work - another use other than climbing Everest..

My bikes don't have a racks and my motor vehicle doesn't have a trunk by the way.
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Old 05-12-18, 09:58 PM
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I have used a backpack exclusively for commutes up to 6 miles one-way in low-humidity California for the last 40 years.

The convenience and flexibility is great, but I will guess that Houston humidity might make me re-think my approach.

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Old 05-12-18, 10:00 PM
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I commuted in Houston using a backpack for three years. One morning I hit a pothole and went over the handlebars; I think the weight in the backpack contributed to the endo. Since then I have used a rack and panniers. Advantages are much greater load capacity, able to use reflective vest effectively, more space to hang side/rear lights, and cooler. Disadvantage is they block view of ankle reflectors from behind. One aspect is that it very much changes weight distribution and handling.

Rack/panniers works for me.
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Old 05-12-18, 10:37 PM
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I'm sure this subject has been discussed at least a hundred times. I've seen nothing new posted for a decade.
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Old 05-13-18, 12:13 AM
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Speakers and racks now. For years did messenger bags and backpacks... Now that I have a racked rig I wouldn't go back to backpacks.
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Old 05-13-18, 05:32 AM
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Speedoape
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Thanks all for the replyís ! Iím thinking I may put the back rack and then then see whatís needed. Since Iím just developing my plan and getting back into it after 24-26 years a lot has changed.
One thing that never will? Use the search and ask a question and itís why did you Necro a thread? Make a post and itís why didnít you use search lol
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Old 05-13-18, 05:35 AM
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md11mx
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Just as another option to consider there are frame triangle bags. I personally like a rack and a handlebar bag.
Cheers,
David
Way up North
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Old 05-13-18, 05:46 AM
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I think the amount you carry and the distance you ride has a lot to do with it. I commuted on my bike for years in Pensacola. It was pretty short, 7-10 miles each way, and most times I just carried the tube and tools I needed to fix a flat, .lunch, phone, PDA, etc. The backpack was the large hydration bladder type that mountain bikers use, so I also had my water. The benefit was being able to park my bike and have nothing left on it when I got off.
One day a week I would take a change of clothes for the week and bring the old ones home. I would put those in a pannier on my rack.
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Old 05-13-18, 06:04 AM
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Commuting for me is all about how the bike feels riding it. Racks and panniers made the bike feel like the tail wagging the dog and I never liked the ride. I have been using messenger bags for years and I love the convenience but like you said your back gets hot. I live in Canada so there is a benefit in the cold months as it helps keep me warm. With this set up the bike feels better to ride.

For the last two years I have been using a basket and front rack. I liked this setup because I could see my stuff and it was easy to get to. Yes, it affected the handling of the bike but not half as bad as the weight on the rear. This could be the function and design of the bike.

Two days ago I removed those and I forgot how nice the bike rides without the extra weight attached. So now I am back to a messenger bag but I also bought a new backpack. This one has a frame and mesh to keep it off your back. Doesn't hold much but I am going to experiment with it.

Pros and cons to everything. Backpack, vs rack. Posting a question vs using the search. Personally I am glad you posted the question. If someone doesn't like the question they don't have to read it, and they certainly don't have to post a response that adds nothing to the conversation.

The beauty of the different methods is they are all easy to implement and experiment with for not very much money. Try one, and then try another, see what you like best. Good luck.
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Old 05-13-18, 06:53 AM
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I've been using backpacks for commuting for 10 years and I have no desire to change anything. I hate riding bikes with panniers it just doesn't feel right to me.
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Old 05-13-18, 06:55 AM
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Here's what I do:
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Old 05-13-18, 11:30 AM
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My opinion is no more worthy than anyone else's, but it's a strong one nonetheless. Rack. Full stop.

That said, I am blown away by how many people prefer backpacks.

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Old 05-13-18, 11:30 AM
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Backpacks vs. panniers - to each their own.

Whatever your choice, if you don't want to "ride ninja", tailor your reflective gear and lighting to your storage solution. I've seen bikers whose backpacks hide their helmet tail-lights when riding, and back-packs sitting on racks that conceal tail-lights on the seat post.
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Old 05-13-18, 11:45 AM
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I've tried both and I like the backpack a bit more. With the rack and panniers I can feel the weight over the back tire more than when I carry a backpack. It not a huge difference but I certainly do notice it. My other issue I ran into is that I can't fit everything I want in the panniers like I can my backpack so I ended up taking a pair of shoes to work and leaving them at the office on days I ride. Its not that I don't like the pannier set up I just like the backpack a bit more but since I have the rack and panniers I am using those as my primary option right now.
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Old 05-13-18, 11:57 AM
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I think it depends on the bike and how much weight you are carrying. Some bikes donít handle anything but very light loads well, or it raises the center of gravity too high. Other bikes handle better when they are carrying weight.

I prefer having a rack. I can always carry a backpack if I really want. A front or rear basket is also an option if you want more flexibility. Then you can just put the backpack in it.
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Old 05-13-18, 12:16 PM
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Think of all the sweaty area, your cooling system,* that will by blocked by having a backpack over it...

* in Hot Humid Houston..
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Old 05-13-18, 12:40 PM
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Wow. I'm lost on your thinking here. If you're wanting to be pretentious and look cool (is this a mid-life crisis thing?), go for the four-wheeled convertible. If this is a chick thing, go for the four-wheeled convertible or a bike for two (we call it a tandem). If you're going for sweat stains under the armpits or unsafe riding conditions, use the backpack. If you like to show off your common sense and intelligence, use a rack (or panniers, or basket).
Next problem, please!
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Old 05-13-18, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Wow. I'm lost on your thinking here. If you're wanting to be pretentious and look cool (is this a mid-life crisis thing?), go for the four-wheeled convertible. If this is a chick thing, go for the four-wheeled convertible or a bike for two (we call it a tandem). If you're going for sweat stains under the armpits or unsafe riding conditions, use the backpack. If you like to show off your common sense and intelligence, use a rack (or panniers, or basket).
Next problem, please!
What an open mind you have Anybody that comes on here and says that backpacks are stupid or panniers are stupid are just plain full of it. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and many factors that make one or the other preferable for a particular rider.
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Old 05-13-18, 05:08 PM
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A rack is more comfortable, as you can just strap your backpack on with some bungee cords, I usually use 3, and then put the cords, in the back pack, when you arrive at your destination.
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Old 05-13-18, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Wow. I'm lost on your thinking here. If you're wanting to be pretentious and look cool (is this a mid-life crisis thing?), go for the four-wheeled convertible. If this is a chick thing, go for the four-wheeled convertible or a bike for two (we call it a tandem). If you're going for sweat stains under the armpits or unsafe riding conditions, use the backpack. If you like to show off your common sense and intelligence, use a rack (or panniers, or basket).
Next problem, please!
actually itís none of the above. And there have been several pro back pack replyís.
Whatever route I decide itís easy enough to switch.
But, whatever I do will totally not be based on your fine, well thought out, sincere post.
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Old 05-13-18, 05:45 PM
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Start out with a backpack and if you don't like it you can always upgrade and put a rack on your bike in the future.
There are plenty of very comfortable backpacks that are suitable for cycling... Brands to consider are; Deuter, Osprey, Camelback, Timbuk, all of these manufacturers make cycling specific backpacks.
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Old 05-13-18, 06:23 PM
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I originally started out with a backpack, but eventually moved to a rear rack and panniers. The panniers created two problems. The first was that they negatively effected the handling of the bike. The ride was a lot less fun when loaded, and the bike felt sluggish and slow. The other issue was that since I donít bike commute every day, I was always having to swap stuff between panniers and backpack, which quickly got old.

So Iíve gone back to using a backpack the last several years, preferring the Chrome Barrage Cargo for the last 4. Itís awesome, versatile and incredibly weather resistant. But now that Iím into my 50ís, my back is asking me to go back to a rack. I may try a front rack this summer, and see if I can strap my backpack to it.
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Old 05-13-18, 06:47 PM
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Hello OP, my two cents...

i started off with a very comfortable backpack for me. it held all the things i needed to hold and i gathered information herea bout how best to protect my belongings in the backpack from the elements (Thanks BF for the tips). personally, i thought it was fun to pack my backpack different ways to get my stuff to be perfectly ready for when i got to work adn needed to empty its contents in order to change, grab my laptop, add cycling clothes back in and still have access to my rain jacket in the event that i needed it.

as it got warmer, i found myself longing to not have a sweaty back and shoulders so i went for the rack and pannier set up. it was marginally slower, almost unnoticeable but i could tell. i just couldn't give up the comfort of the panniers. it held the same volume of stuff as my backpack except that i could strap stuff to the rack unlike my backpack. also, two panniers meant i could separate stuff i needed for immediate access versus stuff i didn't necessarily need right away. i kept my clothes, shoes and laptop on one side, and my rack jacket and other essentials plus daily lunch on the other. it was enough to pull one pannier and grab my lunch and have the same net outcome as i did when using a backpack.

all told for me, it was legitimately, half a dozen of one or 6 of the other. they both had their conveniences and annoyances. i love both setups, hence why i continue to change back and forth. i'm using a backpack right now, but i'm sure i'll be switching back soon enough.
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