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Where to Carry Weight (knowing in advance)

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Where to Carry Weight (knowing in advance)

Old 02-07-22, 10:10 AM
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Noonievut
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Where to Carry Weight (knowing in advance)

Iím building up a Surly Cross Check and Ďoneí of its uses will be running errands in town. I donít commute (hard to when you WFH!) but thought this crowd would know how to go about this in an economical way.

Loads I would be carrying should be relatively light to moderate, and not overly bulky. Maybe a hardcover book from the library, a DVD or two and something from the bakery, or a bag of groceries without anything too heavy.

Iím wondering how to know where I prefer the weight from a bike feel and handing perspective, without investing in racks and bags to try it out? I donít have a buddy with these things. I guess a shop may let me try this for a 10 minute demo with bags loaded with 5-10 pounds.

Anyone experiment with the Cross Check and find it prefers front vs. rear?
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Old 02-07-22, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
Iím building up a Surly Cross Check and Ďoneí of its uses will be running errands in town. I donít commute (hard to when you WFH!) but thought this crowd would know how to go about this in an economical way.

Loads I would be carrying should be relatively light to moderate, and not overly bulky. Maybe a hardcover book from the library, a DVD or two and something from the bakery, or a bag of groceries without anything too heavy.

Iím wondering how to know where I prefer the weight from a bike feel and handing perspective, without investing in racks and bags to try it out? I donít have a buddy with these things. I guess a shop may let me try this for a 10 minute demo with bags loaded with 5-10 pounds.

Anyone experiment with the Cross Check and find it prefers front vs. rear?
I rode a cross check for years 14 miles each way in the city. I have a rear rack and bags. I usually hauled a change of clothes and students papers and lunch. Never an issue. Love that bike.
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Old 02-07-22, 10:44 AM
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I've found saddlebags like Carradice Camper to be a good place to carry cargo. Although it puts the weight higher than panniers, it's more centralized. A frame bag would be even more centralized (and low).
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Old 02-07-22, 11:20 AM
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Huge fan of LowRIder racks and heavy stuff stored there. The weight affects handling very little, even climbing out of the saddle. My farmers market bike has that and a standard rear rack. Small Ortleib panniers front and rear. Jars, heavy and solid produce do up front. Greens and pastries go in back. My fix gear with its one rack - LowRider.

LowRiders do have one characteristic one should heed. Since the rack is solidly attached at the rum, road vibration and shock to the pannier contents is real. Delicate items must be packed carefully. Weight in the panniers also serves as additional loading on the front wheel. Stay away from light rims and skinny tires. I do just fine on Mavic Open Sport rims and 28c Paselas but won't go less on a regular basis. (I'm 155 pounds and generally kind to rims.)
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Old 02-07-22, 12:09 PM
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Right now I'm using a backpack.

On the bike I'd prefer panniers. On a few old steel roadies I've owned, high tail loads have given the bike head-shake. I can see why some people do front but I'd do rear, prefer to keep the front poppy
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Old 02-07-22, 12:49 PM
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For a light load, I don't think it matters much. A DVD or paperback, you'll only notice when you get it out of whatever bag it's in.

Some folks say a heavy load on the rear makes it feel like the load is dragging behind you. I'll admit there's some truth to that observation, but IME a load on the front negatively impacts steering a lot sooner than a similar load on the rear. 10 pounds on the front leaves me feeling like I'm wrestling the bike; 20 pounds on the back is a bit of a drag, but it's still easier to steer the bike.
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Old 02-07-22, 12:51 PM
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a wald basket.
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Old 02-07-22, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
For a light load, I don't think it matters much. A DVD or paperback, you'll only notice when you get it out of whatever bag it's in.

Some folks say a heavy load on the rear makes it feel like the load is dragging behind you. I'll admit there's some truth to that observation, but IME a load on the front negatively impacts steering a lot sooner than a similar load on the rear. 10 pounds on the front leaves me feeling like I'm wrestling the bike; 20 pounds on the back is a bit of a drag, but it's still easier to steer the bike.
Have you used LowRiders? I stopped using handlebar bags 40 years ago because of what they did to the steering and never use conventional front racks. Started LowRiders with apprehension and was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, 40 pounds in 'em does affect/slow steering quite a lot but I can still get out of the saddle and wrestle my fix gear up any hill I can lug that extra weight.
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Old 02-07-22, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Have you used LowRiders? I stopped using handlebar bags 40 years ago because of what they did to the steering and never use conventional front racks. Started LowRiders with apprehension and was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, 40 pounds in 'em does affect/slow steering quite a lot but I can still get out of the saddle and wrestle my fix gear up any hill I can lug that extra weight.
Tubus Tara rack with Ortlieb Sportspacker panniers; the bottom is about 6" off the pavement.

Can I wrestle the loaded bike? Well, yes. Does it feel like wrestling with 10 pounds in the two panniers? Yes, it does. If I didn't know the headset was dialed in, I'd think the bearings were loaded too much and needed to be backed off. While you may be willing to put up with that kind of steering, I'd rather put my load in back.
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Old 02-08-22, 04:50 AM
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I prefer the weight in the front..

I have front and rear racks on my cross check but I put all the heavy stuff on the front
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Old 02-08-22, 07:56 AM
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So I am reading some of these suggestions and wondering why anyone would suggest low riders or any bag type system?

The OP is asking about loads under 10 lbs on a city bike. $20 wald basket and cargo net, what ever cheap rear rack and cheapo bag, or a back pack is all they need for that load. They probably own a back pack now seems like the most reasonable system to start with.
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Old 02-08-22, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by sloppy12 View Post
So I am reading some of these suggestions and wondering why anyone would suggest low riders or any bag type system?

The OP is asking about loads under 10 lbs on a city bike. $20 wald basket and cargo net, what ever cheap rear rack and cheapo bag, or a back pack is all they need for that load. They probably own a back pack now seems like the most reasonable system to start with.
I got hung up on the "bag of groceries." The Wald basket I know about is rather large and flat, not particularly conducive to a half gallon jug of juice or milk. Do you have a picture or link to one that will work well with that kind of load?
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Old 02-08-22, 08:54 AM
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I've used Wald folding baskets on the rear of my MTB-based commuter for decades with no control problems...however the weight does affect handling by requiring more force to lean and turn the bike, and of course pedaling with more weight takes more effort. Here's a photo of my bike with my heavy commute bag, a heavy old laptop and a heavy old tape recorder.


But stability is fine with the wider tires. In fact, here's a video of me with two 20-lb bags of snow-melt on snow and ice (with studded tires).
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Old 02-08-22, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
Iím building up a Surly Cross Check and Ďoneí of its uses will be running errands in town. I donít commute (hard to when you WFH!) but thought this crowd would know how to go about this in an economical way.

Loads I would be carrying should be relatively light to moderate, and not overly bulky. Maybe a hardcover book from the library, a DVD or two and something from the bakery, or a bag of groceries without anything too heavy.

Iím wondering how to know where I prefer the weight from a bike feel and handing perspective, without investing in racks and bags to try it out? I donít have a buddy with these things. I guess a shop may let me try this for a 10 minute demo with bags loaded with 5-10 pounds.

Anyone experiment with the Cross Check and find it prefers front vs. rear?
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I got hung up on the "bag of groceries." The Wald basket I know about is rather large and flat, not particularly conducive to a half gallon jug of juice or milk. Do you have a picture or link to one that will work well with that kind of load?
See I read bag of groceries and not to heavy. So gallons of liquid do not seem to be what they are asking about.

with that said a wald 137 will be totally fine for a gallon of milk. I carry beer all the time on mine. I think if the loads are getting into that range the only thing I would probably no longer recommend is the back pack.

I wouldnt want to do a tour with a load like this, but a quick ride back from the local quicky mart is no issue.
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Old 02-08-22, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I've used Wald folding baskets on the rear of my MTB-based commuter for decades with no control problems...however the weight does affect handling by requiring more force to lean and turn the bike, and of course pedaling with more weight takes more effort. Here's a photo of my bike with my heavy commute bag, a heavy old laptop and a heavy old tape recorder.


But stability is fine with the wider tires. In fact, here's a video of me with two 20-lb bags of snow-melt on snow and ice (with studded tires).
https://youtu.be/yskVO0mZMkA
The Cross Check (or at least mine) doesn't like weight in the back and get all wiggly..
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Old 02-08-22, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
The Cross Check (or at least mine) doesn't like weight in the back and get all wiggly..
Different bikes have different geometry, so yes, it may be issue for you.
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Old 02-08-22, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Different bikes have different geometry, so yes, it may be issue for you.
This thread is talking about Cross Checks though..
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Old 02-08-22, 06:03 PM
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When you are on a gravel or road ride (sounds like that is mainly what you will be doing), you will find empty racks annoying if you don't take them off.

I'd just use a backpack for 5-10lb loads and avoid the mess of mounting and un-mounting racks.

I occasionally have loads of 15-30lbs and use a Tailfin rack, primarily because it comes on/off in 30 seconds. The rear weight is not 100% ideal but it is much more important that I can get them on/off fast.
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Old 02-11-22, 01:05 PM
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For OP's use case, I'd go for either a rear rack with pannier (if everyday use) or just a backpack/messenger bag (if as needed use). I use an Axiom Streamliner rear rack that's not so obtrusive when I don't carry any load. Works well will panniers but won't work with a trunk bag.
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Old 02-18-22, 09:21 PM
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I REALLY enjoy having a frame bag on my bike. It handles weight well and is accessible while riding. They are a bigger benefit in a big frame than a small one.

A rear rack with trunk/panniers is pretty handy but not as loved as a frame bag by me.

I don't love my large Arkel handlebar bag because it makes the front wheel want to flop around while parking. Panniers on the front low-rider rack are the same to a lesser extent but ride well once moving.
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Old 02-18-22, 09:55 PM
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Did you figure out what you wanted?

Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
Iím building up a Surly Cross Check and Ďoneí of its uses will be running errands in town. I donít commute (hard to when you WFH!) but thought this crowd would know how to go about this in an economical way.

Loads I would be carrying should be relatively light to moderate, and not overly bulky. Maybe a hardcover book from the library, a DVD or two and something from the bakery, or a bag of groceries without anything too heavy.

Iím wondering how to know where I prefer the weight from a bike feel and handing perspective, without investing in racks and bags to try it out? I donít have a buddy with these things. I guess a shop may let me try this for a 10 minute demo with bags loaded with 5-10 pounds.

Anyone experiment with the Cross Check and find it prefers front vs. rear?
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Old 02-22-22, 10:09 PM
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For a few dvds or a book, any trunk bag on top of the rack is fine. Also a front bag/basket is really convienient.

for something with much weight, I like a pannier to keep the weight low.

I really love my Arkel Shopper and Metro (the new one is a little different than mine). The locking cam attachment makes it easy to install and remove the panniers with one hand, and you donít need to strap the bottoms down if you donít want to. These are not for touring, but are really well designed for everyday utility use.
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Old 02-24-22, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
without investing in racks and bags to try it out? I donít have a buddy with these things. I guess a shop may let me try this for a 10 minute demo with bags loaded with 5-10 pounds.
Having wrenched and flipped hundreds of bikes, I admit this is one of those things that may be personal just as saddles are to each individual, and often many of us go thru a few before nailing our favorite one.

If you aren't able to get cooperation from your LBS, try hitting up local and online big box stores that can give you refunds. Even an experience from the wrong attachments can give you a lot of insight on what to look for the next one.
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