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Pannier Heel Strike - how to avoid?

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Pannier Heel Strike - how to avoid?

Old 07-11-07, 02:57 PM
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Pannier Heel Strike - how to avoid?

Greetings,

First off, I'm new here but have been cyclist since I was tall enough to hop onto my banana-seat 'Sunriser' from..Wards, I think it was. Maybe Sears.

So, I've been commuting for a while now on a Schwinn World Avenue One, 8 miles each way, and am enjoying the heck out of it. I've been using a backpack and would like to jettison the thing. The bike has a standard size rear rack. I picked up an Arkel Commuter pannier, and no matter how I adjust the thing - moving the rack itself, moving the lower hook and cams to get the bag as far back as possible, etc etc etc - I still get a relatively healthy heel strike. In short, this thing isn't going to work. This strikes me as strange because surely people use these all the time, and the frame and rack setup is standard stuff. I think the issue may be that the bag is HUGE, and simply a smaller pannier might be the trick.

Any tips, tricks, recommended products, etc to address heel strike problems with bigger bags? I understand that 'once I go rack, I'll never go back' and I'm determined to get there.
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Old 07-11-07, 03:12 PM
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Jaand expidition rack or similar have a much longer rack and bottom attach point so you can push the panniers back.
I had one on my old hybrid with arkels (T42s I think) and my foot didn't even come close. I now have a fuji touring bike with a generic came with it rack and once and a while I'll hit the bags. I have to clip out and kick em back. If I don't get an xtracycle attachement soon I may have to get another expodition rack because some days with heavier loads it because a real quality of biking issue
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Old 07-11-07, 03:33 PM
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I have the Arkel Commuter on my Surly Cross Check. No heel strike for me. It is mounted back as far as it can go just to be safe. The Cross check has fairly long chainstays compared to a standard road bike or track frame. I'm using a standard old blackburn MTN Rack.

I may be a combination of a shorter rear end geometry on your frame, the size of the bag, and perhaps do you have fairly large feet?

A tubus rack might work for you, they have a farily long profile but they cost a bundle. Before you dump the arkel, try some other panniers just to compare for strike. it may be you have shorter chainstays than you think.

I like that "Once you go rack you never go back" I wish I'd thought of it. I am a believer for sure.
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Old 07-11-07, 04:34 PM
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I've got a cheapo rack and either the bag runs in the spokes or I get occosianol heel strike. I deal with it, for now. Thought of duct taping it or something like that, but that'd be hideous, and I don't want people thinking I'm homeless.
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Old 07-11-07, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by evblazer
Jaand expidition rack or similar have a much longer rack and bottom attach point so you can push the panniers back.
I had one on my old hybrid with arkels (T42s I think) and my foot didn't even come close. I now have a fuji touring bike with a generic came with it rack and once and a while I'll hit the bags. I have to clip out and kick em back. If I don't get an xtracycle attachement soon I may have to get another expodition rack because some days with heavier loads it because a real quality of biking issue
+1

I had the same problem with a pair of saddlebags I bought in Amsterdam (they're huge). I can't remember the rack brand off the top of my head, but it was a touring style rack, which meant I could push it further back, plus it has an extra bar in the back to keep the end of the bag from coming in contact with the wheel (also another problem with these bags).

Actually now I remember, the brand is Axiom, and this is the exact rack.

http://www.axiomgear.com/product/rac...uct.php?id=145
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Old 07-11-07, 05:52 PM
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I pretty much can't use panniers on anything but a touring bike with long chain stays . Stupid big feet.

Do you know how long the chainstays are on your bike? And how big your feet are? That might provide some context to your dilemma.
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Old 07-11-07, 06:41 PM
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Much thanks for the insightful replies - a lot of good information here! I'll look into some alternative racks such as the Axiom and Jaand. To answer a few questions, I really don't have all that big of feet (don't believe the rumors) - I wear a size 43. The stays on the bike are definitely longer than on a typical road frame, which only causes me more general confusion about the fit. This is the bike I'm using:

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...slisearch=true

Thanks again for the great replies, and keep 'em coming!
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Old 07-12-07, 09:46 AM
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Ok, comparing my set up to yours: Looking at your bike it has the exactly the same length chainstays as my cross check (425mm) and your foot size is smaller than mine (45.5) I'm running 175mm cranks, clipless pedals, arkel commuter, old Blackburn MTN rack and still have a 3 inches of clearance.

My conclusion: It's that factory rack on your bike that is the problem. The way it's built and mounted is too far forward.

Suggested Solution: You need a different rack to get things back further. Go to your LBS and try some out.

Good luck!
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Old 07-12-07, 10:43 AM
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I use the Arkel T-42 which is over 40 inches whide. Your Commuter is only 29 inches wide. I don't think it's the bag.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:47 AM
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I had the same problem and had to construct new brackets for the top mount to push the TOP of the pannier back. Problem solved.

I went to a place that sells al sheet metal and the like and had them cut me 2 strips that were longer, went home, drilled em out and presto.

You will love those things, weight low and easy to balance.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by modernjess
My conclusion: It's that factory rack on your bike that is the problem. The way it's built and mounted is too far forward.

Suggested Solution: You need a different rack to get things back further. Go to your LBS and try some out.
+1
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Old 07-12-07, 12:05 PM
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Hope I'm not hijacking too much here:

I'm 6'6" and wear a size 16 (US) shoe. I ride a Schwinn MTB that I'd like to do some touring on. I have a rack on it already (a blackburn that came with the childseat I had - rated to 40#s), but haven't tried any bags yet. I don't wear dedicated cycle shoes or even clips (though I'm going with the latter eventually because I can't find big enough shoes). My heel currently comes to about an inch in front of the axle. I assume this severely limits my pannier options, if not eliminating them. Any hope of me touring on this bike with panniers?
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Old 07-12-07, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GuitFiddle
Much thanks for the insightful replies - a lot of good information here! I'll look into some alternative racks such as the Axiom and Jaand. To answer a few questions, I really don't have all that big of feet (don't believe the rumors) - I wear a size 43. The stays on the bike are definitely longer than on a typical road frame, which only causes me more general confusion about the fit. This is the bike I'm using:

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...slisearch=true

Thanks again for the great replies, and keep 'em coming!
Can I get your impressions on the Performance World? I'm considering it. There's been several posts about it here, but I think your the first one that I've seen that has one. What would be the equivalent to World's that are on the Schwinn site?
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Old 07-12-07, 05:47 PM
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I started with my panniers all the way back when the bike was new. Since then, I've moved them forward about an inch. It improved the center of gravity a little, and the only time I have heel strike is when I kick my feet off in a rearward (rather than outward) direction, which I absent-mindedly do at stop signs occasionally.

Rack: Blackburn EX-1
Panniers: Nashbar Townie Baskets (reinforced)
Shoe Size: 43
Bicycle: Nashbar NB-SF2 frame
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Old 07-12-07, 09:49 PM
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One of my bags slides forward on the rack rail while pedaling. Putting a small clamp around the rail (such as a small version of a radiator hose clamp) "locks" the bag into position.

So, you might verify your bag is as far back on the rack as possible, and that it is not shifting while riding.
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Old 07-12-07, 09:51 PM
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You guys are definitely making me think. I'm still pretty baffled by the possibility that the rack may be worthless. I say that becuase I got the pannier WAY back on the rack at the top - but the bottom hook mounting point is the reason I can't get it out of the heel strike zone. In that regard, the rack on my bike is very much like all the others I've seen - the bottom mounting point is basically right over the rear axle. I haven't seen other racks with further rearward mounting points. Maybe I'll just give one a shot and see what I find...
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Old 07-12-07, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bugmenot
Can I get your impressions on the Performance World? I'm considering it. There's been several posts about it here, but I think your the first one that I've seen that has one. What would be the equivalent to World's that are on the Schwinn site?
I got mine in-store for $399 - they were running a sale. For that price, I really have nothing but good things to say about it. It's pretty much perfect as a commuter for not a lot of bucks. It has a decent component compliment and really only needs lights to be complete (if you need them). It's speedy enough, forgiving without being a slug, pretty lightweight, and has a good riding position for awareness. The only stinker is the brakes (Promax). They aren't terrible, per se, but they certainly aren't that good either. They are fairly weak and require a hard squeeze to get any real results, the front brake emits a harrowing 40000 db squeal that's enough to raise the hackles on every primate within 10 miles, and when they get wet, forget about it. You could probably cure most of these evils with just some good brake pads, but I haven't tried yet. The only thing I've changed are the pedals (to clipless), everything else I'm happy enough that I've left it alone.

They don't really have an equivalent on the Schwinn site - these must be Performance-only bikes (although they do have the same frame). The Performance bike has a nicer component mix, but lacks the disc brakes of the others. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
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Old 07-12-07, 10:14 PM
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http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FREXP

The bottom hook can go anywhere along that bottom piece there. So you can have it a few inches behind where the axle is. I'm sure there are others this is just the one I used in Connecticut to commute all year long in any weather on my old Schwinn Disc Brake Hybrid.
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Old 07-13-07, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by evblazer
http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FREXP

The bottom hook can go anywhere along that bottom piece there. So you can have it a few inches behind where the axle is. I'm sure there are others this is just the one I used in Connecticut to commute all year long in any weather on my old Schwinn Disc Brake Hybrid.
Ah....I see. That makes more sense. If you have to stab the brakes or something though, couldn't the bottom of the bag (or the whole thing) slide forward and nail ya?
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Old 07-13-07, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by GuitFiddle
Ah....I see. That makes more sense. If you have to stab the brakes or something though, couldn't the bottom of the bag (or the whole thing) slide forward and nail ya?
I think the key is to make sure the top hooks don't slide up the rails by using (as suggested in earlier post) a small hose clamp or similar to keep it locked (blocked) in place so it can't slide forward. If the top doesn't move the bottom will stay put as well.
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Old 07-13-07, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by modernjess
I think the key is to make sure the top hooks don't slide up the rails by using (as suggested in earlier post) a small hose clamp or similar to keep it locked (blocked) in place so it can't slide forward. If the top doesn't move the bottom will stay put as well.
a thin strip of duct tape wrapped a couple times around the rail also works good.
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Old 04-07-08, 12:52 PM
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I just picked up one of these "Mass Load Mule Rack"s from nashbar.com because I was having some serious heel strike issues on my commuter (an old specialized hardrock mtb converted to commuter). This thing is working absolutely great for me. I now have several inches of clearance between my heels and my panniers.
AND, the rack is really cheap. Currently on sale for $12.99.
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...All%20Products


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Old 04-07-08, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by wrongdave View Post
I just picked up one of these "Mass Load Mule Rack"s from nashbar.com because I was having some serious heel strike issues on my commuter (an old specialized hardrock mtb converted to commuter). This thing is working absolutely great for me. I now have several inches of clearance between my heels and my panniers.
AND, the rack is really cheap. Currently on sale for $12.99.
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...All%20Products


How long is that rack? What is its dimensions as compared to the Jannd Expedition?
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Old 04-07-08, 01:30 PM
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My wife use these Panniers on a fairly small bike and has no problems
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...%3A%20Panniers
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Old 04-07-08, 04:16 PM
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Shorter feet.

I agree, smaller panniers may solve the problem. How much room do you need? You may have to use a combination of panniers, trunk bag, frame bag, seat bag, etc. For a while I was using a frame bag/seat bag combination. That worked well.
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