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Panniers Make Load feel lighter???

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Panniers Make Load feel lighter???

Old 09-23-08, 09:00 PM
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spaceballs
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Panniers Make Load feel lighter???

I have been commuting for a month or so by bike. I have a five mile commute [not long] but I am still getting in shape so I am a sweaty mess when I get there. Plus it is hot, etc.

OK.

The real question is this. I have a Surly LHT, with a rack on the back and a milk crate hose clamped to the rack. I have a messenger bag that I typically throw in the crate rather than ride with [less sweaty]. I know the weight is pretty high up, and the bag typically weighs 15-20 lbs or so.

I went for a ride earlier today without the bag and I was able to go much faster. I didn't know if this is just because I was lighter, which I was [I weigh 190 or so, and the bike is 30-ish] by ~10% or so.

I know the weight is carried pretty high in the crate, and I had a question for those with panniers. Would carrying the weight [even though it is the same weight] lower make the bike feel lighter while riding? Attached is what the bike looks like; the crate is pretty low, for a crate. How much a difference would panniers make?
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Old 09-23-08, 09:32 PM
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Being lower center of gravity, it would make it feel more stable, but not likely lighter or faster.
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Old 09-23-08, 10:02 PM
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yeah i ride with a milkcrate and with any weight it makes my bike feel wobbly. Because the bike is tipping back and fourth I use energy holding onto my handlebars to keepi the bike stable, so it would make sense that it feels like you might be going faster when the weight is lower.
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Old 09-23-08, 10:38 PM
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if your commute is a straight(ish) line, i'd say leave the crate cuz it will be more aerodynamic than panniers and u don't benefit much from a lower center of gravity.

if your commute is a zig-zaggy urban warfare type situation, then u may benefit more from the stability of lower center with panniers and the ride may in fact feel easier, faster, etc.

imho.
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Old 09-24-08, 04:52 AM
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well... having it on top would probably be more aerodynamic because your body is already breaking the wind.. so probably not

*Edit* just realised the dude above me said the same thing.. ah well
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Old 09-24-08, 06:34 AM
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For the last 15 years, I've had a big basket zip-tied to the back rack on my bike. Loved the convenience of just being able to toss stuff in it (and hand a nerdy home-made strap to buckle things in so they didn't fly out on bumps).

Two weeks ago I took my bike to the LBS for a new chain. While I was there, I picked up a set of panniers. A couple of times I'd almost tipped over going around corners because of the heavy load so high in the basket. It's night and day difference with the panniers. I'm a convert. I don't really notice the weight at all back there and the bike handles much better. Although I swore by the basket for years, I won't go back to it.
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Old 09-24-08, 10:24 AM
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LHT frame is designed w/ large all-around burdens in mind, from an esthetic standpoint it seems like you got an SUV but are loading it like a coupe w/ a clamshell on top.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:09 AM
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I've used a milk crate for years. Either strapped fast using bungie cords or cable tied. I've been looking at those baskets lately... kinda retro, but then so isn't commuting by bike??!!
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Old 09-24-08, 11:27 AM
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I had a milk crate for a month or so when I first started commuting - then got panniers.
I'd second the stability issues - I don't think it necessarily feels lighter, but handles better definitely. And not so top-heavy when at a stop-light either.
I wouldn't go back if I had a choice...
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Old 09-24-08, 11:29 AM
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I switched from a backpack to Panniers a few years ago (6ish), the change for me was massive. I am so much happier with panniers.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Nobodyetal View Post
I had a milk crate for a month or so when I first started commuting - then got panniers.
Same for me. And, the handling is MUCH improved with the panniers. I will never go back.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by djwid View Post
I switched from a backpack to Panniers a few years ago (6ish), the change for me was massive. I am so much happier with panniers.
+1 Riding with a backpack (even if it is empty) sucks.
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Old 09-24-08, 05:26 PM
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I don't like panniers or trunk racks for commuting, but with my messenger bag a small change in weight can make a huge difference in how fast I feel. Like the difference between having my 14 oz coffee cup full or empty, or bringing in my lighter weight dress pants instead of the heavier ones.
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Old 09-24-08, 06:12 PM
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I was commuting (10 miles one way) with my messenger bag and hated it. My back and chest got all sweaty, back pain, shoulder sore, and it partially blocked my vision while looking over my left shoulder to see upcoming traffic. I bought a dirt cheap used Blackburn rack at a thrift store, and then some new panniers from work. I love them. I don't have the back or shoulder pain and I am less sweaty when I arrive at work. I noticed a slight difference in bike handling, but not huge. It feels for stable, but sometimes the front end feels a little lite. I want to add a nice front rack to my bike and try loading a few things on that instead of all of it in the back.
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Old 09-24-08, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by vaticdart View Post
I don't like panniers or trunk racks for commuting, but with my messenger bag a small change in weight can make a huge difference in how fast I feel. Like the difference between having my 14 oz coffee cup full or empty, or bringing in my lighter weight dress pants instead of the heavier ones.
I think my way of thinking is more in line with yours. I try to take the minimum. My goal is to be able to ride as fast as I can depending on my energy level. If my commute was long I might be less concerned about going fast and more concerned about endurance and having more supplies.

I might end up getting the saddle bags anyway because I really don't like wearing a back pack either.
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