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front panniers?

Old 10-23-04, 04:29 PM
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front panniers?

anyone out there use front panniers instead of rear panniers for their commute?

here's the deal: my winter beater has relatively short chainstays.

in years past, i've carried my stuff in a carradice, so the chainstay length was never an issue. this year, i've got a new job and i need to carry more stuff on a regular basis than the carradice can handle.

i mounted a rear rack but even with the bags mounted all the way to the rear, i still hit my heels on the bags if they've got any amount of stuff in them.

so, i'm wondering if anyone runs front panniers only for commuting. i'd like to mount a low-rider in the front and use my arkel samurai bags on a day to day basis.

any experience with this? rack recommendations?

p.s. i'm not interested in messenger bags or backpacks (my commute is 15 miles long one way and there's no way i'm wearing anything on my back that long)
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Old 10-23-04, 04:44 PM
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you could probably mount an arkel bug or something on there. Nitto, or tubus front rack. Get a rack with a loop, they're way more stable.
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Old 10-23-04, 10:01 PM
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Uhm, I am not sure how it would handle.

I used to have front panniers and they give bike a great stability. However, I have also had heavy rear, so maybe if the front was too heavy, stability could suffer.
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Old 10-25-04, 09:53 AM
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Yup, I do that sometimes. I have front and rear racks on my commuter, and will sometimes put the panniers on the front if I'm carrying a duffel too, lashed to the top of the rear rack. My front rack is a Blackburn "Mountain Front 1" with a platform like the rear rack. No problems with handling, really. Still stable and predictable. The only issue is wind. If I'm in a crosswind, it take s a little more attention to maintain a straight track. Not a big issue, just how it works. Jandd Mini Mountain bags make a great commuting rear or front pannier.
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Old 10-25-04, 10:11 AM
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You certainly can carry yoru load on a front rack, and maybe it will be the best solution for you. I'd have a couple of concerns about it, though.

1. Winter commuting with front panniers on a low rider, I'd be worried about my gear getting sloppy with road muck and salt.

2. As others have said, carrying a load low and in the front makes a bike stable. Stability is the opposite of agility. If you are negotiating much traffic on your commute, stability may not be your friend.

Jandd makes an expedition rear rack that is 3 inches longer than most. It solved my heel-strike issues. Since you are buying a new rack, anyway, you might consider this option.
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Old 10-25-04, 10:10 PM
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I commute with a carradice saddle bag and find it works well for me. However I tour with front panniers (and saddlebag) and find the bike handles well - even riding in cities. The only downside I see is I find it awkward to attach and unattach front panniers to a rack on the front wheel. The wheel wants to flop back and forth and you are trying to secure your pannier. Bad language sometimes ensues.
Touring you only have to do this once a day or sometimes even less if you can leave the pannier s attached.
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