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To rack or not to rack?

Old 10-17-11, 04:52 PM
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To rack or not to rack?

If you had your ideal bike commuter bag in your possession right now, would it strap directly to your frame or would it require a rack?
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Old 10-17-11, 05:42 PM
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Other than racing bikes, I prefer that all my bikes have racks.
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Old 10-17-11, 05:45 PM
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Rack.
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Old 10-17-11, 06:02 PM
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Rack. Absolutely.
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Old 10-17-11, 06:10 PM
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Rack. Well, with conditions.

There is no single 'ideal' commuter bag. Some days, I don't need anything. Others, I'm taking a half load of laundry to and/or from work. Still others, I'm hauling a couple weeks' worth of lunches to the office. Or I'm picking stuff up on the way home. Maybe I've got leg and arm warmers, a vest, and maybe a long-sleeve jersey in addition to everything else.

I go from riding with just the stuff in my jersey (wallet, phone, etc) to a stuffed handlebar bag, to a rack with a few things on top, to one or two full panniers.

The ability to adjust to meet that day's needs is what is valuable.
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Old 10-17-11, 06:12 PM
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PB's Eco Rack, took some work to get it on my bike (Trek Montare 2011 w/disk brakes and a rear fender), but has performed admirably since. Selected it because it's the only rack I could find under $50 that would hold my U Lock between the rail and the solid deck w/o locking or unlocking needed.
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Old 10-17-11, 06:13 PM
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I like racks.
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Old 10-17-11, 06:14 PM
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You can do things w/o a rack, but it's easier with the rack!
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Old 10-17-11, 06:15 PM
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I love my rack!
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Old 10-17-11, 07:16 PM
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If the weather is nice and I'm feeling good, I prefer a backpack. If my motivation is low, a rack is very nice to have.
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Old 10-17-11, 09:28 PM
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On my commuter/town/daily do everything bike, Rack. Useful for many things.
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Old 10-17-11, 09:53 PM
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I have a Axiom Streamliner rack on the back of my Spesh Allez. I leave it on because sometimes I use my panniers but most of the time I have a messenger bag I carry everything in. RichardGlover pretty much summed it up: Sometimes you just need to carry a CC card, your ID and a Clif bar. Other times, you're packed to the gills. Having a rack keeps that flexability that most of us commuters crave (no, need!).

Also, what kind of question is that? What commuter bag can you strap directly to the frame? If we're being technical here, only bento bags and and frame wedges actually strap to the frame and they never hold much else than a spare tube and a small multi-tool (if that). If people are commuting with bags that small then I must be missing something.
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Old 10-17-11, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by That Linux Guy
Also, what kind of question is that? What commuter bag can you strap directly to the frame? If we're being technical here, only bento bags and and frame wedges actually strap to the frame and they never hold much else than a spare tube and a small multi-tool (if that). If people are commuting with bags that small then I must be missing something.
I thought the same thing. Perhaps it's a frame bag that you attach to your vacuum cleaner to give it that added volume uptake, so you'd end up with a 2 inch width bag that fits snugly between the top tube, seat tube, head tube etc... amazing huh!? Except you'd be lacking a place for your water bottle and pump...

I never go rackless!
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Old 10-17-11, 10:53 PM
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My most recent commute arrangement was to carry my things in a large saddlebag (Carradace Camper) strapped to the saddle. I was able to park my bike inside the office, so there was no need for a bag that could be quickly removed from the bike. Previously I had used a pannier bag when I had to lock my bike up outside. But either way I still had a rear rack on the bike. Even if not needed for the daily commute it was still handy to have for other utility trips.
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Old 10-18-11, 12:43 AM
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Racks don't make you faster, but they do make your commute very much easier.
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Old 10-18-11, 04:25 AM
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I'm old enough to have used panniers that strapped on the rack. My QR Ortliebs definitely make me faster in that regard. I even bought the rack system for my Carradice saddlebag for that exact reason.

Come on mattiasthegreat, you've now started three threads on this same subject. Isn't it about the time you start giving something back? What kind of design do you have in mind?

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Old 10-18-11, 04:43 AM
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My ideal commuter bag is my backpack because I usually have a pretty light load and don't have to dress fancy for work (edit: I also like to bunnyhop and otherwise unweight my rear wheel from time to time and crap on the bike proves a great hindrance to those activities). I still take the bike with rack and panniers occasionally, though.

Originally Posted by That Linux Guy
Also, what kind of question is that? What commuter bag can you strap directly to the frame? If we're being technical here, only bento bags and and frame wedges actually strap to the frame and they never hold much else than a spare tube and a small multi-tool (if that).
There's always the Jandd frame bag and the full-triangle deals like the one below that...




Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 10-18-11 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 10-18-11, 05:30 AM
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Rack(s) front and rear, thank you. So the cabron fairies snicker when I pull up to a group ride. Oh yeah, great for hauling groceries, too.
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Old 10-18-11, 06:09 AM
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A Carradice Barley is the perfect commuter bag for me in the cooler months, but I get by with a smaller Acorn bag when it's warm and I have less gear to carry. I currently have no need for racks and panniers as I try to travel light. I keep food and spare clothes, shoes in my office and restock on days that I drive, so that minimizes the amount I need to carry most days. My commute route is pretty hilly and I don't want to lug racks and panniers up and down all the hills.
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Old 10-18-11, 09:34 AM
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Definitely to rack. It's the only way to commute (for me).
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Old 10-18-11, 09:45 AM
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none of my bikes have racks. i'm all about the backpack. weight on me instead of the bike makes bike handling more responsive and fun!

besides, i never carry all that much when i ride. living downtown, all of my regular errands are within a couple blocks, so i just walk for grocery runs and things like that.
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Old 10-18-11, 09:56 AM
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Rack, definitely. It's more comfortable and efficient to let the bike carry the load, and then I power the bike.

I have an assortment of panniers and bags, but the current favorite is the Ortlieb Downtown commuter pannier:



It is a good all-around size for carrying a change of clothes and shoes and lunch. The QL2 system mounts the bag securely but allows it to be removed or mounted quickly, and it fits a range of rack tube diameters (I have a nonstandard rack). The top of the bag folds over securely (contents have stayed dry in extended downpours). It is VERY well constructed and durable.
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Old 10-18-11, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel
A Carradice Barley is the perfect commuter bag for me in the cooler months, but I get by with a smaller Acorn bag when it's warm and I have less gear to carry. I currently have no need for racks and panniers as I try to travel light. I keep food and spare clothes, shoes in my office and restock on days that I drive, so that minimizes the amount I need to carry most days. My commute route is pretty hilly and I don't want to lug racks and panniers up and down all the hills.
I used a barley for a while but was always bungee-ing stuff to the outside since everything I wanted to bring didn't fit. Got a Sport Bagman and a Super C and I couldn't be happier -- fits all my junk with ease, and if I overstuff I still got the side pockets and finally I could just bungie everything up again if the need arises.
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Old 10-18-11, 03:04 PM
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In the summer, I don't want a bag on my back, so a rack is good. In the winter, I tend to carry a little more, so a rack is good.
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Old 10-18-11, 03:10 PM
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I'll answer C, strapped to my back. Well, I don't know about ideal, but with the various bags/panniers I have now, it's a lot faster and easier to use my backpack. Don't get me wrong, I have front and rear racks and wald folding baskets for groceries, but on the commute, it just works better for me to be wearing the weight rather than have it strapped to my bike.


Tip: sternum and hip straps are key.
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