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Weight Distribution

Old 04-25-05, 09:40 AM
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Weight Distribution

Hey Fellas.

After going through my equipment for a weeklong tour in a few weeks, it looks like I have the potential to fit it all in two large rear panniers, on the rear rack, and in a handlebar bag, thus eliminating the need for a front rack and panniers. Should I do this? I could run two front panniers and one rear pannier instead, to better distribute the weight... With just the two rears the water would all be stored on the frame (3 water bottle holders), and the handlebar bag would hold some weight, but the rear would really be heavy compared to the front. Any ideas, experiences?

Thanks!
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Old 04-25-05, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by theden
Hey Fellas.

After going through my equipment for a weeklong tour in a few weeks, it looks like I have the potential to fit it all in two large rear panniers, on the rear rack, and in a handlebar bag, thus eliminating the need for a front rack and panniers. Should I do this? I could run two front panniers and one rear pannier instead, to better distribute the weight... With just the two rears the water would all be stored on the frame (3 water bottle holders), and the handlebar bag would hold some weight, but the rear would really be heavy compared to the front. Any ideas, experiences?

Thanks!
I've found that I would rather carry the bags and the weight on the front wheel rather than the back if the load is small. The bike handles better. If you put the weight of the tent, sleeping bag and pad (if you carry those items) on the rear rack, it balances the load nicely.
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Old 04-25-05, 10:42 AM
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My preference would be to have the two panniers on the back nearer to the centre of gravity. My advice would be to load it up and try the two options before deciding. This is always a good idea anyway before going on tour as it lets you shake the bike down and sort out any difficulties.
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Old 04-25-05, 10:48 AM
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My bike handles a lot better with some weight in the front panniers. However, we've all seen people who carry everything on the back. I think it's going to depend a lot on your specific bike and how much weight you are carrying.

Sounds like you already have the gear for the rear and are trying to decide if you should buy the racks/panniers for the front. Why don't you load it all with your real tour load, as if you are going w/o the front rig, and ride it for a couple of hours, make sure you try all the terrain conditions you expect on your tour (up/down, paved/unpaved). If the it feels wobbly/swoopy or shimmies, you might want to consider the front rig. If you're happy... go for it. A week isn't that long.

Cycocommute's loading idea sounds really good, but you would want to try it, and it sounds like you don't own the front racks yet.

Good luck, and happy touring!
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Old 04-25-05, 10:54 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys!

I do have the front racks/panniers, just wondering if I should use them or not. I guess the best way to find out is to take a few rides around town. The front alone sounds like an idea. This is a Trek 520 BTW, it has done great before loaded front and rear, but I have never tried going without all four panniers...
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Old 04-25-05, 12:22 PM
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Well, if you already have the front bags, why not take them? Don't fill them up though...
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Old 04-25-05, 12:31 PM
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Well, if you already have the front bags, why not take them? Don't fill them up though...

Well, really the only reason would be to save the weight of the panniers and rack. I'm trying to fine-tune my equipment list this time around. Probably incidental weight, I guess.
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Old 04-25-05, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by theden
Thanks for the replies guys!

I do have the front racks/panniers, just wondering if I should use them or not. I guess the best way to find out is to take a few rides around town. The front alone sounds like an idea. This is a Trek 520 BTW, it has done great before loaded front and rear, but I have never tried going without all four panniers...
I've found that if you are going to have handling issues - high speed shimmy or skittish steering - it worse with all the weight in the back. I've never had handling issues with front loads. In fact that's the way I carry my stuff to work when I ride.
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