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Front pannier racks..I don't get it

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Front pannier racks..I don't get it

Old 08-10-16, 07:35 AM
  #1  
fishboat 
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Front pannier racks..I don't get it

I'm fitting out a touring bike and have arrived at the front rack question.

I know, many tour without a front rack..though in the event I think I'll need one, I'd like have the "which one?" decision made. Also..if I know what I'm looking for, it's easier to jump on a deal if one comes along.

So my question...Why are front rack sooo pricey? I have a Axiom Journey adjustable rear rack (model 2429) that I picked up new for $22.

When I look at the various front racks they run 4, 5, 6, 7 times that money. And when I look at front rack construction...beyond basic design changes to accommodate the front fork location, front racks look pretty much the same as rear racks..same tubing..similar complexity of machining-build. Often they are even more simple in design and are rated for less weight than rear racks. So why the high price? Less competition? Fewer suppliers?

One that isn't very expensive & I like the design of(combines a top rack & front pannier hangers into one unit), is the Sunlite. I'm not fond of, don't really need the QR skewer mount as I have mid-fork & lower braze ons, but the design makes sense. I haven't come across much discussion of anyone actually using the Sunlite rack though...is it junk or does anyone use it?

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Old 08-10-16, 07:42 AM
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True Touring bikes can be pricey.

I could ride no hands with my front rack loaded.

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Old 08-10-16, 08:32 AM
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fishboat, The advantage of front low riding racks, where the panniers placed as close to the axle CL as possible, is to promote stability while under way. Yeah, they'll cost more than the parcel rack pictured, but the weight will be lower with a much more secure mounting scheme. The more secure mounting will also allow more weight to be carried by the stronger, less dished front wheel allowing for better load F/R balancing.

Brad
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Old 08-10-16, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
fishboat, The advantage of front low riding racks, where the panniers placed as close to the axle CL as possible, is to promote stability while under way. Yeah, they'll cost more than the parcel rack pictured, but the weight will be lower with a much more secure mounting scheme. The more secure mounting will also allow more weight to be carried by the stronger, less dished front wheel allowing for better load F/R balancing.

Brad
Thanks Brad..lower center of gravity would be a plus with respect to handling, though I like the top rack for carrying something bulky & light like a sleeping bag, tent, or sleeping pad.

If I went with a low-rider rack, I'd probably end up getting a separate above wheel rack for carrying a light-bulky item...this is why I liked the combo in one rack.

Though there are low-rider racks with the above wheel rack built in (like the Surly Nice Front Rack).

This is a Trek 920 Front Rack I just stumbled on, hadn't seen it previously..looks like a reasonable design with lower cost..anyone with experience on this rack"




Still..my original question..I'm just a little baffled why front racks cost so much more than decent (not necessarily expensive) rear racks. They're basically the same raw materials, same labor, same machining process/equipment, just a different layup jig.. Though I understand cost & price have no relationship to one another..maybe just the lack of inexpensive knock-off competition allows the existing manufacturers to demand a high price..and get away with it.
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Old 08-10-16, 08:47 AM
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I have my Tent in one of the front panniers.
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Old 08-10-16, 08:48 AM
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Touring cyclists have had racks break on them. The heavier the load, the rougher the road, the less expensive the rack, and the unluckier the rider, the greater the chance of it happening to you.
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Old 08-10-16, 09:00 AM
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The Soma Porteur rack is quite versatile. Small panniers on lower bar and optional fence on top:

Deluxe Porteur Rack ? Black CrMo | SOMA Fabrications
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Old 08-10-16, 09:06 AM
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I think the answer you're looking for is front racks are niche items, made by a small number of companies, most catering to the high end market.
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Old 08-10-16, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
I think the answer you're looking for is front racks are niche items, made by a small number of companies, most catering to the high end market.
After looking at every front & rear rack option I can find..that's my take-away. Though lots of folks here are much better versed in touring topics than I am..so I thought I'd do a reality-check. If front racks are a 'niche market' and rear racks are a consumer market (more so)..then it comes down to pay-da-man for a front rack or you don't play.

Of course I was also hoping someone would know of a low rider front rack with a top fence rack attached that was good quality and ran less than $50..new..as the used market appears to be non-existent. Ain't nuthin easy..
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Old 08-10-16, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by AusTexMurf View Post
The Soma Porteur rack is quite versatile. Small panniers on lower bar and optional fence on top:

Deluxe Porteur Rack ? Black CrMo | SOMA Fabrications
That does look versatile..but once I get into that price range (>$120)..there's a whole bunch of options..even the Surly rack
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Old 08-10-16, 09:43 AM
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Tubus. chromoly steel tubus - Tara

Packs down small, when you have to Box the Bike to tour more places than Loops from Your Front Door.

& will last your lifetime + ..
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Old 08-10-16, 09:53 AM
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It makes sense to me that front racks would be better than rear racks for handling, but how are they when you want to slow the bike on a descent? I flipped a bike once when I tried to scrub off speed going down a long hill (with no luggage) and have been wary of that ever since. I now shift my weight back as far as possible when going down hills, but I'm not sure if that would help much with extra weight over the front axle.
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Old 08-10-16, 10:12 AM
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FWIW, while I perhaps overloaded it, I wasn't too impressed with that Axiom rack. Just never felt that secure to me. Fiancee had no complaints, though, so maybe I'm just nitpicking too much.

After one tour, I can definitely say I'm also in the market for a front rack, and I agree on the lack of reasonable options. All my gear plus my 205# self on the back tire made the front way too light.
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Old 08-10-16, 10:25 AM
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Axium makes a front rack for about the same money you just paid for the front rack. Journey DLX lowrider.
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Old 08-10-16, 10:27 AM
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As I continue to bang about the web..it appears the Jandd Extreme is pulling ahead of the pack in terms of an integrated low-ride & top rack, mounting options (I have both mid-fork and fork-end mounts on the bike), overall size..or lack of it, and price. I still think it's over-priced by about 2-3X..but..I can't make one myself, so there's not many options..



Not my bike..just an image of it mounted:
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Old 08-10-16, 10:30 AM
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You're asking why manufactures charge a fortune for taking maybe $10 worth of tubing, bending it and maybe welding on tab here and there and drilling a few holes? Because they can. Not only that the more expensive it is the "better" it is.😀
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Old 08-10-16, 10:49 AM
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Don't try this with a flimsy front platform rack. Worth all 19,000 pennies to me.
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Old 08-10-16, 10:53 AM
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I use a Minoura MT-4000SF on my bike. It is made from tubular STEEL and is not expensive.
https://www.amazon.com/Minoura-MT-40...ura+front+rack



I can assure you it handles hefty loads very well. It carries my 35lb photo bag and 15lbs in my front panniers with no problem.



At ~$68.00 USD it's a steal. I had to make brackets to attach it to my bike, but that was very easy.
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Old 08-10-16, 12:12 PM
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Small market low turnover. I have broken/worn out 5 rear racks and just one front rack over 30yrs.

Only in PNW bike towns do I see people rocking front racks on non-cargo, non-grocery bikes.

If you have multiple mid fork eyelet non-disk bikes I like the jandd racks. However, I've been eyeballing minoura expedition racks. The only on the road grouchies regarding front racks I have heard about from other riders are with two piece front racks.
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Old 08-10-16, 12:33 PM
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They may be on the pricey side but they are worth it for apportioning weight. What is in the front racks can be accessed while straddling the bike on the road, so I tend to put my rain jacket and some minor repair gear (e.g. allen keys, spray lube, snacks, etc) in the front, along with other stuff. I personally like the high racks because I use the top part for awkward shaped stuff or my cooking gear, instead of jamming it into my panniers.
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Old 08-10-16, 01:02 PM
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Rear Rack, panniers + Handle bar bag may be good enough for you ..

It has worked for others [famously Ian Hibell ]

do what you want.
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Old 08-10-16, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
As I continue to bang about the web..it appears the Jandd Extreme is pulling ahead of the pack in terms of an integrated low-ride & top rack, mounting options (I have both mid-fork and fork-end mounts on the bike), overall size..or lack of it, and price. I still think it's over-priced by about 2-3X..but..I can't make one myself, so there's not many options..



Not my bike..just an image of it mounted:
I use the Jandd Extreme front rack (on a Trek 520). It's probably stupid heavy, but I like the solid top platform.
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Old 08-10-16, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RichSPK View Post
It makes sense to me that front racks would be better than rear racks for handling, but how are they when you want to slow the bike on a descent? I flipped a bike once when I tried to scrub off speed going down a long hill (with no luggage) and have been wary of that ever since. I now shift my weight back as far as possible when going down hills, but I'm not sure if that would help much with extra weight over the front axle.
OTOH I found that having a set of loaded front lowriders was the absolute best thing to have when descending gravel roads with loose sand at the bottom of the incline. I found plowing full speed into the sand was safe because the lowriders helped keep the wheel from slewing side to side. I didn't come to try it all or nothing the very first time. I was cautious and braked quite a bit, then found the wheel tracked much straighter than I anticipated. I kept increasing the speed on subsequent hills and found the more speed the better. It wasn't until I had slowed to <10 mph that the steering got squirrely. The weight centered over the front axle adds nothing to the tendency of flipping the bike in my experience.

And yes, keeping one's weight as much as possible over the rear wheel is what I would do in all such cases and I have 1 1/2" tires on 26" wheels.

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Old 08-10-16, 02:26 PM
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I put a rear rack on the front of my bike. Looked at frame bags or handlebar bags?
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Old 08-10-16, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MixedRider View Post
Axium makes a front rack for about the same money you just paid for the front rack. Journey DLX lowrider.
Though I have Axiom bags and an Axiom rear rack that I love, even I wouldnt get that front rack based on all the reviews across so many websites.

Stabilizer bar is needed.
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