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Racks and Panniers for 2013 Surly Disc Trucker

Old 12-30-20, 05:19 PM
  #1  
SoFloGirl68
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Racks and Panniers for 2013 Surly Disc Trucker

Hi everyone, first post here. I just bought a 2013 Surly Disc Trucker and I'm trying to figure out what racks and panniers to purchase. I'm a total newbie to touring. I just started cycling seriously in March and then when I realized that bike touring is a thing, I became obsessed. I'm an avid lifelong traveler but this idea, calls to me. Anyway, I have been looking at a Tubus Tara rack for the front since I read that hanging the front panniers lower is a bit better for maneuverability. I have no idea on the back rack. I'm leaning towards the Arkel panniers because I feel like the metal clip seems to be a better idea than plastic although many people seem to love their Ortliebs. Anyway, I have no concept of the space of a 25 liter, 35 liter or 45 liter pair. Is it better to buy a larger one that I don't necessarily have to fill (I'm a light packer in general). Any advice or tips welcome even if it's not about racks and panniers. Thank you!
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Old 12-30-20, 06:06 PM
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Do you have a sense of what length of trip you are likely to take? Also camping or staying in motel etc? That has a big impact on how much gear you may want to carry.
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Old 12-30-20, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by AeroGut View Post
Do you have a sense of what length of trip you are likely to take? Also camping or staying in motel etc? That has a big impact on how much gear you may want to carry.
Under 2 weeks and camping. Sorry I did not think to include that!
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Old 12-30-20, 10:14 PM
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I love my Arkel GT-54s not cheap but look almost new after many years. I would not hesitate to recommend them (aside from budgetary restrictions and maybe weight). The organizational capabilities are excellent though I have lost stuff in the bags forgetting which pocket I put it in but nothing that bad. I am always glad to have it. In terms of space it depends on what you are carrying but I would generally want a little extra space just in case you want to bring something to the campsite or carry extra food or water or something like that. Better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it. However keep in mind you have to carry everything you bring and sometimes the extra space can lead to bringing some extra stuff you wouldn't normally want or need but you had the space so why not.

In terms of racks Tubus, Tubus, Tubus. Aside from a Bruce Gordon or Robert Beckman Designs set up (or similar master built custom racks) Tubus makes some of the finest. Very lightweight but super strong and durable, plenty of cyclists have used them all over the world. I replaced a Surly Nice Rack with a Tubus Cargo Evo and a Duo front rack and the two Tubus racks together weighed less then the Surly rack and the rear rack holds a little more in their testing (not that I have gotten close to testing that myself).

One of the things people have suggested in the past and I think is is a brilliant idea is in preparation for the trip lay out everything you will need for the tour on your couch and live from that for the planned trip time and see what you use and don't use (minus maybe tools and other important stuff you wouldn't need in an at home test) Those 20 pairs of underwear you thought you needed you might not. A lot of people pack a lot of extra clothes they don't really need. One to wash and one to wear is my general philosophy depending on length. If I am doing 3-5 days I might pack 3+ bibs and such because why not. Longer I won't want to schlep the extra stuff.
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Old 12-30-20, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by SoFloGirl68 View Post
buy a larger one that I don't necessarily have to fill
Yes, you will need some extra space for food for dinner that night.
40 liter panniers seem like a good fit (for me).
I'm a light packer but this gives ample space for some food, also.
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Old 12-31-20, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
IThose 20 pairs of underwear you thought you needed you might not. A lot of people pack a lot of extra clothes they don't really need. One to wash and one to wear is my general philosophy depending on length. If I am doing 3-5 days I might pack 3+ bibs and such because why not. Longer I won't want to schlep the extra stuff.
Heh. Reminds of that guy years ago whose packing list included something like 7 dress shirts and multiple pairs of jeans.

When it comes to basic on and off bike clothes Iím pretty much a one and one guy, although many times I only take one off bike synthetic T-shirt, and on one short, easy trip I did take 3 bibs and 3 jerseys. And, of course, I donít pack multiples of things like rain jackets and warmers.
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Old 12-31-20, 05:20 AM
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If you are a life long traveler, does that mean camping and backpacking experiece? If so, the packs that you carried your gear in probably had a liter rating when new, internet might be able to give you the specifications.

Alternatively, put all your stuff in a big cardboard box or two, measure the length, width, height of your stuff in the box, calculate volume. You can convert cubic inches to liters on internet, or roughly one liter is about 60 cubic inches.

You can strap a dry bag on top of rear rack for overflow stuff.

Food takes a lot of volume, ideally you can keep your food volume (and weight) down by planning to stop at grocery stores every two or three days. Don't go on a low calorie diet on a bike trip, you will burn calories at a high rate for every hour you are on the bike.

There are dozens of different racks, vary in price, weight capacity, how well they fit on a disc brake bike, some variation for wheel size and how high the rack mounts on the frame are above the axle, some are built specifically to lower the center of gravity by mounting panniers lower, etc.

Dozens of different panniers, some waterproof, some have more pockets, volume varies greatly, some have crappy rack mounts and some have great mounts, color, shape, etc.

If there was a generic set of perfect answers, there would not be dozens of products to choose from. You could start cheap and if you enjoy it buy better stuff later.
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Old 12-31-20, 07:02 AM
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Thank you Tourist in MSN for those tips! I feel like that makes a lot of sense and I wonder why I didn't think of these ideas!
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Old 12-31-20, 07:23 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I love my Arkel GT-54s not cheap but look almost new after many years. I would not hesitate to recommend them (aside from budgetary restrictions and maybe weight). The organizational capabilities are excellent though I have lost stuff in the bags forgetting which pocket I put it in but nothing that bad. I am always glad to have it. In terms of space it depends on what you are carrying but I would generally want a little extra space just in case you want to bring something to the campsite or carry extra food or water or something like that. Better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it. However keep in mind you have to carry everything you bring and sometimes the extra space can lead to bringing some extra stuff you wouldn't normally want or need but you had the space so why not.

In terms of racks Tubus, Tubus, Tubus. Aside from a Bruce Gordon or Robert Beckman Designs set up (or similar master built custom racks) Tubus makes some of the finest. Very lightweight but super strong and durable, plenty of cyclists have used them all over the world. I replaced a Surly Nice Rack with a Tubus Cargo Evo and a Duo front rack and the two Tubus racks together weighed less then the Surly rack and the rear rack holds a little more in their testing (not that I have gotten close to testing that myself).

One of the things people have suggested in the past and I think is is a brilliant idea is in preparation for the trip lay out everything you will need for the tour on your couch and live from that for the planned trip time and see what you use and don't use (minus maybe tools and other important stuff you wouldn't need in an at home test) Those 20 pairs of underwear you thought you needed you might not. A lot of people pack a lot of extra clothes they don't really need. One to wash and one to wear is my general philosophy depending on length. If I am doing 3-5 days I might pack 3+ bibs and such because why not. Longer I won't want to schlep the extra stuff.
First things first, vegan bikes and Clark Griswald - I love it! If you are vegan, I'd love to know what you eat on the road that packs easily. I'm not vegan but I eat very close to vegan. Anyway, I was wondering what the difference is between the Duo and the Tara front rack? Also, interesting that you mentioned the nice rack. It seems to be popular but I read over and over how heavy it is and ruled it out. It's hard to make any educated decisions when you don't know what you are doing so glad I might have got that one right.
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Old 12-31-20, 08:33 AM
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In my view, the front rack is where you want to be sure to have the right one. It will dramatically affect the way the bike handles when you put weight up front. It's been my experience, if the weight is lower, it can improve the way it rides. This is why I love Tubus Tara, because they are absurdly strong and you're able to put the weight lower than any I know of. The engineering of Tubus is impressive, which is needed more up front, as it's much more difficult to put a rack capable of carrying heavy loads there. At this point, there's probably a dozen or more great choices for the rear. I like the Surly ones for the money, but again, I don't worry so much about it, because I bet a pannier mounting system would fail well before a modern rear touring rack would.

Just as an anecdote, the front end of my bike was sticking out from the garage while the door was closing and it got stuck on my front rack. The door got completely destroyed (no sensor). No hint of damage to the rack.
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Old 12-31-20, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by SoFloGirl68 View Post
... Anyway, I was wondering what the difference is between the Duo and the Tara front rack? Also, interesting that you mentioned the nice rack. It seems to be popular but I read over and over how heavy it is and ruled it out....
Tara, there is a hoop that goes over the front wheel. The Tara does not have a lot of adjustment, a small number of unusual forks will not have a horizontal bar being horizontal. Very strong. I have a Tara on one of my bikes. That said, I could not get one to fit very well on one of my bikes, I use a different rack on that bike.

Duo, that one does not have a hoop over the wheel, the rack attaches at mid fork on both sides of the fork. Some forks only have the midfork mount on one side of the fork blade, you can't use the Duo on those forks. I assume that the Surly fork has mounts on both sides.

I assume you mean the Surly rack when you said nice rack. Quite heavy. I had one, I donated mine to a charity about eight years ago, I bought a Tubus Ergo (now out of production) to replace the Surly rack. I wish the Ergo was still in production, but it is not.

I am not familiar with your fork, some people have trouble mounting racks and fenders on disc bikes, keep that in mind when you shop.
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Old 12-31-20, 10:42 AM
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I use a Tubus Tara front rack and a Tubus Logo Evo rear rack on my Disc Trucker.
I use both Ortleb front and rear roller bags.
Attached are photos of front rack installation. It required a few modifications for mounting and attaching mudguards.
Is you Disc Tracker frame the same color ?










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Old 12-31-20, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by SoFloGirl68 View Post
First things first, vegan bikes and Clark Griswald - I love it! If you are vegan, I'd love to know what you eat on the road that packs easily. I'm not vegan but I eat very close to vegan. Anyway, I was wondering what the difference is between the Duo and the Tara front rack? Also, interesting that you mentioned the nice rack. It seems to be popular but I read over and over how heavy it is and ruled it out. It's hard to make any educated decisions when you don't know what you are doing so glad I might have got that one right.
Yes, vegan for 12 years or so. Though it is not a diet, it is about not exploiting animals but I digress as I could get deep into that topic and that is not the our subject here.

TVP is something that is easy to carry and easy to cook. I have seasoned it put it into small baggies and then cooked it in my pot as a stew or soup or as a filling for a sammich or taco or burrito. I am also a big fan of ProBars, Sahale snacks nut blends and Primal Strips. I find the key to eating while traveling via bike is to have some easy to cook but interesting meals something that makes you excited for dinner after a long hard ride. One time I dehydrated some homemade Mac and Cheese (before I really knew much about dehydration, I should have just done the sauce and veggies and left the pasta out of it) and it was quite tasty. I had made a cheese sauce with cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, various spices and a few other secrets and it was quite tasty. I could imagine doing it again and simply grinding up the dry ingredients to a powder (or as close as possible) and then cooking the pasta and towards the end adding the dry sauce and that probably would work out better.

Freeze-dried beans are also a good idea as you can do some fun stuff. There are also plenty of ready to eat meals some of which could be better served in different packaging which I have done (McDougalls noodle cups are excellent) I am also a big fan of stopping at farm stands along the way, nothing better than a nice fresh peach on a hot summer day (maybe watermelon but not carrying that with me). Also the shelf stable pickle packs are excellent, pickle juice is very popular amongst athletes while they are training and competing to prevent cramps and help replace some electrolytes and plus pickles are delicious.

I recommend having some spice blends you like to add flavor. I personally make my own a lot of times but plenty of great ones already exist that can also be upgraded as well. Bring plenty of nutritional yeast, it doesn't weigh much and always adds good flavor and nutrition. Soy milk powder can also be handy as you can make sauces or add to oatmeal

If you are looking for pre-prepped stuff this is a decent list:
https://www.freshoffthegrid.com/vegan-backpacking-food/
There are also tons of other blogs on the subject, just search vegan backpacking.

Certainly I can provide more help as I do enjoy cooking and working on this stuff so if you have further questions you can ask here or PM me.

In terms of the Tara and Duo they are for different mounting styles. The Duo is for forks that have thru-bolts meaning you can put bolts in on either side of each fork leg and they go all the way through and the tara is for single sided fork legs where they can't hence the bracing arm that goes over the tire. On my old Disc Trucker (probably near your vintage) I could do the Duo and when I had my Co-Motion built I made sure I had the same ability so I didn't have to get new racks. Granted I haven't had time to do much touring so I haven't really used my front rack that much. If I am doing a shorter trip I will usually just use my rear panniers or bike packing bags.
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Old 12-31-20, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by biker222 View Post
I use a Tubus Tara front rack and a Tubus Logo Evo rear rack on my Disc Trucker.
...
Outstanding description and detail in graphic.
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Old 01-01-21, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Outstanding description and detail in graphic.
That was sent to me from another Disc Trucker owner that I used to build my DT.
The front was much more involved than the rear.
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Old 01-01-21, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by biker222 View Post
That was sent to me from another Disc Trucker owner that I used to build my DT.
The front was much more involved than the rear.
It is a common question, not just for Surly bikes but other disc brake bikes. And you had the best posting to describe how to do it that I have seen.
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Old 01-02-21, 10:26 AM
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The SKS Mudguards support wires had to be customized also. I created a reference set from coat hangers and bent wires to match with a vise and vise grips.
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Old 01-02-21, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by biker222 View Post
The SKS Mudguards support wires had to be customized also. I created a reference set from coat hangers and bent wires to match with a vise and vise grips.
well you did a great job, they look really good and uniform. I went a much more simplified method for my Troll, a bit ugly but it works. Don't have photo on hand, but used a short piece of metal with two holes in it to set the mounting area back a few inches to avoid the caliper. Has worked well up to now, about 4 years
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Old 01-03-21, 07:08 AM
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Thanks for the detailed reply! I'm a newbie and I'm a little concerned now that I'll be able to get my racks on. I do have a local friend who is very mechanically inclined with bikes but he's not into touring but maybe he could understand the diagrams.

Also, my DT is the same dark green. Is yours 2013?
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Old 01-03-21, 07:32 AM
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Soflo, when your friend or whoever puts the racks on, just mention about using loctite. It's a blue luiquid kinda like thin nail polish that you spread over the threads of a bolt, and after the bolt is screwed in, the loctite functions as a bit of a sticky bond and helps with stopping the bolt from loosening due ti vibrations.

its really common on bikes that rack bolts loosen over time.
this is why it's really good to periodically check them, especially on tour, as the pannier weight puts more jiggles and force into the bolts.
Ive always done a weekly bike check over on tour, clean etc, and checking the rack bolts will catch a slightly loosening bolt that unchecked, can and will fall out eventually.

have fun exploring this touring thing. It's great fun.
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Old 01-03-21, 11:03 AM
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I think it a 2013 DT.

I rode it from MN to Santa Barbara,CA in 2014 using the Northern Tier and Pacific Coast route.
It was blown off a picnic table at a Oregon park when upside down while I was doing maintenance and fell on a concrete fire ring. Luckily, no damage to bike or racks.
2016 I rode to Bar Harbor Maine.
Only minor issues like flats and tightening the bar end shifters.

Below is Day1 photo on trip to west coast.

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Old 01-03-21, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by biker222 View Post
I think it a 2013 DT.

I rode it from MN to Santa Barbara,CA in 2014 using the Northern Tier and Pacific Coast route.
It was blown off a picnic table at a Oregon park when upside down while I was doing maintenance and fell on a concrete fire ring. Luckily, no damage to bike or racks.
2016 I rode to Bar Harbor Maine.
Only minor issues like flats and tightening the bar end shifters.

Below is Day1 photo on trip to west coast.

Is that Donn Olson's place?
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Old 01-03-21, 03:19 PM
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Tubus rack, and Ortiebs. Tubus racks are seriously good. They will last as long as the bike.
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Old 01-03-21, 10:30 PM
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With a large saddlebag that unrolls into several times it's perceived volume, a randonnuer bag in the front and front panniers you don't need to worry about any racks in the rear. Check out:

Wizard Works (particularly the Shazaam saddlebag)
Swift Industries (beautiful panniers)
Carradice (Look at the nelson and camper longflap saddlebags)
Waxwing
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Old 01-04-21, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Is that Donn Olson's place?
Yes. Really nice guy and interesting about his background and reason for building the bunkhouse.
I met two other guys coming from west coast later that day stayed overnite.
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