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One-piece vs two-piece front pannier racks

Old 07-01-22, 10:36 PM
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smasha
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One-piece vs two-piece front pannier racks

I'm seeing that some low-rider front pannier racks are one-piece (eg Surly Front Rack, Tubus Tara) with a "loop" or "shelf" connecting both sides, and some low-rider front pannier racks are two-piece (eg Tubus Duo, Salsa Down Under) with left and right halves physically/mechanically independent of each other.

Obviously, fat-bikes and and some other design features may dictate two-piece front-racks.

But if a frame can work with either one-piece or two-piece front pannier racks, what are the pros and cons of each? If it matters, I'll probably use it more for commuting than touring, so parking and city-dwelling idiots may be relevant, I don't know.
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Old 07-02-22, 12:17 AM
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two piece racks...........two flat panels with a hoop support..........pack better in luggage, but prolly won't have the option of an integrated cargo shelf. would need to buy a separate canti-boss bolt-on cargo rack.
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Old 07-02-22, 05:34 AM
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Idiots?
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Old 07-02-22, 06:11 AM
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I prefer the ones with a hoop over the top, it just looks more structurally sound to me. I have a Tara on one of my bikes, a Tubus Ergo (discontinued model) on another bike.

There are two kinds of the two piece, the better ones attach to both sides of the fork blade to hold the rack more firmly. The Tubus Duo is an example of one that attaches to both sides of the fork blade to make a stronger rack.

Some forks have only a rack mount on the outside of the fork, not on both sides of the fork blade, that would preclude a rack like the Tubus Duo.

Some of the cheaper racks attach to only one side of the fork. If you crash you are hoping that your rack bolts are strong enough to not break. And if one or both breaks, how do you remove the piece of bolt that is still in the fork?

I had trouble finding a rack I liked for one of my bikes, I ended up buying one of those cheaper racks that only attach at the outside side of the fork. But I made a DIY reinforcement bracket that attached to the rack and the inside of the fork blade.

My Tara:



The cheap rack that I bought with the DIY reinforcing brackets that I fabricated for it:



The reinforcing brackets are some steel bar that I had, sprayed them black. That extra reinforcement I think is important if you have this type of rack if you crash.



The yellow bike above has a coupled frame, it is much easier for me to pack the bike for travel with the two piece rack (as noted by Saddlesores). I really did not like that rack very much, but for this bike I wanted to raise my front panniers up higher by several inches, and that rack accomplished that, so that is why I am inclined to overlook some of that rack's shortcomings.

If you have canti brake posts on your fork, also as noted by Saddlesores, you can attach a platform rack to that type of fork, photo below. I did that on my bike with the Tubus Ergo (discontinued), the orange thing on the platform rack is my Polartec vest that I shedded earlier in the day. This aluminum platform rack was sold by Nashbar a decade ago. Sunlite makes (or made) a similar platform rack. But forks with canti brake posts are getting rare, so these racks might have been discontinued.



You mentioned the Surly rack, I had their front rack, I think they called it a Nice rack, it weighed a ton. I bought the Ergo to replace it, donated the Surly rack to charity.

But, I am a city dwelling idiot, so what do I know?
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Old 07-02-22, 06:46 AM
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Models with hoops or a shelf offer a bit more rigidity to the mounting system. In a separate mounting, you are relying on 2 bolts to hold the rack steady. On rough trails or roads you might want greater support, especially if the front load is heavy.
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Old 07-02-22, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Idiots?
When I lock my bike up during hours of darkness, and find pieces of the bike missing, or broken, or (this has happened a few times) someone is using my pannier rack as a seat. Maybe I can attribute that to fairies and gnomes when it happens in the countryside, but in the city it's always idiots.

“Cycling's enemy is not the car; it is the idiot. And idiots travel by foot, car, and bicycle.” - Bike Snob NYC
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Old 07-02-22, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I prefer the ones with a hoop over the top, it just looks more structurally sound to me. I have a Tara on one of my bikes, a Tubus Ergo (discontinued model) on another bike.
Yeah, my intuition tells me that a loop or rack over the top should add stability, if not strength. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. Ideally, I'd like to bolt it to the top of the fork, eg via a caliper-brake boss; it seems that none of the low-rider racks actually have this feature…?

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
There are two kinds of the two piece, the better ones attach to both sides of the fork blade to hold the rack more firmly. The Tubus Duo is an example of one that attaches to both sides of the fork blade to make a stronger rack.

Some forks have only a rack mount on the outside of the fork, not on both sides of the fork blade, that would preclude a rack like the Tubus Duo.
IIUC, it wouldn't necessarily preclude a rack like the Tubus Duo, but it wouldn't benefit from that rack's ability to bolt to both the inside and outside of the fork.
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Old 07-02-22, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
Yeah, my intuition tells me that a loop or rack over the top should add stability, if not strength. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. Ideally, I'd like to bolt it to the top of the fork, eg via a caliper-brake boss; it seems that none of the low-rider racks actually have this feature…?


IIUC, it wouldn't necessarily preclude a rack like the Tubus Duo, but it wouldn't benefit from that rack's ability to bolt to both the inside and outside of the fork.
When you say caliper brake boss, I am not sure if you mean the fork crown or if you mean canti brake posts. Tubus made a rack called the Smarti that you could mount on canti brake posts instead of using the mid-fork rack mounting points. I think it was intended for people that did not have the mid-fork mounting points. Not sure when it went out of production, but since the manufacturers have largely abandoned rim brakes, a lot of other companies have dropped making components or accessories that were rim brake oriented. Looks like one European company has one in stock.
https://www.xxcycle.com/low-rider-tu...-black,,en.php

Yes, you could use a rack like the Tubus Duo if you skipped using one of three mounting bolts on each side, but why would you buy a Duo if that was your plan? My comment was really intended to warn people to look at their fork before they buy the rack.
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Old 07-02-22, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
When you say caliper brake boss, I am not sure if you mean the fork crown or if you mean canti brake posts.
I'm thinking of a single, forward-facing bolt-hole that's dead-centre above the tire, top of the fork, below the steerer tube (if I have the terminology right?). I think I've seen some German dynamo-powered headlights that mount to that. In any case, I'd think that front pannier rack attachments at the top, middle, and bottom would give the most stability, and possibly increase durability and longevity. For whatever reasons, it seems that a bolt at the top is not in fashion.
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Old 07-02-22, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
I'm thinking of a single, forward-facing bolt-hole that's dead-centre above the tire, top of the fork, below the steerer tube (if I have the terminology right?). I think I've seen some German dynamo-powered headlights that mount to that. In any case, I'd think that front pannier rack attachments at the top, middle, and bottom would give the most stability, and possibly increase durability and longevity. For whatever reasons, it seems that a bolt at the top is not in fashion.
Some forks on touring bikes have mounting eyelets mid fork to mount low rider racks. The Roswheel racks I recently added mount this way as do Axiom racks. I like my Roswheel model,
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Old 07-02-22, 08:49 PM
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Like this?

https://www.tubus.com/en/products/fr...pedition-front
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Old 07-02-22, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Some forks on touring bikes have mounting eyelets mid fork to mount low rider racks.
Yeah, my new bike has those, and also a bolt-hole at the top of the crown (caliper brake boss?). I'm not sure if it has mid-fork bolts inside the fork - I haven't picked it up yet - but it comes with a front rack very similar to that Roswheel pair you've pictured, and if/when I upgrade, I'll probably lean towards a one-piece front rack, with a loop or shelf connecting both halves. Then I'll have to figure out materials.
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Old 07-02-22, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ross200 View Post
Like this?
Yes!

The Tubus Grand Expedition Front Carrier might be overkill and over-budget for me, but that's a design feature I think I'd want. Not sure why it's not more common…?

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Old 07-03-22, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
Yeah, my new bike has those, and also a bolt-hole at the top of the crown (caliper brake boss?). I'm not sure if it has mid-fork bolts inside the fork - I haven't picked it up yet - but it comes with a front rack very similar to that Roswheel pair you've pictured, and if/when I upgrade, I'll probably lean towards a one-piece front rack, with a loop or shelf connecting both halves. Then I'll have to figure out materials.
the Bontrager Carry Forward Front Rack attaches to the fork crown and the fork legs. One piece lowrider design.
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...rack/p/547612/
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Old 07-03-22, 12:53 AM
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With French fenders you can mount your German light to your German rack
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Old 07-03-22, 01:16 AM
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okie-dokie. i think this is what you want. this one his rails for front bags and a platform for cargo. attaches to drop out fender mounts and mid-fork bosses. some models like this skip the mid-fork mounts in favor of the center hole on the crown.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/35364585247...AAAOSwyPJiSMqP

or you can go with a classic blackburn lowrider attached to fender mounts with P-clamps on the fork legs.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/17533848089...kAAOSwV7ViwC2I
paired with a canti-boss platform secured to the crown bolthole. rated at about 10 pounds.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/33447617831...8AAOSwAoViN4JJ



Last edited by saddlesores; 07-03-22 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 07-03-22, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
the Bontrager Carry Forward Front Rack attaches to the fork crown and the fork legs. One piece lowrider design.
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...rack/p/547612/
Wow, that thing looks like a roll-cage for the front wheel.

I'm not seeing the net weight listed anywhere, but I'm wondering if that might be about the same weight as a steel rack like the Tubus Tara.
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Old 07-03-22, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
I'm thinking of a single, forward-facing bolt-hole that's dead-centre above the tire, top of the fork, below the steerer tube (if I have the terminology right?). I think I've seen some German dynamo-powered headlights that mount to that. In any case, I'd think that front pannier rack attachments at the top, middle, and bottom would give the most stability, and possibly increase durability and longevity. For whatever reasons, it seems that a bolt at the top is not in fashion.
I used a Surly front rack for two tours before I replaced it with a lighter Tubus lowrider rack. I added a small piece of bar steel to the Surly rack to attach at the fork crown, but it was an easy addition. You get the best handling if you have your panniers down low, and I almost never hear of a front rack failure, thus I think that the fork crown bolt would be a bit excessive if your rack was designed in a way that it would be hard to attach. I would not suggest buying a rack specifically because it had that much extra metal near the fork crown, making it a heavier rack.

Front racks are designed to carry less weight than the touring racks for the rear, so you really do not need that much extra reinforcing up front. I think my front racks are rated for half of the rear weight capacity or even less.

My folding bike uses 24 inch wheels, mine is an older model that uses rim brakes, but that model now uses a disc front brake. They now make a rack for it that attaches at the bottom of the fork and at the fork crown, but keep in mind this bike uses smaller wheels so it makes sense to have the pannier mounts up higher. This is the rack they sell as an accessory for that model now. Unfortunately, with my front V brake, I can't use that rack.



The stupid thing about that photo is that they did not put a disc brake rotor or calipers in the photo, but perhaps their customers will never notice that there is no brake on that wheel.
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Old 07-03-22, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post


With French fenders you can mount your German light to your German rack
I actually came in to post this. I love the Tara rack. I feel that hoop adds to stability (It may be 100% psychological) - but most importantly, I always run a handlebar bag, and that loop is also my preferred light attachment too.

BTW - I love that bike. I have been planning out my first 1x build on a cross check frame for my general around town fun bike, and local rail trail/MUP bike, and in my head it looks similar to what you have there
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Old 07-03-22, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by kstephens View Post
I actually came in to post this. I love the Tara rack. I feel that hoop adds to stability (It may be 100% psychological) - but most importantly, I always run a handlebar bag, and that loop is also my preferred light attachment too.

BTW - I love that bike. I have been planning out my first 1x build on a cross check frame for my general around town fun bike, and local rail trail/MUP bike, and in my head it looks similar to what you have there
I use one of these

https://www.bike-components.de/de/Or...tasche-p75145/

you can sorta see the mount


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Old 07-04-22, 05:36 PM
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I'm no engineer, nor do I play one on TV, but my front rack was designed and built by Bruce Gordon, and based on its performance, and the performance of his bike, to which it is attached, I vote for the connecting hoop on a one piece rack.
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Old 07-05-22, 06:42 AM
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I have the two-panel type, (Axiom non-disc) and mounted as instructed by the manufacturer I find they are not as secure as I would like - they tend to want to rotate around the fork legs after many miles. I recently fitted them to my fat bike for an upcoming trip and used the upper stays from a rear rack as an extra support.
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Old 07-05-22, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
I have the two-panel type, (Axiom non-disc) and mounted as instructed by the manufacturer I find they are not as secure as I would like - they tend to want to rotate around the fork legs after many miles. I recently fitted them to my fat bike for an upcoming trip and used the upper stays from a rear rack as an extra support.
not that you mention, i 'member i did have a set of those.
same problem, with weight on 'em, felt a little 'loose' on rough roads.
used a steel hoop-style fender strut for rigidity.



Last edited by saddlesores; 07-05-22 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 07-05-22, 08:19 AM
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To the original question, I suspect the answer may boil down to "how rough is your commute?" The two-piece front rack may suffice for a smooth route. OTOH, if your commute involves (like mine) allegedly paved streets and tree-root-heaved paths (1" high or so), or cobblestones, the extra stability of the hoop would be beneficial.

Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post


With French fenders you can mount your German light to your German rack
What kind of mount is on the Tara rack? Do you have trouble with the spray from your tire hitting the bottom of the light?
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Old 07-05-22, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
not that you mention, i 'member i did have a set of those.
same problem, with weight on 'em, felt a little 'loose' on rough roads.
used a steel fender hoop-style fender strut for rigidity.


The Axiom also installed on an angle on my bike, the position of the upper mount did not line up with my fork eyelet. I did not like that design and returned it to REI.
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