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Help an old tourer understand something

Old 01-09-24, 03:26 PM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
... ... I find the bikepacking bag designs to be very creative and useful, albeit with somewhat less capacity for food, compared to panniers, thus a limit on trip duration potenially. ... ...
Yeah, the bikepackers that I have met when I was car camping next to a popular single track route were carrying no more than four days of food or maybe five at most. And they were all wearing backpacks because their bikes could not carry enough volume or weight. And they all seemed to run out of water every day before they made their destination.
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Old 01-09-24, 04:04 PM
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The rooster tail bikepacking bags that shoot up and out off the back of a bike make me chuckle because something like a Carradice bag is easier to pack, sits closer to the bike, sways less with a simple support, and holds more. Wizard Works Shazam, Carradice, even a Jammer or Zeitgeist.

These are 15l and 16.5l.

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Old 01-09-24, 05:56 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Thanks, but I am aware of the Carradice brackets, such as the Bagman.

I have been surprised how many people want to use the long skinny bags like the bags that you cite, then complain that they do not like the way they sway back and forth. My Carradice bag never had any side to side sway that I could notice. The one in my photo was a smaller one, but I have used a bigger Carradice bag for touring.

Someone I met on a tour had a DIY bracket to stop the swaying of his long skinny saddle pack, I took a photo. This also kept it from rubbing on his tire.
Arkel (from Canada) has a seat bag that includes a hanger and is very stable. Other companies use this strategy too and it works well. A lot of it also has to do with how you pack it and what you put in it.


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Old 01-09-24, 06:47 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
The rooster tail bikepacking bags that shoot up and out off the back of a bike make me chuckle because something like a Carradice bag is easier to pack, sits closer to the bike, sways less with a simple support, and holds more. ...
Yup.

In post 89 above, I had a photo of my Carradice Pendle.

Another DIY support I made below, also for the Pendle on my road bike which lacked loops on the Brooks saddle. I think I used 5/16 inch diameter aluminum rod for the support under the bag. This one is also on a stem with appropriate shim to fit on a seatpost.



My Nelson Long Flap sitting on top of a pair of Ortliebs, that was where I put most of our food on this trip.

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Old 01-09-24, 08:11 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Bikepacking started as I recall as an off-road adventure, where a touring bike might have been the poorer choice compared to a mt bike with larger tires plus maybe suspension.
'Underbiking'. It's a thing.
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Old 01-11-24, 10:47 AM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
It's bike dependent as well. Bikepacking started as I recall as an off-road adventure, where a touring bike might have been the poorer choice compared to a mt bike with larger tires plus maybe suspension. Such bikes typically cannot easily have panniers attached, especially if using a full suspension, so the alternative is a different bag system. I find the bikepacking bag designs to be very creative and useful, albeit with somewhat less capacity for food, compared to panniers, thus a limit on trip duration potenially. There a now a lot of variations and methods to mount racks and bags and variations in the type of bikes used to offer up any solution.
Bikepacking in the modern sense started when Revelate Design started making bags for the Ida-bike. It was originally mountain bike oriented as a way to get away from dragging trailers around. I’ve mountain bike toured with panniers, trailers, and bikepacking gear. For mountain bike touring, bikepacking gear is superior to the other two methods. They are marginally better than panniers and vastly superior to trailers. For a trip on rough terrain of from 3 to 5 days, bikepacking gear is very good with several warts…the load being way too high being the biggest wart. On those trips I suffer through freeze-dried meals.

However on trips that are longer than 5 days and where I have to actually cook something, you are entirely correct about the limitations of bikepacking bags. They really are poor carrying stuff efficiently. Every night is an exercise in trying to remember where some vital item for meal preparation is stored and every morning is a chore in trying to remember how all that stuff goes back in the bag.
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Old 01-11-24, 02:40 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
It was originally mountain bike oriented as a way to get away from dragging trailers around.
N.A. cycletouring went through a trailer phase, oh, around twenty years ago. There were magazine and internet debates on 'trailer vs. panniers'.

Meh, stuff comes and goes. Folks try new things and reconsider old ways. Today's bikepacking set-ups look much like the photos and drawings of cycletourists in the pre-Good Roads era.
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Old 01-11-24, 11:11 PM
  #108  
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Some interesting posts here. I was questioning why someone would avoid rear panniers with the reasons like single track, aerodynamics, etc, when they load up the forks with bags (while technically not panniers) does this not negate the reason?



For example, with my logic, I would put a rear rack, ditch the frame bag , have water more readily handy and ride more comfortably.
It's just my opinion, but when I see something that does not compute, I try to understand
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Old 01-12-24, 04:38 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Yeah, the bikepackers that I have met when I was car camping next to a popular single track route were carrying no more than four days of food or maybe five at most. And they were all wearing backpacks because their bikes could not carry enough volume or weight. And they all seemed to run out of water every day before they made their destination.
I will carry food for more than 4 days maybe crossing the Andes from Peru to Patagonia, when there is really no supply for a long time. Until then I love to taste a nicely made traditional meal and a bottle of wine, in little villages talking to locals. And if one is on a route where one has shops near buy, why carry food for longer? In that case I would prefer to buy fresh stuff.

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Old 01-12-24, 04:43 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Some interesting posts here. I was questioning why someone would avoid rear panniers with the reasons like single track, aerodynamics, etc, when they load up the forks with bags (while technically not panniers) does this not negate the reason?



For example, with my logic, I would put a rear rack, ditch the frame bag , have water more readily handy and ride more comfortably.
It's just my opinion, but when I see something that does not compute, I try to understand
In short: a bike without rear panniers behaves nearly like a a normal road bike. A bike with rear panniers does not, the weight in the back goes right, left, right left... it's ok on tarmac, but you don't want that off road. A frame bag does not change your bike behaving at all. When I switched from rear panniers to front panniers with a LOW TRAIL fork, that was a revelation! Never back to rear panniers.
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Old 01-12-24, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Some interesting posts here. I was questioning why someone would avoid rear panniers with the reasons like single track, aerodynamics, etc, when they load up the forks with bags (while technically not panniers) does this not negate the reason?



For example, with my logic, I would put a rear rack, ditch the frame bag , have water more readily handy and ride more comfortably.
It's just my opinion, but when I see something that does not compute, I try to understand
There are exceptions of course, but those bags in the cargo cages on forks usually have very small volumes compared to even some of the smallest panniers. And those bags are quite light compared to panniers in part because of their construction.

If the bike has full suspension, a rear rack can be problematic. And if there is no rear suspension, too much weight behind the rear axle and up high on a rack can give the bike pretty poor handling.

If you look at some of the tour divide race bikes, you see that some are experimenting with extremely minimalist and very light rear racks and small panniers to accomplish what you are suggesting.
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Old 01-12-24, 05:08 AM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by str
I will carry food for more than 4 days maybe crossing the Andes from Peru to Patagonia, when there is really no supply for a long time. Until then I love to taste a nicely made traditional meal and a bottle of wine, in little villages talking to locals. And if one is on a route where one has shops near buy, why carry food for longer? In that case I would prefer to buy fresh stuff.
When there is food available nearby to buy, I fully agree.

When I go backpacking with mostly dehydrated light weight food, it still weighs almost two pounds (~~0.9kg) per day and that is with a calorie deficiency. So, good luck with that plan to cross the Andes if you are using bikepacking gear.

I have carried over two weeks of food on a bike in the interior of Iceland where you could not buy much of anything, it was a heavy load. And most of it was dehydrated.
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Old 01-12-24, 10:21 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by tcs
N.A. cycletouring went through a trailer phase, oh, around twenty years ago. There were magazine and internet debates on 'trailer vs. panniers'.
Not exactly sure what you mean by “N.A. cycletouring” but I’d put the trailer phase closer to 30 years ago…mid 90s. Revelate Designs kicked off the current bikepacking bags craze around 2007.
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Old 01-12-24, 10:33 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Not exactly sure what you mean by “N.A. ...
North American

...I’d put the trailer phase closer to 30 years ago…mid 90s.
Hmm. Yeah. That's probably about right.
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Old 01-12-24, 10:40 AM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Some interesting posts here. I was questioning why someone would avoid rear panniers with the reasons like single track, aerodynamics, etc, when they load up the forks with bags (while technically not panniers) does this not negate the reason?



For example, with my logic, I would put a rear rack, ditch the frame bag , have water more readily handy and ride more comfortably.
It's just my opinion, but when I see something that does not compute, I try to understand
You aren’t completely wrong. I don’t really like fork bags, especially if the terrain is very tight. I put holes in a couple of them trails like this. I had to do a lot of bushwhacking on that trip and the bags got dragged across a lot of rocks.




On other trips, I’ve used a set of micropanniers that are large enough to carry 4 days of freeze-dry meals but small enough to be way up and out of the way.



The pictures that you’ve provided illustrates the problems I have with bikepacking bags for on road use as well as road use. The load is too high which makes the handling of the bike awkward. I’ve gone over the bars many times due to the higher load. It’s not optimal.

I’ve also tried a bag mounted on the frame to avoid the fork leg bag. That has problems as well. In this case, the front wheel kept hitting the bag on big hits. I wasn’t really worried about the bag stopping the wheel but it is a bit disconcerting when it happens.


If my travels are mainly on pavement or are on dirt roads, rail trails, or tow paths, this is my preferred set up. I’d much rather use panniers for their ease of use and organization on really long trips. They are easier to pack and easier to move. This particular picture was taken on the bridge across the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry. Getting the bike up and down the spiral stairs is damned difficult. I did take the bike up the stairs fully loaded.


I went back down the stairs in two trips with bags in hand. Much easier. I couldn’t imagine how to do that with bikepacking bags.

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Old 01-12-24, 10:42 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Some interesting posts here. I was questioning why someone would avoid rear panniers with the reasons like...aerodynamics...
Jan Heine sez he's done wind tunnel tests and the drag is less with your dunnage ahead rather than behind. He goes into detail in his book The All-Road Bike Revolution. Here's a bit on his website:

https://www.renehersecycles.com/aero...orld-bicycles/

Cycling About did some sniffing around on this topic as well.

https://www.cyclingabout.com/speed-d...sting-results/
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Old 01-12-24, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
And if there is no rear suspension, too much weight behind the rear axle and up high on a rack can give the bike pretty poor handling.
Sums up the major flaw with bikepacking bags. And the weight has been moved even higher. They also are being used on bikes that aren’t really designed to carry higher loads than the rider alone.
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Old 01-12-24, 11:53 AM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by str
…And if one is on a route where one has shops near buy, why carry food for longer? In that case I would prefer to buy fresh stuff.
Of my staples, oats, beans, coffee, rice, peanut butter, olive oil and tabasco, all come in packages that last 5-10 days. The rest, bananas, oranges, bread and trailmix can be bought on a daily basis, though I usually buy enough to last a couple of days at a time.

All in all though, it’s quite a lot of food to carry. It gets lighter until it’s time to restock. That’s basically all I eat on month long trips. Boring, some would say, but cheap and nutritious. I don’t like restaurants.

Hopefully, this was at least one answer to your question 😊

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Old 01-12-24, 05:12 PM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Sums up the major flaw with bikepacking bags. And the weight has been moved even higher. They also are being used on bikes that aren’t really designed to carry higher loads than the rider alone.
That was your response to me saying: And if there is no rear suspension, too much weight behind the rear axle and up high on a rack can give the bike pretty poor handling.

I have not used a bike packing type saddlebag, but I have used the larger Carradice saddle bags, specifically the Nelson Long Flap. And even with a lot of weight in that bag, the weight was supported by the attachment to the saddle and another attachment to the bike at the seatpost to prevent sway. That did not impair handling at all.

In my comment, I was commenting on that "tail wagging the dog" feeling you sometimes will get with a flexible bike frame if the weight on the rack is far back and up high.

But, I did note in a previous post in this thread that I have heard people complain about side to side sway with bikepacking saddlebags, perhaps that was what you were referring to?
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Old 01-12-24, 05:37 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
That was your response to me saying: And if there is no rear suspension, too much weight behind the rear axle and up high on a rack can give the bike pretty poor handling.

I have not used a bike packing type saddlebag, but I have used the larger Carradice saddle bags, specifically the Nelson Long Flap. And even with a lot of weight in that bag, the weight was supported by the attachment to the saddle and another attachment to the bike at the seatpost to prevent sway. That did not impair handling at all.

In my comment, I was commenting on that "tail wagging the dog" feeling you sometimes will get with a flexible bike frame if the weight on the rack is far back and up high.

But, I did note in a previous post in this thread that I have heard people complain about side to side sway with bikepacking saddlebags, perhaps that was what you were referring to?
The handing issue is similar to that of heavily weighted rear panniers. Sway is part of it but the bulk of the load on a bikepacking kit is much, much higher than panniers. I find that I have to particularly careful on steep downhills on rough terrain as the bike has a greater tendency to lift the rear wheel. The speed of the lift is faster because of the higher center of gravity so correcting for it is much more difficult than on an unloaded mountain bike. The result is more trips over the handlebars.

Sway has little to do with that and putting the bag on a rack on the seatpost wouldn’t solve the problem either. In fact, a bag like the Carradice would exacerbate the problem because it prevents moving back off the saddle which isn’t something that the narrower seat bag like those from Revelate do.
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Old 01-12-24, 05:49 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
... I find that I have to particularly careful on steep downhills on rough terrain as the bike has a greater tendency to lift the rear wheel. ....
Oh, I understand. I do not have a dedicated mountain bike, do not have the experience that you have. The few trips where I have been doing mountain biking, I used my heavy touring bike. On that the frame is designed for either the solid fork that came with it or a 100mm suspension fork. And I have used that for a few trips with a suspension fork. But it is a heavy steel bike, long chainstays, the Rohloff hub and heavy rims likely help hold it down too. I have not had any rear wheel lift problems, but if a hill looked that nasty to me, I would be inclined to walk the bike down the hill instead of risk riding it. I have walked it down a few of the hills in Canyonlands.
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Old 01-13-24, 04:10 PM
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I apologize for not reading all the posts, just too many posts and not enough time in a day.

There are many ways to pack a bike, and it could depend on what kind of bike camping you'll be doing.

I sort of agree with you about concerns of having too much weight up front, it definitely will make the front brakes work a lot harder, and put more stress on the headset, plus make steering much more difficult with slow handling.

Supposedly the idea weight distribution is 40r 60f to 50/50 but some bikes do better with a different combination, so you have to experiment with your load placement to see what your bike likes.

My 2019 Masi Giramondo preferred a weight placement of 80r and 20f, but there was something wrong with that frame because it would shimmy like crazy, and that weight distribution reduced it but did not eliminate it. When the bike shop guy rode the bike loaded he determined there was something wrong with the frame and it was dangerous to ride loaded, so Haro replaced the frame and fork this last couple of months, I haven't had a chance to load it and ride it due to the cold weather. But Haro was extremely quick at replacing the frame and fork which leads me to believe they might have known something was wrong with the steel, and were replacing them without asking questions as people complained. Most buyers probably didn't buy the bikes to tour on, so they'll never know there was a problem with the frame, which I think was the case because the shaking got worse the longer I had the bike.

At least Haro was quick and nice about replacing the frame and fork, the only other time I ever had a warranty issue was on a bike made by Orbea, the scandium frame started to crack at the top of the head tube radiated downward about a 1/4 of inch from the headset, the bike was 8 months old when I noticed the crack, Orbea refused to replace the frame under warranty, their logic was the frame failed due to fatigue and the warranty didn't cover that! Even the bike shop guy was surprised that Haro responded the way they did, he said most bike makers will go out of their way not to make good on their warranties.
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Old 01-14-24, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
...
My 2019 Masi Giramondo preferred a weight placement of 80r and 20f, but there was something wrong with that frame because it would shimmy like crazy, and that weight distribution reduced it but did not eliminate it. When the bike shop guy rode the bike loaded he determined there was something wrong with the frame and it was dangerous to ride loaded, so Haro replaced the frame and fork this last couple of months, I haven't had a chance to load it and ride it due to the cold weather. But Haro was extremely quick at replacing the frame and fork which leads me to believe they might have known something was wrong with the steel, and were replacing them without asking questions as people complained. Most buyers probably didn't buy the bikes to tour on, so they'll never know there was a problem with the frame, which I think was the case because the shaking got worse the longer I had the bike.

At least Haro was quick and nice about replacing the frame and fork, the only other time I ever had a warranty issue was on a bike made by Orbea, the scandium frame started to crack at the top of the head tube radiated downward about a 1/4 of inch from the headset, the bike was 8 months old when I noticed the crack, Orbea refused to replace the frame under warranty, their logic was the frame failed due to fatigue and the warranty didn't cover that! Even the bike shop guy was surprised that Haro responded the way they did, he said most bike makers will go out of their way not to make good on their warranties.
You are very lucky you got a new frame.

I had a first year of production Surly LHT that Surly refused to warranty. A frame builder explained to me in much more detail than I understood how the welder had their heat settings all wrong when they welded the bottom bracket shell. Made the bike handle like a wet noodle with a heavy load. The frame was so soft that if you pushed hard on a drive side pedal that the chain would rub on the front derailleur and a couple times it downshifted by itself because of that when I pedaled hard.

I eventually put the frame in a metal recycling bin. I did not want to pass that troublesome frame on to someone else.
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Old 01-14-24, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
You are very lucky you got a new frame.

I had a first year of production Surly LHT that Surly refused to warranty. A frame builder explained to me in much more detail than I understood how the welder had their heat settings all wrong when they welded the bottom bracket shell. Made the bike handle like a wet noodle with a heavy load. The frame was so soft that if you pushed hard on a drive side pedal that the chain would rub on the front derailleur and a couple times it downshifted by itself because of that when I pedaled hard.

I eventually put the frame in a metal recycling bin. I did not want to pass that troublesome frame on to someone else.
Maybe yours was extreme in that regard, but plenty of people have reported that their steel touring bikes handle that way with a heavy load. And front derailleur rub isn't unusual with steel frames, either.

As to the idea that using wrong heat settings during welding would turn a frame into a wet noodle---I hope you'll post that claim in the Framebuilders section. I'd love to see what our resident experts have to say. Seems implausible to me, but I'm not a frame builder.
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Old 01-14-24, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Maybe yours was extreme in that regard, but plenty of people have reported that their steel touring bikes handle that way with a heavy load. And front derailleur rub isn't unusual with steel frames, either.
....
Steel has more flex than aluminum, but I have two other steel touring bikes that do not have that problem with a heavy load.

And my steel rando bike and steel road bike are both much stiffer in the seat tube and bottom bracket area, those frames were not built to be stiff enough for touring yet that part of their frames are stiffer than the LHT that Surly refused to warranty. The frame was defective.
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