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panniers and weighting

Old 08-04-07, 07:50 PM
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panniers and weighting

I have a giant OCR touring bike, and im about to head off on a 17 day trip. im carry all my gear and some food, and was wondering how best to weight my bike, and do i need front panniers.


finding panniers that work with the disk brakes is a real pain in the ass, and expensive (well the only ones i can find are crazy expensive)...


so if i front panniers are a must (instead of piling everything on my back, and in my handlebar bag) does anyone know of a rack that will work with disk brakes? (that isnt crazy expensive)
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Old 08-04-07, 08:34 PM
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Front panniers are not a must.

I prefer to ride with front panniers, but I've done tours with just rear panniers and I'm about to embark on another one tomorrow. I thought about putting my front rack back on for this tour, but decided I wouldn't bother.
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Old 08-05-07, 09:55 AM
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While I have nothing against front panniers, they are in no way a must. I have crossed the country twice unsupported with just rear panniers. It is all in reducing the amount of gear that you take.
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Old 08-06-07, 10:21 AM
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I agree that there's no rule against only using rear panniers, but there are some considerations. One of the most common mechanical problems while bike touring is breaking spokes. It's always on the rear wheel, and almost always on the cassette side. This is because most of the rider's weight is on the rear wheel, and the spokes on the cassette side have less dishing, and are under more stress. If you have a heavy rider, carry lots of stuff, and have a rear wheel of questionable sturdiness, this is a fairly likely occurence.

It can spoil a tour. I experienced this on a trip from Seattle to Santa Cruz. Once the first spoke broke, I started breaking them with greater frequency. By the end I was breaking spokes every other day, on average, and broke two the day I called the trip off.

The solutions to this are: 1) reduce the load on your rear wheel by putting some of it on your front wheel; 2) get a better rear wheel; or 3) lose some weight, Fatso! #3 isn't an option for me, so I've concentrated on #1 and #2. I put as much weight as I can on the front wheel with front panniers, and I have a very strong rear wheel, hand tuned by an experienced bike mechanic. On my last few tours I haven't broken a spoke.

I weigh about 210 lbs. I've never weighed the load I bring on tour, but say I bring 40 lbs. of stuff. That makes my total load 250 lbs., the majority of which is on my rear wheel (if I don't have front panniers.) If you only weigh 150, say, and bring 40 lbs. of stuff, that would make your weight considerations far less of a problem, and the weight on your rear wheel with only rear panniers would be quite a bit less than mine with both front and rear.

So, I guess my input would be that distributing your weight by using front panniers becomes less important if the rider weighs less, and if the rear wheel is sturdily built.
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Old 08-06-07, 09:05 PM
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I agree on the rear wheel, nice to have a good one for having a load on it.

Did a few days last year on the mojave desert with my wife's OCR3. Rear racks, Ultegra/Open pro 32h wheels, two gallons of water (with camelback) camping gear, and only a sleeping bag bungied to the handlebars with a feed bag. That much weight on the rear makes it tough to pedal out of the saddle but overall what a comfortable bike for a tour. Did 97m first day with no problem except I was too tired to pitch my tent so slept on top of it.
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Old 08-06-07, 10:07 PM
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Stuart,
You don't really provide enough information to answer your question. But. Provided you are relatively light yourself, try to reduce the amount of gear you take. Can you get away without a tent? Can you take a light-weight sleeping pad and bag? Are you going to be cooking or can you eat your big meals in restaurants and just carry cold food (no stove)? Really examine what is absolutely essential.

Regarding racks: Have you looked into Old Man Mountain or are these the ones that are "crazy expensive"? (I agree).

Do you have the 36-hole wheels? Probably you will be okay if you go relatively light...It also depends on how remote you are going to be.
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