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Old 10-06-10, 08:09 AM
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Panniers

I have never rode with panniers yet because I have not taken my first long distance tour that would require lots of storage and I don't have a bike set up for them. They seem illogical to me. When you look at a bike rider and think about trying to be a little more at one with the wind, the idea of panniers on the front forks and that low seems to make little sense. A front rack seems more logical since you body is higher and wind resistance in that area is the greatest due to the alignment with your body. Also, it would seem more logical to me that utilizing the rear rack that would be position luggage behind your body would have less resistance than having some low baggage that would be behind your legs. Legs are much smaller and separated to allow wind to move through at a greater rate. Your body is where the issues of wind are at their greatest. I feel I can store enough things on two racks and a handlebar bag to go around the world, but I don't see many doing that. That leads me to believe I am wrong about my way of thinking since there are so many well educated that ride bikes great distances. Am I incorrect in my way of thinking? I am also not interested in an answer that say, who cares about wind resistance when touring. Efficiency is pretty logical IMHO. Also, weight distribution higher on the bike does make riding a little more difficult and that may offset my wind resistance reasoning, but I have had a 5 gallon water bottle on the rear rack before. It wasn't a very enjoyable ride home with that due to the shifting of the liquid and how much weight that is, but I don't think a loaded bike would handle that poorly. I could be wrong however. I need help in deciding how to set up my tourer.
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Old 10-06-10, 08:17 AM
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What touring bike do you have?

My Cannondale T-1 loves to be weighted down.

Set up for 11 days of camping (600 miles)

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Old 10-06-10, 08:24 AM
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Since I am not alllowed to tell you that I believe that wind resistance should not be a huge concern because I use large front and rear panniers and carry my tent on my front rack and I manage to tour just fine, I will simply ask "Have you considered something like a B.O.B. trailer?

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Old 10-06-10, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
What touring bike do you have? [/IMG]
I don't have one yet and am going to be setting one up this winter. Hence my questions about those low bags up front that would seem to have the most drag and make steering more cumbersome. I could be completely wrong on this however. I need to understand why this design was chosen for storage.
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Old 10-06-10, 08:25 AM
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A BOB trailer presents a lower profile to a headwind than a set of panniers. Same with a saddle, frame, and handlebar bag combo. Both present other issues, pro and con versus panniers. Wind resistance - only relevant at high "touring" speeds (like zooming down hill) or in a strong head wind - is only one of several issues to be considered when selecting a means of carrying your kit. Most would say that carrying capacity and weight trump wind resistance.
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Old 10-06-10, 08:26 AM
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Liquids move. Much better to split them up into 1 liter/quart quantities and spread them around in bottles on the frame. If you have to carry 5G in the back, spread them over several 2 qt bottles and spread the weight. The front panniers are to improve the handling; the weight in front, especially if it's low, helps the bike track better in a straight line. Not really an issue but it is nice on a long trip especially if you have a converted road bike. Watch out for heel strike on rear panniers. If you have big dogs (12 or so) it's common. Wind resistance is not an issue on such a heavy bike setup with 200+ lb of rider plus bike usually. Studies have shown that under 15mph or so, drag is not such a big deal. Rolling resistance either, so fat tires are ok as long as they are reasonably smooth for the road surface you are on. In touring, convenience and durability wins over weight and aerodynamics, up to a point. Read some of the journals in crazyguyonabike.com and pay special attention to the equipment lists.

Recumbents are a different story; the rider position makes climbin a pain in the behind so any little bit helps. That's why so many have specially set up luggage distribution and fairings. The reward comes in the ergonomics and flat-land speed. So, it's all about the fit between the equipment and the mission at hand.

By the way, not everyone needs to spend 500 dollars plus on Ortlieb panniers. Jandd, Eastpack, REI and others have good enough panniers for weekend trips and you can find them used at reasonable prices. That way you can test things out before deciding you are a fully-supported guy/gal rather than a credit card or light packing person instead.
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Old 10-06-10, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Since I am not alllowed to tell you that I believe that wind resistance should not be a huge concern because I use large front and rear panniers and carry my tent on my front rack and I manage to tour just fine, I will simply ask "Have you considered something like a B.O.B. trailer?
Great looking set up by the way. Really like that front rack. I have thought about a trailer and they make sense in some ways, but I don't want to store it and have it with me when I get to say... California or where ever I will end up. The B.O.B. is out.

Now lets look at your bike. I really like the set up you have. If you take the panniers off the front and put part of them on that rear rack and maybe distribute a little more to the front rack, that is how my brain is telling me to go. It is against what most are doing and that leads me to this thread. I must be wrong if so many set up their bikes like you do, but I am not one to just do something because it is what I see all the time. I also feel I will have less baggage than that. I do have experience in having to have everything I need with no contact with civilization for over a week, so I feel I know what all I will need with me. It would be a little less.
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Old 10-06-10, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by safariofthemind
Liquids move. Much better to split them up into 1 liter/quart quantities and spread them around in bottles on the frame. If you have to carry 5G in the back, spread them over several 2 qt bottles and spread the weight. The front panniers are to improve the handling; the weight in front, especially if it's low, helps the bike track better in a straight line. Not really an issue but it is nice on a long trip especially if you have a converted road bike. Watch out for heel strike on rear panniers. If you have big dogs (12 or so) it's common. Wind resistance is not an issue on such a heavy bike setup with 200+ lb of rider plus bike usually. Studies have shown that under 15mph or so, drag is not such a big deal. Rolling resistance either, so fat tires are ok as long as they are reasonably smooth for the road surface you are on. In touring, convenience and durability wins over weight and aerodynamics, up to a point. Read some of the journals in crazyguyonabike.com and pay special attention to the equipment lists.

Recumbents are a different story; the rider position makes climbin a pain in the behind so any little bit helps. That's why so many have specially set up luggage distribution and fairings. The reward comes in the ergonomics and flat-land speed. So, it's all about the fit between the equipment and the mission at hand.

By the way, not everyone needs to spend 500 dollars plus on Ortlieb panniers. Jandd, Eastpack, REI and others have good enough panniers for weekend trips and you can find them used at reasonable prices. That way you can test things out before deciding you are a fully-supported guy/gal rather than a credit card or light packing person instead.
Great post. Let me explain my touring ideas to help the thought process. I plan on riding the Northern Tier unsupported and alone. Stealth camping most of the time and maybe splurging for a hotel every 7-10 days tops. If possible never going to a hotel, but if the weather and such get out of control and I can't find a creek to jump in very often, I probably will get a room somewhere. I want to ride as cheap as possible, because to me that is a big part of the adventure. How cheap can you tour? This ride will hopefully lead to rides in Europe that will also be on the cheap.

I have a large waterproof blue bag that I bought for a trip down the Allagash River in Maine that took 8 days. It is a great bag that seals and floats and I put everything in it. Two of us went down in a canoe and were very lightly packed. No place to get food or water for those 8 days. Riding a bike, you don't have to plan like that since you will be amongst people much of the time, but it was a good learning experience and it seems to me, I could put most things in that bag and have that on a rear rack and the remainder on the front rack and a handlebar bag for wallet, lock and things I need fast or easy. Am I out of my mind?
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Old 10-06-10, 08:52 AM
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One week is easily done with just back panniers by the way. If you pay attention to your camping kit, use backpacking equipment made for ultralight camping, and resist the urge to take the kitchen sink with you. Iīve done one week trips with 20 lbs, including food and water. You just plan carefully. For that matter, our brothers and sisters that do mountain bike camping do it with even less since they hate to carry panniers at all and usually have a few frame bags and one funny looking large bag sticking out from behind the saddle and maybe a small backpack only. The trick to a good handlig bike is to keep the center of gravity low. Load heavy items at the bottom of the bags and donīt put an anvil on top of the rack, etc :-)
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Old 10-06-10, 08:57 AM
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People do this all the time. Donīt let the equipment scare you. Most of what you see is for convenience. People tour with trash bags bungeed to a rack all the time or with a milk crate attached to a rack using hose clamps. Itīs all about the trip. You are not out of your mind and many, many folks have done what you are doing. Just think ahead and leave most of what you think is nice to have but not essential, especially electronics that make you carry heavy batteries, chargers, etc.

Originally Posted by h_curtis
I have a large waterproof blue bag that I bought for a trip down the Allagash River in Maine that took 8 days. It is a great bag that seals and floats and I put everything in it. Two of us went down in a canoe and were very lightly packed. No place to get food or water for those 8 days. Riding a bike, you don't have to plan like that since you will be amongst people much of the time, but it was a good learning experience and it seems to me, I could put most things in that bag and have that on a rear rack and the remainder on the front rack and a handlebar bag for wallet, lock and things I need fast or easy. Am I out of my mind?
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Old 10-06-10, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by h_curtis
I don't have one yet and am going to be setting one up this winter. Hence my questions about those low bags up front that would seem to have the most drag and make steering more cumbersome. I could be completely wrong on this however. I need to understand why this design was chosen for storage.
I have my tent and camping gear in the front panniers.
The bike so stable with the front loaded panniers I can ride no hands on it.

5 x 7 tent
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Old 10-06-10, 09:02 AM
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The bike handles way better with the weight low and as close to the center of the hub axles as possible. If you are traveling super light you can get away with strapping stuff to the top of the rack, but I haven't found this setup to work well for self supported camping and touring. With a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, fuel, tools, rainclothes and some food and water the weight adds up fast, even with ultra light gear.

That being said, you should go on some test rides with what you have once you get your bike, and see how it goes. You'll need racks with either setup, you can always buy panniers later on if you want them.

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Old 10-06-10, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by safariofthemind
One week is easily done with just back panniers by the way. If you pay attention to your camping kit, use backpacking equipment made for ultralight camping, and resist the urge to take the kitchen sink with you. Iīve done one week trips with 20 lbs, including food and water. You just plan carefully. For that matter, our brothers and sisters that do mountain bike camping do it with even less since they hate to carry panniers at all and usually have a few frame bags and one funny looking large bag sticking out from behind the saddle and maybe a small backpack only. The trick to a good handlig bike is to keep the center of gravity low. Load heavy items at the bottom of the bags and donīt put an anvil on top of the rack, etc :-)
Thank you. Your experience is a very big help. Why can you not ride across the country with light backpack gear on a rear rack? Why do you need to have the kitchen sink? I need to look at that list on crazyguy again.
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Old 10-06-10, 09:20 AM
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You are welcome. I am actually medium experienced, having not done any real expeditions over a 2 to 3 week period. There are folks around here with much more experience. I have, however, done a lot of backpacking and toured the world with a backpack on foot and by rail-plane-bus.

Initially one wants to carry everything but when one realizes that an 8 oz electric shaver has to be schlepped for a week on your back you rethink it and get a plastic disposable razor instead. Itīs a process of elimination and experience. Just get going and do your best to have fun. Follow what others have done before on the journals, and learn from your mistakes.

Whether you take 30 lbs or 40lbs on your trip wonīt make a hill of beans of a difference on a 1 week trip unless you are climbing all day. I think it is silly for people to put off touring until they can afford 2,000 dollars worth of equipment when they can be having fun all along with a 500 dollar used bike and a kayak bag like you have until they can save the dough for a dream set up. In Panama where I work sometimes, people ĻtourĻ with a milk crate on the back of a rickety rack and a 250 dollar mass produced Chinese-made mountain bike. And they love it!

Originally Posted by h_curtis
Why can you not ride across the country with light backpack gear on a rear rack? Why do you need to have the kitchen sink? I need to look at that list on crazyguy again.
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Old 10-06-10, 09:23 AM
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This guy rode 2100 miles NM to FL.
Camped evey night.



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Old 10-06-10, 09:26 AM
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There ya go. Thatīs what I am talking about. A little guile, a little ingenuity and some gumption. Way to go.
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Old 10-06-10, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by h_curtis
I have never rode with panniers yet because I have not taken my first long distance tour that would require lots of storage and I don't have a bike set up for them. They seem illogical to me. When you look at a bike rider and think about trying to be a little more at one with the wind, the idea of panniers on the front forks and that low seems to make little sense. A front rack seems more logical since you body is higher and wind resistance in that area is the greatest due to the alignment with your body. Also, it would seem more logical to me that utilizing the rear rack that would be position luggage behind your body would have less resistance than having some low baggage that would be behind your legs. Legs are much smaller and separated to allow wind to move through at a greater rate. Your body is where the issues of wind are at their greatest. I feel I can store enough things on two racks and a handlebar bag to go around the world, but I don't see many doing that. That leads me to believe I am wrong about my way of thinking since there are so many well educated that ride bikes great distances. Am I incorrect in my way of thinking? I am also not interested in an answer that say, who cares about wind resistance when touring. Efficiency is pretty logical IMHO. Also, weight distribution higher on the bike does make riding a little more difficult and that may offset my wind resistance reasoning, but I have had a 5 gallon water bottle on the rear rack before. It wasn't a very enjoyable ride home with that due to the shifting of the liquid and how much weight that is, but I don't think a loaded bike would handle that poorly. I could be wrong however. I need help in deciding how to set up my tourer.
There are a few folks on here who agree with your thoughts. Careful gear selections and the use of lightweight gear can keep your gear load down. Also I feel far more comfortable on a bike with the weight close to my body (ie the bike's center of gravity) than with panniers at the 4 corners.

Here's my fully loaded touring bike, I have everything for a long 3 season journey

rambouillet..jpg
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Old 10-06-10, 09:55 AM
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About the sink... https://travellingtwo.com/resources/ortlieb-folding-bowl
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Old 10-06-10, 09:59 AM
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You could pack your gear in a bike trailer instead, many do.

BoB trailers have 1 wheel, I prefer 2.

https://www.biketrailershop.com/

these are one big bag ..

https://www.biketrailershop.com/burle...er-p-1310.html

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Old 10-06-10, 10:09 AM
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The trailer is not a bad idea if your terrain is suited to it. Recently I picked up a Burley 2-wheel trailer used for 60 dollars off of craigslist. Perfect for my dog and/or up to 40 lb of equipment on moderate terrain. Not as fancy as a BoB but certainly doable and economical. https://www.bikesatwork.com/hauling-c...ler-guide.html
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Old 10-06-10, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by nun
There are a few folks on here who agree with your thoughts. Careful gear selections and the use of lightweight gear can keep your gear load down. Also I feel far more comfortable on a bike with the weight close to my body (ie the bike's center of gravity) than with panniers at the 4 corners.

Here's my fully loaded touring bike, I have everything for a long 3 season journey

Attachment 172646
Wow, that is lighter than I ever thought. I could ride my road bike with that set up. Do you have tent, sleeping stuff (pad or something) and enough gear to get to a bike shop if you have any issues? Do you have a list of stuff you carry? I have never seen anyone that light, but you might be a hotel credit card rider? What kind of bags are those?

Thanks.
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Old 10-06-10, 10:22 AM
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^I'd also like to know. You gotta be doing credit card touring with that setup.
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Old 10-06-10, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by h_curtis
Wow, that is lighter than I ever thought. I could ride my road bike with that set up. Do you have tent, sleeping stuff (pad or something) and enough gear to get to a bike shop if you have any issues? Do you have a list of stuff you carry? I have never seen anyone that light, but you might be a hotel credit card rider? What kind of bags are those?

Thanks.
There are people who travel lighter, but I'm comfortable with my setup. Bags are Ortlieb front and Carradice Nelson Longflap saddlebag. My tent is strapped under the saddle, sleeping quilt, pad and cooking equipment are in the saddlebag. Here's a gear list

https://wheelsofchance.org/2010/02/02/ultralight-setup/
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Old 10-06-10, 11:02 AM
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Seems my choices are ride my current Roberts that isn't set up for touring and go really light. One of the problems with that is, the Roberts has limited gears. A double up front with 39-26 being the lowest gear. That might be a bit out of control and not very comfortable. I am 6'2" and about 190lbs. I don't want to change all that out because it is all Campy Record/Chorus ergo stuff and is set up nicely on that bike, so it is what it is.

Second choice, look for a used touring bike in my size. Used can be hard to find. I looked at every road bike in sizes 59-61 and didn't see anything in the way of touring except one and it was worse than my grocery getting aluminum Nisiki. The Nishiki is fitted with an 8sp internal, so that is out.

Third, buy a Surly LHT or something similar.
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Old 10-06-10, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by h_curtis
Seems my choices are ride my current Roberts that isn't set up for touring and go really light. One of the problems with that is, the Roberts has limited gears. A double up front with 39-26 being the lowest gear. That might be a bit out of control and not very comfortable. I am 6'2" and about 190lbs. I don't want to change all that out because it is all Campy Record/Chorus ergo stuff and is set up nicely on that bike, so it is what it is.

Second choice, look for a used touring bike in my size. Used can be hard to find. I looked at every road bike in sizes 59-61 and didn't see anything in the way of touring except one and it was worse than my grocery getting aluminum Nisiki. The Nishiki is fitted with an 8sp internal, so that is out.

Third, buy a Surly LHT or something similar.
One thing about the ultra-light lists floating around is that it can cost a heck of a lot more money to lose a few ounces of weight. Add up the costs of a lightweight tent, sleeping bag, cookset, etc, and you're starting to talk about some serious dough. If you're lucky, you can find some bits somewhat cheaper on sale - I got a new 20 degree down bag for $50, for example - but that requires a fair degree of time and effort.

And like in all things, ultra-light has downsides. Personally, I like having space to stretch out in, especially if I'm stuck in a tent because of bad weather. So I'm more than happy to take the 3-4 pound weight penalty of a freestanding tent with poles that's 75% larger than a tarp tent. Or of the extra weight and size of a 20 degree bag over a 40 degree bag when, as often happens, unexpected cold weather hits. There's nothing like waking up warm instead of shivering all night.
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