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Just one more on front racks and panniers

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Just one more on front racks and panniers

Old 12-13-12, 05:53 AM
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I tour with a front rack and panniers as well. Some of it is my difficulty in packing light, but I also have been touring by myself so far, so I have to carry everything for camping on the bike with me. I also hate to be cold and so bring cold weather gear for camping, especially at night, and bring rain gear too. Also, even in Northern California I've had legs of tours that didn't have a so much as a mini-mart on them, and so needed to carry more than a days worth of food and water on me.

I have a Old Man Mountain brand, Cold Springs model rack on the front of my touring steed. This rack is totally bombproof*, and I appreciate having the deck up front. Sometimes I'll pick up some food from a roadside farmers stand and this makes a nice place to stow it, same with firewood or beer in the last few miles before I reach my destination for the night. I haven't needed it for this yet, but it'd also make a good place to dry out wet clothes during the day. After having toured with a rack with a deck up front, I'd never tour without one because of the utility it has given me. YMMV of course!

FWIW, I use Ortlieb panniers up front when I'm touring. Because I've been living in a rainy climate for the past 20 years it's hard for me to go with something that isn't waterproof, even when I'm not expecting any rain on my tour. They also clip together so I can toss them over my shoulder like a horse or motorcycle saddlebag to portage them off bike. In the rear I run square bucket panniers.


* One thing I can suggest with racks like this that mount on the canti studs would be to go ahead and get the upgrade bolts a couple of places offer for these so that they don't unscrew on you.
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Old 12-15-12, 08:01 AM
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That sure is a lot of info; let me try to explan a little better. Starting mid May i will be going solo from NE Indiana to Tulsa Ok. camping most of the time. In the past doing 400 miles i would pretty much fill the rear panniers. But between cooking, camping and all that goes along with that food,tent,stove,etc. maybe larger rear panniers might prove the way to go. All help is really appreciated and may I say you guys and gals really know your stuff. Thank-You
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Old 12-15-12, 10:41 AM
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On my shorter tours, I often carry more than I do on my longer tours. The longer the tour, the more I appreciate a lighter load ... especially if there is lots of climbing.

What are your current rear panniers? If they are the mini commuting panniers, then yes, you would probably want larger panniers.
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Old 12-15-12, 11:27 AM
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Bear boxes, for the bigger varmint.. then they tear up your tent, to find the food you spilled,
since it smells even if you dont see it.

so then you don't eat in the tent.. their smelling senses are better than yours..

... hope the twisters don't suck you up , in the spring, watch those storms!

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Old 12-16-12, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by corvuscorvax
Wuh? Care to explain this a little more completely?
This has to do with some bikes which exhibit speed wobble on the front wheel at high speeds with which Jan Hiene attributed as the headset bearing inability to dampen the vibration. Having front panniers allows more stability in regards to this phenomenon and which is why there are people still making these suggestion. Not all bikes does this though like my Masi which rides like its on rails with a load.
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Old 12-16-12, 11:46 AM
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Saseman, what kind of bike do you have?

If you really don't need to carry four fully loaded panniers don't get that setup. A set of panniers and rack is about 5lbs before you even load them up. If you only need to carry 5-10lbs more you could move your panniers to a low rider front rack and use the top of the rear rack for the rest. Or a mini front platform rack like the one I showed previously or this one?

https://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/st...7593_-1_catNav

Last edited by LeeG; 12-16-12 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 12-16-12, 11:50 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by sasemen
Hello very new to this forum but not touring. I have been touring for 5 years but always inn to inn so rear rack and panniers worked OK. But now I know I have to add camping to get the full experience that I've been missing. I ride a Cannondale T1 and it works well for me just a little help in the front rack and pans would be much appreciated thank-you.
Don't necessarily default to front rack and panniers in addition to your rear panniers. Take a look at your gear with a critical eye and look at the lightweight camping gear that's now available. You might find that you can do loaded touring with your existing panniers and a handlebar bag - depending on where you plan to tour.
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Old 12-16-12, 11:53 AM
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Saseman, I put one of these on an old Specialized Crossroad bicycle to hold a basket. Very sturdy.



https://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...ess-steel.html
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Old 12-16-12, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sasemen
That sure is a lot of info; let me try to explan a little better. Starting mid May i will be going solo from NE Indiana to Tulsa Ok. camping most of the time. In the past doing 400 miles i would pretty much fill the rear panniers. But between cooking, camping and all that goes along with that food,tent,stove,etc. maybe larger rear panniers might prove the way to go. All help is really appreciated and may I say you guys and gals really know your stuff. Thank-You
You might also be able to get away with the panniers you've got now, plus a trunk bag on top of the rear rack, and a handlebar bag. What size are your current panniers?


This was my setup for a 5-day credit-card (inn to inn) tour Rowan and I did up the east coast of Vancouver Island in 2011 ...



Add two rear panniers to that, and you've got my usual setup for longer tours where I might camp etc.

Just putting up a suggestion that wouldn't involve adding a front rack to your current setup.

Last edited by Machka; 12-16-12 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 12-16-12, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sasemen
That sure is a lot of info; let me try to explan a little better. Starting mid May i will be going solo from NE Indiana to Tulsa Ok. camping most of the time. In the past doing 400 miles i would pretty much fill the rear panniers. But between cooking, camping and all that goes along with that food,tent,stove,etc. maybe larger rear panniers might prove the way to go. All help is really appreciated and may I say you guys and gals really know your stuff. Thank-You
I started out riding with a heavy rear load. It was all that was available when I started touring. I quickly learned that it was suboptimal at just about any speed and as soon as low riders became available, I never looked back. The ride is more stable, the bike handles better and there aren't any downsides that I can see to using a lowrider rack.

There's lots of downsides to using a heavily loaded rear rack. If your bike is prone to shimmy, aka a death wobble, loading the rear wheel while make it worse. Rear wheels have to be stronger to handle the weight. The rear load tends to push the bikes rear end out during high speed cornering making holding a line more difficult. This last isn't that much of a problem because your bike has probably scared you enough that you won't be going too fast on any downhills. That much load is hard on the panniers as well.

I would suggest that you try both. Get enough beans and rice (you can eat it afterwards) to equal your touring load. Load it up in you panniers and take it for a ride down your favorite scary hill. Then try it will lowriders and panniers with a 60/40 front-rear split. Then decide.
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Old 12-17-12, 08:03 AM
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I'm a lightly loaded tourer and I do fine with rear packs only. But the it took several seasons and many thousands of miles of long-distance backpacking to shift my mindset on traveling style to get there. (Ten years ago I had five packs and a stack of stuff on the rear rack.) A few posts on an internet forum are not going to convince the OP to lighten up the load enough to make that shift. But it's good to be aware that options exist, that there are those that do fine with rear packs only, or front packs only, or a few frame packs and no racks, and I would highly recommend trying it sometime. But it does require a basic shift in style, which takes time as well as desire.

It's a continuing journey, for me at least. I'm gravitating away from panniers and looking at rackless options now, for instance.

Good luck finding what works for you, and it's highly unlikely you'll get it right the first time. Enjoy the journey.
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Old 12-17-12, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
Good luck finding what works for you, and it's highly unlikely you'll get it right the first time. Enjoy the journey.
+1

Most of us have gone through several different setups before we found something that worked for us ... and even then we're still thinking about ways to make it work better.
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Old 12-17-12, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by sasemen
That sure is a lot of info; let me try to explan a little better. Starting mid May i will be going solo from NE Indiana to Tulsa Ok. camping most of the time. In the past doing 400 miles i would pretty much fill the rear panniers. But between cooking, camping and all that goes along with that food,tent,stove,etc. maybe larger rear panniers might prove the way to go. All help is really appreciated and may I say you guys and gals really know your stuff. Thank-You
Nothing wrong with running with front panniers to expand on your load carrying capacity. You see, you are the master of the trip. There is no contest or pressure to finish fast or last. Who cares if you finish slower than the time kept record of some other tourist for the same route. You'll always get snide remark from some full of ego tourist that your setup is inferior to his or her. It happens and it always will on the tour. I get it sometimes too even though I tour lite. Don't try satisfying someone's ideal of a touring setup. These people are not your parents. You are an individual with free will and choices. 4 panniers is fine for your trip. Now go buy the low rider rack (like Salsa Down Under) and pair of front bags and enjoy your trip planning.

Cheers.
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