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Please advise: cross-country Touring on a Specialized Allez

Old 05-26-13, 02:20 PM
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tclaudius
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Please advise: cross-country Touring on a Specialized Allez

Hello all
I currently own a specialized allez sport road bike, and am planning for a cross-country trip (3k- 4kmiles).

Most of the people especially LBS has strongly recommended against riding allez and instead buy a new or used touring bike, like Surly LHT.

However, I don't really like the idea of buying a new bike for a one-time trip, albeit a long one.

The biggest concerns I heard are below:
#1 the bike will break with loaded stuff
#2 the geometry is not good for long hours riding

Put aside #2 and suppose it's not a problem. For #1, I estimated my total carried stuff to be prob 40 pounds. with 30 pounds on the rear panniers.

Is 30 or 35 pounds of stuff really have a risk of breaking it? If yes, would it be simply solved by replacing with a rear wheel/rim (e.g. Mavic a319)? what's the most fragile part here?


thanks in advance!
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Old 05-26-13, 02:48 PM
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Get a touring bike. That is what they are built for.

My Cannondale Touring -1 with 56 lbs of gear on a 600 miles trip.



Road bike with 30 lbs of gear:
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Old 05-26-13, 02:48 PM
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30-35 lbs on the rear shouldn't be too much at all depending on your weight. If you weigh 100 lbs, no problem. If you weigh 250 lbs, you might have some issues. The LBS guys will try to sell a new bike to you just to make some money. My Diamondback Outlook has been converted from a hardtail to a rigid for my first tour this summer. Most bikes can be modded a bit to alleviate heavier loads, but you have to be willing to spend a little cash.

Josh
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Old 05-26-13, 02:49 PM
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So You comfortable enough riding this bike all day and then getting up the next morning
and doing it again for a month or so? Touring is an activity not necessarily a specific bit of Kit.

Think about a Bike trailer .. then the Bike remains unlaiden.. BoB or a Burly and a dry Bag.

might think of a Handlebar bag for snacks as You Ride, too.. ..

Bring sufficient Funds , Get a though tune up, and if the wheels have big problems along the way
just replace them..

I wouldn't start out on Low Spoke Count wheels , But People do, we fix them if they need a spoke.

bring a copy of the sales receipt for the bike, if the frame breaks , any Specialized dealer will get right on a replacement
promptly and get you back on the road in, say, a week, tops.

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-26-13 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 05-26-13, 02:53 PM
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After 10 Wheels' post, I am leaning towards the LBS guys; get a touring bike.
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Old 05-26-13, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jowilson View Post
After 10 Wheels' post, I am leaning towards the LBS guys; get a touring bike.
Good call.
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Old 05-26-13, 03:42 PM
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You can use the Allez if you master ultralight touring. The Cannondale above has a pretty standard expedition load, full camping and cooking kit, some food stores, repair kit and sundries. With ultralight you have to be brutal about what you take and what you leave. Check out the packing list of this guy.
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Old 05-26-13, 04:14 PM
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I probably wouldn't use it if I planned to carry 30-35 pounds of stuff unless you use a trailer, but you probably could get by.

If you really want to use the Allez, I'd say either pack light or buy a trailer. I wrote an article that might help if you want to pack lighter.
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Old 05-26-13, 06:11 PM
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30 or 35 pounds of stuff is a lot for a road bike.

OPTION #1: Buy a new LHT and sell it when your done. It'll probably cost you around $400. The odds on you having bike problems very low.

OPTION #2: Buy a lightly used touring bike and then sell it when you're done. The only bike cost is your wear and tear on the bike probably around $200. The odds on you having bike problems would be somewhat low.

OPTION #3: Use your bike and reduce the carry weight in half. The cost would be $0 to $1500 (or more) plus actual wear and tear cost. If you weight less than 155 lbs than the odds of having bike problems would be very low. If you weigh 160-175 lbs the odds on you having bike problems would be somewhat low. If you weigh more than 190lbs I would not take this option.

Last edited by BigAura; 05-26-13 at 06:31 PM. Reason: typo & clarification
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Old 05-26-13, 09:57 PM
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There are lots of "critical" components on a touring bike... racks that won't break, wheels that stay true...
For me, having a 3 ring crank with a 24 or 26 maximum tooth chainring is very important because I always wish I had a lower gear. Does your Allez come with a 3 ring (gear) crank?
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Old 05-26-13, 10:50 PM
  #11  
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That is my wife's Specialized Allez in the foreground. She weighs about 120 lbs. and carries about 20-25 lbs. when she uses this bike. The headtube cracked on this frame, and Specialized replaced the frame. I'm not sure it had anything to do with using it for touring or not.

That is my Trek roadbike in the background. The same issues as the Allez. Mounting the rear rack was a challenge, heel clearance, and gearing. I weigh 150 and carry 25 lbs. of gear. For a 2-3 week get away it is nice, but I would not ride it across the country.


There are some possible issues using the Allez for touring:

Gearing- The stock bike has a 50/42/30 and an 11-26 setup. Those are pretty high gears.

Short chainstays- The panniers on her bike in the photo are custom made with more taper to allow heel clearance.

Wheel durability and tire clearance-The biggest tire you can reasonably use will be a 25mm. It may be possible to squeeze a 28 mm in there, but I doubt it. I'm not sure you can fit a Mavic 319 either. It is about 22-24. mm wide. I think the stock wheels would be "iffy" for a heavier rider.

Rack mounting- If you have a small frame like this one, it is a challenge to mount the rear rack level. I had to use a clamp on the seatpost to get it level.

If this is going to be your once in a lifetime bike touring trip ( which is what it sounds like), it might pay to invest in a bike that is more suitable for touring or go the ultralight route. Why take a chance on an inadequate bike ruining your trip?

While she used it on 2-4 week lightly loaded tours, It was not the bike she used to ride across the country!

Last edited by Doug64; 05-26-13 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 05-27-13, 06:06 AM
  #12  
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Last year I rode a 2800 mile trip, NH to St. Louis and back on a Specialized Allez Comp. I weigh 180 pounds and was carrying 35 pounds of gear in a backpack. I had no trouble with the bike and I'm still riding it. Bought it new last spring and it now has over 20,000 miles on it. I had 7 days last year where I rode at least 200 miles, 97 days where I rode at least 100 miles. On the trip last summer I averaged 113 miles per day.

The only questionable trouble I've had with I've had with since it was about 1.5 months old. Unless it is raining I hear a noise coming from the bottom bracket area, at least that is where it sounds like it is coming from. Even after regreasing the bottom bracket the noise was back within 1-2 days. I've questioned the bottom bracket cup but the bike is now over 1 year old since I started hearing the noise and I haven't had any frame failure with it as of yet.

I was seriously thinking of switching it over to fixed gear to see if the noise would go away or not. I instead have been working on a homebuilt wooden track bike. I know I will end up taking the 6-7,000 mile trip this summer on a fixed gear...whether it's wood or the Specialized will depend on how comfortable I feel, mentally, riding a wooden bike. Definitely I will do the trip fixed gear though.

As to doing the trip the only thing I would caution is to ask how do you intend on carrying the equipment. There is nowhere to mount a rack on a Specialized Allez. At least there isn't on the Comp. I would only use a seat post rack if you don't have a carbon fiber seat post...unless you want carbon fiber stuck up your rear end. I did build a homemade seat rail rack that I had on over the winter. I only use it for winter time use. The rest of the year I always carry everything in a back/daypack.

Last edited by bikenh; 05-27-13 at 06:13 AM. Reason: Add in mileage stats
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Old 05-27-13, 07:35 AM
  #13  
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I have an Allez and an LHT. I think you can tour on pretty much any bike if you really want, and I've done some touring on "unsuitable" bikes like the Allez. However, I much prefer to tour on a "real" touring bike, and my LHT is a great tourer. I think you'd be much happier on an LHT than the Allez. I agree that if you are concerned about money and don't want two bikes you can sell a tourer after the tour and not lose much. I watch tourers on Ebay and they hold their value.

I don't think your Allez should break with a 40 lb. load. There are undoubtedly people who weigh 40 lbs. more than you and Specialized wouldn't really want their bikes breaking under normal riding condition.

If you can afford it, get an LHT. A cross-country trip is a big endeavor. You'll want to be on the most suitable bike possible. My 2 cents.
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Old 05-27-13, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tclaudius View Post
Hello all
I currently own a specialized allez sport road bike, and am planning for a cross-country trip (3k- 4kmiles).

Most of the people especially LBS has strongly recommended against riding allez and instead buy a new or used touring bike, like Surly LHT.
35lbs is probably a bit much to carry on the Specialized, but if you can figure out how to drop a few pounds, where to carry the stuff, get some 32 spoke wheels and you are comfortable with your gearing, you'll be fine. Make sure you have done a few practice trips before you set off on the long one.

https://wheelsofchance.org/2012/12/25/gear-list/

https://wheelsofchance.org/2013/01/15...touring-gears/
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Old 05-27-13, 01:54 PM
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@bigaura: thank much for summarizing the options! this is great stuff.
Option #1 and #2 make total sense, but I'm still evaluating #3 for a little bit less trouble of selling a bike and the extra cost.

I recalculated the absolute must items that will be carried,and seem like I should able to manage it around 24 pounds (exclude water bottle mounted on bike), out of which 20 pounds on the rear, 4 pounds on front handlebar bag.

Given that I weigh 160 pounds (and might decrease as I bike more , seem like option #3 might still be doable and low risk? another question is is it even possible to mount a rear rack (not the seatpost)?

thanks a ton!

Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
30 or 35 pounds of stuff is a lot for a road bike.

OPTION #1: Buy a new LHT and sell it when your done. It'll probably cost you around $400. The odds on you having bike problems very low.

OPTION #2: Buy a lightly used touring bike and then sell it when you're done. The only bike cost is your wear and tear on the bike probably around $200. The odds on you having bike problems would be somewhat low.

OPTION #3: Use your bike and reduce the carry weight in half. The cost would be $0 to $1500 (or more) plus actual wear and tear cost. If you weight less than 155 lbs than the odds of having bike problems would be very low. If you weigh 160-175 lbs the odds on you having bike problems would be somewhat low. If you weigh more than 190lbs I would not take this option.
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Old 05-27-13, 01:56 PM
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Very interesting journey! thanks for sharing.

Curious do you carry all of your stuff in a back pack by yourself? do you mount any stuff on the bike? how?

Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
Last year I rode a 2800 mile trip, NH to St. Louis and back on a Specialized Allez Comp. I weigh 180 pounds and was carrying 35 pounds of gear in a backpack. I had no trouble with the bike and I'm still riding it. Bought it new last spring and it now has over 20,000 miles on it. I had 7 days last year where I rode at least 200 miles, 97 days where I rode at least 100 miles. On the trip last summer I averaged 113 miles per day.

The only questionable trouble I've had with I've had with since it was about 1.5 months old. Unless it is raining I hear a noise coming from the bottom bracket area, at least that is where it sounds like it is coming from. Even after regreasing the bottom bracket the noise was back within 1-2 days. I've questioned the bottom bracket cup but the bike is now over 1 year old since I started hearing the noise and I haven't had any frame failure with it as of yet.

I was seriously thinking of switching it over to fixed gear to see if the noise would go away or not. I instead have been working on a homebuilt wooden track bike. I know I will end up taking the 6-7,000 mile trip this summer on a fixed gear...whether it's wood or the Specialized will depend on how comfortable I feel, mentally, riding a wooden bike. Definitely I will do the trip fixed gear though.

As to doing the trip the only thing I would caution is to ask how do you intend on carrying the equipment. There is nowhere to mount a rack on a Specialized Allez. At least there isn't on the Comp. I would only use a seat post rack if you don't have a carbon fiber seat post...unless you want carbon fiber stuck up your rear end. I did build a homemade seat rail rack that I had on over the winter. I only use it for winter time use. The rest of the year I always carry everything in a back/daypack.
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Old 05-27-13, 02:36 PM
  #17  
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Do some research into bikepacking. No racks needed, but you have to pack ultra-light. There's a few guys who visit this forum who do it.

Look at Bikepacking.net and you'll see lots of examples.

Revelate designs makes a nice seat bag.
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Old 05-27-13, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tclaudius View Post
Very interesting journey! thanks for sharing.

Curious do you carry all of your stuff in a back pack by yourself? do you mount any stuff on the bike? how?
Yep. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail back in 1997 and I use the same backpack that I used then. It rides very comfortable. I plan to use it again this summer on the 6500-7000 mile trip I'm planning on taking leaving out in a bit more than a month from now. The only stuff I have on the bike is the fanny pack wrapped around the handlebars to act as a handlebar bag. I mostly only carry bike tools/tubes/etc in there. All camping equipment, laptop computer, spare clothing goes in the backpack. I don't carry a lot and since I'm planning on actually taking a sleeping bag this year, unlike last year I should be able to trim pack space and pack weight this year hopefully. Last year my sleeping gear...bag, was intriguing. I never got around to getting a decent sleeping bag so I was using whatever I could throw together knowing I was doing the trip mid-August to mid-September I knew I only had to worry toward the end. I knew I should be comfortable overnight as long as the temps didn't get much below 50. Below that I knew I could be in for a cold night so I ended up with two of four nights in a motel as a result. The other two nights were for rain and a case of the stomach flu. Otherwise I camped out every night of the trip. I even camped out at a few rather unusual spots, like right behind a Wal-Mart, still on Wal-Mart property and also right beside a Lowe's, still on Lowe's property. If I figured I wouldn't get disturbed by anyone...I camped there.

As to the OPs further question. I wouldn't attempt to mount a rack to a regular road bike. The past three winters, since I gave up driving, I have always put a rack on the rear. I use to have a Cannondale frame. Key word is USED TO. I had made a homemade rack since I couldn't use any normal rack as their was nowhere to mount the rack to, no screw mounts(sorry wrong term but I can't think of the correct term right now). I was trying everything rather innovative to mount the rack. It turns out my mounts were also rubbing a hole in the frame. Granted the main death hole came from frame misalignment that led to a hole in the chainstay right behind the bottom bracket. I also had a hole in the seatstay thanks to the rack. Now I only mount to the seat rails. I wouldn't mount to the seat post since I have a carbon fiber seat post so that only leaves you being able to mount to the seat rail. The rail is solid material, unlike the seat post. It's going to take an awful lot of rubbing or anything else to rub a hole all the way through the seat rail. I have carried at least 20 pound on my seat rail rack this past winter. Make sure to mount it to the rails and also use Velcro and wire ties to tie it up to the seat post so it won't bounce in and out toward the seat post. The seat post doesn't hold the weight the seat rails do. Look up the Arkle on youtube. I took my idea from that and design my rack up so I could lay a 15 inch laptop computer on it flat with no part of the laptop overhanging the rack. It worked great also for mounting my leg when I broke my ankle back in February and spent mid-March to mid-April one legged biking. The rack was as wide and maybe slightly wider than the handlebars. I only keep a rack on the bike during the winter months so I don't have to have the backpack on the back, sweating up the back during the winter months. During the summer months I don't really care if I have a sweaty back...I'm going be sweaty everywhere else so who cares if the back is sweaty. It will be anyways.
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Old 05-27-13, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tclaudius View Post
Option #1 and #2 make total sense, but I'm still evaluating #3 for a little bit less trouble of selling a bike and the extra cost.

I recalculated the absolute must items that will be carried,and seem like I should able to manage it around 24 pounds (exclude water bottle mounted on bike), out of which 20 pounds on the rear, 4 pounds on front handlebar bag.

Given that I weigh 160 pounds (and might decrease as I bike more , seem like option #3 might still be doable and low risk? another question is is it even possible to mount a rear rack (not the seatpost)?
I'm with the others who say a rear rack is not the way to go. I think you need to keep the main weight (you and most of your gear) centered over the seat tube. This is where the road bike's designers calculate the weight is situated. Assuming you chose this option I'd go with bikepacking seat and frame bags mentioned by mntbud or bikenh's ideas.

As far as weight is concerned you need to calculate the TOTAL weight including you, ALL gear, supplies (food/fuel/water/batteries), to figure what the bike will be carrying. Don't forget to include your clothed weight (shoes & helmet on) plus the carry bags/racks.

Personally I'd choose OPTION #2 and get a used bike like this for $950(ish) and sell when done for $750(ish). I realize this is some work but so is outfitting your current bike.

No matter what you choose, hopefully you'll enjoy your tour and it will all be worth the cost and effort.

Last edited by BigAura; 05-27-13 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 05-28-13, 08:39 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
I'm with the others who say a rear rack is not the way to go. I think you need to keep the main weight (you and most of your gear) centered over the seat tube. This is where the road bike's designers calculate the weight is situated. Assuming you chose this option I'd go with bikepacking seat and frame bags mentioned by mntbud or bikenh's ideas.
Thanks BigAura. I never thought about that case. I knew last year when I started riding with a full backpack I thought I had to be crazy for even considering doing it. Actually it was more about the appearance of it more than anything else. Something about riding a bike with a full backpack on...it just didn't seem to fit correctly if you know what I mean.

The strange thing was how well it handled. It felt like part of the machine as a whole. I've read other people think I'm crazy for doing it but when it feels totally comfortable...why not do it. I hadn't thought about the reason why it feels so comfortable but your point of how a road bike is designed to have the weight over the seat post makes total sense now. Since all the weight on the bike is centered right over the seat post when you are carrying everything in a backpack...now it makes sense why it feels so comfortable.

I'll ask one question since I'm currently building a wild crazy fixed gear wooden bike. I already have the seat tube set up so it can be adjusted, angle wise. I plan to also have the stem angle and the ???rake??? being adjustable as well. You can get off the bike and in a matter of seconds change the entire way the bike performs by changing the angles on the bike. What is the difference between a touring bike and standard road bike? I'm guessing from what I have seen on a video on youtube that is comes down to the seat tube angle is more laid back(probably 73 or 74 degrees on a road bike versus 70-72 on a touring bike)???? Is that correct?

I know this darn bike is going to be fun to ride and I'm actually thinking about taking it on the 7000 mile trip this summer and really using it to find out what I want for frame geometry before I build a final bike.
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Old 05-28-13, 11:21 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
Thanks BigAura. I never thought about that case. I knew last year when I started riding with a full backpack I thought I had to be crazy for even considering doing it. Actually it was more about the appearance of it more than anything else. Something about riding a bike with a full backpack on...it just didn't seem to fit correctly if you know what I mean.

The strange thing was how well it handled. It felt like part of the machine as a whole. I've read other people think I'm crazy for doing it but when it feels totally comfortable...why not do it. I hadn't thought about the reason why it feels so comfortable but your point of how a road bike is designed to have the weight over the seat post makes total sense now. Since all the weight on the bike is centered right over the seat post when you are carrying everything in a backpack...now it makes sense why it feels so comfortable.

I'll ask one question since I'm currently building a wild crazy fixed gear wooden bike. I already have the seat tube set up so it can be adjusted, angle wise. I plan to also have the stem angle and the ???rake??? being adjustable as well. You can get off the bike and in a matter of seconds change the entire way the bike performs by changing the angles on the bike. What is the difference between a touring bike and standard road bike? I'm guessing from what I have seen on a video on youtube that is comes down to the seat tube angle is more laid back(probably 73 or 74 degrees on a road bike versus 70-72 on a touring bike)???? Is that correct?

I know this darn bike is going to be fun to ride and I'm actually thinking about taking it on the 7000 mile trip this summer and really using it to find out what I want for frame geometry before I build a final bike.
I do think that your backpack touring style is rather extreme especially with a 35lb pack. However with your pack on your back, as far the bicycle is concerned, there's virtually no difference between you and a 215lb guy. Personally I think you should try to reduce the overall weight and move some of the gear to the bike.

Touring bikes do have less laid back seat tube than your modern road bike. I don't have any frame building or frame design experience but there are others on this site who do and could address all the tradeoffs.

Your wooden bike sounds like an interesting project but a 7000 mile tour seems extremely ambitious. Hopefully you'll have some backup plans.

Last edited by BigAura; 05-28-13 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 05-28-13, 11:47 AM
  #22  
hyhuu
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People have toured with the Allez before so it won't be the end of the world (https://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-656008.html). I don't know what year is your Allez but my 2011 Allez Sport has eyelet to mount the rack.
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