Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

Types of front racks

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Old 03-02-09, 04:34 PM
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idoru2005
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Types of front racks

Hi,
I'm looking for a front rack, and I've seen different types.

There are the touring style "low-rider" racks which are used for touring.

And there are the Cetma-style racks. It seems pretty self-explanatory what these are good for (hauling beer).

But the type that I'm confused about is this kind:

http://cgi.ebay.com/BIKE-PANNIERS-AL...3%3A1|294%3A50

My questions is what can I do with this type of rack. It looks pretty small so would this be suitable for attaching panniers? Is it suitable for attaching a basket onto it?

My main reason for wanting a front rack is to haul a small amount of groceries, bags, etc. (no more than 25 pounds).

Is it better to get a touring rack, a Cetma-style rack, wald basket, or one of these things in the ebay link(above)?

Thanks in advance,
Darren
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Old 03-02-09, 04:43 PM
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Metricoclock
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I would recommend a CETMA rack, they are sturdy, made here in the USA by a one man company.

That rack you link to is more intended for small bags that you would mount on the top for touring purposes, if you took that rack to the store all that would really fit on it would be a 6 pack of beer.
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Old 03-02-09, 05:12 PM
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istomtom
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Originally Posted by Metricoclock View Post
...if you took that rack to the store all that would really fit on it would be a 6 pack of beer.
Which is why I may have to buy it! I have disc on the mtn bike and that should attach nicely to the v-brake/canti studs I have.
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Old 03-02-09, 06:12 PM
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I'd go with the front mount Wald basket. It too is made in the States. Wald is an old company still cranking out product. While not usually found on bling bikes, in a utilitarian setting they are hard to beat.

YMMV
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Old 03-02-09, 06:42 PM
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There are cargo racks like the Cetma and Steco, touring racks like Jandd and Old Man Mountain and tray racks like those made by Electra and Paul Engineering. And of course all sorts of bags and baskets. I have the Electra tray rack mounted on my Rans Dynamik. It can hold only 20 lbs. Perhaps a bag of groceries or two or a couple of books. If you want to ferry between 50-100 lbs, a touring rack is good. A Cetma will work if you really need to haul heavy stuff. YMMV.
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Old 03-02-09, 06:49 PM
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That looks identical to the Nashbar front rack:

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=17192

Usually used for supporting a bag or basket, used like a handlebar bag but lower so it doesn't get in the way of your handlebar accessories. Also a nice place to mount your headlight.

I would not load more than 10 pounds on it though. The front end of the rack is kind of just hanging out there.

For a much stronger but pricier version of the concept, there is the Nitto M12 rack. There are a bunch of variations on this rack you can find if you poke around Velo-Orange and Rivendell websites

http://www.velo-orange.com/nimfrra.html

And for the ultimate in front racks (other than CETMA-type porteur racks which are a different use pattern) there are the kind with both a cargo platform and pannier supports. Surly Nice Front Rack, Nitto Rivendell Big Front Rack, IRD Lhasa, JandD Extreme. Enormous, but very useful.
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Old 03-03-09, 07:05 PM
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I'm not one for front racks due to the pendulum effect that always happens at the front when
weighted. NOT good at all!
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Old 03-04-09, 02:43 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I neglected to mention that along with a rack/basket, the front end is already loaded with a Bobike Mini (http://www.bobike.nl/products/en/bob...xmenu=m9____m2).

Right now without a rack, the bike handles well with a 20 pound baby sitting up there. So maybe I should only use a rear rack to balance the weight up front....

Your comments are much appreciated.
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Old 03-04-09, 04:23 PM
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A cargo bike will balance better with two racks. Don't ask me why.
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Old 03-04-09, 06:42 PM
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pass and stow rack. can carry cargo on the top, like cetma, but you have the option to carry panniers underneath as well. so good if you want to do touring, or haul more stuff, etc later on.
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Old 03-05-09, 10:35 AM
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I have that rack, or the Nashbar equivalent, and I agree that it's not a heavy duty rack by any stretch. I do find it to be far, far better than no front rack, though, so take that for what it's worth. It does hold a six pack. I've used it for that, and I think the Nashbar description specifically mentions that use. I've also put a picnic basket on it and a small cooler (not together). Nashbar also has or had a bag to go with it. I have that bag and have used it for tools, water, electronics, etc. Small stuff that doesn't weigh too much. Ordinarily I wouldn't worry too much about weight tolerances if the rack seemed to be handling everything fine, but since this rack's primary mounts are on the brakes, I don't want to overload it as failure at the mounting points could make for a rough stop.

Balancing your load between the front and back is generally preferable. On the touring forum I think they state the preference in actual percentages with something like 25-40% of your gear being in the front. You might want to look that up and plan accordingly. Of course there's already more rider weight on the back end, usually. Possibly a lot more depending on riding position. And then there's the part where more weight up front can affect steering.

Also the lower the weight, the less adversely it affects handling. I find the platform on the front and the back to be the most convenient as far as quickly stashing stuff goes, but as far as easy riding goes, it's better to use panniers.

Given that you're already loading up front end with a kid and that you can't, I'm assuming, stash that kid in a pannier , I'd recommend planning on having the rest of your gear stashed as low as possible and probably in the back. If you're carrying more weight in gear than you are carrying in kid, I'd add a front pannier rack for additional storage. The more top-heavy the bike is, the harder it will be to handle, not unmanageably harder, but noticeably harder, and you're starting out with a non-negotiable, substantial top load in the form of some cargo you don't want to see get damaged.

But, for maximum versatility, you can supplement your rear rack by looking for a platform front rack that also has rails for mounting panniers. That's what I'd like to do once I get my LHT up and running. I think Old Man Mountain makes one or two models and also has models that accommodate disc brakes. Good luck.
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Old 03-05-09, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by chrishg View Post
pass and stow rack. can carry cargo on the top, like cetma, but you have the option to carry panniers underneath as well. so good if you want to do touring, or haul more stuff, etc later on.
I hate when I type a page worth of stuff, post it, and find that someone has said the same thing in two sentences.
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Old 03-05-09, 11:39 AM
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RobE and chrishg,
I appreciate both your feedback. RobE, thanks for taking my kid in full consideration in your reply. I'm looking at the Pass & Stow site right now. Their price is pretty steep. I might just go with the small Nashbar front rack and mount a small basket to the top of it. And I'll probably get a sturdy rack on the back with some grocery-bag panniers.

If/when budget allows, I'd like to get a nicer front rack. But for now, I think I need to go cheap as I still need to budget for fenders (probably go with wooden for this build).

Thanks again!
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Old 03-06-09, 09:01 PM
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i don't get it when people skimp on bike racks. like, my life touring is soo much more annoying with a $10 blackburn rear rack, versus my awesome tubus rear rack.

i carried a 200lb person the other day with my pass and stow rack. it will probably last 10-20 years. seems very reasonable to me, in that light.
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Old 03-06-09, 09:28 PM
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Old 03-07-09, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by idoru2005 View Post
RobE and chrishg,
I appreciate both your feedback. RobE, thanks for taking my kid in full consideration in your reply. I'm looking at the Pass & Stow site right now. Their price is pretty steep. I might just go with the small Nashbar front rack and mount a small basket to the top of it. And I'll probably get a sturdy rack on the back with some grocery-bag panniers.

If/when budget allows, I'd like to get a nicer front rack. But for now, I think I need to go cheap as I still need to budget for fenders (probably go with wooden for this build).

Thanks again!

While I have the small Nashbar front rack and successfully transported a medium sized microwave several miles on it, I'd rather not do it again. If I wanted a basket, I'd get a Wald and have no need for a rack at all.
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Old 03-07-09, 08:29 PM
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I just mounted that rack on my LHT as a place for a front bag for touring. I did throw a 12 pack on it the other day just to try it out. Worked well but I wouldn't put much more than that on it.
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Old 03-11-09, 09:55 PM
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I just installed an OldManMtn sherpa front rack on a Kona Ute. The bike handles better with a load up front when the back end is fully loaded.
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Old 03-16-09, 08:06 PM
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Another vote for a Wald front basket.

I have the giant front basket and a set of the rigid rear baskets on an old schwinn mixte. I call it my ultimate grocery getter.
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Old 03-19-09, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
I'm not one for front racks due to the pendulum effect that always happens at the front when weighted. NOT good at all!
That would depend on the geometry of the bike. A bike with a lot of trail would not work with a front load, whereas a bike with minimal trail would handle fine with a front load.

Take a look at this kogswell that is available with different forks depending on the intended use, one of which is for a porteur bike carrying front loads.

Here is what Vintage Bicycle Quarterly wrote about the version with the low trail fork:

"25 mm trail bike
This bike works great with a heavy load on the front. The ability to ride no-hands is not at all affected by the
load. We even put a 6 kg (13.2 lbs.) load in the bag, with no ill effects."

Kogswell also has a handy online calculator where you input the fork offset, head tube angle and the tire diameter and it spits out the trail, so you can determine whether your bike can handle a front load.
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Old 03-19-09, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
I just installed an OldManMtn sherpa front rack on a Kona Ute. The bike handles better with a load up front when the back end is fully loaded.
another good one is The Ultimate LowRider (has 2 mounting options for panniers, high and low)
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Old 03-20-09, 04:28 AM
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For "touring" I prefer a full front rack with lowrider mounts and a platform. It also works well for grocery runs. I currently use a bike with folding rear baskets and a smallish front basket for my grocery runs. Works fine for weekly trips.

Aaron
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Old 03-20-09, 08:09 AM
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Steco makes the best bag rack in the world. I've often wondered who made the front transport rack seen on many Dutch Opafiet roadsters. It works nicely with David Hembrow's huge front hamper basket. Just imagine what you can swallow up in that thing. hehehehe
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