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Panniers (Bigger ones on rear, or just get some fronts?)

EigerEiger Posts: 18
edited January 2010 in Tour & expedition
Right now I use Arkel 42L at the rear. I struggle to fit everything inside them but only just. Thinking about replacing them with Super C's - but also considering putting some front panniers on and keeping the Arkels.

How will the ride compare to having more weight on the back or spreading it out more evenly also over the front?

Thanks

Posts

  • For what it's worth, I always do my camping tours with full size Super Cs on the back and Ortlieb Sport Packers on the front. Between them this lot accommodates tent, sleeping bag, thermarest, clothes, cooking equipment, food and everything else (including the kitchen sink). I ride a Dawes Galaxy with the back rack that came fitted with it and a Tubus Tara lowrider. I never have a problem with the handling - the resulting ride is always solid, self-assured and very stable.
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,277
    Carrying a load in front panniers makes the bike a lot more balanced and stable IMHO. I have started spreading things around 4 panniers instead of carrying everything in just the two large rear panniers which I resumed doing for a few days last week and it was very noticeable how this made the bike feel unwieldy and lethargic again. Bike is a Spec Sirrus Sport an old one with front fork bosses for racks. This is logical if you think about it as if all the weight is on the rear including you there is one hell of a weight over the rear wheel..........

    I use Vaude Aqua Rears on the rear and VA fronts on the errrr....front. I tend to make the weight distribution 50-50 F/R as far as is possible which currently gives a good riding experience. I've also tried a few kilos in each of the fronts and the rears with few weighty items in them which is also a good combination, generally when I am heading toward Sainsburys rather than away though. With each pannier fully loaded and of similar weight on each corner the bike feels heavy but balanced, bit like an oil tanker........

    Don't think I will go back to riding with everything in just the rear panniers.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
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  • Spreading the load between four panniers makes the bike much more stable, as well as putting less strain on the rear triangle. Also means you have more options when you stay somewhere for a couple of days and go on day rides.
    Don't fall into the trap of taking too much stuff though.
    Carradice C front ones are good, not too big and with handy pockets on the outside.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    One option might be (assuming you don't do it already) to bungee your tent to the top of the pannier rack. If you are doing that already get a drybag (eg from alpkit.com).

    I'm a bit of an agnostic about front panniers: yes I can see the potential advantages in terms of stability, but equally there's the extra weight of the front panniers and pannier bags to consider.
  • andymiller wrote:
    One option might be (assuming you don't do it already) to bungee your tent to the top of the pannier rack. If you are doing that already get a drybag (eg from alpkit.com).

    I'm a bit of an agnostic about front panniers: yes I can see the potential advantages in terms of stability, but equally there's the extra weight of the front panniers and pannier bags to consider.

    I'd agree, with a bar bag and rear panniers I've had enough capacity for month long tours. The more capacity you have, the more you take, the more weight, the slower your progress. Also depends where your touring too, in many places it can be as cheap to stay in b&bs and hostels than seek out a rare campsite.
  • Front and back are good. I use Ortlieb for everything, but I am sure there are equally good products out there.

    What did you buy?
  • Surely it depends whether the limiting factor for your luggage is size or weight: 42 l of feathers on the back wheel or 42 l of lead?

    I've used a 52-litre rear pannier pair as my sole luggage with no noticeable handling problems, then again the contents weren't over-dense. How you load within each pannier can be as important as front-back distribution for handling: ie try to put the heaviest items at the bottom (and closest to the wheel and centre of the bike). So while putting the tent on the top is the usual way round not being able to fit them in the pannier, unless it's a lightweight one you might be better off putting it in a pannier and putting clothes etc. in a waterproof compression bag on the top.

    If you're still considering getting a front rack, a further thing to bear in mind is that you don't necessarily have to use panniers with it. I've done several tours with tent/daysac and even a sleeping-bag bungeed directly to the rack. The kinds of stress this imposes on the metal probably isn't what the manufacturer had in mind, so you'd obviously have to pick one for strength.
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