Author Topic: front platform racks: Surly Nice or Old Man Pioneer?  (Read 3189 times)

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Offline rockermike

front platform racks: Surly Nice or Old Man Pioneer?
« on: October 02, 2012, 11:11:08 pm »
I've decided to switch out my lowrider rack for a front platform style. Heading to Africa and may be on some single track (not really sure but...). Anyway, extensive research has cut my short list down to Surly Nice (heavy at three pounds empty, and odd attachment system which some complain about (attachements at hub and at fork braze-ons 7"s up the fork, but nothing higher. Seems like the top of the rack will be unsupported and I suspect will tend to sway with a heavy load. Meanwhile the thing is otherwise built like a tank); or an Old Man Mountain Pioneer (aluminum, but very heavy gauge alum?), big platform sticking way out toward the front of the tire, and generally it looks like the bags will ride further forward, in front of the fork axis, which I suspect will be a negative on handling.)   So, anyone out there have experience with both?  Any advice or insight?  Anyone have experience good or bad with either?  thanks in advance.

http://surlybikes.com/parts/surly_rack

http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Pages/RackPages/FrontRacks.html

Offline dombrosk

Re: front platform racks: Surly Nice or Old Man Pioneer?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 05:25:18 am »
I've had good experience with the Surley front rack.  Yes, it is heavy, but I have a personal preference for bomb-proof over lightweight.  The top rack is handy.  I've sometimes bungied large bundles of firewood on top of it with no problems with stability.  I can't speak to the attachment system because I left that to my good friends at my local bike shop... it rides quite solidly on the bike. 
One odd feature that I like is the attachment point at the front of the rack.  For commuting in the U.S. I mount a front white blinkie light there in addition to my more serious headlight.  My guess is that a person could find other uses for that, also.
Enjoy Africa!  I've never biked there, but during a month travelling across South Africa I was struck by the friendliness of the people I  met and the beauty of the land.

Offline indyfabz

Re: front platform racks: Surly Nice or Old Man Pioneer?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 03:54:17 pm »
Did you rule out the Nitto Big front rack from Rivendell? Very strong, attaches to the eyelets down low and using p-clamps up top, places panniers at mid-level, or you can attach them to the top rail for even greater clearence and gorgeous. However, it ain't cheap.

Offline Pat

Re: front platform racks: Surly Nice or Old Man Pioneer?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 07:50:46 pm »
Hi Mike,

My wife and I opted for the Surly Racks when we started equipping for our first tour.  The rack is very heavy, and mounting with the shims makes it seem harder than it needs to be (the first one took me an hour to mount, the second one about 15 minutes).

However, once the rack is mounted and bolted down (bottom and half-way up), we saw absolutely no give to the rack.  And, we probably had in excess of 35 pounds hanging from or on top of the rack.

We discovered, the hard way, that the key to mounting the panniers is the Center of Gravity (CG).  We found the critical element is to get the overall weight as low as possible, and as far back as possible.  Making sure the panniers and cargo cannot shift or wobble will make your life much easier.  Balancing the load side-to-side does not seem to be especially important, if you can keep them within a few pounds of each other.

Happy Trails,

Pat

Offline Solo-Tour-J

Re: front platform racks: Surly Nice or Old Man Pioneer?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2012, 01:50:16 pm »
Been doin the Jandd Expidition myself for the platform double duty issues or even triple if you count the idea you can ride the panniers high like the rears if you need clearance for like river/stream crossings, thick low brush etc.

Been living the flattopp/shelf styled front racks since leaving my lowrider blackburns behind in the 90s when front racks evolved from single styled rearish rack and the advent of lowrider rack but they took a few years to get all three qualities, lowrder & highrider as well as the shelf.

I like the other riders kinda have my ways and the single most feature of the shelf rack is about 3ish pm when I size up where I'm gonna do dinner and sleep I get my nightly groceries for dinner and breakfast so I pack them into a doubled grocery bag with my spare bungee (Which I use the paper bags for paper to start ther fire or trash if outback/poaching camping)

I've also carried bundles of firewood on the rack. Most interesting thing I carried was a 100lbs woman whose car broke down and she wanted a ride to town and it was gentle, easy down hill and we gave her a front-rider buck :)

 

Offline rockermike

Re: front platform racks: Surly Nice or Old Man Pioneer?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2012, 11:15:09 am »
Well, I decided on the Old Man Mountain Pioneer. Got it mail order sight unseen (other than photos).  Weighs two lbs (vs 1 lb for Tubus low rider, and 3 for Surly Front).  Seemed like a reasonable compromise.  The rack certainly looks burly.  Old Man racks attach by putting the (extra long) quick release skewer through the rack foot (and then attaching to the brake bosses). I'm not sure if this is good or not. 7000 miles and I'll let  you know. At the least it saves you having to have braze-ons for attachments. But since I have a Surly LHT that isn't an issue.  Meanwhile the bags hang a few inches lower than the platform but the bottom is still a good 6"s higher than the lowriders (which was my objective -  for use on trails and through bushes).  But more to the point, and one thing I didn't think of, is the bags are further forward then on a lowrider rack. forward of, and above the pivot point axis of the fork. When loaded up (I've only been around the block a few times at this point) it definitely has a less stable feel. You kind of have to fight to turn the bike - at least compared to using low riders. I'm sure I will get used to it, but it definitely feels different then using the lowrider racks.  I suppose in retrospect that that would have been one advantage of the surly rack (extra pound be damned) that as I understand it you can put the bags either high or low, so cruising on blacktop you could just leave them low for better handling.

here is a picture of the Pioneer rack. 
http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Pages/RackPages/FrontRacks.html

(edit; I guess you can't upload photos to this system, too bad)
 I will post photos of my bags with the two different racks for comparison.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 11:32:18 am by rockermike »

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: front platform racks: Surly Nice or Old Man Pioneer?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2012, 01:10:57 pm »
(edit; I guess you can't upload photos to this system, too bad)
 I will post photos of my bags with the two different racks for comparison.
Hi Rocker Mike. See Posting Images to Forum at the top of the General Discussion group.

Fred