Author Topic: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??  (Read 3147 times)

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Offline JustKeepPedaling

Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« on: July 11, 2016, 12:54:50 pm »
I'll be setting off on a 3-month bike tour soon with my wife and we're trying to make some final decisions on how to pack. We can nearly fit everything we need in 2 rear panniers each. But we need a little more space for food, water and some extras. We're trying to decide if we should add the weight of front racks and panniers, or go with duffels on the back (like the Ortlieb Rack Pack duffel, for example.) Any thoughts on this? Thanks!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2016, 01:15:07 pm »
There's no "right" answer to this question.  If you go with front panniers, you'll have extra aerodynamic drag; no big deal until you run into a 20 mph headwind, then it's a very big deal. 

Rear duffle means you've got a lot of confidence in your rear wheel.  It already takes some 60-70% of your weight, then you add the weight of your rear panniers, and then the duffle weight.  Make very sure you've had that wheel, especially, checked by a competent wheel builder, including proper tensioning and stress relief.  Most machine built wheels don't get either, and a surprisingly high number of wheel men don't understand the need for either, but they're critical for long wheel life.  Finally, be aware of the wheel imbalance when and if you start climbing a steep hill.  You sit back for a good breath on a 15% hill, kick the pedals, and if you're lucky you'll be pulling a wheelie -- if not, you'll have flipped over backwards.

Good thing you just asked for thoughts instead of an answer!

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2016, 04:16:53 pm »
I'm a firm believer in front panniers.  Low rider front panniers.  On several trips I have ONLY used front panniers, no rear panniers at all.  Might have had something on top the rear rack.  But almost all the weight was in the front.  As already mentioned, with an unloaded bike about 70% of the weight is on the rear wheel.  Your body weight is almost all on the rear wheel.  It helps for control and stability to shift as much weight as possible to the front wheel.  Lower front panniers help lots too.  Look where your rear panniers are located.  Low, right above the rear axle.  Do you think its just coincidence and luck they ended up there?  Rear racks could easily be made a foot taller and get the weight up to saddle height.  But they don't because getting the weight low is better.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2016, 09:07:32 pm »
Personal preference, but I like four panniers. Good weight balance, solid bike handling, extra space when needed, and no concern about a light front wheel causing imprecise steering. There are some downsides, however, like the extra weight of a front rack and two more panniers.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2016, 06:42:29 am »
Just a few other options to consider.  Have you considered just putting the tent on top of the rack instead of using a trunk bag?  Also if you aren't already using one, I find a handlebar bag more convenient than a trunk bag.  Another option is a bar roll.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2016, 07:24:29 am »
Personal preference, but I like four panniers. Good weight balance, solid bike handling, extra space when needed, and no concern about a light front wheel causing imprecise steering. There are some downsides, however, like the extra weight of a front rack and two more panniers.

+1.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Front Panniers or Rear Duffel??
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2016, 09:43:57 am »
Also if you aren't already using one, I find a handlebar bag more convenient than a trunk bag.

+1.  A bar bag is a great place to store snacks, camera, billfold, and if you get one that has a map carrier, it'll let you read directions without stopping.