Author Topic: Great Divide Equipment  (Read 15062 times)

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Offline Dan

Great Divide Equipment
« on: January 09, 2004, 06:26:08 pm »
I'm planning on riding the great divide route this
summer and would like some feedback regarding
how I haul my supplies.  I plan on carrying
20-25lbs of supplies.  
If I just use a rear rack with panniers do you think
that would be too much weight for the rear wheel
over rough terrain.  Handling?
What about a rear rack/panniers and a handle bar
bag to put  5-8 or so pounds up front.  
A front and rear rack with panniers might be the
best but I don't want to spend the money on a front
rack and panniers and also don't want the extra
Anyone have experience with a rear (or front) wheel
failure while weighted down.  This is what I'm most
concerned with.  I ride a Mt. bike with Bontrager
Satelite wheels.
Thanks for the input!

Offline loubikes

Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2004, 12:05:44 am »
I ride an old (about 8 years) Giant Sedona on rails to trails and in the mountains of North Carolina.  The only wheel problems I have had is when I make a mistake that is bad enough to send me over the handle bars. I weigh 208 and my bike is 29 lbs plus about five or six pounds of lunch, tools and just stuff for day trips.  That totals over 240 pounds.  Your question did not include your weight but as touring is easier on wheels than single track I think you have a stronger set up than most touring bikes.  Handling with panniers I have no experience.

Offline Sjors

Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2004, 07:54:00 pm »
Hi Dan
I am a dutch biker, done lots of touring both on and off road, using panniers back and rear and a BOB. I did part of the GDMT last summer, great fun. Touring needs strong wheels! I had problems wth panniers and rear wheels. For me a strong rim and at least 32 or 36 spokes crossed over 3 work well. 20-25 lbs sounds awfull light fot the Great Divide! There are several stretches where you'll need food for a couple of days. Are you sure you can stay this light? The handling of a bike is seriously effected by panniers, worse if you pack everything on a rear rack alone. A heavy handlebar bag is bad for steering and you loose some sight of the road. I used my BOB on the Great Divide and I find that it handles very well off-road. It is a lot heavier than a pannier set-up though. Anyway, have fun!

Offline Nard

Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2004, 04:56:50 am »
You would be alll right with just a rear rack with 20 to 25 pounds of weight. My thought is 8 pounds will afffect stearing with a handlebar bag. I use a handlebar bag only for small camera, and smacks.
I just don't know how you will keep weight so low on the Great Divide. At time I carried 2 gallons of water and 3 days of food and just made it to the next provision spot. There are some lonely and dry areas on the Great Divide. I don't think you can go quite that light. I would suggest from and rear panniers or a bob. I have used both and they work well.

Nard Claar
719 520 5409

Offline Dan

Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2004, 09:49:43 pm »
I forgot to mention in the first message I weigh
145-150 lbs.  My bike is about 26.5 lbs (w/ slime
tubes) with no accessories on it.  I went ahead and
put an old man mountain rack on the rear (white
rock) and front (sherpa) so I'm forgetting about the
handle bar bag idea.  Plus, that will put some
weight up front and take some pressure off the
rear wheel.  I prefer to travel as light as possible
and feel 20-25 pounds is doable and also realize
that the weight will increase significalnly on those
occasions when I do need to carry more water and
food.  My plan is to carry two Ortlieb Classic
panniers and a trunk rack or a small dry bag with
8-12 lbs strapped to the other rack.  I haven't
decided if the panniers will go on the front or rear
but wherever they go I'll strap some other gear to
the other rack .
Thanks for the input so far.  


  • Guest
Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2004, 04:04:23 pm »
I'm not familiar with the Sherpa front rack. Low riders will scrape and bump on the Great Divide route. Try for 6" clearance to the front panniers, which are an excellent idea. My bike handles best with 50% - 60% of the gear (by weight) in front panniers. It's worth experimenting before you hit the hairy parts.


Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2004, 01:13:50 pm »
I would second the motion on stonger wheels. I routinely carry 40+ pounds of gear in rear (only) panniers and a hydration/daypack. I invested in some "police patrol" wheels for my Trek 930SHX, (I'm a park ranger and IPMBA member)figuring they would hold up under 250 lbs. of me and 50 lbs of gear. WRONG! Started going through spokes almost once a week. Finally sat down with the wrench at my LBS and worked out some "semi-custom" heavy-duty Mavics for my needs.

Work with your local bike shop. Tell them what you need and why, and they should be able to help you out.

Ride safe,

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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  • "I am well, thank God, and in high spirits"
Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2004, 07:36:56 pm »
I learned something in police/EMS cyclist training that I think is really applicable to off-road touring that I would like to share: Front panniers may help balance a heavy rear pack, but they make control and obstacle avoidance much more difficult. Proper riding position, and placing heavier objects to the front of the panniers (towards the rider) will help in preventing weight and balance problems on most mountain bikes. At least it has worked for me for the past 8 years.

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery

Offline cars_suck

Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2004, 07:11:41 pm »
I rode the GDMBR solo in '99.  i used a BOB trailer for my gear, which worked wonderfully.  I would be wary of putting too much weight over the wheels due to durability and handling issues.  I know you said you plan on only carrying 25 lbs or so, but there are places where you will HAVE to carry more than that for food, water, camping/cooking gear etc, and those are the places where equipment failure would be the worst.
Good Luck.

Offline mlhy

Great Divide Equipment
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2004, 10:05:45 pm »
I've done 1600 m of the GD with just rear panniers.  Old Man Mountain racks are great front and rear.  I've seen other racks come apart at the welds.  I lash a stuff sack to the front rack.  I tried front panniers too, but didn't like the handling at all. Carrying enough water in NM is the big challenge.  We got good at begging from hunters and ranchers.  Except for water, we can carry all our camping gear & food, etc.  I'm be afraid I'd fill a BOB.  I guess the key is to get a bomb-proof rear wheel (36 spoke) and low low gears.