Author Topic: Weight on Top of Rear Rack and Bike Handling  (Read 5982 times)

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Offline urbancoyote

Weight on Top of Rear Rack and Bike Handling
« on: November 28, 2006, 01:08:51 am »
I plan to upgrade the stock rear rack on my Trek 520, probably to
Tubus Cargo (although I'd be interested in suggestions). I want a fairly
long shelf because I plan to bungee or otherwise attach about 12
pounds of stuff in a dry sack to the top of the rack. I'll have some fairly
modest-sized panniers on the back, with the pair carrying 15 or so
pounds. My front bags will be mounted on a lowrider rack (Tubus Tara,
although I'd like suggestions on this too) weighing maybe 15 pounds.

These weights are well within the capacity of the racks, but I'm
wondering about how the weight on top of the rack will affect
handling. Any thoughts about that?


Offline biker_james

Weight on Top of Rear Rack and Bike Handling
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2006, 08:38:48 am »
I would suggest that you try it for yourself. I normally only carry a sleeping bag & tent poles on top of my rear rack. I once tried putting the whole tent (9pounds?) up there also, and did not like its affect on the handling. However, I have many times while on tour, had two  1.5 litre water bottles added on to, as well as juice or pop containers, which I'm sure put my "on top" load well over 12 pounds and never been bothered by it.
Which is a long way of saying that it is partially what you find accepptable, and partially what you get used to. Just because you can feel it initially, doesn't mean that it will affect you at all 50 miles down the road.


Offline RussellSeaton

Weight on Top of Rear Rack and Bike Handling
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2006, 12:19:53 pm »
As already mentioned, try it.  I have toured with a rear rack pack on my Blackburn Expedition rack.  I start many days with 4 or 5 quarts of Gatorade in it.  About 10+ pounds.  Never noticed any affects.  Not even after drinking the Gatorade and reducing the weight to about 0 pounds.  I do prefer to have heavy stuff like tools in the bottom of the front lowriders


Offline valygrl

Weight on Top of Rear Rack and Bike Handling
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2006, 12:08:38 pm »
I use a 17" 520, Cargo/Tara rack, Arkel panniers.

Should be fine, I think.  I carry as much as tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, thermarest chair & tarp on the top of the rear rack, that's probably about 9 pounds.  I just switched to the Cargo/Tara combo, and it's great - really solid.  The lack of lateral flex in the rack is excellent, and improves the handling, especially when climbing standing.  The stock rack was absolute crap, I'm sure it will be better with your new rig.

That said, it might be good to get some of that weight lower if possible, into the rear panniers, and put lighter stuff on top.

Don't be afraid to try putting more weight in front, too.  I find the handling just improves.


Offline valygrl

Weight on Top of Rear Rack and Bike Handling
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2006, 12:10:05 pm »
Oh yeah... I really prefer nylon straps  w/fastex buckles to bungees - bungees are never tight enough to keep things from wiggling around, and then you put your eye out with them, too...


Offline BrianCM

Weight on Top of Rear Rack and Bike Handling
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2006, 03:12:18 am »
The only time that your handling will suffer is when the rack is heavily loaded.  For instance, when I go to the store for my shopping I usually get at least 40 pounds of stuff.  It goes in two Ortlieb panniers on the rear rack.  That much stuff on a Blackburn Expedition rack makes it flex a little bit.  Then if I put a jug of laundry detergent on the back, it starts to get definitely wobbly.  The jug needs to go on the front rack for better stability.

So I hope my experience illustrates that the bike handling will only be a problem with a maximum load that is not properly distributed.  I remember that there is a website (not crazyguyonabike.com) that has one guy's extensive touring experience.  He also advocates an even balance, and to put more on the front than the rear.