Long touring without front panniers

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Ridgie
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Long touring without front panniers

Postby Ridgie » 8 May 2016, 7:44pm

I'm currently in a position to buy a fairly light touring bike, (titanium) that will not accommodate front panniers. The bike suits me perfectly in every other aspect, and, as it will be very expensive, the lightness will make it an excellent machine for regular club use as well as summer tours.
I generally expect to tour for up to a month at a time in the summer. and I have always gone with 2 front and 2 rear panniers and no other storage. I camp and cook, but take a lightish load nonetheless. Does anyone feel that I will be able to substitute the front panniers with one of the the new 'frame bags' combined with a bar bag? And could this combo make up for the loss of both front panniers?

tatanab
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby tatanab » 8 May 2016, 7:54pm

Simple dimple - easy peasy - use a saddle bag. My cycle camping setup uses a small pair of front panniers (which you could fit on the rear) with a Campers Longflap saddlebag and a tent strapped across the rack behind the saddlebag, plus a bar bag for paperwork, snack etc. The panniers (small) take sleeping kit and cooking kit. Clothing, toiletries etc are in the saddlebag. I too tend to be away for about a month. I've never felt the need for 4 panniers ---yet.

mercalia
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby mercalia » 8 May 2016, 10:40pm

I hope your expensive bike dont get nicked.

wearwell
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby wearwell » 8 May 2016, 10:57pm

Better off without front panniers, if you can get all your kit in. If there's any weight in there you can get a pendulum effect making hill climbing much harder work on the arms.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby al_yrpal » 8 May 2016, 11:18pm

I would ask for a trial ride, fit the panniers etc and load up the bike. Then ride it and descend some hills at speed to make sure its going to be shimmy free. Light bikes seldom make decent tourers with no vices.

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Sweep
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby Sweep » 9 May 2016, 6:47am

Ridgie wrote:I'm currently in a position to buy a fairly light touring bike, (titanium) that will not accommodate front panniers.

Got to ask (or you never learn) - why won't it accommodate front panniers?
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MrsHJ
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby MrsHJ » 9 May 2016, 7:54am

I've always just used rear panniers and tent strapped on the top of the rack for the month long summer tour type journey. Wear one and wash one for cycle clothes plus one off bike lightweight outfit and a thin and a thick fleece and cycle longs.

I think you need to work through your kit list and do a test pack before you buy the bike.

Are you intending to take less stuff or just to redistribute it? I find that most of us are fairly fixed in what we like to take and the volume of gear that is acceptable so I'm guessing you may not want to cut down?

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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby Vorpal » 9 May 2016, 8:04am

I've never used front panniers.

Two rear panniers and a bar bag or other front luggage, have generally been enough. When I was a teenager, I used to strap my tent to my handlebars.

These days, I go with kids, and my trailer isn't big enough :shock: :lol:
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ANTONISH
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby ANTONISH » 9 May 2016, 9:42am

wearwell wrote:Better off without front panniers, if you can get all your kit in. If there's any weight in there you can get a pendulum effect making hill climbing much harder work on the arms.


Yes I've found that particularly on a steep/long climb.
Nonetheless I was quite keen on front panniers for weight distribution -then ( to cut a long story short) I had an off when a front pannier snagged on concrete flower planter.
That turned my wheel and brought me down. Inattentiveness on my part but a rear pannier wouldn't have had the same effect.

simonhill
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby simonhill » 9 May 2016, 10:22am

I've never used front panniers or bar bag. Two rear and a very small saddlebag have been enough.

I camped for 2 months in NZ, although there was 2 of us so some gear shared. I've also ridden plenty of short tours in UK and Europe solo with just 2.

If you've only got 2 you trim your stuff accordingly. I rarely camp nowadays, but still fill 2. The law that states gear expands to fill the available space also works in reverse.

Free yourself from the tyranny of 'the front'.

gloomyandy
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby gloomyandy » 9 May 2016, 1:03pm

I'm sure you will get lots of different answers. Lot's of folks seem to be saying you will be fine, so here is a case for the opposing point of view...

I started off just using rear panniers and bags (plus a bar bag which I still use). But these days when camping I wouldn't want to be without my four pannier setup. I don't carry a "top pack" only things on the top of the rack are the tent poles. My bags are not packed full to bursting point so I can get to things easily. I have room for adding food and water (often needed as I tend to wild camp). My bike feels much better balanced (only have sleeping stuff and clothes in the font bags), I can happily climb out of the saddle if I need to. Going downhill my bike feels rock solid, before with all the weight on the rear I had a couple of very scary moments when I had some pretty big front wheel shimmies going down steep hills, wouldn't want to have that again. Having my gear organized into the four bags makes it easy to setup camp and pack things away. I can easily stop during the day and use my cooking stuff. Things like the wet tent and wet weather gear are all together and no worries about other stuff getting wet from them. I usually tour alone in NW Scotland in the Spring and Autumn, as a result perhaps I tend to carry more clothing than some would for a summer tour (I've had snow one day and blazing sun the next). There are also not so many pubs and places to eat so I tend to cook a fair bit. Your and other folks requirements may be different to mine.

Yes I'm sure I could go back to just rear panniers plus other bags, but I wouldn't want to. Only you can decide if you are happy without the front bags. Perhaps you could try going without them on whatever bike you currently have? As others have said if you can it might be an idea to try the new bike with a load similar to what you are likely to carry. After all if you are going to spend a lot on a bike it would be good to get one that works well for you.

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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby Vorpal » 9 May 2016, 1:24pm

If you find that you aren't happy with rear panniers only, maybe you can find another solution?

Tubus do a clamp-on thing for the front. Also, there are some front racks (maybe Old Man Mountain?) that are axle mounted.

If it's because the forks don't have mounting, they can potentially be replaced with touring forks.
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psmiffy
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby psmiffy » 9 May 2016, 2:14pm

I always smile when I see a thread of this nature – and then move on to the next thread – pretty much the same old epitaphs – “I only use two panniers” – it is like people have had their manhood/womenhood questioned followed by a slap across the face with a wet fish.

Anyway I digress - The OP has recognized that he is doomed to use two panniers but is still hankering after a bit of extra space to carry some stuff and is asking whether one of these new? fangled frame bags would do the trick – having resisted the temptation to move on I can say I really have no idea – but having clicked the odd thread on here when they have been mooted for off road touring I would suggest that they they offer no more literage than a smallish dry bag (at a far greater £/l) bungeed onto the rear rack alongside the tent – added in the inconvenience of having to mess with a loada Velcro straps when putting on/taking off I cannot see that they offer any great advantage to the common or garden road touring cyclist – in support of this anecdotally (cannot find a reference or learned paper to support my position) I have never seen a road touring cyclist sporting such an abomination.
Last edited by psmiffy on 9 May 2016, 3:29pm, edited 2 times in total.

simonhill
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby simonhill » 9 May 2016, 2:48pm

Of course, every time we see one of these old chestnuts we could ignore it or just tell the poster to do a search.

Nonetheless, I agree about those framebags. A recent article on what is now called bikepacking showed a bewildering arrangement of very small bags strapped to every spare bit of tubing. Total baggage amount equalled about one easy to carry (rear) pannier. I fail to see the advantage of carrying all your stuff in lots of small bags instead of one or two larger ones.

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Sweep
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Re: Long touring without front panniers

Postby Sweep » 9 May 2016, 5:23pm

psmiffy wrote:I always smile when I see a thread of this nature – and then move on to the next thread – pretty much the same old epitaphs – “I only use two panniers” – it is like people have had their manhood/womenhood questioned followed by a slap across the face with a wet fish.

Anyway I digress - The OP has recognized that he is doomed to use two panniers but is still hankering after a bit of extra space to carry some stuff and is asking whether one of these new? fangled frame bags would do the trick – having resisted the temptation to move on I can say I really have no idea – but having clicked the odd thread on here when they have been mooted for off road touring I would suggest that they they offer no more literage than a smallish dry bag (at a far greater £/l) bungeed onto the rear rack alongside the tent – added in the inconvenience of having to mess with a loada Velcro straps when putting on/taking off I cannot see that they offer any great advantage to the common or garden road touring cyclist – in support of this anecdotally (cannot find a reference or learned paper to support my position) I have never seen a road touring cyclist sporting such an abomination.


Got to agree with you smiffy. Fashion i reckon. They will be going cheap on ebay/in classifieds here in a few years. Must get round to posting on the madness I saw in Pearsons the other day.
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