Cycling UK Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 1 year 17 weeks ago

Re: Long touring without front panniers

10 May 2016 - 11:17am
Messy solution to a non existent 'problem'. Any advantages are outweighed by the disadvantages. The whole idea was to allow luggage to be carried on MTB's where traditional racks/saddlebag systems wouldn't work and for that use it works.

The key things when loading a bike are always the same - weight and bulk should be kept as low as reasonable for stability - a ratio of 40% front 60% rear weight distribution. These things might sound like repetition of old advice but there are good reasons for the advice and it's validity remains true.

If you want to run just rear bags be sure they are balanced and that you can actually get everything in! I did a week camping with everything on the rear once - never again - the bike was so unstable and wouldn't climb. (I always tour with a bar bag but that's not a weight thing but security/access)

Over the years i've invested a lot in lighter more compact camping gear and I know that if neccesary I could get all my kit in 2 rear bags but with that past experience I would still try to avoid doing so.

Re: Long touring without front panniers

10 May 2016 - 11:15am
Frame bag as shown above -- I would not get to the end of the road before throwing that away. I ride slightly knock kneed as the result of a cycling collision 40 years ago and so my legs would drag on the bag. It looks wide enough to me that one would have to ride with knees quite far apart.

Re: Long touring without front panniers

10 May 2016 - 10:51am
Thanks for saying that bikepacking luggage makes bike handle better. That explains some of it.

One of the reasons I don't like that style is because on most trips I need to unload my bike a few times for plane, train, bus, bike or truck. Manhandling the many bags in the bikepacking system would be more difficult than just two panniers. Also a bit of a security issue as you stand at a busy bus station with a pile of very nickable small bags surrounding you as you try to load your bike on the roof rack.

Re: Dawes Horizon?

10 May 2016 - 9:43am
Hi i still have my Horizon 24 gears. Dawes stopped making the Horizon a few years ago.
If you go to Spa cyclesthey have some great deals on toureres at the moment . They have a Dawes Galaxy on sale for around 600 at moment amongst other deals on touring bikes
Its definetly worth a look at the website and a phone call to them for any advice

Re: Has Anyone Toured With a Guitar?

10 May 2016 - 9:23am
I had two young Canadians stay with me (Warmshowers). One had a ukelele and the other had a guitar (smaller size for travelling).

Here they are playing in my back garden

Re: Hub Dynamo

10 May 2016 - 9:17am
I am a massive convert to B&M dynamo lights - the led battery light I had been using did indeed bang out more light but a lot of it was sent where it wasn't useful and just dazzled oncoming traffic. The beauty of the B&M is the beam pattern is almost car like in its precision and so is all useful. I cycle 8 miles of my commute each way on unlit roads and the better beam pattern and no worry about battery life has made the winter much easier. As others have said, the drag is imperceptible and as the bearings are Ultegra quality in Shimano dyno hubs (they claim) the thing should last a good few years.

Re: South Downs Way on a touring bike ??

10 May 2016 - 9:16am
I rode the SDW on a hybrid (rigid fork) minimal kit. I hadn't a clue what the route was like before I got there, just liked the sound of it and I'd barely been riding a bike, having taken a break for 20 odd years. Any difficulties, I put down to my lack of fitness and ability rather than the bike.

Dawes Horizon?

10 May 2016 - 7:58am
Does anyone know if you still buy the Dawes Horizon? I used to have one about 10 years ago, and it was perfect for what I needed (some touring, and also for getting up very steep Peak District hills!). Unfortunately it got stolen and I never got round to replacing it. I can't seem to find them anywhere now - or any other bikes which are equally light and with as many gears (I'm fairly sure mine had 27). Does anyone know if they are still available, or if not, if there are other touring bikes I should look at? I've been riding a pinnacle cyclocross bike, which I was told would be a good replacement, but it is much heavier even without pannier racks etc. and there just aren't enough gears to get up steep hills even without luggage. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Northern England Road Cycling Tour - any help appreciate

10 May 2016 - 7:46am
+ 1 for lancashire cycleway. If you search "ribble valley" on the forum search you should also find a recent maybe relevant thread.




Re: Hub Dynamo

9 May 2016 - 11:08pm
Do you want to use the light as a headlight or just to be seen?

If the latter, a dynamo is overkill, particularly if you're mainly commuting. Batteries for modern led lights last ages and flashing lights are much more visible. If you want a headlight a dynamo will give less light than powerful battery headlights but will never run out.

Another thing to consider is that a good dyno-hub will probably outlast a rim by some margin. So if you trash/wear out your rim you will need to rebuild the wheel. On tour this could be problematic.

I used a dyno-hub for a while and definitely noticed the drag, however, I believe newer ones have less drag. Can anyone say if they work well for charging a smartphone? How long would it take to charge? Do you need a voltage regulator or battery pack?

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 9:35pm
Hi Shane,
interesting comparison between different setups. To my eyes the four panniers look much neater! How does the weight compare? I've just been sorting out my own panniers for use on my new bike and I must admit the panniers all by themselves are not light. Do you take less stuff with you with the new setup, or is it just distributed in a different way? In the first photo of your post there seems to be a couple of bags on the floor, where do they go on the bike?

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 9:22pm
Many thanks to all the people who responded. It has sparked some interesting comments, debate even, and I have probably changed my mind about the bike as a result. I think I'll still want to travel with 4 panniers, but more for balance than anything. I do travel quite light, but I do seem to be really bulky. Super light shoes, but super bulky at the same time. I also like to have the room to buy some shopping including that essential bottle of wine. I cook quite a lot and need space for the stuff.
It was going to be a fairly lightweight titanium tourer with carbon forks, (hence no front panniers) and it will now definitely be a steel tourer with mountings for panniers on the front fork, albeit with Rohloff hub, so still far too expensive ..... Ah well!
Thanks to you all again - and happy touring.

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 8:33pm
Totally agree with the veterans here, I've often travelled with the standard set up and wasn't sure what all that BIkepacking non-sense is about.

Ironically several years on, my packing basics haven't changed. I need about the same gear for a weekend or a month, its just a question of which season. Now I just need a lot less of it

The definition of " long touring" maybe be the key. The difference between a holiday or a long trip or a lifestyle. The choice of taking the laptop/tablet, the extra blanket, fancy clothes, more spare parts, more serious tent, thicker sleeping bag. We all have our comfort zones and comfort blankets and should travel on the limits of them to keep things interesting. For some thats 40kg of junk, for others its 5kg of junk.

But, like the others I digress, for the OP. Yes you can get by without front panniers, frame bag and the other bike packing non-sense is optional.

This is my current setup for a month trip with towns most days:

IMG_2218 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

Same trip length 5 years earlier looked like this
Mr Hyde by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

And this set up plus 2 rear panniers could be perfect for the OP:

P1030328 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

Horses for courses, smiles not miles

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 8:19pm
I toured for 2 months along the Pamir Highway ladt summer.
Took 4 panniers and bar bag.

Looking back, the 2 rear panniers would have been fine.
I had the space, so filled it!!!

I liked the bar bag for passport, camera and valuables.
Easy to remove when stopped for breaks.

Re: South Downs Way on a touring bike ??

9 May 2016 - 7:37pm
Completed it April 2016 on a steel touring bike.

Its possible but it isn't fun. 5 punctures and that was just on the first day. Some of the paths are damn right dangerous and you need some decent grip.
You need some suspension as well, otherwise you could loose filling from your teeth being jarred so much.
I would do it again, but I would get a decent mountain bike for it.

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 7:03pm
A month isn't a long tour.

Most people I meet on the road seem to manage with two panniers and a holdall-style bag (and they still seem to be able to carry cooking equipment and chairs etc).

The amount of stuff you 'need' tends to expand to fill the space available.

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 6:26pm
gloomyandy wrote:That looks a pretty minimal setup! Do you have the details of what it is you carried?

Hilleberg Akto tent, summer sleeping bag, a couple of t-shirts, three or four pairs of socks, spare shorts. Bar bag full of maps, camera, documents, and food. Not much else needed for a bike ride

I think the main problem people have with packing/bags/panniers/etc, is choosing the look of the bike first. You just take the kit/clothes/gear that is going to make your trip comfortable and enjoyable. Then find bags that will fit your luggage, rather than the other way around. I've seen so many 'bike packing' setups with huge extended wedge shaped seatpost bags, waving around in the wind. Just seems crazy sometimes.

And with bags it's best to balance the weight out front and back, rather than just load up the back end (seat post). I suspect that's largely down to the weight being carried higher up than a pannier setup.

EDIT: this was autumn, I find I need panniers for winter touring to carry extra clothing and a warmer sleeping bag.

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 6:10pm
That looks a pretty minimal setup! Do you have the details of what it is you carried?

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 6:08pm
simonhill wrote: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.

because the bike handles as if it has no luggage at all. there's no pannier clanking noises. you can ride pretty quickly, jump off pavements, etc, without risking the pannier coming loose.

Of course the 'bike packing' fashion is just the latest fad to satisfy roadies looking to spend some more of their cash. People have been ultra-light touring sinces bikes were invented. It's nothing new to tour without panniers. When were these new-fangled panniers invented anyway, you tend not to see them in the photos of the 50s/60s when most people appeared to just lash loads of stuff to their bike (in bags!) and go?

Re: Long touring without front panniers

9 May 2016 - 6:02pm
Ridgie wrote: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?

there are a huge array of frame/saddle/bar bags, so you just need to work out what you need to take, what shape it is, and find bags that suit. The bike specific frame/bike-packing bags tend not to be waterproof. But using dry bags is straightforward, and you can attach with bungees or straps.

A four week tour to Slovenia and back, camping (tent under bars in a roll-bag) but not cooking. The Alpkit dry bag (10l I think) on the seatpost was only £14, strapped on with a bungee. Normal Ortlieb bar bag (6l).

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