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Thread: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

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    Default Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    I'm talking through what might be my only custom in the next few years with my chosen builder (Jeffrey Bock), and I wanted to crowdsource some opinions here. The bike is going to be lugged steel, steel fork, definitely a constructeur bike of sorts-- I'm having it built with the SON SL connectorless dynohub system (including the super trick Velo Lumino top cap switch), Honjo fenders, painted Silca, handbuilt stem, etc. It's going to be super sweet.

    I'm trying to decide if it's worth my while to get a front rack and rack bag for it, or whether I want to keep it light and simple without a rack or front load carrying geometry, and consider it more like a sportive/club rider bike. It'll be 700c, set up for mid reach sidepull brakes. Most of my riding on it will be single day rides, and I have rackless bags that work great to carry extra clothes and stuff. Under no circumstances would I ever load it up like a tourer, with or without a front rack.

    My thought is that the genre seems to demand a rack and front bag, but that I'd probably get good use out of that about 5% of the time and feel like it was unnecessary weight the other 95% of the time. This is probably my last custom for quite a while and I have very minimal redundancy in my stable and like it that way. If I was really going to get a bike intended to carry stuff, I'd do it on the cheap, with disc brakes, and get something like a Rawland. Thoughts from the peanut gallery?

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    JP Weigle is famous for dropping the youngsters on race bikes while riding one of his heavy slow-handling randonneurs (meaning they aren't any of those things.) See linked film below at 1:44.



    I have a Weigle road bike, and I got a Roadrunner handlebar bag for it because that seemed like what I should do, but I haven't ever used it. I imagine I will use it one day or another, but it doesn't need a front rack to work so it's pretty simply added on. Heck, Berthoud makes a bag for mounting without a front rack using the Klick-Fix mount. So you can even get the French look.

    On the other hand, with all the other stuff you are putting on the bike, it doesn't sound like you are really adding much by putting rack attachment points on the frame and making it a pass-hunter type bike. Just tell the designer to make it carry a load and handle like a Weigle. Simple.


    (*not a Weigle)

    Dogrange (Andy Cohen) has a super nice Winter Bicycles randonneur, and it is 26.5lbs as spec'd. Maybe let that be your guide.
    Last edited by j44ke; 09-19-2017 at 08:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    It would be a huge mistake to get a full on custom bike in that style without a small front rack...It would be like the face of a beautiful woman without a nose......

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Sounds like you've made up your mind to go without.
    My custom steel jobber is pretty similar to what you've described, with similar use case. If I ever need to carry something more than food and arm warmers I chuck a Carradice saddle bag (with support) on it. No rack needed.

    FWIW, my other main bike is an Elephant NFE with rack and bag. The bag is super handy for the kind of rides I do on it, ie anything other than fastish road rides (commuting, gravel, kid towing, exploring etc).

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Sorry...I'm more of a derriere kind a guy. :)

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    I have Ortlieb handlebar bags for my bikes, I'm reasonably happy with the utility of the bag, stability when full, and ease of taking the clip on and off.

    That said, a small front rack on a bike like yours would be boss. Nothing to clutter the bars, the load is lower and even more stable, and a narrow rack and bag even look like a fairing.

    I'd hit that.
    Trod Harland, Physical Educator

    Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Quote Originally Posted by doomridesout View Post
    Most of my riding on it will be single day rides, and I have rackless bags that work great to carry extra clothes and stuff.
    I have this Swift Industries bag that I use almost every day and it works perfectly. It's the perfect size to carry one or two days worth of stuff. If you need
    more room, get a large saddle bag.

    Just my advice.

    https://builtbyswift.com/shop/cascad...handlebar-bag/

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    NFE with front bag. It doesn't get much better...
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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    I have Ortlieb handlebar bags for my bikes, I'm reasonably happy with the utility of the bag, stability when full, and ease of taking the clip on and off.

    That said, a small front rack on a bike like yours would be boss. Nothing to clutter the bars, the load is lower and even more stable, and a narrow rack and bag even look like a fairing.

    I'd hit that.
    On second thought, I would listen to what he said.

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    if you're getting a custom made bike in the style you describe, with a steel fork anyway, it's an absolute missed huge opportunity to not put the proper braze-ons for a front mounted small rack. even if you dont think you want it right now, the braze-ons are un noticeable until they day you do want them.

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Have to agree with the pro rack crowd. I've got an Ebisu all arounder, which has full fenders, pump, etc. Having the front rack and a small bag is a huge plus. The bag is low, stable, and frees up the handlebars. I use a nitto M-12 front rack with a small bag that doesn't need a decaleur. Since you're going lugged steel with fenders, why not put a rack on. Won't add much weight, but will give you a ton of versatility. The Ebisu geometry is more on the sportive side of things than full on rando. Hauls ass really well with the rack.

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Why not 650B while you're at it?

    650B Road by Chris Bishop, on Flickr
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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    I'll be the contrarian here.
    Will the steel fork be built differently depending on whether you'll go rack or not?
    If so, then I'd ask him to build it as if you're forgoing front racks given that's how you'd be riding it 95% of the time.

    I have a semi custom 333Fab in the works which was available with one of three forks:
    Steel with lower trail for front cargo
    Comax carbon with fender and Dino mounts and 15mm TA
    Enve with 12mm TA

    While the first looked the sexiest I knew it didn't match up to what most of my mileage would be (and I seriously considered ordering two painted forks for optionality) but I decided on the Enve to ligthen it up and quicken the handling for the kind of riding I do.

    You can get a lot of cargo into an unracked handlebar bag these days. Check out Outershell as an example. I have one and it'll carry all I'd really need on a long day ride, especially when you add in a larger seat bag and jersey pockets.


    Food for thought: Air Land Sea — 333 fab
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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)



    Jamie Swan's modern take on the urban rando bike if there is such a thing...I love this bike. Jamie Swan Light Tourer | The Radavist
    rw saunders
    peace, solidarity and coffee

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    I had a whole response typed out but:

    The hell with it, this is just a road bike for not giving a crap when it gets dark.

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Lordy, that white Bishop makes me weak in the knees. It's like he knows what I'm thinking...
    Trod Harland, Physical Educator

    Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Front racks and bags are great if you need to carry stuff, but unnecessary if you don't. Chat this out with JB. If you don't want to port stuff around, I would be hesitant to design the bike around it just for the look.

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Quote Originally Posted by rwsaunders View Post


    Jamie Swan's modern take on the urban rando bike if there is such a thing...I love this bike. Jamie Swan Light Tourer | The Radavist
    such a rad bike. just what im hoping to be building here soon

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

    Can someone please post a picture of Andrew Flowers' purple Kirk again? This is just an undercover way to get at pictures of that thing.

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    Default Re: Let's talk about front racks on rando bikes (again)

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