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Old 01-03-20, 09:06 AM
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Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Though theoretically ideal, over the decades I have seen very few bike tourists, even those that are well seasoned, who adhere to this ratio. [60% front/ 40% rear] Why ? Because most rear panniers are significantly larger than front panniers and most of us like to throw all sorts of crap on top of the rear rack platform. Many don't have a front fork that can accept a front rack and even fewer have one with a platform on top in order to carry stuff. Is this ideal ? Heck no ! but don't let that get in the way of playing the game.
I think it's also the weight shift that would be required to meet that ratio. Most road bikes start off with a 33/67 to 40/60 front/rear weight split. Say the rider plus bike weight is 200 lbs. and use the 40/60 to make the math easier, so that's 80 pounds front, 120 pounds on the rear. To change that to a 60/40 front/rear, you'll have get the front wheel load up to 180 pounds.

First, that's too much of a load to carry (you don't need 100 pounds of luggage unless you're doing some really rugged, really remote, and really long touring). Second, as @robow notes, it's going to be darn tough getting that much onto the front -- I don't know of any commercial front racks or bar bags that can handle that much weight.

The closest I've ever come to a 60/40 split was the time I foolishly tried to carry half a bushel of apples back from the orchard on the front (call it 20 pounds). That was probably still less than 50% of the load on the front wheel, and steering was miserably slow at every stop and start. It wasn't too bad when rolling. But I remembered why I'd nicknamed that bike "Pig" while touring -- it steered like a pig wallowing in the mud.
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