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Weight Distribution/Packing Tips Bikepacking

Old 04-07-21, 12:12 PM
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harvillo
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Weight Distribution/Packing Tips Bikepacking

I'm sure it's personal preference, however, when I have a front bag (I'm doing lightweight touring) it feels like a dang sail when going into the wind. I can strap what's on the front bag to the top of the seat bag. It's not that heavy. I'm just wondering if there's a preference. I gotta say it's nice to have the feed bags and sleeping roll up front. I read an article that having the rear too heavy can impact climbing. I don't see how some of the lightweight guys pack so much into a few bags.
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Old 04-07-21, 02:04 PM
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Re dang sails, when you have a front bag and two front panniers, it's like a four mast sailing ship!

I realize everyone has different views of essential, but I think it's fair to say that really lightweight bikepacking does rely on a certain amount of living with very very little, not my thing but I get how it must be nice to be light and fast.
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Old 04-07-21, 02:09 PM
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Thanks. I had sell my bike I built up for panniers and am now using my road bike with bags. The little additions just seem to make more of a difference. I moved some gear around so the bag up front is much more compact. Thanks again I know this is subjective. I'm heading out on my first local "tour" to test the waters.
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Old 04-07-21, 02:14 PM
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I like riding fast, but generally unloaded, but if you really like the fast thing, reducing frontal area is always better, small profile panniers or a large seat bag, frame bag etc, will help.
at a certain point though, touring does become more laid back and sometimes more stuff makes things more enjoyable"--- but there are no right answers, so have fun trying out stuff.
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Old 04-07-21, 03:02 PM
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Generically I think a bag in front of your body, like a handlebar bag or a bikepacking harness for a drybag below the bars should not be that bad aerodynamically, it acts like a windbreak for your body. But I use the drops when I have a strong headwind.
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Old 04-07-21, 04:44 PM
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This is perhaps the most comprehensive discussion on touring aerodynamics. Worth reading.
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Old 04-07-21, 06:14 PM
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One thing to take with a grain of salt from these type of tests is that for a lot of people, having more stuff than bare minimum is, I suspect, more common, and comes with some more creature comforts---plus not everyone will be able to spend the money on all the lightest gear that is more compact

also I suspect too that a lot of people won't ride as fast as the Denham fellow. I'm comfortable with myself knowing that I never was really fast, even 30 years ago, and my average speeds have never been particularly fast, even when riding unloaded.

but I do get how little things add up,I'm particularly aware of efficiency of various aspects of riding and how it helps.
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Old 04-07-21, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post

also I suspect too that a lot of people won't ride as fast as the Denham fellow.
Completely agree. I believe I read somewhere that tourers average 16kph, close to half of Denham (16kph happens to be close to my average).

Since air resistance increases in the square of speed, that would mean that panniers slow me down 1.5% (6%/4) or so, compared to a bare bike. That's roughly 1 Watt. Or next to nothing...
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Old 04-08-21, 11:06 AM
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Have you ever actually measured the weight distribution?
Get a bathroom scale.
Stand on the scale, holding the loaded bike, record the total wieght.
Put front wheel of bike on scale, and rear on a plank of equal height, get on bike and record weight.
Front weight/ Total weight= Fraction on front wheel.
Total weight-Fraction on front wheel= fraction on rear.
(total weight-front weight)/Total weight= fraction on rear.
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Old 04-08-21, 11:20 AM
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The farther the bag is from the steering column, the more leverage the wind has.
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Old 04-08-21, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
The farther the bag is from the steering column, the more leverage the wind has.
That makes sense, having the weight as close to the head tube as possible and centered on fork legs.
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Old 04-09-21, 07:29 AM
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Re weight distribution, already you are going light weight, so I suspect you won't find much of a difference with more stuff on rear. With more load than you are using, I do prefer evening out fore aft load for handling, but I have no idea what weight you're talking about and "feel" for handling isn't something one can describe in writing anyway.

what I would add is that I've spent a lot of years going fast around corners on two wheels, and I notice and appreciate weight distribution, but again, if your load is very light, this whole topic may be unnecessary, but again who knows--One rider can have a very different view of what feels ok compared to another rider.
best suggestion is to just try different layouts, and don't forget that your bike will never feel like an unloaded bike , and one gets used to the weight fairly quickly, it just is what it is.
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Old 04-12-21, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Re weight distribution, already you are going light weight, so I suspect you won't find much of a difference with more stuff on rear. With more load than you are using, I do prefer evening out fore aft load for handling, but I have no idea what weight you're talking about and "feel" for handling isn't something one can describe in writing anyway.
I agree that as you go lighter and lighter it matters less and less. That said, I found that I had good luck with using only front panniers and the tent on top of the rear rack at about 30 pounds base. I enjoyed that setup. It worked well at 22 pounds too.

When I went lighter yet, I tried other setups that all worked okay. Most split weight between front and rear in some fashion, usually with no effort to get the weight low. I typically used some kind of bar roll and strapped stuff on the back in some manner usually without panniers. With less that 14# of base gear weight split between the front back and a little backpack there isn't enough in any one place to matter all that much in how the bike handles.

Before my long campaign to shed gear weight, when I packed heavier, I tried to put heavier more compact items low and in the front and it seemed to make a big difference. These days I just try to distribute them around a bit without much concern and mostly worry about where they fit and whether items I will need will be easy to find and get to.
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Old 04-12-21, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by bOsscO View Post
That makes sense, having the weight as close to the head tube as possible and centered on fork legs.
Weight low on the axis the fork rotates on is fine or even desirable. It doesn't need to be up near the head tube.

I have used front paniers only on low rider racks with the weight packed low and they were fine. In open windy country it will matter if the area is balanced ahead of and behind the axis the fork rotates on, but if set up well front only with the weight low can be a nice setup.
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