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Replace fork to carry panniers?

Old 07-26-22, 03:22 AM
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fofinet855
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Replace fork to carry panniers?

Hello everyone.
My carbon fork doesn't have rack mounts, and I was wondering about replacing it for one which has them.
Do you think it's worth it? Or there are simpler solutions? I know you can't attach hose clamps to carbon tubes. Carbon forks are quite expensive, and while I could try to sell mine, which has about 15.000 km, I'm not sure there is much market for that. I could also attach a bag to the handlebar, but that seems less practical when traveling; I could use a bag for the frame, but it's smaller, and both solutions make the bike's barycenter higher than panniers on the fork.
Also if I indeed choose to buy one, is the size and shape important? Or it's just enough that it's tapered and that it fits to my 28" wheels? I wrote to the manufacturer (Conway), and, to my amazement, they answered they don't have the specs for their own forks, as they get them from another supplier.

Thank you.
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Old 07-26-22, 03:45 AM
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There's a lot of variables that go into swapping a fork. If it's different length or has different rake it will affect geometry and handling (might be relevant, might not be). Headset and frame compatability is another factor to consider. Carbon frames often have integrated or semi integrated headsets meaning that the frame might be the bearing seat. This means that getting the correct headset... combination say, on a surly steel fork for example can prove challenging.

Don't clamp stuff around carbon tubes if that's not specifically allowed by the manufacturer. if the part you're clamping isn't reinforced for that sort of thing you risk damage.

So i short, if you don't know exactly what you're doing and how the headset/geometry thing is going to work out, don't do it.
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Old 07-26-22, 04:01 AM
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Thank you for your answer.
The bearings are not integrated (I know because I just replaced them)
Maybe I could measure the length to make sure the new fork is the same?
I guess I could just ask a mechanic, so the responsibility would be theirs
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Old 07-26-22, 04:38 AM
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How much capacity do you need? I have a carbon fork and used the Baryak Mules (https://www.baryak.com/new-products/...th-install-kit) to attach Salsa Anything Cages (https://www.salsacycles.com/gear/anything_cage_hd) to hold EXP Series Anything Cage Bags (https://www.salsacycles.com/gear/exp...thing_cage_bag).

I've only put my rain gear and cold weather clothing into those bags to keep the weight down. My heavier items are in my rear bag and frame bag.

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Old 07-26-22, 04:47 AM
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Fofine, this cruxio feller pretty much has it spot on with all the variables.

You really don't want to order a fork on your own, especially if you are not familiar with all the details.

Even if you visit some bike stores for professional opinions, I'd read up on fork and headset info as much as you can to understand the terms.

Also, depending on your bike, it might not even be worth it if your bike is a road bike not suitable for carrying stuff, including maybe gearing not great also.

Really, too many unknowns here.
Good luck
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Old 07-26-22, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by fofinet855 View Post
I could also attach a bag to the handlebar, but that seems less practical when traveling
A bar roll can be a nice way to add some capacity to the front. It can be as simple as a stuff sack and two straps. A couple pieces of pvc pipe can be used to get the roll away from the bar a bit. Just thread the straps through it. It has worked well for me.

Old Man Mountain is known for their racks on suspension forks, but I think they have a solution for carbon without bosses. No experience with them myself, but it might be worth checking them out. Maybe someone else here can verify?
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Old 07-26-22, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
How much capacity do you need? I have a carbon fork and used the Baryak Mules (https://www.baryak.com/new-products/...th-install-kit) to attach Salsa Anything Cages (https://www.salsacycles.com/gear/anything_cage_hd) to hold EXP Series Anything Cage Bags (https://www.salsacycles.com/gear/exp...thing_cage_bag).

I've only put my rain gear and cold weather clothing into those bags to keep the weight down. My heavier items are in my rear bag and frame bag.

You did a great job on adding that to your fork. This photo looks very good.
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Old 07-26-22, 07:05 AM
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Thank you everyone for the infos.
GadgetGirlIL from the link you posted it seems like the Baryak Mules need mounting holes, or am I wrong? Are zip ties enough? If zip ties are a good option that could be a simple solution, but I have the feeling they wouldn't hold for long.
staehpj1 I found this fit kit that seems to be what I'm looking for. Though I don't know whether that's suitable for carbon forks, and also I live in Europe, so ordering from overseas might be a bit of a hassle. EDIT: They have a European website, and they do have front racks for forks without rack mounts. The question about carbon forks remains. I might ask them.
djb Mine is a gravel bike, not sure about how much weight it can carry, but the gears are quite light (30-36 being the lightest ratio)

Last edited by fofinet855; 07-26-22 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 07-26-22, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by fofinet855 View Post
Thank you everyone for the infos.
GadgetGirlIL from the link you posted it seems like the Baryak Mules need mounting holes, or am I wrong? Are zip ties enough? If zip ties are a good option that could be a simple solution, but I have the feeling they wouldn't hold for long.
they attach first with Gorilla tape. Watch this video and you will see exactly how they attach

eta. Link won’t paste on my iPad. Google Baryak Mule install. YouTube Id
1evx9c0bwDU

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Old 07-26-22, 07:14 AM
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I've frequently thought of replacing my Enve CX fork with a Rodeo Labs Spork, but I just haven't been able to justify the expense. I have a touring bike if I need to carry panniers. The Spork allows you to attach Low Riders. I think it is the only carbon fork that specifically is specced for this.
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Old 07-26-22, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
expense
Yeah no sh*t, for $535 you might well carry less weight and pay some nights in a motel
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Old 07-26-22, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by fofinet855 View Post
Yeah no sh*t, for $535 you might well carry less weight and pay some nights in a motel
It is roughly the same price as the fork I would be replacing, which is the main impediment. If you want the best bang for the buck, a good steel fork with lots of mounting points might be your best bet. I wouldn't clamp anything significant to a carbon fork without attachment points.

Another alternative is to use bikepacking gear instead of panniers.
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Old 07-26-22, 08:29 AM
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On my touring bike, I have 2 forks, the carbon one that I run most of the time if I can get by with rear panniers only and then I have a second steel fork with a Tubus Tara rack attached along with a second brake caliper, in case I want to run 4 panniers when carrying a bunch of stuff. It only take a few minutes to switch between the two. Yes, you have to select an appropriate steel replacement fork but it's not that difficult with a few measurements of your current fork and the new fork should give you those needed dimensions for matching. This works for me, but realize it's not for everyone if you're not accustomed to working on bikes.
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Old 07-26-22, 08:48 AM
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Fofinet, you've got to show a photo of your bike and exact model to really get any useful suggestions, but an experienced mechanic will really be the best place to get options.

The headset type is the big kicker here on your bike, that will determine your options
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Old 07-26-22, 08:57 AM
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fofinet855
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This is the bike. Conway GRV 600 from 2020
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Old 07-26-22, 09:03 AM
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You may very well want to start looking at handlebar carrying systems, but really it comes down to how much you think you'll be carrying.

If you are new to the bike touring game, it may be hard to know what to expect volume wise etc.

So much of it depends on what you will do and where etc etc etc
Good luck getting an idea of what you want
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Old 07-26-22, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by fofinet855 View Post
This is the bike. Conway GRV 600 from 2020
And how much weight do you plan to load onto those 28-spoke wheels?

​​​
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Old 07-26-22, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
You may very well want to start looking at handlebar carrying systems, but really it comes down to how much you think you'll be carrying.
Yes, I think that's the best option, mostly because it's the easiest and cheapest. I bike a lot, but I have only done one tour for now, with this bike and just two small panniers on the rear rack.
The new fork would be nice, but maybe it's overkill. It's easy to get carried away when browsing through accessories and bike parts. One of the great things about biking is that it's so simple, and sometimes I tend to forget it

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Old 07-26-22, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
And how much weight do you plan to load onto those 28-spoke wheels?

​​​
I don't know, is that a rhetorical question? How much do you think they can carry?
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Old 07-26-22, 02:21 PM
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It looks like a bike that would work out great for bikepacking with a light load. My suggestion would be to concentrate on keeping the load light and enjoying the unencumbered ride. You can actually camp and cook with a very light load. You could carry a bit more, but I'd avoid taking what folks consider fully loaded touring type loads. Keep it to at least light-ish touring maybe mid 20's pounds at most for a base gear weight. Or if so inclined go really light.

All that is just a suggestion though.
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Old 07-26-22, 03:50 PM
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It's a good suggestion.
two panniers on rear, you could put stuff on top of rack, and some sort of bar bag/roll or whatever. You can also choose from tons of good frame bags, tank bags, etc.
Lots and lots of choices, with lots and lots of price ranges too, but some good stuff at reasonable prices.
I have some topeak bags and are well made, at reasonable prices, but as I'm sure you've seen, there are tons of options out there.

If your gearing is 46/30 and 11-32, I still think your bike is over geared, but you'll see how it is when you start adding weight and hit hills, it might be ok.
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Old 07-27-22, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
If your gearing is 46/30 and 11-32, I still think your bike is over geared, but you'll see how it is when you start adding weight and hit hills, it might be ok.
Actually I had the cassette replaced and now it's 11-36, and I'm really happy I did that because I often ride loaded and uphill.

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And BTW a trailer could also be a reasonable option for touring, but it would slow me down quite a lot.
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Old 07-27-22, 04:17 AM
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This frame is not really designed for carrying much luggage. Chainstays look quite short for rear rack and pannier loading, etc. I can't tell from the photo if there are lower rear rack mounting points or not. For the front, maybe do what Gadget Girl did and add the mounting points to your fork for one of the three bolt cages like the Anything Cage.


Gadget Girl and I traded e-mails several weeks ago on her plans, I think this is the link that she could not post above.
https://www.baryak.com/new-products/...th-install-kit

I think there are other options similar to those mounts for the three bolt cages too, but I tour on steel forks so I have not looked into those types of options.
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Old 07-27-22, 04:39 AM
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Thanks Tourist in MSN!

The link to the video is at the very bottom of that page. Really helped me understand how they were designed as well as the rough conditions that they have been used in.

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Old 07-27-22, 05:11 AM
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I know that some here will say they hate them, but another option is to use a little backpack to carry a small portion of gear. I used to think it was a bad idea. Then I tried it and found that with just a few pounds it was actually kind of nice to have a few items that automatically stayed with me when I got off the bike. I like to limit it to 3-5 pounds at most, but with ultralight packing list that can be a third of your gear. That seemed to be about right for a base weight of around 14 pounds for a recent test pack with the gear that I used on a previous trip with different bags. The backpack is useful for running to the store from camp and for loading down heavier for the rare day when I needed to carry water for a 24 hour period with no resupply of any sort including water. For that the pack starts out a bit less comfortable but it gets lighter fast as water is used. I can live with that since it is a rare case that I carry water for a long period like that.

I have used a little REI Flash 18 pack for trips like that and liked it just fine. You can split gear between a bikepacking style seat bag, a bar roll, and a the little backpack. I don't use them because I ride a smallish frame and the space is taken up with bottles, but you can also add a frame bag if there is room. People also add all sorts of tank bags and so on, but I usually have not. I have draped a little camera bag over the bar roll on one trip.

There are a few folks here that use something like a big Carradice seat bag. Look up Nun's posts for some more inspiration on that. I have often considered trying this approach.

In my opinion either of those approaches make more sense than trying to treat this bike like a fully loaded touring bike and adding panniers and so on and carrying a lot of heavy gear. Much better to keep it light and adopt a minimal packing style.

BTW, I would have really enjoyed your bike on some of my UL trips With a minimal load of UL backpacking gear it would be a joy to ride.
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