Alishan, April 12 - 13, 2010. Click pic for album

Taroko to Kending

Taroko Gorge to Kending, Feb 14 - 19, 2010.

Northern Cross Island Highway

Northern Cross Island Highway, May 19 - 21, 2008. Click pic for album
16th March, 2010

Panniers on road bikes

Our new bikes are racing bikes rather than touring bikes, which among other things means that there are no threaded holes in the bike frame to mount a rack for panniers if you're doing a longer ride and don't want to carry a back pack. For our six-day new year ride from Taroko to Kending, we bought racks that are mounted directly on the seat post only, which cannot be very good for the seat post. In addition, it means that the center of gravity is fairly high, which sometimes makes for a wobbly ride, in particular if you experience side winds. rack01.jpg
The old rack
On the ride, however, Victor mentioned another rack that is mounted on the break pivot that holds the brake and on the quick locks for the wheels, so we decided to try that out, since it would lower the center of gravity, and probably also is better for the bike. rack03.jpg
The new rack
The new rack is much lower and it has an extra bar that extends backward to give better support for the bag. There is also an extension at the bottom, where it is mounted onto the wheel, to give better heel clearance, so that you won't kick into it when pedaling. rack02.jpg
The new rack is about 15cm lower
Still have to try it out, but it looks good. However, nothing ever seems to be perfect in this world, and that also applies to these racks. Because they are mounted on the wheel quick lock rather than screwed to the frame, that means that when you have a flat on the back wheel, the rack also becomes lose, and will only be supported on the break mechanism, so I'll probably have to take the panniers off when fixing a flat, plus that there is the hassle of re-mounting the rack when the wheel goes back on. That'll extend the procedure, which isn't too fun if you're doing it on a cold and rainy day like I had to do on the Kending ride. rack04.jpg
The rack with the panniers on
Still, it seems much better than the first rack we had, and hopefully we wont have that many flasts on the back when we go on longer tours. Still, when we do Alishan in April, which will only be a one-night, two-day ride, I might try a small back pack for the first time to see what that's like for shorter rides.

7 comments to Panniers on road bikes

  • That looks much better. The racks that attach to the seat post are not well supported and more of a quick fix. They can have a tendency to wiggle. The frame supported racks are much more stable.

  • How many spokes do you have on the rear wheel? You mentioned flats. I had my wheels built up by hand as a 32 spoke 3x pattern. I have had (knock on wood) one road flat and one dirt flat in 3 years.

  • tbv

    20, both front and back. We’re using the wheels that came with the bikes, Mavic Aksium ( Lots of roll in them and much better than the standard wheels that came with our old Giant FCR and OCR. I think we’re sticking with these for at least a season, maybe two, before getting new wheel sets. What parts/materials/makes are you using for your wheels?

  • Andrew Kerslake

    The Askiums are a a good entry level wheel. I think some of the problem you are having with flats may be due you the load those wheels have to bear. Touring wheels usually are laced 32 in the 3-cross pattern to keep the wheel true over hundreds of kilometers of bumps. 20 sounds way too low… even for a light rider. That is more like a race set up. I am using DT Swiss R1.1 in the front and 1.2 in the rear. The 1.2 has a deeper dish for added rigidity. The rear spokes are swaged and I chose brass nipples for strength and comfort. I am using Continental 4000GP 25c tires for most road use and the occasional CX tire. The Mavic Ksyrium rims are a great upgrade for the rims too.

  • metallorm

    There is a reason for the absence of holes in the road bike frame for support of bags. The bike is road bike and not a touring one! The ‘ nervous ‘ nature of road bikes is not conducive to safe performance with ( heavy ) loads. And technical compromises never work well. Carry a back back ! The human body is a wonder of compromises , fine tuned over millennia.

  • tbv

    You’re right of course, and we are carrying back packs for overnight rides, like on Alishan this coming Mon-Tue, for example. But for longer rides like our one-week new year trip? I’d rather not. Did you carry back packs on your two-week ride in the south of France?

  • metallorm

    Good question. No, no back packs. But my sturdy steel frame TREK 520 touring bike has threaded holes galore and so has Lily’s TREK 7,6. The main question was : 28, 32 or 36 mm tyres ? We went for 28 which worked fine.