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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I want to add front and rear racks to my Surly LHT. I'm rather new to this kind of bike and have never had a full loaded bike. I've kind of narrowed it down to the Surly Nice Racks, front and rear or Tubus Tara or Ergo for front and Logo Expedition rear. It's obvious both makers have some different ideas about the ideal rack set. I like the less hulking design of the Tubus, a narrower rear top rack with lower mounts for lower center of gravity, and the front is pretty minimalist and gets the bags really low. Tubus seems to have a a good name behind their products.

The Surly's are sure indestructable. You gain a top rack for the front. I question whether I would even want to carry anything up there for handling issues. :idea: Both front and rear racks are huge and wide. When not loaded with panniers, I'm questioning whether I want to lug around all that girth. I've read some things about the Nice front being a little overly complex to mount. Maybe not an issue on a LHT. They look pretty tank-like which I like.

I want the option to go fully loaded if I want to, but most of the time the panniers would be used for commuting or overnight camping trips where I wouldn't be packing all that much weight.

Any help or feedback from you experienced at this would be greatly appreciated. I'm used to bags that are no bigger than a rolled up inner tube and and a pair of tire irons so this is a change.

brewster
 

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N. Hollywood, CA
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I've a hunch either choice is great. It partly comes down to aesthetics. The Tubus racks are a much cleaner design, but obviously the Tara doesn't have a platform up front. If you look carefully at the Tubus products, both front & rear use a hoop design that spans from one side to the other. The hoop on the rear is the one closest to the chainstay braces. A hoop/arch in compression is stronger than a 3-sided rectangle (the Surly design), but hey, perhaps that's just theory. I love my Tubus racks, but I try to keep everything in the pannier. If you're more of a strap it and hang it in the breeze kinda guy, then you'll surely like the Surly.

The hardware on the Tubus is superior. Well designed, clean pivoting, and adjustable. But not as all-bikes versatile as Surly. I'd hate to see the vertical adjustment on the Surly rear rack work loose during a tour (under the weight of camping panniers). Think about that rack creeping down and pushing your fender into the tire. But I'm just being an alarmist. A wrench and some loc-tite will prevent that.

Betya a six pack that the Tubus racks are a handful of grams lighter. Not that it matters. But unloaded, perhaps it does. By now you're aware of my biases.

There are so many variables for you to figure out. Will you really be hauling 30-40 pounds of camping gear (or an overflowing cart of groceries)? Will your panniers be big enough? My Carradice Super-C panniers could each swallow a pair of medium sized panniers, so I don't think much about strapping stuff outside. YMMV.

It's not unusual to hear riders in this forum, new to panniers, gripe about how their bike no longer handles like a crit racer. Strong steel racks bolted to 4-point frame bosses goes a long way to making it good. You being open minded, and starting with a great touring frame, helps...
 

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Burnum Upus Quadricepus
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I don't have a front rack, so I can't comment there.

My primary bike has a Tubus Cosmo--similar to the Logo, but with a longer top and it's stainless instead of CroMoly. I bought it specifically because of the lower side rail for mounting panniers. My bike's primary role is commuting and grocery-getting. I use a rack trunk bag for commuting stuff, hanging panniers for groceries or other occasional toting needs.

The lower side rails save me a ton of fussing and cussing when mounting the panniers along with a trunk bag since each bag has its own rail. Further, the weight in the panniers is carried lower, which makes a real and noticeable difference in the handling and stability department. Forty pounds of groceries (20 per side) seem to disappear when the bike is in motion. Cornering is barely affected.

Contrast this with my other bike which has only the top deck for mounting. Either the trunk bag or the panniers mount easily. It's a challenge (although doable) to mount both at the same time. With anything more than 20 pounds in the panniers (10 per side), the bike is tippy in motion, especially when climbing since I don't pedal as smoothly when hauling loads up grades.

I also I have to be careful in turns since the bike doesn't lean well then. It never seems to be able to take a "set" in a turn, vacillating between wanting to lean lower or straighten up. I'm certain part of this is geometry, but carrying the load higher certainly contributes.

EDIT: One caveat: The top deck of the Tubus is narrower than the Surly. This may make a difference in stability of your trunk bag if you use one. Mine wants a wider deck and it sits a little funny on the Tubus. I can deal with the aesthetic given the rack's other virtues.

HTH!
 

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Riding towards Delmarva.
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Tubus Tara

Tubus Tara

Tubus Tara!!!!!

Good lord I love that rack. I've had a few sit-on-top front rack, they seem to do what they do just fine...

But a lowrider opens new doors; carries more and carries it LOW.

Combine a Tubus Tara with some cheapie Nashbar waterproof (the small ones) panniers, they clip on and off easily with their three contact points and one velcro strap.

I absolutely love my Tara rack. It even looks good on the bike without panniers. Very solid.
Photos here in post #10...
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=163420&highlight=tubus+tara
 

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The Tubus racks are considerably lighter than Surly, if that matters to you. Either rack should be plenty strong enough. I am not a weight weenie by any means, but all things being equal, I will choose the lighter product if it doesn't compromise strength or durability. And in this case, Tubus' reputation is unrivaled.
 

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Tubus racks are great. My partner carried over 100 lbs on a Tubus Fly and it didn't complain at all. Not that this was a good idea, but it did work. She's about to use it on our trip on the Northern Tier starting on this Sunday.

I haven't used a Tara, but I've heard great things about them. Jandd makes a classic lowrider that is cheaper and has a great track record. With front racks make sure you get one that fits the front end of your bike. If you have discs that makes it more complicated. Jandd also makes a front rack with a platform.

The Surly racks are nicely made, but very heavy. They are also less clean looking then a Tubus. Nitto makes some very snappy looking racks, but they are rather expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The score is 5 votes for Tubus, 0 for Surly, and 1 for DIY.

All good points presented here. The reason I'm laboring over this decision is that it's $200 bucks either way for racks and I only want to do this once and not regret it later.

If it matters, I plan on getting some Axiom Monsoon panniers now to start and then adding either another set of the same and have 4 mid-size bags or get the larger Typhoon bags of the same basic design. I've read some things about the Tubus being designed for the Ortlieb clasping mechanism....I'm not sure exactly what that means and why it would have to be Tubus specific.

The other thing I'm wondering about is clearance. My LHT has 26in wheels with PB Cascadia fenders, and in the winter I throw on 2.1 knobbies for snow. Is there enough clearance in the front Tara over-the-tire support brace for 2.1s? I have not found anything in the documentation about this. It states either rack will mount 26"-700c wheels, so is there just more space between the back wheel and the under side of the top rack when mounting to 26" wheels?

Comments much appreciated.
brewster

brewster
 

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brewster said:
The other thing I'm wondering about is clearance. My LHT has 26in wheels with PB Cascadia fenders, and in the winter I throw on 2.1 knobbies for snow. Is there enough clearance in the front Tara over-the-tire support brace for 2.1s?
That's probably not a problem, but you can always get the Tubus Duo. It's what I have on my LHT and it is solid as a rock. The only drawback is a cross brace is a nice place to mount a light. Not all bikes have the required threaded low rider braze-on on the inside of the fork, but the Surly does.
 

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brewster said:
The score is 5 votes for Tubus, 0 for Surly, and 1 for DIY.

All good points presented here. The reason I'm laboring over this decision is that it's $200 bucks either way for racks and I only want to do this once and not regret it later.

If it matters, I plan on getting some Axiom Monsoon panniers now to start and then adding either another set of the same and have 4 mid-size bags or get the larger Typhoon bags of the same basic design. I've read some things about the Tubus being designed for the Ortlieb clasping mechanism....I'm not sure exactly what that means and why it would have to be Tubus specific.

The other thing I'm wondering about is clearance. My LHT has 26in wheels with PB Cascadia fenders, and in the winter I throw on 2.1 knobbies for snow. Is there enough clearance in the front Tara over-the-tire support brace for 2.1s? I have not found anything in the documentation about this. It states either rack will mount 26"-700c wheels, so is there just more space between the back wheel and the under side of the top rack when mounting to 26" wheels?

Comments much appreciated.
brewster

brewster
If you are looking at the Axiom bags, why not look at their racks, too? I just got the streamliner road dlx and it has been great so far for commuting ~35 miles. Built solid and great price. Their Journey front and rear look like they might fit your needs. The front Journey has a rack option that looks pretty cool.









That said, I do like the low rider bars on that Tubus rear rack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I guess it was because the Axioms are aluminum. I was looking at steel for strength. However that Journey front looks nice and I think I do want at least a short platform for the front to house my battery and light stuff in a little bag. That way I don't have to string another cable to the back of the bike for the light. Decisions, decisions. I thought I knew what I was going to do....now, more to think about. I guess I have to decide what is most important to me in a rack set.

brewster
 

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Start wearing purple
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@Bent: nicest LHT setup I've seen. Kudos.

The Axiom Journey set is great. My brother's been using them for years for serious touring and never had any problem. I've been using aluminum racks for a few years and never felt the need for expensive cromo (well until I saw Tubus racks... really purdy!).

As anyone here ever experienced problems from an aluminium rack? I always read stories about repairability of a steel rack when you're out in a remote village in Patagonia, but is this really a legitimate concern? I mean, people haul pretty big loads on aluminium racks and they seem to be working well. Could steel racks be (while being very nice, good looking and adding a "little something" to a touring bike) a wee bit overkill in most situation?

Anyway, I'm also shopping for new racks, because of canti brakes clearance issues and I was also wondering about the "need" for steel.

Cheers.

k.
 

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I also recommend looking at Axiom racks- - -they're well built and affordable. I bought a pair of Surly racks for my LHT and never installed them. . .way too bulky and heavy. Maybe if i was planning on hauling hundred pound bags of rice every day on a multi-year round-the-world trip. . .but for general use and touring? overkill. yes they are solid, but how much stuff are you really looking at hauling? They're more suited for a true working utiltiy bike hauling lots of heavy duty cargo. . .
I have axiom rear racks that were fine for a loaded tour last year. . .don't recall what front rack i ended with but it wasn't the Surly . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You know, it's funny you mention that because I've pouring over all these comments and researching the various types and brands. I have to say, the Axioms are looking like a great value. Considering the Surly/Tubus brand racks are about 4 times the price of the Axiom, I would expect they would be 4 times better, but I can't quite make that claim confidently given the user experiences I've heard with the Axiom racks. I like the reduced weight that an aluminum rack could provide. My LHT is already a heavy bike. Somebody mentioned a set of Surly racks would add nearly 5 pounds to the bike. I'm no weight-weenie, but jeesh, that's a lot of weight just to carry some occasional bags. Most of my use would be just commuting, with the occasional double pannier camping over-nighter. Down the road, it might be fun to do a week-long self-supported tour, but that's not going to happen anytieme soon. I think I've decided on just one set of Monsoon panniers, and a rear rack. I've decided that I can hold off on any front rack or bags for now.

One question I've come across with the Streamliners is what's the difference between the Streamliner DLX and Streamliner Sport Tour? Is the Sport Tour an older model? The bottom design is slightly different, and the DLX details list it fitting 26" wheels (which I need) as well as 700c. It is not clear to me whether the Sport Tour has the same width top panel as the DLX. I kind of like the super narrow top rack portion, since I probably will not use a trunk bag. The Sport Tour is widely available but not on the Axiom website. The DLX is. The other thing I can't figure out from the net pics or descriptions is whether or not the DLX has the standard 2-hole light mount on the back. The Sport Tour does I know that because I can see it. If somebody has some insight about these things, that would help immensely. My LBS doesn't carry either one, so I can't just go see them in person.

brewster

Streamliner Sport Tour and Streamliner DLX
 

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Eat fried chicken.
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I have Surly front and rear racks on my Surly CC. The front rack took a while to fit. It's super solid and appears that it could be fitted to almost any rigid fork but it does take a while. The thing is beefy, solid and heavy. The rear rack is also quite impressive and much easier too install. Still, knowing what I know now. I probably would go with a rear Tubus Cargo instead. The Tubus seems to be just as sturdy and a little less complicated to install which I think makes it more durable due to fewer parts. The nice thing about the Surly front rack is panniers can be installed tall or low and it has a huge platform. It should go on an LHT easier than my CC but do be patient. Oh, and the hardware it came with kept breaking. I emailed Surly and they were great and promptly sent me out some replacement hardware. For whatever reason the bolts kept crossthreading and it wasn't due to me being hamfisted or anything like that.
 

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axiom rack dimensions vary

i don't have the specs at hand, but be aware that some of the Axiom racks are narrower than others- - -depending on use and what you're carrying, this can be a bit of an issue. But that said, I'm completely satisfied with mine- - -as noted before, they are very well made and affordable. A great value.
 

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hello
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I've got a simple Tubus rack. I use it mostly for commuting but on occasion I've loaded it with full loads of Carradice Super C panniers off road so it can handle the load no problem.
I see no reason to go heavy duty for the type of riding I do on my LHT.

 
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