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N. Hollywood, CA
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754 Posts
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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