Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

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Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby rkelsen » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:14 am

Since I started commuting, I've been carrying my backpack on my back. All good, but I found that on some days it would affect my posture on the bike. The pack weighs maybe 10kg fully loaded.

Anyhow, over the holidays I gots me a luggage rack which I put on the bike and have been using to carry said back pack for the past two days.

And, so far, I hate it.

Firstly, the dynamics of the bike are very different. It feels heavy and slow, which I don't understand because this is the same weight which was being carried before, only in a different location.

The second thing is, I'm using elastic straps to hold the pack onto the rack. In short, they suck. The bag has fallen off twice so far. I think proper panniers will work better in this regard, but they're pretty expensive and I'm hesitant to spend that money if they're going to make my bike feel heavy & slow. Will carrying the weight down lower improve the dynamics?

I feel like I should just HTFU and carry the darn thing on my back, but the rack cost me a fair bit because it's a good one... :(
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by BNA » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:19 am

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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:19 am

You forgot an option.

Saddle bag :)

The only thing I notice different with my saddle bag vs backback is that I get to work with a dry back, even tho my bag has got a mesh back. I rode with pannier bags today and noticed the difference, heavier back end.

This is the one I have.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby rkelsen » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:37 am

Hey, that's less than I paid for the rack!

Wish I'd asked here first... :(

I guess it's a matter of whether the weight is ahead of the rear axle or behind it. With the backpack on the rack, it's mostly behind the axle. From the positioning of the rack, it looks like panniers wouldn't make much of a difference in this regard.

The saddle bag option looks like it'd put most of the weight ahead of the rear axle.

Thanks man! 8)
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby simonn » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:38 am

FWIW, I just switched back to a backpack - I think my rack had something to do with rear wheel(s) going out of true/breaking spokes etc because it is a dead weight right over the rear wheel.

I have found the bike to be more responsive, for lack of a better word, since doing so. However, I only carry work clothes and lunch so not very heavy. My pannier used to be heavier because I would carry my saddle bag and pump on it (less to take off the bike when I park), which are now in their correct location.

Due to the wiggle sale, I now have a couple of Knog messenger bags (well, one is for the mrs) headin my way... 1/4 of the retail price here :shock: (well actually, not :shock:ed, just :roll: :cry:).
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby Strawburger » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:48 am

simonn wrote:FWIW, I just switched back to a backpack - I think my rack had something to do with rear wheel(s) going out of true/breaking spokes etc because it is a dead weight right over the rear wheel.

I have found the bike to be more responsive, for lack of a better word, since doing so. However, I only carry work clothes and lunch so not very heavy. My pannier used to be heavier because I would carry my saddle bag and pump on it (less to take off the bike when I park), which are now in their correct location.


+1 - had a go with the rack & rack bag, found it was too heavy on the rear and am now back to backpacks on the back.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby rkelsen » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:54 am

simonn wrote:I have found the bike to be more responsive, for lack of a better word, since doing so.

Strawburger wrote:+1 - had a go with the rack & rack bag, found it was too heavy on the rear and am now back to backpacks on the back.

Cheers fellas. Thanks for confirming my thoughts. Looks like I'll just have to HTFU. I might give the saddle bag a go at some point in the future - if I can convince the Honorable Minister for War and Finance to increase my cycling budget... :lol:
simonn wrote:1/4 of the retail price here

No surprises there. Disappointing, isn't it.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby Colin_T » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:23 pm

the other option is to get front and rear panniers/ racks (or basket with flowers if you want) :) and divide the load evenly over the bike. That helps it handle better, but the bike will still feel sluggish because the weight is on the bike and not on your back.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby rkelsen » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:58 pm

For tonight's ride home, I carried the backpack on my back.

Like riding a different bike! I can use higher gears again.

I'd still like to understand the physics of this a bit (or lot!) better. I thought about it the whole way home, and it still doesn't make sense to me because the overall weight I have to move is the same... just distributed differently.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby queequeg » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:04 pm

Get yourself a good rack and some decent panniers. I use a Topeak Supertourist DX rack with a pair of Ortlieb Backroller Plus panniers. I used to ride 22km each way with a backpack, right up until summer weather hit and I was arriving at work totally saturated. It made the ride very uncomfortable.
With the panniers, the weight is held low over the back axle. Yes, the bike can feel a bit "weird" the first few times you ride it, but this will pass as you get used to it. I can ride with fully loaded panniers and it does not have any noticeable effect on my bike handling. I also feel much better on the bike as I have decent ventilation. when it rains I can wear wet weather gear and not have a backpack get in the way.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby Ozchuck » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:52 pm

Throw more air in your back tyre. (due to increased loadz)
It should look the same as the front when fully loaded and ready.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby rkelsen » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:49 pm

Ozchuck wrote:Throw more air in your back tyre. (due to increased loadz)

It's already inflated to 830 kPa.

I think that part of the problem is that the bike is not specifically designed for touring. It's an old roadie with tight geometry and a short wheelbase.

Anyhow, I've decided to stick with carrying my backpack on my back for now. Thanks for all the replies.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby leximack » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:56 pm

i have used both, but currently prefer the rack and rack bag option.
Yes its heavier and the bike is more sluggish, but the comfort of not having anything on your back well and truely makes up for it for me.
I have 2 commuters, a Single Speed and Cyclocross Geared bike. I have a Topeak Super Tourist Rack on each bike and i use a MTX trunk Bag which can fit on either of the Bikes, In the Bag i keep a pump, tools, tubes, rain cover, rain jacket etc, they are always in the bag so i never forget them, so no matter what bike i take i know i wont forget anything.
I use the SS bike for short or rainy commutes and the geared bike for longer commutes.
Other advantage is the Bag has 2 expandable panniers, so if i need to carry soemthing large home i can, cant do this with a backpack. Can even fit a 15" laptop in the pannier. I find that a wider rear tyre (25 or 28mm) is more suited to the heavier rear end.
If i need to go fast or go fo super long comute i throw the bear essentials into a backpack and take the fast bike. I prefer comfort on my commutes then speed.

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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:24 pm

A common problem is that people tend to load everything on the back of a bicycle.

Have you considered using a combination of handlebar bag and saddle-bag?

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Or even using a front bag on a small rack?

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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby roller » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:03 pm

rkelsen wrote:Since I started commuting, I've been carrying my backpack on my back. All good, but I found that on some days it would affect my posture on the bike. The pack weighs maybe 10kg fully loaded.


is there any way you can cut down on what you take to work each day?

10kgs seems like quite a lot to be taking with you.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby rockslayer » Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:11 pm

10kgs a day? Sounds like a tradie using bike as transport.

Unless one need's to be a mobile office and go to a different location each day is it necessary to carry so much?

I know people who carry laptops to and from work everyday on their bike. WHY? most people would have a computer at home and work. Use a memory stick! or better use a web based file share server or leave work at work.

Clothes? I Carry a weeks worth one day a week in my panniers.

Lunch is about all I carry on each of the other days in a small back pack.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby Aushiker » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:26 pm

rockslayer wrote:Clothes? I Carry a weeks worth one day a week in my panniers.


Hi

That is what I do, well every second week as I need to drive near the office the other week. That said I have my own office where I can keep clothes etc. Maybe in open office set-ups and/or where there is a lack of lockers this is not so practical.

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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby rearviewmirror » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:21 pm

I can't stand riding with Panniers, the bike doesn't "move" enough for me. I don't fancy a backpack either, but it's the lesser of two evils.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby thekovac » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:15 am

I prefer the backpack option... I have ridden a bike with a front mounted carrier and I didn't like the feeling one bit... I currently use a backpack pretty much anywhere I go on my bike because very rarely do I go to places and not need a spare change of clothes or at least a spare top and something to carry some deo, small towel, extra drink bottle. extra chainlock etc.....I have not found much issue with the backback at all - after a while you really get used to it and by the end riding without one feels open and like you're missing something....

The reason why your bike feels "heavier" is because you've got wieght pushing down at two places - the center (where you are) and the back where usually most panniers are located - this creates more downforce & weight on the back as well as moving your centre of gravity making you feel like you're dragging the weight and the bike is 'heavier'.... On the otherhand a backpack it is more apart of your body and its centre of gravity is pretty much on par with your body's so the downforce at one spot on the bike (towards the centre) .... also the backpack will move depending on your position where a pannier won't...

Although the backpack causes alot of extra sweat and usually can carry less than panniers - so I suppose those type of storage is more for being able to get to your destination in a better condition with more stuff....Personal choice really.... comes down to the users needs and desires - whether they want to be able to go faster and don't mind having to get changed when they get to thier destination or having other sweat controlling resources or wether they do not mind spending more time riding and being more ready at their destination....I like to get there faster usually hence why I bought a CF roadie and use a backpack....
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby Thoglette » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:48 pm

rearviewmirror wrote:I can't stand riding with Panniers, the bike doesn't "move" enough for me. I don't fancy a backpack either, but it's the lesser of two evils.


Long distances and heavy loads, panniers win hands down. They feel different, that's fer sure. Particularily out of the saddle
Rough roads, narrow paths, backpack wins hands down. Also less chance of snakebite punctures/rim damage if you're running stupid, if fashionable, lowspoke count wheels with narrow tyres.
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby lethoso » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:52 pm

rkelsen wrote:
Ozchuck wrote:I think that part of the problem is that the bike is not specifically designed for touring. It's an old roadie with tight geometry and a short wheelbase.


I dunno, I had a dawes touring bike for a bit, it was lovely to ride unloaded, but with 4 loaded panniers it turned into a bit of a dog. A touring frame might lessen the effect with a relatively light load though.

Thoglette wrote:Also less chance of snakebite punctures/rim damage if you're running stupid, if fashionable, lowspoke count wheels with narrow tyres.


pff, I toured on 23c tyres no worries 8)
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Re: Backpack on luggage rack vs. back

Postby ngalbrai » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:41 am

Panniers set the weight lower on the bike so it wont feel as odd as securing the backpack ontop of the rack. I had to start using panniers as even a light backpack gave me backache. rkelsen where are you based? If you are in Syndey I have a set of spare panniers you could borrow for a couple weeks and see how you get on before making the final decision.
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