Some final notes on bike and gear - Cycling “The Land Between” - CycleBlaze

Some final notes on bike and gear

1)   Drybags on the front rack:  

I left my front panniers (Arkel T28’s) at home, and used instead two 13L drybags fixed to my Arkel low-rider rack. I fixed each bag in place with (i) a Rok-Shok adjustable strap mounted vertically, and (ii) an adjustable Knot-Bone carabiner-style bungee mounted horizontally.

Here's a photo which shows this set-up:

About to leave for Toronto, Sept. 4
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  This arrangement worked quite well. I stored clothing and my sleeping bag, mattress and pillow in the drybags, which swallowed everything nicely. Each one weighed a little less than 5 lbs, and I saved a little more than 4 lbs, i.e., the weight of the two T28s with their rain covers.

  There were two disadvantages. First, the drybags are more fiddly to mount than the T28 panniers, and once they are mounted, their contents are less readily available. They also lack the T28s’ handy external pockets. Secondly, on several downhills (not all), I noticed a slight “ripply” feeling through the Raven’s handlebars – not a shimmy but a soft, low-frequency “wave” that I’d never felt before (including an overnight trip in W Qué, on which I was also using the drybags). Was it because I had not enough weight on the front forks? Some imbalance in weight, either side to side or up and down?  I have no idea.  Weird, but not really worrisome.

Next steps: Next year, I’ll try a slightly different setup. I’ll opt for the greater convenience of panniers fore and aft, and accept a slight weight penalty for doing so.  Thus:

  • I'll move my 32-ltr Arkel Dauphin waterproof panniers from the rear to the front rack. These hold more than both the drybags and the T28s, and weigh slightly less than the latter. The Dauphins will hold my clothing, sleeping bag/mattress/pillow, and off-bike shoes, with a little space to spare. Weight of these panniers and their contents?—say 8 kg/17 lbs.
  • I have purchased a pair of Arkel Dry-lites (28 ltr) to be my rear panniers. These weigh just 540 gms (1 lb 3 oz), and they’ll take my food, cookware, cosmetics, electronic bits, notebooks, etc. The resulting total weight will be very similar to that of the Dauphins at the front, about 8 kg/17 lbs or so. I’ll continue to put my tent on the rear rack, but changing the panniers will shift some weight (4-5 lbs) from the rear to the front of the bike.

The tweaking continues...

2)    Tires:  

I used my 26 x 1.6 Marathon Supremes, and they were very good in every way. I reduced the front pressure to a little over 50 PSI (perhaps thus contributing to The Mysterious Ripple?), and used about 62 at the rear. These pressures were very comfortable over variable roads, but were especially good in absorbing road buzz on some of the cracked and/or chipseal surfaces I found in the early part of my trip. I did find a slight slow leak in my rear tube (a Conti), which I later traced to a Presta valve core on which the open-and-shut stem was not sealing properly.

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