Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Front Loads: What's Your Take?

We were photographing an ANT bicycle in our studio last weekend, and afterward I took it out for a quick spin. This ANT was a cro-moly Lady Roadster with an enormous front rack and basket. Looking at the bike, I was anticipating how it was going to feel riding with that set-up, and based on my experiences with similarly equipped city bikes I did not think I'd enjoy it. Typically, when a bike has a large, front-mounted basket or crate, I find the front end to be somewhat unwieldy even when the basket is empty; I have a harder time than usual keeping the front wheel stable at slow speeds, and even when walking the bike, the front end sort of tends to wander.

However, the ANT bike did not have this problem, and I pretty much forgot about the basket as soon as I got on. This is similar to how I feel about the large rack-mounted handlebar bag on my Rivendell, but again these are the exceptions rather than the norm. Normally I dislike front loads. So what is special about the ANT and the Rivendell compared to other bicycles I've tried with similar set-ups? Some say that low trail geometry works well for front loads, but neither of these bikes is low trail.

Others say that it has to do with how the weight is supported. The ANT front rack is secured to the fork at the front axle and at the fork crown, which certainly makes it stable. However, I have tried other bikes with racks secured both to the fork and to the frame itself, and some of those have felt awkward. Stable in the sense that they don't sway, sure - but still awkward as far as the handling of the bicycle goes. It almost seems random - a hit or miss sort of thing, whereby ANT and Rivendell just happen to have stumbled on a geometry that works with front loads.

Oh, I give up! The more I learn about bicycle geometry, the more I realise that I don't really know anything. But having tried this ANT, I am considering experimenting with a front load on one of my transportation bicycles again. What has been your experience - have you noticed any patterns as far as which front load set-ups work and which do not?

60 comments:

  1. Careful,
    > Rivendell just happen to have stumbled
    > on a geometry that works with front loads.

    I think Rivendell's lock stock and full identity rest on their deep deep knowledge for frame geometry. To suggest something happened by happenstance might upset the delicate balance of the bicycling universe.

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  2. I have had varying degrees of success with front loads on bikes. Generally I have the same negative experiences as you have described, except with the Brompton, whose proprietary luggage system mounts to a block on the head-tube and which actually seems to improve the bike's handling when loaded.

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  3. Bikes = peopel, som just has got "IT". Since I hve no special built bikes for front loads i like a small low mounted basket for "stuff" (gloves, purse, light jacket and so on) and a lowrider for te loads. Especially on my folders w 20" wheels i like to use a rack for 2 bags since a folder often gets more of the riders weight on the rear wheel than "normal bikes" do. I want "the spring" to help control the front wheel if i have a front load. I hate a frontloaded bike without a spring. A doubel legged kickstand also helps. badmother

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  4. Some people just don't care:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindcaster-ezzolicious/5510630902/

    (rack is frame-mounted)

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  5. Did you try the ANT with a load? At one point in time, I had a very heavy duty loop framed Dutch bike with an extremely secure front rack. All went well until I loaded it up with groceries. At that point, the whole frame seemed to oscillate when the bike went over road imperfections. It was so unsettling I returned the bike. Luckily, this happened in the first week.

    Have you tried ANT's designed for front load? I think one is called 'Basket Bike' and the other 'Frontloadontome' or something like that. I wonder if those have low trail geometry. The Basket Bike seems well priced for a low volume bike.

    I do like the idea of carrying things in a basket as it is much easier to plop things in and out of it than it is with a pannier. No matter how big the pannier, I usually find unloading a PITA. The item I want always seems to be burried under everthing else.

    What possessed you to try ANT? He makes 'lovely bicycles', but are not lugged.

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  6. I've been using a large front load basket on my Raleigh three speed for years. I used panniers exclusively before that on a MTB, and strongly prefer the front basket. Though it does depend on how the bike is designed. I'm sure the front end geometry (fork offset & head tube angle) strongly affects front loading, but so does wheel base, wheel size, tire pressure, frame stiffness, and surely other factors.

    Many of Jan's BQs cover how geometry affects front loads, but he does over emphasize trail, his study of the Kogswell P/R is classic, and doesn't suggest lower trail is always better for front loads. Though I do agree with the tail wagging the dog problem of rear loads, I find them generally unwieldy. There is also some great discussions and insight into front loads and geometry on the BOB list archives that is probably more accessible than the frame builder lists.

    I find the key difference with front loads, especially heavy ones, is that you must stop turning the handlebars and begin steering the bike. This can be a subtle yet significant differences when pushing a load.

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  7. I find that aftermarket baskets don't ride low enough. The lower the center of gravity the easier it is to balance. Also- you can keep an eye on your stuff, so you know if anything bounces out when you hit one of those monster potholes out there. Cetmacargo all the way for me. A rack (without a fence) also gives more options to tie big things down. I think there's something oddly satisfying to carry a bike on my bike...

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  8. My wife and I test rode a Brompton the other day and totally fell in love with the front-mounted basket. For the test ride the shop put on the largest basket available and filled it up with all the chain locks they could find. In the end, the basket weighed more than the bike. I thought it was going to be a real pain to ride it with all that weight, especially on the small folding bike, but I really didn't notice the load at all in practice. I think that's mostly because the basket was attached not to the fork, but to the frame itself. That meant that as I turned the load didn't shift. There was no compensating necessary when turning; the heavy load stayed in line with the bicycle frame. We're still not 100% sold on the Brompton, but we've leaning heavily in that direction for a few reasons, not the least of which is the way baskets are designed to attach to its front.

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  9. I have a front/back rack system on my commuter -- it's an aluminum construction, so the weight while empty is not a factor (as it is negligible). As a result the only time I have ever needed to use it was when the back rack was so full that I needed "overflow" storage... I could see how having a front rack exclusively would cause steering issues, but given that the front end tends to get a bit squirrely when there is a lot of weight in the back, having something in the front actually tends to anchor the bike a bit.

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  10. Velouria, you are going to have to ask Mike what is what, and tell us!
    I own a strange India-made Hercules with extremely laid-back geometry, 26x1-3/8" wheels. In fact, I bought it on a search for a bike with what looked like a early 1900's frame. It will carry bricks in it's Wald basket and feel normal.

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  11. Oy, what a poorly understood topic. That is, in a scientific sense. In an empirical sense, many frame builders have "got" it, but I doubt they can truly explain how and why.

    I think there are several variables that contribute to front load stability, but they are complex and there is no formula that can be used to predict it.

    1) trail
    2) flop
    3) tire size/pressure
    4) frame stiffness

    I think these things are the major variables in front load stability, and they all have an interplay . However, there are disputes among frame designers how much each of these variable factors in. For example, Rivendells typically have high trail (I computed your Sam Hillborne to have 61mm trail based on Riv's published geometry and your 42mm Hetres), yet owners report they handle a front load just fine. However, this runs counter to other frame designers' insistence that low trail (<40 something mm) is needed for a stable front load. Jan Heine admits he doesn't understand why both low and high trail bikes can provide a stable ride with front loads, but medium trail bikes can't (based on his limited test sample size).

    Here's my limited experience with front loads and how geometry pertains to them:

    Jeunet road bike with 52mm trail and 28mm tires: handles a light load fine (<5 lb), medium load okay (5-10 lb), large load poorly (>10lb).

    Trek road bike with 60mm trail and 25mm tires: forget it. Any load in front of the handlebars feels heavy and unwieldy, even a few pounds.

    Shogun tourer with 52mm trail and 32mm tires: handles a light to medium load fine (0-10 lb), large load okay (>10 lb).

    Shogun tourer converted to 650B with 44mm trail and 42mm tires: handles 0-10lb fine, >10lb okay (largest load was 15 lb, and while I could feel it, it didn't seem to affect overall stability).

    So based on my limited experience, trail doesn't tell the whole story. Tire width seems to play a role as well, and in my experience here, it has a direct correlation with stability.

    I do agree that a front load must be held securely in order for it to feel stable. This is why I dislike the Wald mounting hardware, and recommend a very sturdy front rack to hold the basket, rather than rely on the hardware that Wald provides, which allows the basket to sway horribly. Also, as Anon 8:29 mentioned, center of gravity is also important. The higher up the load, the more top heavy it will feel-- another reason to ditch the wald mounting hardware, which places the basket higher above the wheel than it needs to be.

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  12. BTW-- what is the trail and tire width on the ANT bike you tested?

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  13. I constantly use my front basket, because it's so easily accessible (even while riding), and I don't find that there are problems with balance or handling, but that might be because I'm used to it.

    I rarely carry heavy loads in the front because of Gilbert's smaller basket-the most I carry on a regular basis is a quart of milk or a bottle of wine. However, when I used to have a larger basket I carried two six packs of soda or beer regularly (or one six pack and a gallon of milk.) My rack is supported by the front axle and the crown brake bolt.

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  14. Ha! I just put a VO porteur rack on my Daily 3 and was impressed with the stability. I think because it's not mounted on the handle bars but on the fork/stem and rides low contributes to this. That said, I am going to get the stabilizer to minimize the swing while loading and unloading.

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  15. I have no idea why some bikes work well loaded and others don't. I'm like you in that the more I learn about this the more I'm exposed to stuff I can't explain.

    Bikes are problematic in that you can't easily get the load between the wheels like just about every other load bearing wheeled vehicle. It's more like a high speed wheelbarrow than anything else. I always just try to get the load as low as possible and push it toward the middle of the bike and hope for the best. I spent a little time talking to "The Man From Ant" at a show(is it Mike Flannigan?) and he really seems to have his brain switched to "high", but I wonder if he could really break it all down in specific values and numbers.

    A bike that will carry 40 or 50 pounds in a dignified, matter of fact sorta way is a wonderful thing and should be cherished and allowed to sleep indoors and eat with the family. I'm trying to get my commuter to that level of donkey-like behavior but it just gets annoyed and tries to hurl me into curbs and lamp-posts when I put much on the racks. Yet it doesn't mind appearing in public with the bike trailer equivalent of plaid pants and white belt. Stupid bike.

    Spindizzy

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  16. I have a front rack basket on my Peugeot Mixte and I really like it. My husband warned me not to get a front basket for all the reasons you listed, but I like the ability to see my things right up front and to even reach in and grab something if I need it.

    I don't have a fancy set up, just a simple Wald basket from the local bike shop, but I've been very happy with it and I honestly can't say that I notice a difference between riding my Raleigh with the rear rack basket and the Peugeot with the front rack basket.

    S.

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  17. I installed a medium sized front rack / basket on several of my bikes. I did not like the way it would cause the front end of the bike to swing when parked. At the very least I think a steering stabilizer (a la Dutch) http://bit.ly/hNWNkF is a worthwhile accessory. For heavier loads a frame mounted rack is probably more ideal. Mounted low like a cycle truck is even better.

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  18. Good comments all around. I particularly like Brian's steering with the hips remark.

    Geometry is a factor but choosing the right rack for your bike makes a big difference. It looks like Mike is using a Wald top secured to a rack of his own design, no doubt cro-mo. The extra rigidity of steel stays, plus the triangulation of the supports, makes the system function as a whole with little sway. An out-of-the-box Wald with alu supports and structure will feel noodley in comparison. Mike can also spec a more rigid fork with heavier-duty hardware if he likes.

    Mike gets to put the rack wherever he wants as well: close to the head tube, close to the fender, as far back from the front axle as possible.

    The type of load affects handling too: how well it is secured, where it is in the rack, if it's liquid or solid, etc.

    But for me, the only good front rack is one mounted to the frame. Too bad you didn't ride the Basket Bike.

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  19. I got a nice rack with my Velorbis scrap deluxe. It mounts onto the headset with 2 U bolts, and works out quite well. It's a little strange at first since when you turn the handlebars, it doesn't turn! Sort of freaked me out for a while. I don't know if anyone in the US carries such a rack, but I'm getting another one when I go back to Denmark for my Xtracycle.

    Here's a photo of it http://www.flickr.com/photos/67682187@N00/4870249614/

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  20. So, I have tried 2 options:

    I tried a Wald Woody basket mounted to the handlebars and braze ons at he bottom of the fork of my Long Haul Trucker. I didn't like that so much. I think that the Woody basket is particularly heavy and having a load mounted that high is probably not the best.

    Next, I mounted a small Nitto front rack to the crown of the fork and the brake bosses and attached a smaller Wald basket to that. After 2 weeks of riding I'm happy to say I love it. Also, I added a spring (sold by Velo Orange) to stabilize the load. It works great. I don't notice anything.

    Michael

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  21. Perhaps the ratio of front/rear weight has something to do with it. My Torker Cargo-T, a budget version of the Batavus Personal Delivery, has Dutch-like geometry and heavy racks at both ends of the bike. If I load the front, it starts to wander, sometimes annoyingly so. If I load the rear heavier than the front, there's less wandering. With just a rear load, it handles like there's no load at all.

    My low-trail touring bike with 27" wheels has a stem-mounted basket about 5 inches above the tire. With no load, it's quite skittish, but the more weight on the front, the better it handles. With 10-15 lbs. of groceries on the front, one can ride no-hands and carve turns with absolute confidence. Loading the rear lighter than the front preserves these traits. With a heavier rear load, the bike feels slow and sluggish.

    I think you'll just have to experiment. Start with small amounts of weight and work up from there. Wald baskets + hemp twine + cargo net is an inexpensive combo that you can attach to either front or rear racks for trial purposes, but maybe that's not your style.

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  22. On my Schwinn LeTour III mixte, I have a small Wald front basket. It mounts a bit lower than some other handlebar-mounted baskets I've used, and therefore has less effect on steering. However, I rarely use it for more than my purse, a carton of juice or pasta, or a couple of pieces of produce I might pick up at a greenmarket.

    I've never used a front rack for touring. And I've always tried to minimize the loads in my handlebar bags. Then again, I got into cycling at a time when constructeur-type front racks and decaleurs were all but impossible to find.

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  23. Has anyone tried the VO basket stabilizer?

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  24. I had never had a good experience with a front rack, until I bought a bike with one that does not turn. The rack is mounted to the frame. I saw this for the first time in Amsterdam last spring on a Fietsfabriek. I use my front rack for most of my loads, including a 25lb bag of laundry. I usually have a mint green basil basket on the front, http://tinyurl.com/4nb37ee . Here is a portrait of me taken by Dmitry Gudkov. Check out his site, http://gudphoto.com/bikenyc .
    I think his #bikenyc project is amazing.

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  25. Ryan,

    Your front rack looks very similar to mine, see my post above, or http://www.flickr.com/photos/67682187@N00/4870249614/

    I think you're right, not turning is a great feature. I think I could easily put 50lbs on this rack without trouble.

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  26. Chris Collins- I actually don't think Riv would disagree with me!

    arevee - I did not try it with a load, just an empty rack and basket (which have some weight in of themselves of course, but not as much as loaded). It's possible that I will get this bike for a weekend to test ride thoroughly later in the Spring or Summer.

    What possessed me to try an ANT? I've been a fan of his work ever since I saw his bikes.

    ANT Open House 2009

    Brief ANT Test Rides circa 2009

    Mike in His Workshop circa 2010

    Ode to the Truss Frame

    Some bikes work better not lugged, and his truss frame for instance is one example.

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  27. @ Erin B,

    I have the VO stabilizer and like it. It's much easier to install and adjust than the European version that I had on an older bike.
    It worked great until the bike was in the shop and they removed it, and I just haven't gotten it back into alignment yet.
    I mostly put it on to stabilize the wheel when the bike is parked using the dual kickstand. I don't notice any changes to the handling while moving.

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  28. The removable frame mounted rack on my smugfiets gets used often for fairly heavy and awkward loads. I have no hesitation to loading it up. I can feel the presence of the weight, but it certainly doesn't cause any instability. I don't have enough experience with fork mounted racks to provide a comparison, however.

    Because the mounting of the front rack is cantilevered, I try to put heavier loads on the rear rack when possible.

    Dan.

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  29. From what I've heard, the bikes that handle front loads well may have a steeper head angle and less fork rake than those that don't handle the load well.

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  30. Steve: I've heard the same thing. If two bikes have the same trail, but one bike achieves it with steeper head tube angle + less fork rake, then that bike will have less wheel flop than the other bike with slacker head tube angle and higher fork rake. Wheel flop seems to be inversely proportional to the feeling of front load stability.

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  31. What's interesting, is that to me it really is not just about the weight in the front but also about what I usually experience as awkwardness about having something so large and overbearing over the front wheel. Does this make sense at all? For instance, on my Pashley I still felt the effects of the (very light but large) wicker basket even when it was completely empty. The basket on this ANT is very wide - considerably wider than the handlebars, and I expected to feel like a truck and to worry about hitting things with its sides all the time. But it really felt like nothing.

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  32. I think with the Pashley, the issue was too much of your visual field was obscured, including the point where your wheel touches the ground, interrupting your bio-feedback loop from steering. I think that over time people adjust to that (with varying degree of ease).

    This basket is large and opaque on the bottom, but, I think you could still see the front point of the wheel, right? Perhaps that gave you the visual marker you needed to really "feel" the bike's handling.

    Just a theory.

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  33. A decent mechanical engineer could easily set up a simulation and determine the impact of these different variables on handling. Probably has been done, actually. It's the only way to get real guidance -- otherwise you're left with trial and error.
    Just thinking about the static case, it seems that moving the load nearer the steerer tube's axis (either near the tube itself at handlebar height or near a line drawn down from it if the load is mounted near the wheel) would improve handling, as would mounting the load lower (since the impact of tilting the bike from side to side would be less). This might be why subtle differences in how the basket is mounted make a big difference in handling. But I would also think the weight of the bicycle (and rider) would play a major role, since the bicyclist is working against the rest of the bike and their own weight when they turn the handlebars.
    I think trail length might be misleading. Having a longer trail length would help if it is the rear wheel moving back -- that should give more leverage -- but if you kept the rear wheel in the same place and moved the front wheel forward, also giving longer trail length, you might make things worse since the leverage would be decreased.

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  34. Velouria, your Pashley's basket was also mounted very high. The same weight high up feels more unwieldy than down low. And there may be some psychological effect.

    Plus, that Wald Woody on the ANT isn't that large, it's 18"x13"x6", a popular Wald size and the same one I have on both my (now my wife's) Cannondale and my former Shogun. It's the Wald #139:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7516215@N03/4946752953/in/set-72157622917767904/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7516215@N03/5090308663/

    When empty, I never felt like I was carrying anything.

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  35. MDI - The large handlebar bag on my Rivendell covers my entire view of the front wheel as well, so I don't think that's entirely it.

    somervillain - I've tried other bikes with baskets/racks mounted on the fork that I did not like either. In fact I cannot think of any front set-ups I've tried and liked other than what I have now on my Rivendell and this ANT.

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  36. Hogwash to the front load naysayers. I have the humongous 7 lb Wald delivery basket on my primary commuter and love it. I feel no adverse effects from carrying loads on the front up to 40 lbs. I'll occasionally take the basket off, and I always miss the feel when I do. I also carry rear loads in panniers on another bike, and I have to say I prefer the front load. It might just be a matter of getting used to it. I remember the first 15 minutes or so of owning the basket feeling weird; but after that it felt completely natural.

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  37. I've had several bikes with front loading capacity, whether basket or rack, and the experience has ranged from good to "meh".

    In the meh spectrum:
    Univega road frame with upright handlebars and the ginormous Wald front basket. Always felt floppy, and a bear to steer when it was loaded.

    Centurion Le Mans with the small Soma front rack. Fine if I put a handlebar bag on the rack, twitchy if I put even my old tiny panniers.

    On the good side:
    Long Haul Trucker with Jandd platform front rack. Handles well with front panniers. The trick is that I can mount them pretty low, whereas the Soma rack doesn't have a lower option.

    Worksman Cycle Truck. The bike was designed around the fact it was going to have an obscenely large front basket. The front wheel is only 20", so the basket is lower than a more traditional one. The basket also attaches directly to the frame, so steering is unaffected (though it takes awhile to get used to this!)

    In my un-scientific opinion, the lower you can put the load on the front, the better. I tend to put panniers on the front of the LHT more often than I put on my rear. Though you have to have both bags, as one bag will make the steering a bit unweildy.

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  38. I should also point out that when I first purchased the Wald I used the stock brackets as was, and the basket was about 3 inches too high and too far forward, with the majority of the load in front of the front axle, and that did feel weird. I hammered out the handlebar brackets to make them flat, which made the basket's weight rest behind the axle and a mm over the front fender, and the difference was night and day.

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  39. Erin B, Yes! I have the VO front stabilizer on my front basket bike. I'm pretty sure it has absolutely no effect on handling whatsoever. Where it really makes a difference is when the bike is parked, when I'm loading my basket or when I'm standing at a light or whatever. Before the stabilizer my front wheel would flop whenever it was locked and the bike would fall down all the time, loading was a chore and I'd have to grasp at least one grip very tightly at lights. It was probably the best $10 I've ever spent on my bike.

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  40. Adam said, "Hogwash to the front load naysayers."

    I'm one due to using the rear-loading cargo bike on twisty singletrack and curb-hop on the way to and from the grocery store.

    Too much load sway = crash in this context.

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  41. I may be wrong but I think the head angle and location of the front basket are the most important factors. In my opinion, the optimal position for the front load will be just perpendicular to the center of the wheel (similar to balancing the load in a dolly).
    Therefore any deviation from this optimal positioning (for example, more or less head angle) will be felt by the steering system.

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  42. "Too much load sway = crash in this context."

    I don't get any load sway below 40 lbs. For me the difference between the balance between front and rear loads is, on a front load the response to adjusting to any minuscule load sway is instantaneous, so that, just like adjusting for your own weight, you don't even notice. While on a rear pannier load, if I'm carrying more than 20 lbs, if I go over 15 mph my frame feels noodley and I can definitely feel the effect on balance whenever I turn even the slightest bit. Also, with a rear load any adjustment the rider makes to counter load sway takes a fraction of a second to transfer from the front axle to the rear of the bike, which feels like an eternity when side pulling forces are effecting your balance, which seems to just magnify the load sway.

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  43. Adam,

    Twisty singletrack = load sway, no way to avoid it with a fork-mounted rack. Too much violent movement.

    Rear-loading cargobike = Xtracycle. No need for front rack, but I wouldn't say no to a frame-mounted one.

    YMMV, of course.

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  44. I ride twisty single track with 40 lbs with a fork-mounted rack often. I use a 2 mile one as a shortcut between my grocer and my butcher. Granted, I'm not talking about a seriously technical trail with logs to hop or anything, but honestly, I have no problems.

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  45. adventure! said...
    "Worksman Cycle Truck ...The basket also attaches directly to the frame, so steering is unaffected (though it takes awhile to get used to this!)"


    Definitely takes a while to get used to. I've tried a couple of these but can't imagine owning one.

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  46. Hey! That's my bike! I'm glad that you got to take a spin on it and would be happy to let you do a more thorough test ride when the weather is a little nicer.

    I finally got to spend some time on it today, and tried a few different configurations of bags to try to get it to feel right. I wanted a basket because sometimes I just have a purse and not much else to carry so I can just use a cargo net to strap everything down up front.

    I originally thought that I could carry more load in the basket, but you're right, it makes the front end squirrelly around potholes and other obstacles, especially at low speeds. I had my laptop (which is a small MacBook) in the front, and a Po Campo bag on the back this morning, and that was not working at all. There was just too much weight. And the basket is also a convenient place to carry my lock, so that didn't help.

    So I did what I normally do - loaded the rear rack to carry the bulk of the weight, and then threw my Po Campo bag (which was pretty light) in the basket. The balance was much better.

    I do like having the basket, however. There is something very easy about it, and I like being able to see my stuff, or grab my phone (not while I'm moving, of course). I think it will just take some getting used to, honestly.

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  47. Personally, I never cared much for a front basket since I believe a bike is better balanced with the load at the rear and low to the ground as possible.

    But this year I'll try a front basket and see how it goes.

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  48. Annalisa - Thanks for stopping by, that is a beautiful bike you got there! I am curious now what the basket would feel like with my laptop bag in there, on a real ride. My system now is a pannier hooked to the rear rack. I also have a small MacBook.

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  49. I know this has nothing to do with bicycle handling...but doesn't having a big front basket make bicycle parking much more difficult at most kinds of racks?

    I have never tried a front basket-- but hesitate mostly due to potential parking issues.

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  50. i totally love the front load. It only gets unwieldy at 50+ or so lbs. Touring, and grocery shopping might call for rear loads but Ill put it all in the front if I can.

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  51. Being completely set on the aesthetics of having a front rack/basket, I put a Soma Gamoh front cargo rack on my Gary Fisher Simple City 3 bicycle. I have no issues with it when empty or only carrying a light bag, and can easily manoeuvre through city traffic.

    Also happily takes heavier loads - I use it going to the markets and will often carry up to 10kg in it. It is definitely harder to control when going slowly with that load, but I have never felt uncomfortable riding in traffic with it.

    In fact having something solid in the front makes my bicycle feel more grounded and easier to steer.

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  52. "...but doesn't having a big front basket make bicycle parking much more difficult at most kinds of racks?"

    That really hasn't been my experience. The majority of racks I come across are staples, so no problem there. For the most part, I can back my bicycle up to any rack that may be designed to accommodate front first parking, or park at the ends of the rack if available. I've never once thought to myself "this basket makes it so difficult to park."

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  53. Does arm/forearm strength have anything to do with it?

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  54. Not necessarily a handling issue, but the Gillles Berthoud website makes an interesting argument that front loads better distribute the weight on a bicycle, especially when going uphill.

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  55. Hi Valouria,

    I hope the Peugeot mixtie I am rebuilding will be able to carry a light to moderate load in the front. I have the bike totally striped (components & paint). I your Royal Hines mixtie and a Peugeot that Velo Cult rebuilt http://www.velocult.com/blog/post/new_in_shop_peugeot_mixte/ are my inspiration. I don't know what the trail of this bike is. The front racks from Amsterdam look promising, anyway to order those?

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  56. Ramona - You carry 50lb+ on your front rack??..
    Wow, you win : )
    So what bike do you ride with that weight?

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  57. My Riv does handle front loads very well. I carry everything on my front rack/basket set-up when I'm riding my Betty Foy. But for my other bikes, I much prefer rear loads, which barely affect steering. My Oma has a heavy duty front rack, but steering gets squirrelly with more than 20 lbs or so.

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  58. For those curious, I've just learned the front end geometry of this ANT and it is as follows: 71 head angle, 50mm fork rake, 64mm trail. Tires are 700 x 35mm.

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  59. Velouria--All "cycle truck" design bikes have the same front basket design, whether vintage (Schwinn, Worksman) or modern (Ahearne, Civia). So unfortunately you're going to get that weirdness with whatever type. Remarkably it didn't take that long for me to get used to it, maybe a day of riding. How long did you try the cycle truck?

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