You may remember that back in May at the Cycle Touring Festival, I met a chap called Robert, an academic at Reading University. I posted a few pictures of his Ridgeback Panorama touring bike that he had converted to carry ‘bike-packing’ bags rather than panniers. You can read the original post here – but I’ve also included the photos below. He’s been in touch again with a few words of explanation as to why he changed from panniers and the effects of doing so. Over to you Rob.
I chose to change my Ridgeback to a bike-packing setup having come across the concept online, and reading about Mark Beaumont’s trip across Africa, when he used the same idea. I wanted to increase the number of miles I could comfortably cover in a day, and thought that cutting down the wind resistance created by traditional panniers would be a great help. The results have been fantastic. My previous average per day used to be around 70-80 miles – I have comfortably added another 10-20.
The initial fitting of the bags actually turned out to be a bit more complicated than I anticipated. Removing the pannier racks was easy enough, and fitting the rear bag was straightforward (though you need to ensure the seat-post is sufficiently long for the design of the bag you go for – I use Apidura). The front bag however, sits between the drop handle bars and impeded the original brakes. I therefore had to change them to v-brakes. This made the exercise more expensive, but has had the added benefit of improving the brakes immensely.
So – in my experience, changing to the bike-packing system has given me a bike that is easier to ride, lighter, faster, more stable and (inadvertently) with better brakes!
It’s worth pointing out that you can’t just switch cantilever brake calipers out for regular vbrake calipers. The levers pull a different amount of cable on the two systems. You need to use shorter arm mini vbrakes or fit a “travel adapter” which adds an offset pulley to change the cable pull.
Thanks Shaun. I really wish I understood that… Hopefully others will 🙂