Whenever I think about a typical cycle tourist, I always conjure up an image of a mid-80s steel bike, rear rack loaded to the brim with a stuck-in flag happily waving in the breeze. This is close - Scott touring Sweden in 1993 with Canada flagged panniers on a Rocky Mountain Sirrus:
|By the way, Scott's bum bag (fanny pack for us in the Colonies) game is on point.|
It is worth mentioning that the Campeur has lower trail than the majority of production touring bikes. This makes for neutral handling when loaded with no wheel flop and downright lively when lightly loaded or unloaded. Bikes with high trail have more difficulty with a heavier front load due to introduced wheel flop when going into corners.
Second, when making efforts out of the saddle a front load does not introduce any luggage sway. Standing out of the saddle with a heavy rear load flexes the frame and rack side to side causing the front end to wander, which zaps energy during sustained climbs.
Similarly, during high crosswind conditions a loaded rear end has a tendency to make the front end wander if the front isn't loaded. Solution? A front load bias plants the front end and crosswinds have a drastically diminished effect so you expend less energy keeping straight. This is very different to a deep section front wheel in which the extremely lightweight front end wheel acts as a sail.
Fourth, you can monitor your luggage to ensure everything stays put safely. The last thing you want to happen is to hit a bump and lose your flipflops or worse get something stuck in the rear wheel without noticing.
Lastly, your gear and food is more easily accessible while you're in the saddle. Your handlebar bag is right there, ripe for the rummaging. Grabbing stuff out of the pannier while riding is definitely more of an acquired skill, but it is possible with lots of practice and gumption.
|Non-drive side to show the tent setup.|
Which method do you prefer: Front, rear, 4 points? Or are you on the side that says, "People still use racks? It's 2016, get out of the Mesolithic Era!"